Southern-Style Green Beans

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Southern-Style Green Beans are cooked long and slow until melt in your mouth tender. Flavored with lots of bacon.

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

Southern-Style Green Beans

Course: Side Dish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 134kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Green Beans cooked low and slow until soft and tender in a bacon-infused broth.
Print Recipe


  • 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon butter, optional


  • Brown and crisp bacon in a large pot. Remove bacon from pot and reserve.
  • Add green beans to pot along with all remaining ingredients, except butter.
  • Bring to a boil and then turn heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • 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.


Calories: 134kcal

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141 thoughts on “Southern-Style Green Beans

  1. Soooo good! I made a few edits, I added sauteed onion and left the bacon in the pot to simmer. We like it spicy so I added some cayenne and chili sauce. I also didn’t drain the beans after, just served them in the juice like I do with collard greens and omitted the butter. My son told me it was his new favorite thing that I make. Thanks so much!!

  2. Just cooked my green beans right by the recipe and they are delicious!! I wouldn’t and didn’t change a thing! Yum yum.

    1. That’s Aunt Lou’s Recipe as well … but how are the Green Beans still intact if you simmer them for 1-2 hours? Also, cook some Onion with the Bacon, which needs to be quadrupled for 2 pounds of Beans!!

  3. I’ve made this recipe twice for our church. I made a whole crock pot full. I wilt them in the bacon grease and cook them as directed and then add them to crock pot. Folks at church can’t get enough of these. Last time I had to use my 22 quart roaster to keep them warm. I’m scheduled to make another batch this weekend for our Thanksgiving dinner. I’m from the south (Georgia) and these seem plenty southern to me. Just Saying.

    1. Are you making them ahead of time, and if so, they reheat okay? I want to make some for a Christmas party where I’m serving a ham, but am not going to have time to make them that day.

  4. This recipe is simple and wonderful, and the beans are delicious. I didn’t use the red pepper flakes or butter, and I didn’t drain the broth. Didn’t need to. I could have eaten the whole pot.

  5. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made these with a ham hock with no red pepper flakes, and cooked them for 2 hours. My best friend and I both thought they were better than KFC’s, which are too peppery for my taste. My mama, who was from Alabama, has been gone for over 20 years and they reminded me of her and my Aunt Barbara’s green beans.

  6. Absolutely the best green bean recipe ever! We added potatoes and made it more of a meal than a side dish. Either way, this recipe is delicious!!!!

    1. I have a question….do green beans make tomatos taste better or do tomatos make green beans taste better?

  7. I was getting tired of the standard green bean casserole for Thanksgiving, so I gave these a try, so glad I did! They were so darn good! Everyone at the table agreed! Thank you!

  8. My oh my! I just made these beans but used frozen instead of fresh. They were fantastic. A real keeper. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us Christin.

  9. What are your thoughts on using frozen beans on occasion? While I absolutely prefer fresh veggies of any kind, sometimes the fresh ones can be over-priced for the quality of the product the store is offering. Frozen is actually the next best thing to fresh rather than canned.

  10. I cooked these the other night. Absolutely amazing. I also saute onions cut very fine.. also some red peppers. So delicious. The Red Peppers add a sweetness so you don’t need a lot. I’m getting hungry thinking about them now. I’ll have to revisit them again this weekend.

  11. This is my first year cooking for Thanksgiving. If I double this recipe, would it be enough for a bigger family. Or should I triple? Thanks!

  12. Hi! i just wanted to let you know that I featured this recipe on my post about Thanksgiving Recipes (
    We make our green beans very similar to this and it’s one of my favorite dishes! Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

  13. Can these be cooked the night before and then reheated? The cooking times seem to vary based on the comments, so I’m unsure when to start them on Thanksgiving Day.

  14. Hi there! Thanks for posting your recipe 🙂

    In my family, holiday meals always included southern style green beans, cooked by my great grandmother or grand mother. They were so good there was never enough. The smoky flavor and chewy consistency were consistently delicious, every meal. I remember visiting my great-grandmother’s house and saw she just had these beans as one of her meal staples, like for lunch.

    Now that both my grandmother and great-grandmother are no longer with us, the art of getting these beans to turn out has ascended to a sort of family folklore – everyone remembers how good they were, but no one agrees about the recipe, and none of us can seem to get them to turn out quite the same!

    In any case, here is how I’ve managed to get my beans as close as I can to the fabled original:

    – Use salt pork, and don’t skimp on it (1 lb per 5 lb of beans)
    – Use fresh beans (canned are liable to be mushy)
    – Simmer, don’t allow the beans to boil hard
    – The beans should just be covered with water and allowed to simmer until all water has evaporated and a light brown has developed in the pan.
    – As the water evaporates, the beans should also shrink, so for the first 5 – 6 hours the beans remain covered by the water. It helps if you arrange the beans parallel in the pan, so they stay tightly packed.
    – Use a tilted (loosely placed) lid so you can control the evaporation rate. At the beginning you might even leae the lid off entirely but towards the end you’ll want the lid on so the top layer does not dry out.
    – Never stir! You’ll shred the beans and they will turn to mush. I reach in with the wooden spoon and gently straighten the beans to make sure they stay as much in the water as possible.

    1. Hey there! When using canned green beans (I know that is not preferred), what would be the time adjustment?

      Thank you so much! Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. I’ve done it with canned beans in a pinch. You want to drain the beans and give them about 45 minutes to simmer. Be sparing with the salt, since the beans, bacon, and broth are salty.

  15. No real Southern cook would drain green beans! You cook them on high the last few minutes until all the water is absorbed, then serve them. And they don’t need butter, garlic, or chicken broth, just a little salt and some good fatback or streaked meat. (If you don’t know what that is, then you aren’t Southern!)

      1. Joy, you are very rude… you can’t be a southerner because we have always cooked our green beans this way, Mississippi proud…. troll

      2. “Old Ditty” , where’s the two-thumbs-up like button when you need it, I loved your reply, on Southern manners ; Always suggest, never tell someone their recipe is missing something, Ha,ha,ha !!!
        On a serious note; is that cooking time correct, (1-2 hr.) ? It’s been awhile since I’ve made green beans. Thanks’ Christan

    1. Ummm, I’ve lived in the south for my entire life.
      1.) Any good Southern cook knows that you don’t get offended if someone alters a recipe, since any good Southern dish really has no recipe.
      2.) You clearly aren’t from the South, because if you were, you’d know we COOK our vegetables and will find ways to use butter and broth and bacon grease.

      It’s a good recipe. If you want Yankee green beans (what you described), they aren’t hard to find.

      1. Any good cook knows the art of blending melodic flavors that tickle our fancy, into one bite of scrumptious heaven. There are no prerequisites for how you reach that, it’s just flavor, attained by employing any knowledge in ones arsenal of experience to deliver just that. If contrary to said perspective, I’d question ones intellect.

    2. Wow Joy, please don’t be ‘that’ Southerner! You give us a bad reputation! Sweet, thoughtful and appreciative…. that’s how a ”REAL” Southerner acts. These beans are great… I’m sure yours are too, but play nice. Please!

      1. Yikes Mr Spicer ! This is NOT a political board – can’t we have a civil discussion on the best way to cook a vegetable ?

    3. That’s Southern ,water salt and smoked ham hocks .! Fresh green beans from the farmers market is much better than you get at a grocery store . Southern food is simple food .

  16. Hello, I am new to your site, but wanted to share something with you. Our family is really big on my pinto beans. We are from Texas and those long-cooked (fall apart tender) pinto beans is something that we love with Mexican food, South West food and just about anything else. For my beans, I usually use a smoked ham hock or, a smoked pork jowl (both from Smithfield Farms and found at Walmart)., Either of these could be used, in place of the bacon, for maximum flavor. 🙂

  17. I was wondering about using frozen green beans rather than fresh. How would the cooking time change? Thank you.

  18. People are still trying your recipe in 2017 and loving the result. I had some neck bones on hand because I am going to do some greens on Friday so I tossed one into my pot of beans.

    1. Gaylord Mays
      Your post brought ssmile to my face. My grandma cooked with neck bones alot. Beans, cabbage soups and most anyrhing with a broth. She was a sweet Christian woman and the best granddma ever. My min learned to cook from her and i learned from them both. Thanks for bringing back some great meemories

  19. Forget every other Green Bean Recipe! This one is SIMPLY THE BEST!!! Easy and Delicious. I make them ahead of time and put them in a casserole dish. Great for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter….etc.

  20. Although the chicken broth is an option, I would rather use the bacon drippings and add a little sweet butter, diced onion and fresh garlic ( powder is okay) to the mix. To me that is southern eating…lol . Cooking slow will allow all the flavors to incorporate into the beans. To those who think its a large recipe …Eat them for breakfast…lol its what I do, or better yet..>Freeze them until you need them again. Now understand the bacon will not have that crisp…but good no matter what.


    Himalayan Salt ( when using HS only use a small bit…it goes a long way)

    Cracked Pepper ( you can taste the difference between the can (nothing wrong with ) and freshly grounded

    Garlic ( I happen to love love garlic..but its not for everyone, use gingerly – 1 to 2 small cloves should be okay depending on the amount of beans you are cooking

    Lemon Pepper

  21. What would be the best way to cut this in half? There are only 2 people in my house that will eat green beans but I’m desperate to find a way to fix them something new and yummy. Any input would be great thank you.

  22. 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.

    1. Alie…I like using the bacon drippings. You can always cut any additional oils ( butter) down . I like the flavor the drippings give the green beans. I also add onion and fresh garlic yummy

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. Quick question: when they are done cooking, do you drain off the liquid, or leave it in the pan, then add in the bacon? Thanks!

  29. 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!!

    1. Question: can you make these ahead of time? I am making these for Thanksgiving and would like to make them in advance and reheat.

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

    1. I would multiple all ingredients by 4, but I might get rid of some of the bacon grease (save it for something else). Just use your judgement. Hope everyone enjoys them and Happy Thanksgiving!

  33. 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

  34. 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!

  35. 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

  36. 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

  37. 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.

  38. After you cook the bacon, do you drain the grease or leave it in when adding all other ingredients?

  39. 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!!

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

  41. Christin, these green beans look so delicious! I always love a good green bean dish, and adding bacon would make them even more irresistible. 🙂

  42. 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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