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Difference between Green Beans and Haricot Verts?

yoyo28 Aug 9, 2009 12:07 AM

I can't for the life of me figure out the difference between a green bean and a French green bean or "haricot vert". I'd like to buy some at the farmer's market, but they all look the same to me. They do have these really long ones too, but I think those are used in Asian cooking. Any tips?

  1. t
    treb Mar 2, 2014 05:24 AM

    Size matters...... HC are thinner than regular green beans.

    1. Bacardi1 Mar 19, 2013 04:44 PM

      The difference is in size & flavor. While technically "Haricot Verts" is just a green bean, these days the markets & seed companies differentiate them by "Haricot Verts" (aka "filet beans") being those originally French-bred beans that have a full-flavored beany taste when extremely thin, tender, small, & young.

      If you picked regular green (string/snap) beans that young, a lot of the flavor would be missing, as those beans are much better tasting when a bit more mature. Not mature to the tough stage, but larger than filet beans.

      1. 2
        2sleepy Mar 19, 2013 01:45 PM

        I just found haricots verts at Costco in Reno NV =)

        1. c
          cathygleeson Aug 17, 2012 04:11 PM

          guess my previous did not post...my Farmers Market sells "french green beans", long thin & tender plus "green beans", more the green beans in supermarkets. This Maine farm sells all for the same price. "same organic farm, same time it takes us to get them here"...very reasonable.
          If you ever get to Belfast, Maine in the growing season, visit the Friday market

          1. b
            Brandon Nelson Aug 9, 2009 11:21 PM

            Green "snap beans" originated in the America's. We used to called them "string beans" but the strings are all but absent from modern green beans. They have traveled all over the world as popular cultivars, and have seen the birth of many sub species abroad.

            In the US Kentucky Wonder and Improved Kentucky Wonder were once the standard. Blue Lake beans have overtaken them in many places though. Wade, Harvester, and contender are other species. Romanos are prized for their superior flavor. Filet beans are typically called "haricot verts". These beans are tender when very small, but are tough when allowed to grow to the size of many other snap beans.

            Long beans are more closely related to a black eyed pea than they are to snap beans.

            1. d
              dmd_kc Aug 9, 2009 10:34 PM

              Can't speak for other countries, but in the USA, green beans are much thicker (5 - 6 cm across) than haricots verts (3 -4 cm). "Frenching" green beans by cutting them in half longways was a technique to make the domestic, native crop similar to the French variety. It produces a completely different food -- one that I don't like at all. Beans have to be intact lengthwise to cook properly. There are even ridiculous "Frenching" tools to split them easily:


              2 Replies
              1. re: dmd_kc
                DonShirer Mar 1, 2014 04:21 PM

                5 cm across is almost 2 inches thick! None of the green beans I grow are much more than 1/2 inch across. But this thread has me thinking that I'll plant some H.V. this year to see what the difference is.

                1. re: DonShirer
                  coll Mar 2, 2014 05:07 AM

                  Great idea! Off to check the catalogs.

              2. h
                Harters Aug 9, 2009 10:32 AM

                In the UK, we tend not to use foreign terms, like "haricots vert" for things when there's an English expression, like "green beans". And "green beans" used to be generally known as "French beans". No doubt due to "country of origin" labelling, they're not any longer called that in supermarkets (although they are if you're buying seeds or plants to grow your own).

                Now they're generally called "green beans". Or "fine beans" or "dwarf beans" if the supermarket wants to screw more money out of you. Current prices in my usual supermarket:

                green beans - £3.72 per kg
                dwarf beans - £4.30 per kg
                fine beans - £5.70 per kg
                organic dwarf beans - £5.96 per kg

                1 Reply
                1. re: Harters
                  yoyo28 Aug 9, 2009 08:11 PM

                  I think you're on to something. Today at the farmer's market there was only one place that sold "haricot verts", or French green beans, and lo and behold they looked almost exactly like the other green bean sellers, at a higher price. So I selected the thinner green beans from the cheaper green bean sellers, and am happy. But I also wonder whether a thin green bean and a regular haricot vert are the same thing. They looks the same, but do they taste the same? Are they the same? That is the question.

                2. e
                  easily amused Aug 9, 2009 06:40 AM

                  I grow about 3 different varieties of "French Filet" green beans.... they are all for the most part very thin....about 4 inches in length, extremely tender. Some varieties are a bit longer...equally delicious. "haricots Vert" is the French translation of Green Beans
                  There is also the term "frenched" when referring to a green bean which means cut into thin strips lengthwise.

                  1. bagelman01 Aug 9, 2009 04:08 AM

                    Haricort Vert>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Double the Price <VBG>

                    Americans are gullible

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: bagelman01
                      coll Aug 9, 2009 04:21 AM

                      But sometimes I don't want a big fat string bean.

                      1. re: coll
                        bagelman01 Aug 9, 2009 06:33 AM

                        Then don't buy 'Italian ' green beans

                        Just look for skinny green beans when sifting through the bin in the market, and voila-Haricort Vert

                        1. re: bagelman01
                          MMRuth Aug 9, 2009 07:14 AM

                          Hmm ... usually the green beans in the green bean bins that I see are fat, where as the haricots verts are at least half the diameter of regular green beans.

                          In terms of "Frenched" green beans, I believe that "Frenching" just refers to the cut of the beans. This may also apply to french fries - "Frenched" potatoes.

                          1. re: bagelman01
                            coll Aug 9, 2009 07:22 AM

                            I mostly buy my green beans in season at the local farm, and they are all very fat. Then at Thanksgiving, I pay whatever they want for hericot vert at the grocery store. Because the dish wouldn't be the same, they are much more tender then underripe regular green beans. But if you like the fat ones, I don't blame you for being price conscious. I'm the only one in my house that eats the fat ones.

                            1. re: bagelman01
                              Bacardi1 Mar 19, 2013 04:46 PM

                              "Skinny green beans" are definitely NOT the same as "Haricot Verts" (aka "filet beans"). The latter are specially bred to have a full bean flavor when extremely small, tender, thin, & young. "Skinny green beans" will be strongly lacking in flavor by comparison.

                              1. re: bagelman01
                                mucho gordo Mar 19, 2013 07:17 PM

                                Aren't the Italian beans wide and flat?

                                1. re: mucho gordo
                                  Bacardi1 Mar 20, 2013 08:15 AM

                                  Yes, they are. And "Haricot Vert" are not Italian beans. They're French. Nor are "Italian" beans in any way like regular green/string beans.

                                  Italian (aka "Romano") beans are wide & flat, & can be eaten young as fresh pod beans, or shelled & eaten as fresh shell beans, or allowed to mature & dry, & then shelled & used as dried shell beans.

                                  "Haricot Vert" are only eaten fresh at a very young stage, but they can also be allowed to mature & dry, & can then be shelled & used as dry beans also. The only edible stage that is skipped is allowing the beans to get as large as regular snap beans, as true Haricot Vert become rather tough at the stage that we normally eat regular green beans at.

                            2. re: bagelman01
                              mucho gordo Mar 19, 2013 04:01 PM


                            3. coll Aug 9, 2009 04:02 AM

                              You know frozen green beans that are called "French" but they're really just cut in half, well this is what they're simulating. It's a variety of string bean that is skinny. I like them sauteed with butter and shallots.

                              1. linguafood Aug 9, 2009 03:47 AM

                                Well, haricots verts ARE green beans. The French variety is generally slimmer and longer than the 'generic' green bean. Wegmans had them for a while and I love them blanched and then stir-fried with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: linguafood
                                  Tommylee Mar 1, 2014 01:11 PM

                                  Well lingua I love your choice and serving suggestion, but are you not intending to say vert and not verts. But let's hear it for Wegman's, the only thing I miss about Rochester winters.

                                  1. re: Tommylee
                                    linguafood Mar 1, 2014 02:00 PM

                                    Since I tend to have more than one green bean as a side, I did indeed intend to say verts, not vert.

                                    Also, Wegmans has no apostrophe '-)

                                    1. re: linguafood
                                      Harters Mar 1, 2014 02:16 PM

                                      Well, Wikipedia says "haricots verts", so it must be right.

                                      Instinctively, I'd have said "haricots vert" (plural of bean, but still green)

                                      1. re: Harters
                                        linguafood Mar 1, 2014 02:18 PM

                                        Those silly, silly Frenchies '-D

                                        Then again, German, Italian and Spanish do the same, so.... guess that whole damn 'old' Europe is being silly.

                                        1. re: linguafood
                                          Harters Mar 1, 2014 02:19 PM

                                          As you know, lingua, the French are the ones who describe as "grey", those little shrimps which are obviously "brown". Colour blind or just plain silly.

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