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Crack Green Beans

When I make these Smothered Green Beans, AKA Crack Green Beans, for our holiday dinners, everyone asks for the recipe! This vintage side dish is an absolutely delicious recipe with only a few simple ingredients. Perfect for your next potluck dinner, dinner party, or an easy family dinner.

southern smothered green beans

Smothered Green Beans

Can we talk about our refrigerators for a bit?

Did you grow up with an enamel cup in the back that had some bacon grease in it? My mom saved this “liquid gold” as she called it, to add a bit of flavor to any dish. And what better dish than some simple green beans. Usually steamed, roasted, or in a green bean casserole, this recipe is a great way to get kids to eat more veggies!

Made with tender fresh green beans and crispy, smoky bacon, and smothered in a sweet and savory sauce, my Crack Green Beans recipe makes simple changes that take this dish to a whole new level!

If you like this green bean recipe, check out my Italian Green Beans or these PF Chang’s Spicy Green Beans copycat recipe!

list of ingredients for this simple side dish

Ingredients Needed

Green beans –  Fresh tender green beans are best. Feel free to use frozen or canned if you need to. Drain completely!

Bacon – Thick cut, center cut, or even turkey bacon works well. Be sure to cook the bacon ahead of time and preserve the bacon fat.

Sugar – Feel free to use light or dark brown sugar.

Soy sauce – Low sodium soy sauce is best because of the salty bacon. Substitute gluten-free soy sauce, Tamari, or coconut aminos.

Chicken broth – Chicken broth or vegetable broth.

Pantry staples – Onion, garlic, and butter.

Looking for more leftover worthy dishes? Follow LTB on Pinterest and pin to a board!

How to make Smothered Green Beans

First: In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt bacon fat and butter. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring often, until the onions get soft.

Second: Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, and chicken broth to the pan. Whisk to combine. Stir in green beans, reduce heat, and simmer over low heat until the liquid is nearly gone. This can take over an hour!

Third: Add the crispy bacon pieces to the green beans and cook for an additional 4 minutes.

Fourth: Serve hot and enjoy!

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

family favorite with a depth of flavor for your holiday table

Serving Suggestions:

I love these with Pork Chops, Meatloaf, or this Marry Me Chicken.

How do I add flavor to green beans?

One way to jazz up green beans is to add some seasonings like a Creole seasoning or steak seasoning. Or by adding in some delicious bacon!

one of a few new recipes for green bean fans

Can I use canned green beans?

While I prefer fresh green beans for this recipe, feel free to use a can of green beans if you are in a pinch. Just note that the key to this dish is the long simmer time. If using frozen, be sure to thaw and drain so you don’t have excess water.

And whether you use fresh or canned, be sure to let it simmer until nearly all the broth is gone. This creates the sticky sauce.

How to store:

LEFTOVERS: Store any leftover smothered green beans in an airtight container or in a casserole dish covered in aluminum foil or plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 5 days. These are amazing heated up the next day! The crack sauce might even be better… 

REHEAT: To reheat leftovers, add green beans to a pan, add a few tablespoons of water and add a tablespoon of butter. Heat over medium heat until warmed through. 

FREEZE: You can freeze fully prepared green beans. Prior to putting in the freezer, let the casserole come to room temperature.

Wrap your serving dish with plastic wrap. Once wrapped, cover tightly with foil. On the foil label, date, and place in freezer. Dish should last up to 6-months in freezer.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat as directed.

one of my favorite green bean recipes

Tips for No Leftovers

  • If you are in a hurry, you can cook this over medium heat. Remove from the stove when most of the broth has evaporated.
  • Only use unsalted chicken broth. If you use broth with salt it will be too salty because of the bacon and soy sauce.
  • Substitute turkey bacon or crumbled sausage for the traditional pork bacon. Be sure to save the fat and drain the cooked bacon on a paper towel.
  • Use canned green beans if you are unable to find fresh or are in a pinch. Just be sure to rinse and drain completely. I also like to use frozen cut green beans.
  • When using fresh green beans, be sure to wash and drain green beans before adding to recipe. Remove any smashed or soft portions.
  • If you’d like to make the smothered green beans spicy, add in a shot of hot sauce, hot vinegar, or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Serve this as a side, but it also tastes great as a “savory glaze” when served with slices of ham as a fancy main course. 

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

smothered green beans

This smothered green bean recipe is simple to make and packed with sweet, salty, and savory flavors in every bite. Just combine seven key ingredients, and you will have this delicious southern classic side dish on the table in no time!

pan of green beans with spoon

Smothered Green Beans

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Smothered Green Beans are a vintage side dish recipe that is absolutely addictive. This easy-to-make recipe requires only a few simple ingredients and is chock-full of sweet and salty flavor.


  • 1/2 pound bacon (cooked, chopped, reserve the bacon grease)
  • 1 cup white onion (diced)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans (trimmed, halved) or (4) 14 ounce cans green beans


  1. In a large pan, heat the bacon grease and butter and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring often. 
  1. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce and chicken broth, then stir in the green beans and simmer over low heat until the liquid is nearly gone. This may take up to 2 hours.
  2. Add the bacon to the green beans and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and serve. Enjoy warm!


*If you love this recipe as much as I do, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 1304mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 5gSugar: 22gProtein: 17g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encourages and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

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