Southern style green beans is a classic dish perfect for any occasion. This recipe is a delightful blend of savory bacon and fresh green beans, simmered to perfection with onions and garlic.
Southern cooking is one of my favorites. Things like southern fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits with some venison sausage gravy, collard greens, and skillet cornbread are some of my favorite dishes. These flavorful green beans are no exception.
These slow-cooked green beans are full of salty bacon, slow-cooked in bone broth, and fall apart tender. While northerners typically say you should leave a little crisp in a green bean recipe, this recipe will have you wanting more. It’s so delicious.
In old fashioned southern green beans, fatback was used, which is solid fat from a pig’s back, but because most pigs are bred to be bacon breeds (lean meat) instead of lard breeds good fatback is hard to come by, unless you know someone.
Other substitutions, or additions, to the bacon would be a ham hock or salt pork, which gives this southern recipe some amazing flavor, but regardless of what pork you use, they’re going to be tender, delicious, and full of bacon-infused flavor.
Ingredients for Southern Style Green Beans
The best thing about this recipe is it only requires a handful of ingredients. The ingredient measurements and the full recipe can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Fresh Green Beans – you can substitute canned green beans, but using fresh beans, rinsed and snapped into 2″ pieces is best.
Bacon – center cut is best, cooked until almost crisp. Again fatback or a ham hock are good substitutions or additons here.
Onions and Garlic – to add some flavor!
Chicken Stock or Broth -homemade is best, but quality stock of any kind will do.
Seasonings – seasoned salt, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and brown sugar.
Classic Southern Green Beans Recipe
This southern-style green beans recipe can be made in a single large pot on the stove top. While it takes a bit of time and a little patience, it’s perfect for a Sunday supper or special occasions.
Prep the green beans. Rinse beans in cool water, and snap off the ends. Snap green beans into 2″ pieces. Set to the side.
Fry the bacon. Cut slices of bacon into small pieces and fry bacon over medium-low heat in a large saucepan until almost crispy.
After the bacon is close to crispy, remove half of it to some paper towel to drain and set it to the side reserving the rest in the pot.
If you want all of it to be crisp bacon, remove it all to drain. The bacon left in the pot will provide a lot of flavor, but will turn chewy after cooking.
Sautee the aromatics. Add diced onions and minced garlic to the pot with the remaining bacon pieces and bacon grease. Sauté in the bacon grease until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant.
Add the remaining ingredients. Add green beans, seasoned salt, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and brown sugar to the pot and stir to combine. Pour in chicken stock, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, or at least one hour.
If you have more time, two hours of simmering is ideal. The longer the beans simmer, the more flavorful they will be.
After the dish has simmered for at least an hour, drain off the chicken stock and return the reserved crispy bacon to the tender green beans. Stir to incorporate the bacon and serve hot.
Using Canned Green Beans to Make Southern Style Green Beans
Whether home canned or purchased from the store, canned green beans can be used in this recipe.
The cooking process is mostly the same, except the beans won’t need to simmer as long since they’ve already been cooked.
Simply follow the above directions, drain the canned beans using chicken broth to cover the beans instead. Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes taking care that the green beans don’t become too mushy.
Seasoning Southern Style Green Beans
Seasoning is going to depend on individual preferences. Some people swear by using cayenne pepper, while others really like the flavor of cajun seasoning.
I like the onion flavor, so I usually use a medium onion so that it has plenty to simmer with as well as the mined garlic to help flavor it. For added flavor, I add in red pepper flakes, seasoned salt, kosher salt, brown sugar, and black pepper.
I like mine simple, with just a hint of spice from the red pepper flakes, and a little bit of brown sugar to bring all the best flavor, so that’s what I use. You can adjust the amounts and seasonings to your preference, though.
What to Serve with Southern Green Beans
This is one of my favorite side dishes because it’s so versatile. It goes really well with any Southern food, but it doesn’t stop there, this is the perfect side dish for so many things.
- Venison Bolognese
- Amish Chicken and Noodles
- Pan-Fried Bluegill Recipe
- Honey Roasted Duck
- Venison Stroganoff
- Southern-Fried Chicken Gizzards Recipe
- Pork Chops with Cranberry
- Smoked Turkey to make an amazing Thanksgiving side dish!
Storing Southern-Style Beans
This dish can be cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
To reheat, add a cup of broth or water to the cooked beans in a large saucepan. Cook, covered, over low heat until heated through about 15 minutes. Drain the water or broth and eat or simply spoon them out of the pan with a slotted spoon.
These don’t do well frozen, the texture is off. But you can use frozen green beans much like you use fresh green beans to cook the dish.
If you try this classic southern style green beans recipe, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below! Also, I’d love if you could leave me a five star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ recipe review on the recipe card below. If you want more recipe inspiration, make sure to follow me on Facebook or Pinterest!
Green beans simmered low and slow with bacon, onion, and garlic to provide a delicious, melt in your mouth side dish.
- 4-5 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, diced
- 2 Pounds Fresh Green Beans (substitute 2 cans of green beans)
- 1 medium Onion, diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Brown Sugar
- 32 oz Chicken Broth or Stock
- Rinse fresh green beans in cold water, snap off ends and snap into 1-2" pieces.
- Dice 4 slices of bacon into pieces. Place in a large, 3-quart saucepan, and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove half of the bacon to paper towels to drain and set to the side.
- Add diced onion and minced garlic to bacon grease and sauté for 3 minutes or until onion is tender and garlic is fragrant.
- Reduce heat to low. Place prepared green beans into the saucepan with the onion, garlic, and bacon grease. Season with seasoned salt, pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Pour chicken stock over green beans until they're covered.
- Bring the pot to a simmer over low heat. Cover. Simmer 1 to 2 hours, or until desired tenderness is reached, stirring occasionally, checking liquid level periodically, and adding more if necessary.
- Drain green beans in a colander. Return to pan. Stir reserved bacon into the pan. Serve hot.
*Canned green beans can be used in place of fresh. Fry bacon and sauté onion and garlic. Drain green beans, season as described, pour in chicken stock to cover, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 718mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 12g