Green Beans with Bacon — Think it’s impossible to love green beans? Guess again! These green beans are made extra delish with brown sugar, onions, garlic, and plenty of bacon! Eating your veggies has never been this EASY or tasty and even the pickiest eaters will gobble them up! Perfect for busy weeknights or as a great holiday side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas!
Best Ever Bacon Green Beans
How do you convince picky eaters to eat their green beans? Serve them with lots of bacon, of course! This easy vegetable side dish recipe definitely has the picky eater stamp of approval.
These green beans with bacon are a staple side dish in my home, especially during the holiday season!
You may think that this is just a recipe that calls for green beans sautéed in a pan with bacon, and you’d be on the right track, but the brown sugar, onions, garlic, and soy sauce really elevate this fresh green bean recipe to a dish that has everyone wanting seconds.
There’s a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar that’s balanced perfectly with the savory soy sauce and bacon. Sweet and savory? Yes, please!
Everything cooks together slowly to really let the flavors develop and marry together. And more importantly, the sweet-and-savory sauce thickens up and is almost caramelized and really coats every single green bean.
This easy bacon and green beans side dish is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it’s just as scrumptious on busy weeknights.
Have you ever seen people fight over who gets the last bite of veggies? You’re sure to witness it when you serve this downright delicious and easy side dish.
Tip: If you’re craving more green bean goodness, be sure to check out The BEST Green Bean Casserole and Cheesy Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole.
Ingredients for Bacon Green Beans
You only need eight ingredients to make this family favorite side dish.
On a day like Thanksgiving or Christmas, when you’re likely spending a pretty penny on the ingredients for all your other recipes, it helps to have not only a recipe with just a handful of common fridge and pantry ingredients, but that’s also budget friendly.
Here’s what you’ll need to make green beans with brown sugar, bacon, and onions:
- Unsalted butter
- Reduced sodium chicken broth
- Light brown sugar
- Low sodium soy sauce
- Green beans
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts and more complete directions.
How to Make Green Beans With Bacon
Making your new favorite Thanksgiving side dish is easy. Just follow these simple and straightforward steps:
- Cook the bacon. Cook the bacon in a high sided saute pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once cooked, remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave the bacon grease in the pan.
- Cook the onions and garlic. Add the butter, mix it with the bacon grease in the pan, and add the onions and garlic, cooking them until softened.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Add the chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, green beans, stir, and simmer.
- Simmer. Bring the mixture to a slow and steady simmer over low heat. Let the green beans cook until they’ve absorbed most of the liquids, about 2 hours.
- Add the bacon and dig in! Once the green beans are cooked, stir in the bacon, let it warm up for a few minutes, and serve the green beans with bacon!
Can I Use Canned Green Beans for This Recipe?
About 2 pounds of fresh green beans are strongly recommended. However, you can use four 14-ounce cans of canned green beans if it’s a last resort.
Although, if you do use canned green beans, they won’t need a full 2 hours to cook since they’re already quite soft, as are most canned vegetables. Start checking on them at about 30 to 45 minutes of cook time to see if there’s liquid still in the pan, or if it’s already been absorbed.
Can I Make This Bacon Green Beans Recipe Quicker?
Don’t have a full 2 hours to play around with? On a busy holiday or weeknight, I totally get it!
You can make the cook time faster here by either:
- Simmering the pot of ingredients at medium heat rather than low, which will decrease the amount of time needed for the liquid to absorb or evaporate. About 45 minutes rather than 2 hours is what you’re looking at for simmering. Take note that the sauce will not have as much time to thicken and caramelize and won’t have as much intensified flavor, but it’ll still be good.
- Using canned green beans rather than fresh. This isn’t as favored for me and I would simply crank up the heat as outlined in option 1 above.
Is it Possible to Make This Recipe in a Slow Cooker?
While I haven’t tried it, I think making green beans and bacon in a slow cooker will be just fine.
Cook the bacon first in a skillet, and saute the onions and garlic with the butter, transfer that to your slow cooker and all all the remaining ingredients.
I recommend cooking over low heat for about 4 hours but keep an eye on it since all slow cookers vary.
Do I Need to Use Both Bacon Fat and Butter?
Technically, no, you don’t need both bacon fat and butter. If you’re trying to make this dish a bit healthier, skip the butter or reduce it to just 1 to 2 tablespoons.
It adds extra flavor and a richer mouthfeel but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Can I Use Turkey Bacon for This Recipe?
I don’t recommend turkey or plant-based bacon because because you need fatty bacon.
The fat from real bacon adds a ton of flavor to the green beans as they cook, and quite simply, turkey bacon or plant based bacon just don’t have the requisite fat for fabulous flavor.
If you do use an alternate type of bacon and therefore don’t have any bacon grease to cook with, add more butter as needed, noting you’ll be missing that signature bacon flavor that really gets infused into the green beans as they slowly cook.
How to Serve Bacon Green Beans
I like to serve my fresh green beans and bacon with a bit of extra cooked bacon sprinkled on top for the best presentation.
Feeling adventurous? Some slivered almonds sprinkled on top would be excellent for a bit of extra crunch and flavor.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
If you somehow end up with leftovers (mine always get gobbled up), lucky you! These green beans with bacon and onions will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To reheat your leftovers, you can always keep things simple by popping them in the microwave. Just zap the leftovers for 30 seconds at a time until heated through.
If you have a little extra time, you can also feel free to place your leftover green beans into a skillet and warm them over medium heat until warm.
While you technically could freeze green beans with bacon, the texture of the green beans will change quite a bit so it isn’t my personal recommendation to freeze this green bean side dish recipe.
What to Serve With Green Beans and Bacon
If you plan on serving this easy veggie side dish on Thanksgiving, you’ll need to plate it with Foolproof Oven Roasted Turkey Breast!
If it’s Christmas you’re preparing for, consider making my favorite Honey Baked Ham. These sweet and savory green beans pair well with either entree on either holiday. And don’t forget The Best Classic Mashed Potatoes, too.
As much as I love serving this side dish during the holiday season, it also plates well with so many different weeknight dinners.
Keep things easy with quick dinner recipes like Crispy Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breast, a truly Perfect Steak, or some tasty Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes.
Tips For The Best Green Beans With Bacon
Bacon – Use fatty pork bacon! I like a nice thick-cut bacon for this easy side dish recipes. You can use applewood or hickory smoked or your favorite type of bacon.
I like to keep my bacon a little softer rather than real crispy for this recipe but it’s personal preference. I also reserve a bit to sprinkle on top for presentation.
Turkey bacon or a plant-based alternative can be used, but they won’t bring the same level of savory bacon flavor. Remember, the bacon grease combined with the butter in the beginning of the recipe is what lends that flavor to the entire dish.
Green Beans – Fresh green beans are strongly preferred. They always end up having better texture and flavor than canned green bean and since they are the stars of the show, go with fresh is my advice. However, in a pinch, use canned green beans.
Soy Sauce – Whether you use soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos, select a low or reduced sodium option. You don’t want your green beans turning out too salty.
Chicken Broth – This is another ingredient where I highly recommend using a low or no-sodium added broth for the best control over the finished sodium levels. You can always add more but can’t remove it.
Slow and Steady – The best results with this green beans and bacon recipe are when you cook your green beans in that sweet and savory liquid mixture at a low temperature for 2 hours. This gives the green beans time to cook to tender perfection without being scorched, the sauce thickens and caramelizes, and the flavors really have time to settle into the veggies themselves.
If you use fresh green beans but don’t want to wait 2 hours, increase the heat to medium. Keep a very close eye on the green beans as they cook over medium heat. As soon as that liquid has evaporated, remove the pan from the heat.
Double It – This recipe can easily be doubled! Just double each amount of ingredients and cook the green beans in a larger pan if you have one. If not, you may need to stir the green beans more often to ensure they all cook evenly. It may take slightly longer to cook them through but cook time will not double to 4 hours – don’t worry!
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Green Beans with Bacon
Think it's impossible to love green beans? Guess again! These green beans are made extra delish with brown sugar, onions, garlic, and plenty of bacon! Eating your veggies has never been this EASY or tasty and even the pickiest eaters will gobble them up! Perfect for busy weeknights or as a great holiday side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas!
- 1/2 pound bacon, cooked, chopped, and reserve the grease*
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 small to medium white onion, diced small
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (or gluten free soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos to keep GF)
- 2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed and halved or as desired**
- To a large high sided sauté pan or Dutch oven, add the bacon and cook over medium-high heat until the bacon is done; stir and flip intermittently. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon, place it on paper towels, and set aside. Keep the bacon grease in the pan.
- To the pan, add the butter (if you want to reduce the amount of butter or eliminate it, that's fine, noting the flavor will suffer a bit), onion, garlic, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until onions have softened; stir frequently.
- Add the chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, green beans, and simmer over low heat, uncovered for about 2 hours, or until liquid is nearly gone. Notes - You can speed this process up by simmering over medium heat rather than low, and they'll be done in about 45 minutes. However the sauce may not thicken as nicely and the bacon flavor will not infuse as much into the green beans. If you're using canned green beans, simmer over low for 35 to 45 minutes.
- After the the liquid is nearly gone, add the reserved bacon, stir to combine, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, just to warm through before serving. Leftover green beans with bacon will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat gently in the micro or in a skillet over low heat.
*I like a thicker cut, fatty, real pork bacon. You can use whatever flavor or type of you prefer from applewood, hickory, etc.
I strongly recommend full-fat pork bacon instead of turkey or plant-based bacon for best flavor results. However, if you're trying to keep this side dish vegan, use a plant-based bacon, plant-based butter, and vegetable broth.
I like to keep my bacon a little softer rather than real crispy for this recipe but it's personal preference. I also reserve a bit to sprinkle on top for presentation.
** Fresh green beans are strongly recommended for best flavor and texture. However, four 14-ounce cans of canned green beans, drained and rinsed, may be substituted in an absolute pinch.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 758mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 13g
More Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes:
Cheesy Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole — Fresh green beans are cooked with bacon and a THREE CHEESE sauce in the slow cooker to free up valuable oven space! NO CANNED SOUP nor processed sauces here. An EASY comfort food side dish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, parties, and events!
Best Green Bean Casserole – A healthier, modern, fresher take on classic green bean casserole! No processed soups nor canned ingredients and instead made with fresh green beans, mushrooms, red onions, and a cheesy crispy breadcrumb topping that will have the whole family going back for seconds! Put this on your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holiday entertaining menus!
Classic Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe — Nothing frilly or trendy. Classic, amazing, easy, homemade stuffing that everyone loves!! Simple ingredients with stellar results! It’ll be your new go-to recipe!!
The Best Mashed Potatoes — Buttery, creamy, PERFECT mashed potatoes that rival your favorite restaurant’s version but EASY and ready in 45 minutes!!
Easy Homemade Perfect Gravy — An EASY, foolproof recipe with lots of TIPS for PERFECT gravy that’s ready in 5 minutes!! The whole family will LOVE this gravy over their Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, or as a comfort food addition to your dinner table during other times of the year!!
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping — This is the BEST sweet potato casserole ever!! The sweet potatoes are tender and creamy, while the streusel topping adds a delightful buttery crunch thanks to the pecans!
Classic Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole – An EASY recipe for the BEST sweet potato casserole with pecans! Tender and creamy sweet potatoes, the subtle crunch of a buttery pecan crumble, and gooey marshmallows make this comfort food side dish an automatic family FAVORITE! It’ll be on repeat for your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holiday celebrations every year!
Parker House Rolls — The BEST homemade dinner rolls because they’re so light, airy, fluffy and practically melt in your mouth! They have a wonderful buttery flavor that will make them an instant family favorite at your next holiday gathering or make them for a special meal!
My mom used to make a recipe which was very similar to this, and I loved it. If memory serves me correctly, hers had vinegar instead of soy sauce in it. Thanks for bringing back a forgotten memory.
This is one of those super classic, old fashioned type of recipes that never really goes out of style, especially for big holiday meals, and it’s a great side dish for weeknight dinners, too!