Finding an easy side dish for dinner every night can take a lot of work, but these Fresh Green Beans with Bacon pair perfectly with any meal! Plus, they’re easy to make and cook in under 15 minutes.
Easy Green Bean Recipe
I grew up on green beans — but they didn’t start out green, our green beans were purple! They were slightly sweeter than regular green beans, but otherwise taste the same and will turn green after cooking.
Our little one was pretty excited to help me pick purple beans last summer at Grandma’s house — so excited that she was eating them raw! Now to just get the others as excited about green beans.
Purple beans make me think of home and gardening every summer with my family. We worked long hours in that garden, but never as long as our mom, who is superwoman. Our hands would turn purple from picking and canning beans during the summer and we would have to scrub and scrub when we were done. Isn’t it funny how something you hated as a kid somehow becomes something you miss?
I’ll be missing those chubby little hands one day too. Until then, I’ll keep snapping pictures to remind me who he was.
read more: Looking for easy sides? Try our Classic Baked Beans with Bacon next!
What’s Needed for Green Beans and Bacon?
To make this simple green bean recipe, you’ll need the following:
- Fresh green beans
- Olive oil
- Garlic spread seasoning
- Brown sugar
Can I Use Canned Green Beans Instead of Fresh?
Yes, this recipe can be made with fresh or canned string beans. If you use canned green beans, make sure that you use a pan that’s bigger as they will need space in order to not turn to mush in the pan when you sauté them. Skip the boiling and ice bath completely.
How to Prepare Fresh Green Beans
If you are using fresh beans, then you will want to snap the ends off, making sure that you pull the attached “string” off with the stem (you will notice a fibrous string along the side that will come off when you try to “snap” the stem off. It’s similar to celery strings).
You can leave green beans long, but I actually prefer to snap ours once or twice because they are easier to eat.
How to Cook Green Beans with Bacon
- Place your trimmed green beans in a pot of boiling water. It’s important to let the water boil first as beans put in too early will have to cook for longer and you’ll end up with a mushy, brown bean.
- Let the green beans boil until they are bright green and tender.
- Use a stainless steel spider strainer (this is our favorite) to lift the green beans out of the pot and straight into an ice bath.
- Then, cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a plate. Once cool enough to handle, crumble into small pieces.
- Add the green beans to the same pan you cooked the bacon in. Add a little oil or butter as well (or we usually use a little of both).
- Sauté until hot and flavorful, then garnish with beacon and serve!
How Long to Boil Fresh Green Beans?
It’s not just that you need to know how to cook sautéed green beans with bacon. More importantly, you need to know how long to boil green beans as no one wants undercooked, crunchy green beans or way over cooked green beans that become chewy and mushy.
For this simple green bean recipe, you’ll need to cook the fresh green beans in boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes. Then, you’ll need to drain the beans and immediately submerge them in an ice bath to prevent them from cooking further.
What Is an Ice Bath for Cooking?
An ice bath is used in cooking to quickly stop the cooking process. Don’t be tempted to skip it as the green beans will continue to cook and won’t be as appetizing. The ice bath will also keep the green beans a vibrant green versus over cooked beans that become dull in color and often tinged with brown.
Can Green Beans and Bacon Be Made Ahead?
Green beans can be made ahead of time if you follow a few simple steps.
- Boil the green beans like normal, but cut the time down to about 3 minutes.
- Drain and place the beans in the ice bath and as soon as they are cool, place in a paper towel and blot them dry.
- Store the partially cooked beans in a zip top bag in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Then, finish making the fresh green beans with bacon as the recipe instructs.
How Long Do Green Beans Last?
Fresh green beans stored in the fridge will only last for 5-7 days. A few brown spots on green beans is totally okay. You can still eat green beans with brown spots, though they won’t be that perfect green bean experience.
However, make sure you watch for when green beans turn wet or slimy as that means the green beans have gone bad. You’ll need to throw them out at this point.
Can Green Beans be Frozen?
Green beans can be frozen as long as you blanch them first. Prepare the green beans just as you would for the make-ahead green beans. Place them in their bags and press out all of the air as you seal them. Lay the bags flat in the freezer and freeze.
Green beans will last in the freezer for up to 1 year. We prefer to eat ours within 6 months, unless we have used our Food Saver. We should seriously be their ambassador with how much we talk about it!
Tips for Making Sautéed Green Beans and Bacon
- If you don’t have garlic spread seasoning on hand, you’re welcome to use another favorite seasoning blend. Or, keep it simple and use regular garlic powder (you won’t need 2 teaspoons though).
- We used regular pork bacon for this easy green bean recipe, but you’re welcome to use any kind you’d like.
- These fresh green beans with bacon are best enjoyed right away while the bacon is still crisp. However, leftovers can be reheated in a skillet on the stove.
More Easy Side Dish Recipes:
- Sheet Pan Potatoes, Green Beans, & Carrots
- Instant Pot Green Beans and Potatoes
- How to Make Oven Baked Potatoes
- Roasted Root Vegetable Side Dish
- The Best Mashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Broccoli Bake with Bacon
- Roasted Garlic Veggies
- Cheesy Potato Casserole
- Lemon Roasted Broccoli
- All of our side dish recipes!
Our new book is now available!
This unique cookbook guides the way through every step, including meal lists and easy-to-follow recipes, and features dollops of heartwarming family stories.
Easy Green Beans with Bacon
- 1 lb Green Beans , ends trimmed and broken into pieces
- 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
- 2 Teaspoons Butter
- 2 Teaspoons Garlic Spread Seasoning with parsley
- 1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar (optional)
- 3-4 Slices Bacon
- Prepare an ice bath by placing ice and water in a large bowl.
- Wash the beans, snap the ends, and snap into pieces and drop into a pot of boiling water.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes and then place in an ice bath.
- Cook the bacon until crispy and remove to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the bacon grease.
- To the skillet with the bacon grease, add a drizzle of oil if needed and the butter.
- Bring to a medium heat and add the green beans, brown sugar, and seasoning, stirring to coat.
- Crumble the bacon and return to the frying pan (you can sop up the extra grease, or leave a little bit for extra flavor).
- Serve immediately.
- If using canned green beans: skip the boiling and add the beans directly into a frying pan after the bacon has cooked. Proceed as normal.
- Read through the post above for all frequently asked questions about green beans.
- May be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.