These stovetop southern green beans are a staple with every meal. They’re smoky, juicy, and full of flavor. With only four ingredients, they are a hit with everyone and might I mention they are kid approved too. Whether you’re making Thanksgiving dinner or throwing together something quick on a weeknight, these are a delicious go-to.
So what exactly makes these green beans southern?
When I think of southern green beans, I instantly think of bacon and onion. Both of these enhance the green beans so much creating the perfect marriage of flavor. It’s not just that though. Southern green beans are soft, juicy, and melt in your mouth with flavor. A traditional recipe requires slow cooking for around a few hours without an instant pot.
Let’s be real, most of us don’t have time to cook green beans from scratch. Making green beans from scratch can take an hour or two to get them just right. This recipe on the other hand has been my go to because the green beans are already cooked. That’s the trick. I use canned cut green beans juices and all.
Making the green beans
To start these green beans I add my slices of bacon to the pan and fry until crispy and then I set aside. This leaves the pan coated with bacon grease which is what we sauté the onion in. The smell when you’re making these is amazing. You want to sauté until they’re soft and turning translucent.
Once the onions are cooked, add your green beans juice and all. Add some salt and pepper to taste and add your brown sugar. I know, you might be a little thrown off on the sugar and no, it’s not typically found in most southern green bean recipes but it takes this recipe to the next level.
Take my word for it, adding the brown sugar will not make it a sweet side dish. It instead enhances the green beans and adds more depth to the flavor. I have eaten green beans this way for years and not adding the brown sugar leaves it good but not as great. I totally recommend that you try it.
When you’re cooking the beans you want to do so with the lid covered. This helps each of the beans become infused with the flavors of bacon, onion, and brown sugar. The longer it cooks, the more flavor it will have. Depending on how quick I get dinner done I will let these cook for 20-30 minutes but you can let them go longer if you’d like.
A common substitute for bacon is smoked salt pork. Much like bacon, salt pork comes from the pork belly. One of the apparent differences between salt pork and bacon, is that salt pork is fattier and therefore cheaper, but it is also not smoked.
You can use either salt pork or bacon, however, I prefer to use bacon because it’s meatier and contains the smokiness I’m looking for. I love adding the fresh bacon bits to the green beans. Both are great options and I will leave that choice to you.
This next substitution may seem simple but I want you to know that it really does make a difference. I use seasoned salt instead of typical salt. This is purely based on preference. Seasoned salt typically contains paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a few other spices. This adds some serious flavor as opposed to plain salt. If you have some laying around, I recommend you try it.
Want to use another type of green bean? Maybe you’re into Italian or french cut, feel free to use your favorite type of green bean. What ever you choose, make sure it’s canned for a quick and easy version. Another tip I have from experience is to be sure you don’t choose an un-salted can. The normal can will provide way more flavor and won’t be bland.
I can’t wait for you to try this recipe. It accompanies any lunch or dinner well. They’re easy, they melt in your mouth, and I hope you love them as much as I do.
Quick Stovetop Southern Green Beans
- 2 slices of bacon
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 2 cans green beans
- 2-3 teaspoons brown sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a pot heat over medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy, let cool and break apart into small pieces.
- Add the onions and potatoes and begin frying them until they’re slightly browned. Add both cans of green beans with the juice along with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour and serve