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Southern-Style Green Beans

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

Green Beans cooked low and slow until soft and tender in a bacon-infused broth.
PREP: 15 mins
COOK: 1 hr
TOTAL: 1 hr 15 mins


  • 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
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Side Dish

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161 thoughts on “Southern-Style Green Beans”

  1. Absolute success! Thank you for this recipe which I will be using again. And also thank you for the comment about the colour of the beans, being not so green but tasting ever so GOOD.

  2. This recipe delivers a winner every time. The beans are tender and very flavorful. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Just found your blog, and I’ve found several recipes already that I’m planning to try! This is one that has been in my family for several generations, and is well-loved. At holidays we “dress it up” a little by adding frozen pearl onions to cook with the green beans, and sprinkling slivered almonds over the top to serve. Love it!

  4. pankaj goon

    Hello Christin,
    I was looking for a good recipe for my family and this is the exact one I was looking for. Finally have found your post. Very nicely explained. I am going to try this in a few days. It looks so appetising. Thanks a lot for this.

  5. This recipe is so simple and fantastic with the added ingredients in it, I can’t wait to try them!

  6. Very unique recipe. Never tried southern style green beans before. I will try it in a few days.

  7. 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!!

  8. Leigh Taylor

    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!!

  9. Dennis Lewis

    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.

      1. I know this post is old, but if anyone else wants an answer to this question, here it is lol These beans taste even better reheated!. Dont boil them when You heat them or they will fall apart. Ibe been making these beans for 42 years. I make a huge pot of them when my. Beans come on in my garden and I freeze them so I have them for Thanksgiving and Christmas Di.nner.!

  10. Janell Brown

    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.

  11. Wendy Stolte

    Delicious! I used fresh green beens and definitely a recipe worth saving and passing on.

  12. Rhonda Barrett

    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.

  13. April Powell

    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!!!!

  14. Sandy Kellogg

    Great recipe! IEvery time I make it, my husband swoons and he’s not a particular fan of veggies. Thanks!

    1. phil summerville

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

  15. 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!

  16. Sylvia Riley

    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.

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