Old fashioned slow-cooked green beans start with bacon and canned green beans and turn into the best green beans that taste like someone’s Grandma made them.
Old Fashioned Slow Simmered Green Beans have been in my life since I was old enough to eat. The first indication a holiday feast brewing in the kitchen is the smell of bacon and onions cooking at the crack of dawn.
BACON IN GREEN BEANS
My grandmother used a spoonful of bacon grease when she cooked almost anything. She had a can of bacon grease sitting on the stove. She added to that can every time she made bacon for breakfast, which if memory serves me right was daily.
I do not use old bacon grease in my green beans.
In fact, I use new bacon cut into small pieces and fried right in the pan I am going to cook the beans in. I am going to use canned green beans too! Adding bacon will take the can taste out of green beans.
Trust me, these will not taste like canned green beans when they have finished cooking!
Once the bacon has cooked, I stick some paper towels in there to remove most of the bacon fat. Using a spoon to remove most of the fat works too. I’m just a little lazy sometimes.
The flavor is really in the little brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Do not scrape them off. No worries, it won’t be stuck for too long, it will simmer its way off and make the green bean delicious.
The stuck bacon bits are necessary to produce a glorious pot liquor (or pot likker depending on where you’re from) that needs to be soaked up with cornbread or drank straight from the bowl.
You see, pot liquor isn’t reserved just for greens. My grandma used to say that all of the vitamins and good for you things were in it, but let’s face it when you start with canned beans, a good portion of the vitamins and minerals were probably washed out at the green bean factory.
SUBSTITUTING CANNED GREEN BEANS WITH FRESH
Canned green beans don’t have to taste like they came out of a can. When they are slow-cooked with bacon and onions, they are transformed into Southern comfort food.
If you just can’t bring yourself to use canned or have a garden full of homegrown green beans, then go ahead and substitute with fresh. I have spent my fair share of summer days sitting with my grandma or my mom snapping “string beans”.
I just prefer the texture of canned ones myself. But I guess there is probably more nutrients left when cooking with fresh.
A 28-ounce can of green beans in this recipe has about 4 cups of beans. One pound of green beans, once cleaned and cut, will provide around 3 cups of beans. I would start with 1 1/3 pounds of fresh green beans for this recipe.
To make enough green beans for a holiday meal I usually triple this recipe.
SECRET INGREDIENT FOR THE BEST GREEN BEANS
I add a small amount of lemon pepper to the simmering green beans to brighten the flavor. You may have already read in our other posts that lemon some of the top chefs’ secrets for elevating their foods.
Lemon-pepper is not necessary, but it will set this canned green beans with bacon recipe apart from all of the others you may have tried.
STORING AND REHEATING LEFTOVER GREEN BEANS WITH BACON
Leftover green beans can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for several days.
To reheat, place in a saucepan and reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the beans are heated through.
Microwaving is also a suitable method for reheating. Place the green beans into a bowl and cover loosely with paper towels or a lid and hat on high for 1 minute. Stir the beans and heat for another minute or until the beans are heated through.
Cooked green beans can be frozen in a covered freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. For the best results, allow the green beans to thaw in the refrigerator before using the same methods as above for reheating.
More Old-Fashioned Recipes
Old Fashioned Green Beans
- Sauce Pan
- In a large saucepan placed over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until bacon is brown.
- Reduce heat to medium. Drain off bacon grease, if desired. I use paper towels to blot out most of the fat.
- Add onions to the pan and cook while stirring, until the onions are translucent.
- Add green beans and liquid from the can. Stir to mix the bacon and onions with the green beans.
- Add 3 cans of water to the pan. More may be needed, make sure the beans are covered with water.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon-pepper to taste if using.
- Bring green beans to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for at least 2 hours. Longer simmering is fine, just be sure to add water occasionally so beans do not dry out.
- Serve hot.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated and then reheated on the stove top over medium heat.