How to Make Smothered Green Beans

Indulge in the savory delight of Smothered Green Beans, a classic side dish that transforms the humble green bean into a flavorful culinary masterpiece. This recipe elevates green beans by simmering them with onions, garlic, bacon, and a rich blend of seasonings, resulting in a dish that’s bursting with taste and tender to the bite. Perfect for holiday gatherings, Sunday dinners, or any occasion that calls for a standout side, Smothered Green Beans offer a deliciously different way to enjoy this versatile vegetable. Whether you’re looking to complement a hearty main course or seeking a star-worthy dish for your vegetable rotation, these smothered green beans are sure to impress.

My discovery of Smothered Green Beans was a game-changer for how I viewed vegetable sides. Growing up, green beans were always a simple, steamed affair—healthy, yes, but hardly exciting. It wasn’t until a family reunion potluck that I was introduced to a dish that would elevate green beans from mundane to memorable. A relative brought a steaming dish of green beans smothered with bacon and onions, and from the first bite, I was hooked. The beans were tender, the flavors rich and smoky with just the right touch of sweetness from the onions, and a savory depth that only bacon could provide.

This dish became a personal and family favorite, requested at holidays and special occasions. It taught me that with the right ingredients and a little creativity, even the simplest vegetables could become the highlight of the meal. Cooking Smothered Green Beans became not just a way to prepare a side dish but an opportunity to share a story, to bring a piece of culinary discovery to friends and family, and to turn a meal into an occasion.

How to Make Smothered Green Beans


  • Fresh green beans: 1 pound, trimmed
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Chicken broth: 1 cup (or enough to cover the beans)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Black pepper: to taste
  • Bacon: 4-6 slices, chopped
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons (optional, for added richness)
  • Red pepper flakes: a pinch (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • Onion: 1 medium, diced


Prepare the Green Beans:

Rinse the green beans under cold water and trim off the ends. If desired, you can cut the beans into smaller pieces.

Cook the Bacon:

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until it’s crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside, leaving the bacon grease in the pan.

Sauté the Onion and Garlic:

In the same pan with the bacon grease, add the diced onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant, being careful not to burn it.

Add the Green Beans:

Add the trimmed green beans to the skillet. Stir to coat the beans in the bacon grease, onions, and garlic.

Add Liquid and Seasonings:

Pour in the chicken broth, ensuring it covers the green beans. If it doesn’t, you can add a little water or more broth.
Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine.

Simmer the Green Beans:

Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 30-45 minutes, or until the green beans are very tender. Stir occasionally.

Finish the Dish:

Once the green beans are tender, increase the heat to medium-high and add the cooked bacon back to the pan. If using butter, add it now.
Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beans are well-coated with the flavorful sauce.


Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the smothered green beans hot as a delicious side to your favorite main dishes.

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