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Southern Style Green Beans simmer slowly on the stovetop with bacon and onions until the fresh green beans are tender, flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! These country-style vegetables are an easy side dish to serve with smothered pork chops, chicken fried steak, roasted chicken or shrimp and grits.

Overhead image of southern style green beans in a blue and white serving dish

What are southern style green beans?

There’s a bit of a Green Bean Debate out there: namely, whether they should be cooked-to-death-until-they’re-so-tender-they’re-almost-mushy or whether they’re best when they’re still bright green and just crisp-tender. Personally, I like the veggies both ways…I just consider them two totally different animals. Today, we’re focused on southern-style green beans, which are cooked low and slow until they’re fall-apart tender. These country-style beans are typically simmered in broth or water alongside a smoky meat — such as bacon, ham hocks or smoked turkey — as well as other seasonings. The end result is a pot of soft, richly-flavored beans that are a tasty companion for almost any entrée.

Ingredients for the Best Southern Style Green Beans Ever

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for cooking fresh green beans country style. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Bacon: infuses the beans with smoky, salty flavor. Ham hocks are also commonly used in southern-style green bean recipes, making them a nice substitute for the bacon here.
  • Green beans: fresh green beans are ideal when available; however, you can also substitute with frozen cut green beans or frozen French-style green beans.
  • Onion: for added flavor.
  • Chicken broth: simmering the green beans in a rich broth adds more flavor to the vegetables than you would otherwise get with just water.
  • Sugar: a touch of sweetness to balance the flavors in the dish.
  • Soy sauce: for a savory, umami flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: the total amount necessary will depend on the saltiness of your broth and bacon, so adjust according to personal preference.
Fresh green beans on a cutting board

How to Cook Fresh Green Beans Southern Style

This is the method to use if you want to cook fresh green beans so they are soft! The key is a longer cooking time over low heat, breaking down the vegetables so that they’re nice and tender while also infusing them with the other flavors in the pot.

  1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the drippings in the pot and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Stir in the green beans, chicken broth, sugar, soy sauce, black pepper and half of the cooked bacon (reserve the other half of the bacon for a crispy garnish at the end).
  4. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the green beans are very tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.
  6. Garnish with the reserved bacon and serve!
Crispy chopped bacon on a plate
Overhead shot cooking fresh green beans country style in a dutch oven
Process shot showing how to cook fresh green beans southern style
Horizontal shot of a bowl of country style green beans

What to Serve with Easy Southern Style Green Beans

These southern style green beans with bacon and onions are the perfect addition to any down-home comfort food dinner. Pair the vegetables with one of these delicious entrées:

Don’t forget to round out the meal with some cornbread or biscuits, too!

Storage

These green beans just get better as they sit and the flavors come together, so feel free to make a big batch in advance. Stored in an airtight container, the beans will last in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. You can also freeze the cooked green beans for up to 3 months. You might find that the fats (from the bacon) solidify when the green beans cool, which is no problem. You can either spoon off some of the hardened fat, or just reheat the pot and stir the fat back into the broth. Remember, fat is flavor!

Overhead image of fresh green beans cooked country style with bacon and served in a blue and white dish

Recipe Variations

  • Add more seasonings to the green beans, if desired. You can use seasoned salt or garlic salt instead of regular salt, or try garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Finish the green beans with a splash of vinegar for a bright, acidic touch.
  • For added heat, season the veggies with Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning, some hot sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, or a dash of cayenne.
  • Fresh herbs are also a nice addition to the pot, such as thyme, parsley, chives or basil.
  • Instead of bacon, add flavor to the green beans with a smoked ham bone, a ham hock, smoked sausage, smoked turkey wings, or smoked pork neck bones.
  • Swap out the fresh green beans for frozen cut green beans or frozen French-style green beans. You do not need to thaw the frozen vegetables before adding them to the pot.
  • Add extra sugar for a sweeter taste. You can also substitute with brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
Overhead shot of a bowl of fresh green beans cooked country style and served in a blue and white dish

Tips for the Best Southern Style Green Beans Recipe

  • Stir the pot occasionally while the green beans are cooking. This will ensure even cooking and flavor.
  • The total amount of salt necessary will depend on personal taste preference, and on the saltiness of your broth and bacon. As a result, taste and season as you go!
  • Adjust the total cooking time to suit you preferences. Thirty minutes might be sufficient if you like more in-tact, sturdy beans, while a full hour might be necessary for a really broken-down, tender pot. That’s the beauty of using a Dutch oven (rather than a slow cooker or Instant pot) — you have full control and can easily take them off of the heat when necessary.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs (such as chopped parsley or thyme), a dash of hot sauce, a dash of vinegar, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a bright finishing touch.
Overhead image of southern style green beans in a blue and white serving bowl

More Green Bean Recipes to Try

Overhead image of southern style green beans in a blue and white serving dish

Southern Style Green Beans

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 people
Calories 108 kcal
Southern Style Green Beans simmer slowly on the stovetop with bacon, onion and other seasonings until the fresh green beans are tender, flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Ingredients
  

  • 5 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half or thirds crosswise
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  • In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the drippings in the pot.
  • Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add the green beans, chicken broth, sugar, soy sauce, black pepper, and half of the cooked bacon into the pot with the onion. Set the remaining half of the bacon aside to use as a garnish at the end.
  • Bring the broth to a boil; reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer (stirring occasionally) until the green beans are very tender, about 40-45 minutes. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with reserved crispy bacon.

Notes

  • The total amount of salt necessary will depend on personal taste preference, and on the saltiness of your broth and bacon. As a result, taste and season as you go!
  • Adjust the total cooking time to suit you preferences. Thirty minutes might be sufficient if you like more in-tact, sturdy beans, while a full hour might be necessary for a really broken-down, tender pot. That’s the beauty of using a Dutch oven (rather than a slow cooker or Instant pot) — you have full control and can easily take them off of the heat when necessary.
  • Add more seasonings to the green beans, if desired. You can use seasoned salt or garlic salt instead of regular salt, or try garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Finish the green beans with a splash of vinegar for a bright, acidic touch.
  • For added heat, season the veggies with Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning, some hot sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, or a dash of cayenne.
  • Fresh herbs are also a nice addition to the pot, such as thyme, parsley, chives or basil.
  • Instead of bacon, add flavor to the green beans with a smoked ham bone, a ham hock, smoked sausage, smoked turkey wings, or smoked pork neck bones.
  • Swap out the fresh green beans for frozen cut green beans or frozen French-style green beans. You do not need to thaw the frozen vegetables before adding them to the pot.
  • Add extra sugar for a sweeter taste. You can also substitute with brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the recipeCalories: 108kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 5gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 595mgPotassium: 386mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 791IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: fresh green bean recipes, green bean recipe, southern style green beans
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. I am with you on green beans! Having grown up in WV where green beans were cooked till soft with bacon or ham, I had a hard time getting used to crisp tender green beans after moving to MA. Now I appreciate both, but agree that they are completely different vegetables!!