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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 minutes
COOK: 1 hour
TOTAL: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 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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180 thoughts on “Southern-Style Green Beans”

  1. Deelish! It reminds me of the way my Texan grandmother cooked her string beans–with white potatoes added for the last 20-30 minutes.
    My grandma cooked her beans with slices of raw bacon, but
    sauteeing the beans in the cooked bacon fat takes this dish to the next level–and allows you to enjoy the bacon in your beans! Whenever I cook this recipe, I think of her. One of my best memories of childhood foof favorites. If only I could duplicate her french fries!
    My family LOVES it too!

  2. Very close to what my mom made. Her family was from Southern Appalachia coal region. No red pepper flakes, Ham hock instead of bacon, and for what ever reason a peeled white potato. Many summer evenings would eat out of dad’s garden; corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, and green beans. I am 85 and I can still remember how good that was.

    1. You are singing to my East Tennessean heart! My parents are from West TN (my Mom is a cotton farmer’s daughter) and I have had many a meal of green beans with that random potato, cornbread (corn pone if you know) creamed corn, fried okra, and sliced tomatoes (with salt and pepper of course). Still my favorite meal to this day!

  3. I made these for book club tonight. The smell of cooking green beans brought memories of my dad and him cooking a big pot of green beans. I hadn’t thought of that for years. The recipe was delicious. I’ll be making this again.

  4. Bill Waisnor

    I’m not a born in the south southerner but I got here a soon as I could after marring a southern belle (GRITS). Found this recipe in a newsfeed and texted the link to my wife. Her immediate response was “. . . you can make this anytime, how bout next week”. What intrigued us about the recipe was the lack of onion (sliced or diced) and they are cooked in a considerable amount of broth (not just water).
    Made following the ingredients list and the instructions. Did not taste any need to adjust the seasonings. The results were spectacular.

    The seasonings and broth take this to another level of great, for our taste. Would rate a 10 if it were possible.

    This just replaced a recipe we have been using for years. Takes a very creative mind to develop recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I made these for a crowd. They were a hit!!! My go-to recipe from now on!!! Thank you for sharing. 😋

  6. Good evening Christin, my name is Glen I was looking for an authentic Southern recipe and I found it, my stomach and I appreciate you putting out there your recipes, brings back good memories. Thank You 🥳😋👸🏼👑🇺🇲

  7. This recipe has become my go to green bean recipe and I’ve been using it for years! Everyone that trys it, loves it!!

  8. These Southern style green beans are the best green beans I have ever had , no joke, made them the other night for supper, just can’t stop eating them . Just wondering if frozen green beans could be used??

  9. I was looking for the green bean with diced potatoes. I will try them both and see which ones to prepare for Easter.

    Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  10. Frank J Lucas

    Is the recipe correct? Cooking green beans for 1-2 hours, is way too long. they will end up being gray and mushy!

    1. I was looking for the green bean with diced potatoes. I will try them both and see which ones to prepare for Easter.

      Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  11. Exactly what my husband wanted! I used fatback and crisped it up like cracklins. Next time will do onions too.

  12. I make these green beans every year but triple the recipe for our family. Everyone loves them, even the ones who don’t like green beans 🙂

  13. I sauté a big onion in the bacon fat before adding the beans. For a shortcut, I skip the bacon and use Ham Base for cooking liquid, then add bacon bits for the last 15 minutes. The smoked ham flavor is excellent!

  14. This has become a requested recipe. This is the best recipe for canned green beans- & that says a lot. I also added 1/2 tsp of onion powder.

    Big fan , in general, of her recipes.

  15. This is the best recipe for canned green beans that I’ve found. I did back off the season salt (used 3/4 tsp) but otherwise it’s great. Do not omit the bacon – it puts it over the top.

  16. I’ve been making this recipe for years now. It’s perfect in the summer or with any holiday meal. Only my husband and I eat it and I double the recipe. It’s that good! You won’t be disappointed.

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