Depending on where your dinner table is, Green Beans with Bacon goes by many names: Texas Roadhouse Green Beans, Southern Style Green Beans, or Arkansas Green Beans. This must-make recipe switches out the canned beans for fresh, but keeps the smoky bacon and brown sugar. The reboot is absolutely perfect.
From a hurry-up weeknight dinner to a long, leisurely Friendsgiving potluck, these beans will always be welcome. Maybe with a grilled Tri Tip, or Turkey Meatballs and a generous scoop of the Best Mashed Potatoes you'll ever have. For easy vegetable sides that kids (and kids at heart) love, take a look at some of my other vegetable recipes.
Got a family full of green bean lovers, and you need to double the recipe? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
How to make Green Beans with Bacon:
- First, trim the stems off the beans by hand or using a pair of kitchen shears.
- To blanch the green beans, heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Have a large bowl filled with ice water nearby.
- Once the water boils, add the green beans and boil until just tender-crisp (but still vibrant green), about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how you like your beans.
- Remove the beans from the boiling water and immediately plunge in the ice water bath to halt the cooking.
- Next, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. When finished, add the brown sugar, a little water, and the blanched beans.
- Bring everything to a simmer and cook until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot.
How to make quick Green Beans with Bacon using frozen beans:
You certainly can. If the fresh ones at the store only look so-so, buy a bag or two of frozen green beans and cook them right out of the bag, following the recipe. If they're pre-blanched, the recipe goes even faster.
Can you put raw bacon in green beans?
You run the risk of soggy bacon if you do that. But, sometimes I get lazy (like with my Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon), and it might work out. Depends on your aversion to risk.
HOWEVER - If you can, crisp up that bacon first--it will make a huge difference. You can do it a couple days before, if you're too busy. Bacon can be cooked in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven.
Just hold on to the bacon fat and keep the crispy bacon in the refrigerator.
How to make Green Beans with Bacon in a crock pot:
Looking for slow-cooker green beans? It’s easy to do and delicious, too.
- Start by cooking the bacon in a skillet on the stove until crisp. You can cook bacon in the oven, too, using a sheet pan.
- Transfer the bacon and the bacon drippings into a crockpot.
- Add beans, brown sugar and water. (You don't need to pre-blanche the beans.)
- Cover and cook on HIGH until beans are tender, about 3 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Green Beans with Bacon variations:
Like all classic vegetable side dish recipes, this one has a bunch of delicious variations, each one better than the next.
- Southern green beans with bacon and almonds: Toasted slivered almonds sprinkled in with the beans is a classic variation.
- Quick green beans with bacon and mushrooms: Some thinly sliced shiitake, cremini, or button mushrooms added to the bacon while it cooks taste fabulous. Besides, I never met a mushroom I didn’t like.
- Sweet green beans with bacon and brown sugar: Some recipes call for extra brown sugar. If you like your beans a little on the sweet side, go ahead and add another 1/4 cup to the recipe.
- Easy green beans with bacon and onions: Sauté some chopped red or yellow onions in with the bacon, taking advantage of the bacon grease to get them nice and toasty, then add the beans. Or top with canned fried onions!
- Green beans with bacon and shallots: Sautéed shallots or fried shallots (available at Asian markets) over the top of the green beans add texture and savor flavor to this recipe.
- Roadhouse green beans with bacon and vinegar: Some folks like a little extra tanginess in this dish; if you're one of them, add a little cider vinegar, white vinegar, or even Balsamic vinegar in with the water. The vinegar will reduce down and flavor everything. If you think you've gone too far, you can balance it out with a little extra brown sugar to balance it out.
- Toasted pecans in southern-style green beans. Learn how to toast pecans to bring out their flavor, then add them to salads and vegetables--especially green beans.
What are the calories in Green Beans with Bacon?
Depending on how big of a batch you make, the nutritional information is attached to the recipe below.
Around the holidays, though, try not to worry so much about the calories in green beans with bacon; there’s always room for fresh vegetables between bites of everything else. Come January, you can skip the bacon!
Green Beans with Bacon Recipe
- 2 pounds green beans stems trimmed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 slices bacon cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- If using a smaller pot, you may have to blanch the green beans in batches. Set out a large bowl of ice water before blanching the beans.
- In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil.
- Add the green beans and boil until tender-crisp, but still bright green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well and immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Add the blanched beans, brown sugar, and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste. Remove to a serving dish with a slotted spoon.