Bacon makes everything better, especially green beans! This classic side dish recipe cooks the green beans just right, with crispy bacon for a salty crunch. With lots of fresh garlic, this will become your favorite green beans recipe! Easy enough for a weeknight dinner, delicious enough for entertaining, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- It takes classic green beans and makes them even more delicious. Bacon, garlic, and red pepper flakes add so much flavor to this side dish that you’ll never want to go back to boring steamed green beans again.
- It’s incredibly versatile and is a wonderful complement to salmon, pork, chicken, and turkey dishes.
- This recipe is easy to throw together for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough to serve at dinner parties or holidays.
- Green bean casserole is a traditional holiday dinner side dish, but green beans with bacon are a mouthwatering alternative that keeps menus interesting. I like to serve one dish at Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas.
Green Beans with Bacon Ingredients
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – This combination of ancho, bell, and cayenne peppers adds flavor and a little heat to this green bean recipe. For the most kick, use vibrant flakes with a strong fragrance.
Bacon Grease – Cooking green beans in bacon grease is kind of a Southern staple. The grease gives the veggies a rich, smoky flavor and keeps them crisp and juicy.
How to Make Green Beans with Bacon
The full recipe & ingredients list are below, but here you’ll find a quick overview for making this recipe perfectly, along with useful tips and info!
First, dice your raw bacon into small pieces, then cook it in a large skillet over medium-high heat until they’re crispy. Use a slotted spoon (trust me) to take the bacon pieces out of the pan and set them on a paper towel to drain, then pour out the excess bacon grease until you have roughly 2 tablespoons of liquid left.
Add the green beans to the bacon grease and season, then cook for about 10 minutes. Toward the end, stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Once those are fragrant, add in the bacon pieces and toss everything together.
Serve and enjoy!
- When you’re picking out green beans, look for ones without wrinkles or dark spots.
- You can substitute frozen green beans for fresh in this recipe, but let them thaw completely first. The texture of green beans gets a little soggy when they’re frozen, so for the brightest crisp, stick with fresh beans.
- The recipe instructions say “cook until tender-crisp”, which is that beautiful moment when the green beans are cooked all the way through (tender) but still have a little snap (crisp).
- You only need 2 tablespoons of bacon grease for the green beans, but don’t just throw out the rest! It will keep at room temperature for at least 6 months, or refrigerated for at least 12 months. Store it in a sealed mason jar or other airtight container until the next time you want to sauté veggies or even pop popcorn.
More Veggie Recipes
- Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Candied Carrots
- Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Garlic Aioli
- Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
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Green Beans with Bacon
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from skillet. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off excess grease from skillet, leaving approximately 2 tablespoons in pan.
- Add green beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until beans are tender-crisp and browned in spots, approximately 10 minutes.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes to green beans and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
- Return bacon to pan and toss with beans before serving.
- Make it Whole30: Use Whole30 compliant bacon like Applegate Organics No Sugar Bacon.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Refrigerate fully-cooled green beans within an hour of cooking.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.