If you’re familiar with edamame, you know the fuzzy green pods contain buttery, subtly sweet, and slightly nutty little beans—but do you know that these beans are actually immature soybeans?
Some fast edamame facts for you: the Japanese have been enjoying these high protein pods for over 1,000 years, they taste great both hot and cold, and they make a great salty snack. Here’s exactly how to cook edamame pods, shell them, and spice up the bean to enjoy anytime.
How to Make Edamame
You’ll typically find edamame both shelled and unshelled in the frozen section of the supermarket, and, less often, it can be found fresh. The velvety pods are tough and inedible, so consider how you plan to serve and eat the edamame before shopping.
Shelling the beans yourself will be a bit more time consuming than opting for the convenience of pre-shelled beans.
The traditional way of eating edamame—boiling or steaming—is also the easiest way to prep it.
To Boil Edamame
- Boil the pods in a large pot of boiling salted water (as you would pasta) for approximately 2 minutes for frozen edamame or 6 minutes for fresh edamame.
- The beans are tender when cooked through and pop easily from the pods with a little pressure.
- Drain and serve immediately, or season further.
To Steam Edamame
- Bring water to a boil and place the edamame in a steamer basket above the boiling water.
- Cover and let cook for approximately 8 minutes for fresh edamame and 6 minutes for frozen.
- Toss with salt before serving.
Edamame can also be roasted or pan fried until the beans are tender in a hot pan, no fat needed.
How to Shell Edamame
If you buy whole edamame pods and have leftovers after cooking that you want to toss in a salad or make into a purée, you’ll have to remove the shells first.
To remove the shells, gently squeeze the beans out and into a bowl and discard the pods. If you plan on only using the edamame shelled, search for frozen pre-shelled beans and cook them as outlined above before seasoning or adding to fried rice, stir fries, salads, and the like.
Why Edamame Makes a Great Snack
Whether lightly steamed, boiled, or even gently roasted or puréed, edamame beans are delicious and versatile snacks that can be enjoyed in many different ways.
When eating edamame in the pod, it’s nice to have salt or another seasoning on or boiled into the pod itself. While only the beans are edible, you have to insert the entire pod into your mouth in order to pop the beans out, so tossing the pods in a seasoning will offer more flavor to the experience.
Here are three simple, delicious edamame seasonings to experiment with at home.
Tangy and Spicy Edamame
- In a small bowl, mix approximately 1/2 tablespoon of your favorite spicy chili paste (Sriracha or sambal olek work best here) with the zest and juice of half a lime.
- Toss approximately 1 1/2 cups warm, cooked edamame pods or shelled beans in the mixture until well coated.
- Enjoy immediately or chill and eat later.
Sesame Soy Edamame
- In a large frying pan, heat approximately 1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil.
- Once warm, toss in approximately 1 1/2 cups warm, cooked edamame pods or shelled beans and fry for about 3 minutes or until the beans or pods start to char and get a bit brown.
- Add approximately 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and a pinch of sesame seeds and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the frying pan is dry.
- Enjoy immediately.
Salt and Vinegar Edamame
- Add approximately 1 1/2 cups warm, cooked edamame pods or shelled beans to a large bowl.
- Add approximately 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar and a large pinch of flaky sea salt and toss well to combine.
- Enjoy immediately or chill and eat later.
How to Make Edamame Purée
Edamame can be used like other beans (think chickpeas) and green peas, and their buttery texture and sweet flavor make for a great purée or mash for toast or for crackers. Here’s a simple recipe for a base mash that can be spiced up with garlic, added chickpeas and tahini for a hummus-like take, or soft herbs like basil or dill.
Basic Edamame Purée
- Add 1 cup of cooked, warm, shelled edamame beans to a food processor. For a chunkier mash, simply use a bowl and potato masher or a large mortar and pestle.
- Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon water. Season with salt and purée or mash until you reach the desired texture.
- Season with more salt if needed, and freshen up with lemon or lime juice, herbs, olive oil, and the like before serving.
- This dish can be served to temperature or chilled.