Delicious Southern Style Green Beans Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen, where I specialize in southern-style cuisine. Today’s recipe is one of my all-time favorites – Southern Style Green Beans. There’s just something about the way the fresh green beans cook up slow and tender with garlic, onion, and smoked meat that makes this dish irresistible.

Growing up in the south, I learned to appreciate good old-fashioned home cooking at an early age. And let me tell you, these Southern Style Green Beans are as authentic as they come. It’s a dish that has been passed down through generations in my family, and it always brings back fond memories of Sunday dinners and family get-togethers.

But just because it’s an old-fashioned recipe doesn’t mean it’s hard to make. In fact, it’s quite easy once you know the steps. So whether you’re an experienced cook or a beginner, follow along with me as I share my recipe for Southern Style Green Beans. I promise your taste buds will thank you!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Style Green Beans
Southern Style Green Beans

If you love southern-style cooking, then you’re going to be head over heels for this recipe. Why? Because there’s nothing quite like the taste of perfectly cooked Southern-Style Green Beans.

First of all, this recipe is easy to make yet delivers a flavor that’s reminiscent of slow-cooked country classics. With its combination of fresh green beans, onion, garlic and smoked meat, it’s no wonder why people are always coming back for seconds (or sometimes thirds).

But what really sets this recipe apart is the unique blend of flavors. With a touch of sugar and bacon, these beans hit all the right notes; sweet, salty, smokey and savory – everything you need in one bite. Plus, it’s adaptable to different dietary restrictions, whether it be Non-dairy or Vegan.

And let’s not forget about the nutritional value of these Southern-Style Green Beans. You’d be hard-pressed to find a vegetable as nutrient-rich as fresh green beans. They’re chock full of vitamins and minerals that can help boost your immune system and keep your body healthy.

So why will you love this recipe? Because it’s the perfect side dish that brings all the best Southern flavors to your plate while also providing a wealth of health benefits. Trust us – once you try this dish, you’ll always want to have a batch on hand!

Ingredient List

 Straight from the garden to your plate
Straight from the garden to your plate

Here are the ingredients needed to make this delicious Southern Style Green Beans Recipe:

Fresh Green Beans

For the best results, use fresh green beans. They have a crispier texture and retain their nutritional value than canned ones. Look for beans that are bright green, snappy, and free from brown spots.


Bacon adds a smoky flavor and savory taste to the recipe. You can use any type of bacon, including turkey bacon or vegan bacon.

Onion and Garlic

Both onion and garlic complement the dish’s flavor profile. Diced onion adds a sweet taste while garlic offers an earthy undertone.

Smoked Meat

Incorporate smoked meat such as ham hocks or turkey necks for an authentic Southern taste. They give the recipe a rich, hearty flavor.


The dish requires water, which helps steam and cook the beans thoroughly.


Granulated sugar enhances the recipe’s balance by offsetting tangy flavors.

Potatoes (Optional)

Consider adding diced potatoes to create a savoury flavour while also thickening the sauce slightly.

With these ingredients ready, let’s move on to the recipe how-to!

The Recipe How-To

 Can't beat the freshness of these green beans
Can’t beat the freshness of these green beans

Here’s where the magic begins! This Southern Style Green Beans Recipe is easy and straightforward, but its taste is not. Follow these steps closely and enjoy a side dish that your family will love.

Step 1: Cook The Bacon

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until it’s crispy. Remove it from the skillet and place it on paper towels to drain; then crumble to small pieces later.

Step 2: Add Onion and Garlic

Using the same skillet with the bacon drippings over medium heat, add diced onion and minced garlic, stir for a minute or so until fragrant.

Step 3: Add Green Beans and Liquid

Add fresh green beans along with enough water (or chicken/vegetable broth) to barely cover them in the pan. Bring to boil.

Step 4: Let It Simmer

Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and let it simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until green beans are tender.

Step 5: Add Bacon And Taste

After simmering, add the bacon pieces you had set aside earlier; also taste the beans to see if they need more salt or seasoning. There you have it!

Gary’s advice: Don’t skimp on that bacon. It adds so much salty and savory flavor to this dish that otherwise would be flat. You can use turkey necks or ham hocks instead of bacon if you prefer smoked meat flavor. Or try adding new potatoes half-way through cooking for an added starch component. And if you want to make it Vegan or Non-Dairy, just skip the bacon and use olive oil instead of bacon grease.

Substitutions and Variations

 Perfect side dish for any southern meal
Perfect side dish for any southern meal

Listen up y’all! If you ain’t got some of the crucial ingredients for this recipe, don’t sweat it. I’m here to give you some tips on how to make some substitutions and variations.

First off, let’s talk about the smoked meat. now, if you’re like me and live in the south, we always have some ham hocks or turkey necks laying around. But if you’re not so lucky, you can use bacon as a substitute. If you prefer a non-dairy or vegan option, you can skip the smoked meat entirely and simply add some garlic and smoked paprika to elevate the flavor profile.

If you’re feeling adventurous, add in some potatoes or canned green beans to mix things up a bit. If you’re wanting a creamier texture without adding dairy products you can puree cooked green beans with garlic until smooth.

For those who love a slow-cooked dish but don’t have time to babysit their stove, try cooking these southern-style green beans in a slow cooker or crockpot instead. Simply set it on low heat for 6 hours or high heat for 4 hours and let them cook while you go about your day.

Lastly, if y’all are looking for something more indulgent I recommend making this recipe into a casserole by combining the cooked southern green beans with creamy mushroom soup and top it off with fried onions before baking in the oven until bubbly and golden brown.

Don’t be afraid to get creative y’all! There are endless possibilities when it comes to remakin’ classic southern dishes.

Serving and Pairing

 Simple ingredients, delicious results
Simple ingredients, delicious results

Now that you’ve cooked up these tender, flavorful Southern-style green beans, it’s time to think about how you’ll serve and pair them. These green beans are great as a side dish for any meal, particularly those with a Southern flair. They complement a wide range of main dishes and can be enjoyed as part of a hearty family dinner or at a potluck or barbecue.

For an authentic Southern meal, try pairing your green beans with some fried chicken or grilled ribs. The smoky flavor of the meat will perfectly complement the subtle sweetness of the beans.

If you’re looking for something less traditional, pair your green beans with baked salmon or grilled vegetables. The sweetness of the beans will balance out the savory flavors of the fish and add a touch of Southern flair to a healthy meal.

To round out your Southern-style feast, serve your green beans alongside some classic sides like mashed potatoes or cornbread. You could even toss some crispy bacon bits on top of your green beans for an extra burst of flavor.

No matter what you choose to serve alongside your Southern-style green beans, be sure to enjoy them with friends and family. These slow-cooked, delicious green beans are meant to be shared and savored with loved ones.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get ready to savor the flavor
Get ready to savor the flavor

Alright, so you’ve got your southern-style green beans done and dusted. But what if you wanna make it ahead of time for a family gathering or a potluck? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Make-Ahead: If you’re looking to make this dish ahead of time, I recommend cooking the beans first and then storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure to let them cool down completely before sealing them up.

Storing: If you’ve got leftovers, store them in the fridge in an airtight container too. They’ll keep fresh for up to 4 days. Trust me, the flavors intensify even more when they sit overnight.

Reheating: If you’re ready to chow down but don’t have time to cook up a new batch, reheating couldn’t be easier. Heat up your leftover green beans on the stove over low heat for best results. You can also pop them in the microwave, but that’s not going to yield quite as good results as heating it slow and steady over low heat.

Quick Tip: When reheating your southern-style green beans, I recommend adding a splash of water to help prevent them from drying out.

With these storage tips and reheating instructions, you won’t ever need to worry about waste or reheated mushy beans again.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A perfect balance of savory and sweet
A perfect balance of savory and sweet

Howdy y’all! Here are some tips to make sure that your Southern Style Green Beans come out perfectly every time.

The first tip that I have for you is to start with fresh green beans. If possible, use fresh string beans from your local farmer’s market, as they will be more tender and flavorful than canned green beans. Also, make sure to rinse and trim them before cooking.

Next, I recommend using smoked meat to give your green beans that authentic Southern flavor. Ham hocks, turkey necks or even bacon work great here. Cook the meat before adding it to the green beans, so that it releases all of its flavor into the dish.

When you add the green beans to the pot, make sure there is enough water to cover them completely. Adding sugar can help balance out the bitterness of the green beans, but if you’re watching your sugar intake, feel free to omit it.

During cooking, keep an eye on the pot and stir occasionally so that everything cooks evenly. If you’re cooking on a stovetop over medium heat, green beans should be tender after an hour of simmering. For more melt-in-your-mouth goodness, cook them for 2 hours on low heat or slow cook them for 6 hours in a slow cooker.

After simmering, add onion and garlic for an extra layer of flavor. Some southerners even add potatoes to their recipe! Let everything cook for another 20 minutes and then remove from heat.

Finally, let your cooked green beans rest in an ice bath for a few minutes before serving. This will help preserve their bright color.

Follow these tips and your Southern Style Green Beans will be so delectable, you’ll want to make them all year round!


Now that you know how to make these delicious Southern Style Green Beans, it’s time to address some of the most common questions and concerns about this dish. In this section, I’ll provide my best answers to frequently asked questions and share some handy tips and tricks to help you perfect your green beans every time. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the FAQ section!

What can I add to green beans for flavor?

If you want to add a burst of flavor to your green beans and make them more appetizing, try using garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, salt, and pepper. This combination of spices goes well with green beans and adds a fresh taste that will leave you wanting more.

What are green beans called in the South?

If you’re looking for a scrumptious Southern side dish for special occasions or just when you want some slow-cooked goodness, Southern green beans, also known as Southern string beans, are the way to go! This simmered green beans recipe is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

How do I jazz up green beans?

In Southern cuisine, there are different ways to elevate a dish and make it stand out. One of the best ways is through the use of unique toppings and accompaniments. Some of my favorite toppings include pomegranate seeds and pecans, crispy bacon or lardons, goat cheese crumbles with chopped herbs, toasted almonds, herbs, and lemon zest, toasted pine nuts with cranberries and herbs, sauteed shallot and garlic, non-dairy vegan cheesy sprinkle, and non-dairy vegan cheese sauce. Each of these toppings provides a different flavor and texture to a dish and can completely transform it. As a chef, I love experimenting with these toppings to create new and exciting dishes for my customers.

What does an ice bath do to green beans?

Before fully cooking your green beans, a preliminary step involves blanching to soften them. This process involves briefly cooking the beans in boiling water, followed by immediately transferring them to an ice bath to halt the cooking process. The ice bath is important as it not only stops the cooking, but also helps extend the shelf life of your green beans.

Bottom Line

, my fellow food enthusiasts, I urge you to give this incredible Southern Style Green Beans recipe a try. With its slow-cooked green beans and irresistible bacon flavor, it’s a true staple of Southern cooking that is sure to become a family favorite.

But don’t stop there – feel free to experiment with variations and substitutions, whether you prefer the smokiness of ham hocks or the savory tang of turkey necks. And don’t forget to serve it up with your favorite main dish for the perfect pairing.

So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a chance and discover for yourself why Southern Style Green Beans are such a beloved dish across the country. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for it.

Southern Style Green Beans

Southern Style Green Beans Recipe

This is the traditional way to make Southern green beans. I make these in the summer when green beans are plentiful. Very easy and they smell sooo good while they are cooking!
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 d
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American/Southern
Calories 80.9 kcal


  • 2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 slices bacon, cut into small pieces (or one smoked ham hock)
  • salt and pepper (be careful though not to over salt though as the bacon makes them salty enough)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups water


  • Combine ingredients in large saucepan.
  • Cover and simmer for about 1 hour.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 126gCalories: 80.9kcalCarbohydrates: 6.8gProtein: 3gFat: 5.2gSaturated Fat: 1.7gCholesterol: 7.7mgSodium: 100.5mgFiber: 3.1gSugar: 1.5g
Keyword Beans, Beginner Cook, Easy, Healthy, Inexpensive, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, Vegetable
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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