Southern-Style Green Beans

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Southern-Style Green Beans

I’m always in for a home-cooked southern vegetable. A whole plate of them is best. There’s rarely a time I can resist a veggie plate at a restaurant. Especially if said plate includes Southern-Style Green Beans, slow cooked in a bacon-infused broth until tender and soft.

I know it is fashionable to serve green beans barely cooked so they still have some crunch to them and retain they’re bright green color. Admittingly, the color of Southern-Style Green Beans isn’t nearly as appealing as that of fresh green beans.

But cook green beans low and slow in a broth flavored with bacon, and you’ll go back for seconds and thirds. They’re so good, you’d be content to eat a big plate of green beans for a meal.

Southern-Style Green Beans

During the cooking process, they soak up an amazing amount of flavor from bacon grease, chicken broth, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. I start by cooking some diced bacon in a large pot. I then set the bacon aside, but leave all the grease in the pan. You can leave the bacon in the pot to cook with the beans, but it will get a soggy texture. But the up side is the beans will have even more bacony flavor. In this case, I’ve added the cooked bacon back once I’ve drained the beans, but sometimes I just leave it in the pot for the cooking process.

Many times a ham hock is used instead of bacon, or in addition to bacon. Traditionally, fat back (solid fat from a pig’s back) was a very popular choice for cooking green beans in the South and if you can get your hands on some good fatback, it is amazing. But good fatback is very hard to find these days. Pigs raised for the mass market are bred to be on the lean side and they are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, which can really build up in a pig’s fat.

You want to cook Southern-Style Green Beans for at least an hour, preferably closer to 2 hours. You want them to get really soft, but not mushy, so that they are melt in your mouth tender. Just before serving, you can mix in a tablespoon or so of butter to give the green beans some a buttery coating.

This is one vegetable no one will complain about eating.

Southern-Style Green Beans

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Southern-Style Green Beans
Green Beans cooked low and slow until soft and tender in a bacon-infused broth.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 pounds green beans, ends snapped off and longer beans snapped in half
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon butter, optional
  1. Brown and crisp bacon in a large pot. Remove bacon from pot and reserve.
  2. Add green beans to pot along with all remaining ingredients, except butter.
  3. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Drain beans and add butter if using. Check beans for seasoning and add extra salt and pepper to taste. I like lots of black pepper. Sprinkle with bacon and toss to distribute the bacon and butter.

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67 thoughts on “Southern-Style Green Beans

  1. Quick question do you leave the bacon grease from the 4 pieces of bacon in the pot or do you use a clean pot? Thanks! These look delicious.

  2. I know I am late to the party but I just cooked with frozen string beans. They turned out great. I only cooked for 30 minutes.

  3. This is how my mom taught me to make green beans minus the chicken broth. I tried this recipe last night (using one lb of fresh green beans). Holy moly, delicious! Between my fiancé and I, we are every last bit! :) Thank you for sharing!

  4. This is the way I’ve always (and my sweet Mom) cooked green beans. If fresh just snap off ends and snap into desired size. If using canned then drain liquid in pot.

    First I put about a 2 Tbs butter and 2 Tbs veg oil in pot on med heat. Then get two smoked ham hocks and cut off chunks as possible. Put that and the rest of the hocks in pot and render down, about 10 minutes. Add one big diced sweet yellow onion and stir around for about 5 minutes. Add fresh ground pepper and a little sea salt. Use more salt with fresh beans, less with canned. Then add liquid from canned beans. (I usually use two huge cans, found on bottom shelf at grocery) Let that come to a simmer and add beans then put on lid and turn heat down to med low. Don’t stir, wait about 30 minutes before stirring so all the flavors simmer up into the beans. Then you can start stirring when you think about it. I cook them about 2 hours or so. If you’re using fresh green beans then add beef stock. You want to keep the beans just covered throughout the cooking process so as the liquid evaporates keep adding stock as needed. If you have chicken stock then use it but I like the oompf the beef gives the beans. When beans are tasty and the whole house smells yummy, strip the meat off the fat and bones and return to pot, stirring in. Toss the bones or give them to Phydeaux (Fido! lol) Even better, stir in small red new potatoes or fingerlings when you add the beans. So good!!

    When mom would make beans and taters (above), she would also make fried fresh corn in a cast iron skillet. Then when there were leftovers she would stir the corn into the leftover green beans and potatoes for the next meal. If you have that and fresh sliced tomatoes with a dollop of mayo (only Duke’s or Hellmann’s will do) and some skillet cornbread…OH MY! It will make you want to slap someone it’s so good!

  5. I know it sounds really weird but I cook my green beans with onions in the broth. Then after cooking and draining I add the bacon and grease. Then I add about 2 T of Miracle Whip. I got that from my Mother-in-Law and I was amazed at how good it is.

  6. Let me just start by saying I absolutely HATE fresh green beans. Weird, I know, but these! Oh my goodness they were sooo good! I nearly ate the entire pot! By far, these are the best green beans I have ever tasted!

  7. I made these for Thanksgiving and they were so yummy. We couldn’t wait to eat them as they smelled so good while cooking and tasted even better! I am making them again for Christmas right now and can’t hardly wait until they are done. Thanks for the recipe!!

  8. My grandmother made green beans for the holidays like this. She added a chopped onion as well. She also used green beans that were canned but from her summer garden. I am making these soon. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. I just made these for Thanksgiving and they were sooo good. I could have eaten just these beans and I would have been happy with that.

  10. I am cooking for about 24 people for Thanksgiving and I am going to try this recipe instead of my traditional green bean casserole. Do I just multiply all these ingredients by 4? Do I use ALL of the bacon grease? I have a 16 oz package of bacon. Thanks, I can’t wait to see how these turn out!

  11. If using canned green beans – how many cans and would the cooking time change? I know this is last minute…. I am cooking Thanksgiving for a friend of mine who can’t go home due to a football game! Last min plan! Thanks so much

  12. Girl, there’s not much I love more than green beans cooked like this. Add some southern cornbread (you know what I mean by that) and pour that pot likker on top. Heaven on a plate!

  13. Going to try this on thanksgiving with frozen green beans. Probably going to have some canned green beans to use as backup if the frozen dont work

  14. If you are close to a local farmers market you may find some fatback there, with other unmolested meats as well.

    Family talked me into meatloaf, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and these type of green beans tonight, with some yeast rolls.

    Thanks for the recipe, time to eat and loosen my belt a little….

      1. I use basically the same recipe using canned green beans and they come out delicious.
        You would never know they were can….taste just like fresh. My family loves them.
        I don’t see why Frozen beans would be much different. Worth a try! Good Luck

    1. I don’t really ever cook with frozen green beans so I’m not exactly sure how it would turn out. But I would think it would work fine. You would probably need to shorten the cooking time some or the beans might get mushy. Let me know how it turns out if you try it :)

    2. I use basically the same recipe using canned green beans and they come out delicious.
      You would never know they were can….taste just like fresh. My family loves them.
      I don’t see why Frozen beans would be much different. Worth a try! Good Luck

  15. Do these freeze well? I was given a TON of fresh green beans and I would like to cook them all and then freeze them in bags so they done go bad. I could live off green beans and have never cooked them fresh myself so I am going to give it a go today. Thanks for any help!

    1. I have never frozen them so I really don’t know. I would think they would do okay if you put them in a freezer bag and made sure there was no air in the bag, but they might get a mushy texture.

    2. Great recipe! I don’t know if this would freeze well, probably turn really mushy when thawed. I would blanch the beans quickly, then ice bath and freeze. When thawed, you could use any recipe.

  16. My mother-in-law taught me how to make these – just like yours. They are a go-to main dish for us when money’s a bit tight (and seriously, it’s just delicious even when money isn’t tight!). I absolutely love this dish. Toss in some potatoes and you have a filling dinner!!

  17. I can never resist a veggie plate either especially green beans! These look so incredible Christin! Such a great recipe and fantastic photos!

  18. In most cases, I do like my green beans to have a bit of crunch, HOWEVER, I absolutely in love with southern style green beans, they literally melt in your mouth which I love. I really love when they have a little kick in them, like you have here!

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