Crack green beans are rich, and incredibly addicting. They're cooked in a sweet and savory sauce with brown sugar and crispy bacon. You only need simple ingredients to transform boring canned green beans to a whole new level.Jump to Recipe
I am so excited for you to try this crack green beans recipe. Most people I talk to have only ever had canned green beans cooked with onion, garlic, and bacon. The flavor is savory, smoky, and very good but they don’t quite compare to crack green beans made with brown sugar. If sweet green beans sounds foreign to you, I’m asking that you give it a try before ruling it out completely. This recipe has the perfect balance between sweet and savory. They are also cooked with garlic, onion, and the flavors of crispy bacon can be found all throughout the side dish.
Growing up these were a staple in my home from childhood. Believe it or not I always preferred green beans with brown sugar. I never knew of anyone else cooking them this way and could never find them served in restaurants. When I came across the term crack green beans, I realized this was the childhood recipe I grew up on. I made these for my husband and it was his first time trying them. He loved them just as much as I do so I wanted to share this recipe that was passed down to me, with you.
- Why You'll Love Crack Green Beans
- What Are Crack Green Beans?
- Ingredients to Make Crack Green Beans
- Other Common Variations
- How to Make Crack Green Beans with Brown Sugar and Bacon
- Bake Crack Green Beans in The Oven
- How to Serve Crack Green Beans
- Common Questions
- Storing Crack Green Beans
- Best Ever Crack Green Beans
Why You'll Love Crack Green Beans
- Only simply ingredients are used in this delicious crack green beans recipe. Most of the ingredients listed are ones you probably already use to flavor your green beans. If your pantry and refrigerator are stocked you may have most of these on hand. This makes it very easy and convenient to make.
- It’s a very affordable side dish that's packed with flavor and is sure to impress your guests. The recipe calls for canned green beans which are not only extremely easy to find but they’re cheap too! Plus these can be made in any season.
- The cooking process is simple and quick. Because the green beans are canned, they're already cooked which makes the cook time simple and convenient. Most of the time will be spent prepping the onion, garlic, and bacon. Once that's done the remaining ingredients get added and they cook for about 5-10 minutes. It’s very simple!
- Crack green beans are addicting, you won't be able to stop at just one serving and may need to double the recipe if you're entertaining guests. Brown sugar and bacon are one of the best flavor affinities and pair well with so many sides or entrees. When paired with onion, garlic, soy sauce, and Worcestershire, you’ll left with sweet and savory goodness everyone will love.
What Are Crack Green Beans?
So what exactly are crack green beans? Crack green beans are canned green beans cooked with bacon, brown sugar, and other ingredients. The beans are sweet from the sugar, savory from the soy sauce and Worcestershire, and smoky from the bacon. More common than you think, crack green beans are enjoyed in homes all across the US. Some recipes use fresh green beans while others (like this one) use canned. They are also commonly known as southern smothered green beans.
Why is it called crack green beans? Over the last couple of years I have seen more and more recipes with the term “crack" in it. For example, crack chicken, crack popcorn, cracked out green bean casserole, etc. Typically, these dishes get their name because friends, family, and dinner guests just cannot get enough of these recipes. I find the same to be true about these crack green beans. There’s something about the rich flavor that keeps everyone going back for more.
Ingredients to Make Crack Green Beans
Canned cut green beans - I have only made these with cut green beans. Other types of green beans can be substituted such as french or Italian.
Bacon - use your favorite bacon, my personal favorite is hickory smoked
Brown Sugar - either light brown or dark brown will work in this recipe. Dark brown sugar has more molasses which will provide a more rich caramel flavor
Soy Sauce - for the savory umami flavor we all love, I opt for a low sodium soy. Don’t have soy sauce? Liquid aminos can be substituted.
Worcestershire Sauce - adds sour and sweet flavor to the green beans
Garlic - fresh minced garlic is best, substituting 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder is ok but it won't give the same punch of flavor that fresh will provide
Onion - the recipe calls for minced onion so the flavor infuses every part of the sauce and so you don't get big pieces of onion in your bites. Onion powder can be substituted.
Black Pepper - for a little spice and aromatics
Other Common Variations
Use fresh green beans instead of canned. Green beans are in season from May to October and can be found at most farmers markets between this time. If you enjoy eating seasonally, try making this crack green beans with fresh beans. To do this I recommend prepping the green beans by washing and trimming them. Follow the recipe but add a little water (1/2 cup) in place of the liquid from the canned green beans. Simmer covered until the beans absorb the flavor from the savory glaze and reach your desired tenderness. Frozen green beans can also be used but may take slightly longer to cook.
Substitute turkey bacon for regular bacon. This is a more lean substitute that will lighten up the green beans. You’ll still get the crispiness from the bacon without all the fat.
Many cracked green beans recipes incorporate butter into the recipe. Melted butter is added to the rendered cooked bacon fat and then used to sauté the garlic and onion. This adds an even more rich flavor and creamy texture to the sauce. Consider adding a tablespoon if you're looking to elevate the flavor even more. Adding butter to the southern crack green beans recipes may also be a good idea if you decide to use turkey bacon since it's leaner.
How to Make Crack Green Beans with Brown Sugar and Bacon
Step 1. Place bacon in a large deep dish skillet over medium heat and fry on both sides until crispy. About 5-7 minutes. Once done, set aside the bacon on a plate and paper towel to absorb the grease. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Return the skillet to the heat.
Step 2. Add garlic and onion to the skillet with the bacon grease and cook stirring occasionally until the onion becomes translucent and starts to caramelize (about 4 minutes).
Step 3. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to the skillet. Whisk until well combined. Add the drained green beans followed by the half drained can of green beans. Add the bacon and stir to combine everything.
Step 4. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir occasionally to coat the sauce over green beans in the sauce. This should take about 5-10 minutes. Once done, serve immediately.
Bake Crack Green Beans in The Oven
Ditch the skillet and bake the crack green beans in the oven instead. This is an extremely easy way to make the recipe and one I choose to do often. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, crisp up the bacon in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove.
While the bacon is cooking prep the green beans. In an oven safe baking dish add the canned green beans, brown sugar, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion and black pepper. When the bacon is done add 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease to the baking dish and stir all ingredients to combine. Break the bacon into smaller pieces and fold into the green bean mixture. Bake the beans for about 30-40 minutes.
How to Serve Crack Green Beans
Serve crack green beans with bacon and brown sugar and soy sauce as a side for dinner any time of the year. Consider making for Halloween Thanksgiving Christmas or any holiday. You could even meal prep left overs for lunch. They reheat wonderfully. Below are a few recipes I love serving crack green beans with.
- Ultimate Fried Spaghetti
- Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast
- Vodka Sauce Pasta with Chicken
- Blackened Chicken Tenders
Are Crack Green Beans Keto?
- The ketogenic diet is one that is very high fat and low carb. Sugar is not a part of the keto diet and for that reason, this crack green beans recipe is not keto. If you removed the brown sugar this recipe may be keto. However you may also need to reduce or omit the Worcestershire sauce.
Is There a Crack Green Beans Slow Cooker Recipe?
- Yes, you can certainly make crack green beans in a slow cooker. To do this first crisp the bacon on the stove or in the microwave. Pat dry with a paper towel and add 1-2 tablespoons of bacon fat to the slower cooker. Break apart the bacon into smaller pieces and ad to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. I highly recommend using a crock pot liner to make clean up easy.m
Can I Make Crack Green Beans for Two?
This recipe is made to serve 4, however, it is easy to cut in half if you're only cooking for 2. Simply cut the ingredient measurements in half and cook according to the instructions. For the bacon use 1-2 pieces (this your preference, I personally think more is better). When it comes to the 1/2 cup brown sugar, stick with 2-2 1/2 tablespoons. You may need a smaller skillet or you can opt for a pot instead.
Storing Crack Green Beans
To store leftovers, place crack green beans in an air tight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To reheat place in a microwave safe bowl with a paper towel over the top and microwave for 30 seconds at a time stirring occasionally until completely reheated.
For longer term storage you can freeze the crack green beans in an air tight container for up to 3 months. Be sure to thaw completely before reheating. Also, allow the green beans to cool before placing in the freezer.
Best Ever Crack Green Beans
- 2 14.5 oz cans of cut green beans 1 can drained the other can half drained
- 3 large pieces of bacon cut in half
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoon worcestershire
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Place bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and fry until crispy. About 5-7 minutes. Once done, set aside the bacon on a plate and paper towel to absorb the grease. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.
- Add garlic and onion to the skillet with the bacon grease and cook until the onion becomes translucent (about 4 minutes)
- Once done add the brown sugar, soy sauce, and worcestershire. Whisk until well combined. Add the drained can of green beans followed by the half drained can of green beans. Add the bacon and stir to combine everything.
- Bring to a simmer and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. About 5-10 minutes. Once done, serve immediately.