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This Southern succotash recipe is an easy side dish or affordable entrée that pairs sweet corn, lima beans, and tomatoes with savory, salty bacon, rich butter, and fresh herbs. Take advantage of fresh summer produce or use frozen veggies to enjoy the tasty combination all year long!

Overhead image of hands serving succotash with a spoon
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Succotash | 1-Minute Video
  2. Southern Succotash Recipe
  3. What is Succotash?
  4. Ingredients
  5. How to Make Succotash
  6. What to Serve with Succotash
  7. Preparation and Storage Tips
  8. Recipe Variations
  9. Tips for the Best Succotash Recipe
  10. Southern Succotash Recipe Recipe

How to Make Succotash | 1-Minute Video

Southern Succotash Recipe

You can’t beat the classic combination of corn, beans, and bacon! Throw in some fresh herbs, okra, tomatoes, bell pepper, or other veggies and seasonings based on what’s available or what you love. The flexible side dish or light meal is packed with flavors that have been loved in the South for generations. It goes nicely with grilled chicken, steak, or pork, burgers, fish, fried chicken, and oven-fried pork chops!

What is Succotash?

The term “succotash” comes from a Narragansett word sohquttahhash, which means “broken corn kernels.” It originated with the Native Americans, as the Narragansett people shared the dish with the colonists, who then adapted it as a stew in the 17th century. The dish consists primarily of sweet corn kernels with lima beans or other shelled beans. There are many different versions of succotash, some of which contain additional ingredients such as tomatoes, okra, bacon (or other pork), corned beef, potatoes, turnips, or sweet peppers.

You may have heard the phrase “sufferin’ succotash,” which was used by the Looney Toons cartoon characters Yosemite Sam and Sylvester the Cat; however, this traditional dish dates back way beyond the classic television show! Since succotash is made with relatively inexpensive ingredients, it became particularly popular during The Great Depression, and was sometimes cooked in casserole form with a pastry crust (like a pot pie).

In New England, succotash is often served at Thanksgiving, whereas in the South it is prepared with tomatoes (and often okra), topped with butter, and offered as a summer dish. This quick succotash recipe has the Southern spin — complete with fresh cherry tomatoes, Vidalia onion, salted butter, and crisp, smoky bacon! It tastes like a warm, buttery corn salad.

Adding bacon to a skillet

Ingredients

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

  • Bacon: adds a smoky, salty component to the dish. You can omit the bacon if you prefer a vegetarian option. Just add some extra butter or oil to the skillet for sauteing the vegetables.
  • Onion: we prefer the sweet flavor of a Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion), but you can use yellow onion or white onion if you like.
  • Garlic: for savory flavor.
  • Lima beans: fresh or frozen will work. I typically use frozen lima beans, since they’re so quick and easy — and available year-round!
  • Corn kernels: frozen corn is fine, or substitute with fresh corn kernels when the local corn is in season.
  • Tomatoes: this dish is best with sweet, fresh, summer tomatoes. Try grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or a similar small variety with great flavor.
  • Butter: salted butter is always our preference for rich flavor.
  • Kosher salt, ground black pepper, and fresh herbs: pick your favorite seasonings, such as fresh basil leaves, chopped fresh parsley, and fresh dill to enhance the other ingredients in the dish. You can certainly use dried herbs too, in a pinch!
Lima beans corn and tomatoes for succotash recipe

How to Make Succotash

This simple, fresh, and flavorful salad is a perfect companion for grilled summer meats, roasted or fried chicken, or even a hearty enough option for a light supper. It’s a great recipe to take advantage of your favorite vegetables — fresh or frozen!

  1. Fry the Bacon. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it’s nice and crispy. Then remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set it aside to cool.
  2. Sauté the Onion and Garlic. Cook the onion and garlic in the bacon drippings.
  3. Add the Vegetables. Add the lima beans, corn, tomatoes, and water. Then reduce the heat to medium heat or low heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir in the Butter and Garnish. Stir in the butter, season with salt and pepper, and then garnish with the cooked, crumbled bacon. I also like to add a fresh touch of basil or other herbs at the end, but that’s totally optional.
Overhead shot of hands holding a yellow skillet with Southern succotash

What to Serve with Succotash

Succotash can be served warm or at room temperature. It goes nicely as a side dish with a variety of meats and seafood. Here are a few ideas to serve with your succotash:

You can also offer the succotash as an inexpensive entrée. Pair it with a side of Skillet Cornbread or 3-Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits for a truly delicious meal!

Square overhead image of a yellow pan full of the best homemade succotash recipe

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Prep Ahead: You can make the succotash in advance and keep it covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • How to Reheat: Place the succotash in a skillet and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until it reaches the desired temperature.
  • While you can freeze leftover succotash, it’s not my preference. I find that the vegetables become soft, mushy, and watery when thawed.

Recipe Variations

  • Vegetarian Succotash: Skip the bacon and instead cook the onion and garlic in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or extra butter.
  • Instead of bacon, try pork belly or pancetta.
  • If you like okra, you can also add ½ cup trimmed, chopped fresh okra to the succotash recipe along with the other vegetables.
  • Additional veggies that you can add to the skillet include: red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and diced zucchini.
  • For a cheesy succotash recipe, try a succotash casserole like this one that includes cheddar cheese.
  • Spice it up with jalapeños, cayenne pepper, or even just a dash of paprika.
  • For a Louisiana-style Southern Succotash recipe, try adding ¼ teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning to the dish. You might also like some diced andouille sausage instead of the bacon.
Overhead shot of a pan of the best southern succotash recipe on a table with a side of biscuits and salad

Tips for the Best Succotash Recipe

  • Fresh or frozen corn and lima beans will work, so choose whatever is most readily available. I like to use cherry or grape tomatoes, but larger seeded, diced tomatoes will also work. In the summer months, fresh, local veggies are definitely the way to go!
  • Garnish with fresh herbs — especially if you’re serving this dish in the summer when herbs are readily available. I prefer basil, but parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, and dill are also great options for a bright touch of green!
  • Serve the succotash warm from the skillet or at room temperature. Either way, it’s delicious!
Overhead shot of a pan of succotash with a side of biscuits

More Southern Side Dish Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of a pan of succotash

Southern Succotash Recipe

5 from 9 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 people
Calories 203.3 kcal
This Southern Succotash recipe is an easy side dish or affordable entrée that pairs sweet corn, lima beans and tomatoes with savory bacon and butter!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 slices bacon
  • ½ cup diced sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 (9 ounce) package frozen lima beans (or use 1 ½ cups fresh lima beans)
  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen corn kernels (or use 2 ⅔ cup fresh corn off the cob)
  • 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (I use about ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper)
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh herbs such as basil, parsley or dill

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp (about 6-8 minutes). Remove bacon with tongs and set aside on paper towels to cool.
    Adding bacon to a skillet
  • Add the onion and garlic to the bacon fat; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent (about 3-5 minutes).
    Adding onion and garlic to bacon drippings in a skillet
  • Add the lima beans, corn, tomatoes, and water. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring regularly, until vegetables are tender (about 7-10 minutes). Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as you stir the vegetables. Remove from heat.
    Lima beans corn and tomatoes for succotash recipe
  • Stir in butter; season with salt and pepper to taste. Crumble bacon over top and garnish with herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Overhead shot of a pan of the best southern succotash recipe on a table with a side of biscuits and salad

Video

Notes

  • Vegetarian Succotash: Skip the bacon and instead cook the onion and garlic in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or extra butter.
  • If you like okra, you can also add ½ cup trimmed, chopped fresh okra to the succotash recipe along with the other vegetables.
  • For a cheesy succotash recipe, try a succotash casserole like this one that includes cheddar cheese.
  • For a Louisiana-style Southern Succotash recipe, try adding ¼ teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning to the dish. You might also like some diced andouille sausage instead of the bacon.
  • Fresh or frozen corn and lima beans will work, so choose whatever is most readily available. I like to use cherry or grape tomatoes, but larger seeded, diced tomatoes will also work. In the summer months, fresh, local veggies are definitely the way to go!
  • Garnish with fresh herbs — especially if you’re serving this dish in the summer when herbs are readily available. I prefer basil, but parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, and dill are also great options for a bright touch of green!
  • Serve the succotash warm from the skillet or at room temperature. Either way, it’s delicious!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 203.3kcalCarbohydrates: 32.3gProtein: 8.2gFat: 6.5gSaturated Fat: 3.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.2gCholesterol: 13.7mgSodium: 229.4mgPotassium: 583.7mgFiber: 6.6gSugar: 3.3g
Keyword: skillet succotash recipe, southern succotash, succotash recipe
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in June, 2020. The photos were updated in March, 2022.

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. Joe says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe. Tried the vegetarian version with onion.
    Thank you

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Joe! I’m so glad that you liked it!

  2. Shanta H. Clay says:

    5 stars
    I used your bacon succotash Recipe it was simple , easy and delicious. Almost like my mom’s

    file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/12/02/282B04D6-D946-42A2-B0FC-8FF11912590C/IMG_2697.HEIC

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Shanta! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! 🙂

  3. Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I’m not a fan of lima beans but was given a box of frozen that I didn’t want to waste. I found this recipe while doing a search for a succotash recipe. I had leftover fresh corn and all the other ingredients on hand. I am so glad I tried this recipe because it was just wonderful. I will definitely be making this again and recommending it.

    1. Blair says:

      Yay! I’m so glad that you found a way to enjoy lima beans, Cheryl. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to come back here and leave a note!

  4. Marion says:

    Sure looks good! About how big a skillet would I want for this recipe? 10 inch, 12 inch, or bigger? If I use frozen vegetables, do they need to be completely thawed first or just enough to seperate them? Would canned vegetables work or would they wind up over cooked? I’ve been wary of limas all my life but my mother was never very good with vegetables. If I like this, you’ll deserve an award!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hah! If you add bacon, maybe that will make you like limas! 🙂

      I would use a 12-inch skillet. You don’t need to thaw the frozen veggies before adding them straight to the pan. Canned vegetables would be okay, but they don’t need as long to cook. Since the canned vegetables are already soft, you really just need to warm them through (which will only take about 2-3 minutes, not 7-10 minutes).

  5. Marion says:

    Blair, I just remembered what I wanted to tell you regarding grape or cherry tomatoes. My local store sells grape-sized Marzano tomatoes. The ones I’ve bought have been very good! Ripe, full of pulp and very little water or seeds. You might keep an eye out for them. They are a little more expensive but you get more tomato and less waste.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Sounds great! I will definitely keep my eye out for them. I’ve never heard of the little Marzano tomatoes. Great tip!

  6. Jim N. says:

    5 stars
    Delicious… and so easy to make… ty so much for sharing recipe … reminds me of Sunday dinner at grams….

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Oh, good! I’m so happy to hear that, Jim. Nothing better than Grandma’s cooking!

  7. beth says:

    How good would this be without the tomatoes? Thanks!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Beth! It will be fine, just different. You could replace the tomatoes with another veggie like zucchini, if you like!

  8. Carla says:

    5 stars
    I am trying to enter this recipe into my personal Weight Watchers app. The recipe states that the serving size is 1/6 of the recipe. Do you know how much that is? A cup perhaps?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Carla! Yes, I think 1 cup would be a good estimate. I haven’t actually measured out the total volume, though, so it’s definitely just an estimate. 🙂

  9. Julie Sessa says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight for the family. Served with blacken fish and scallops with yellow rice. Was amazing. Be sure and use fresh basil, dill and parsley for garnish !!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Sounds like the perfect meal, Julie! Thank you!

  10. SaddleUpGal says:

    5 stars
    Easy and wonderful medley of veggies from the garden or from the freezer/can tomatoes. We love it either way! This is now a staple in our kitchen that is great for guests as well!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you! We’re so happy you enjoy it.

  11. Donna says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious, and a real crowd pleaser. Terrific for family get togethers and pot lucks.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Donna!