This recipe for Southern Green Beans is a real treat. My first taste transported me right back to my childhood on the south Georgia coast. I felt like I was right back in my family's favorite Sunday lunch spot, I just needed some fried chicken.
When you are building a southern comfort food spread, don't leave this recipe off the menu. I was never a fan of stewed collards, but I can 100% get behind these stewed green beans.
Making this recipe is all about layered flavors that get stewed slow and low to bring out the best in each of them. And this is no time to use thin French beans, use big chunky American green beans.
But the list is humble, simple, an yields one of THE BEST side dishes I have made in a really long time! I want to eat these beans with literally every meal.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of the post, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the full recipe card with ingredient measurements and instructions.
First, cook the bacon till crisp, then remove it from the pan. Drain some of the fat out and cook the onions in it till translucent. Then add the butter and garlic to the pan and cook till lightly browned. Prepare the beans while the onions cook.
Then add the beans, chicken stock, some salt, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and place the lid on the pot. Simmer for 40-50 minutes until the been have begun to soften and change color.
When the beans are tender, but not mushy, remove the lid and stir in the crispy bacon. Cook a while longer and turn the heat up to medium until most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan. If you like your green beans with some liquid in them stop while some remains, if you like them dry cook till the liquid is almost gone. This is where you can finish the beans to your liking.
Taste a couple of beans and adjust the salt and pepper if needed and they are ready to serve. They go great next to meatloaf, or with cornbread. This recipe fits right in with anything southern.
Notes & Tips
After you cook the bacon, either drain off about half the fat left in the pan or remove some by dropping 2 folded paper towels in the pan. Let them soak up some of the fat till saturated, then use tongs to remove them to the trash can.
Use a really stalky bean for this recipe. They need to stew for a while so you don't want to use a skinny French bean or anything. Good thick beans are best.
Even store-bought beans can have stems on them, be sure to remove them before cooking. Then cut the beans into 1-2 inch long pieces. The size doesn't really matter, just make them uniform and bite-sized.
Before adding the beans and stock to the pan, lightly deglaze the pan with the vinegar and let it cook to au sec. This means to let it reduce till thick and glossy and the pan is nearly dry. Then add the beans and stock and continue with the instructions.
If you would like to speed up this recipe, you could use canned green beans. Drain the water off of them and use half the amount of chicken stock. Follow the recipe as written, only, just cook the beans in the onion, garlic, and bacon uncovered till the chicken stock is reduced.
I love the flavor the bacon and its fat brings to these Southern Green Beans, but you could leave it out if you would like to keep this recipe vegetarian. Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock too. To make them vegan, use olive oil in place of the butter.
A good sweet yellow onion is best used here. But a red onion would hold up equally well.
I think apple cider vinegar is really authentic to southern cooking. But you could also use white balsamic or white wine vinegar. Something to add a little sweetness when stewed down is best.
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