If Thanksgiving side dishes stress you out, then you’ll fall hard and fast for these Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic. Sautéed green beans are incredibly flavorful on their own, and the additions of bacon and garlic make this humble vegetable shine. Four whole foods, one pan, and 20 minutes is all you need to take green beans from acceptable to extraordinary.
Adding bacon and garlic to plain ol’ green beans is one of my favorite ways to take this classic side dish from “oh that’s just fine” to “gimme! gimme all the green beans!”.
This recipe is so simple, with just four real food ingredients, but it delivers huge flavor. Sometimes simple is the most direct road to addictively delicious, and this recipe for green beans with bacon is proof.
One of my favorite things about this dish is that’s made in just one pan – no blanching or ice baths required – plus it’s ready in only 20 minutes! Talk about an all-star, crowd-pleasing Thanksgiving side dish. Move over green bean casserole – bacon is here to take your green bean game next level, and we are here. for. it.
How to Make Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic
Pan-seared green beans with bacon and garlic is the perfect quick and easy side dish for everything. Fast enough for weeknight dinners, and crowd-pleasing enough for celebrations like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. This recipe is so fast, so flavorful, and SO EASY. Plus it’s got bacon – what more could you want in a side dish?!?
- Trim the stems from the green beans.
- Place into a colander and rinse. Shake to release most of the excess water, but there is no need to thoroughly dry – the residual moisture will help in the cooking process.
- Dice the bacon into 1/2″ pieces.
- Heat a 12″ skillet (either cast iron or non-stick) over medium high heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon pieces are cooked through and crispy.
- Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and set aside onto a plate. Pour all but two tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan, leaving a thin layer of fat remaining.
- Return the pan to the stove over a medium high flame and allow the fat to reheat; add the green beans to the pan and toss to coat in the fat.
- Cover the pan – this will allow the green beans to both steam and saute at the same time. Sauté until the green beans are charred and just about bite tender, stirring every couple of minutes – about 6 minutes. At this stage, the green beans should still have a snap to them, but they shouldn’t be cooked through – they’ll finish cooking in the next 2 steps.
- Add the garlic to the pan and saute, stirring continuously, for 1 minute or until the garlic is lightly golden brown and very fragrant.
- Return the cooked bacon to the pan, toss with the garlic green beans, and cook 1 minute more. Add cracked black pepper and toss once more. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed (I added just a tiny pinch).
Tips for Perfect One-Skillet Green Beans with Bacon
- Rinse the green beans in a colander, drain well, but don’t dry completely – the residual water clinging to the green beans will help them steam, while the hight heat will brown them, resulting in perfectly tender but caramelized green beans.
- Use a 12″ skillet. The larger size allows the green beans to spread out so as much of their surface area as possible comes into contact with the hot pan.
- If you don’t have a lid for your 12″ skillet, cover with an inverted baking sheet or a 12″ round pizza pan.
- Be sure to drain the excess bacon fat, leaving just a thin layer behind – too much fat and the green beans will be too greasy.
- Keep an eye on the green beans while sautéing – add the garlic once the beans are charred and just about bite tender, but not limp. If they’re limp when you add the garlic, they’ll end up overcooked and mushy by the time you add the bacon.
- If you prefer firmer green beans, sautee for closer to 4 minutes instead of 6.
More Quick and Easy Side Dish Recipes
- Cumin Honey Roasted Carrots
- Garlic Green Beans with Crispy Shallots
- Crunchy Kale Slaw
- Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
DID YOU MAKE THESE GREEN BEANS WITH BACON?!? I’D LOVE TO KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT! LEAVE A COMMENT AND A RATING BELOW 👇
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- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- sea or kosher salt, to taste, if needed
- Heat a 12” skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, 6-7 minutes. Remove bacon using a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour all but 2 tbsp bacon from the pan.
- Rinse the trimmed green beans in a colander. Shake to release most of the moisture, but don't dry completely.
- Return the pan to medium high heat; wait about 30 seconds for the bacon grease to heat up again. Add the green beans and toss to coat in the fat. Cover and saute the green beans, stirring occasionally, until charred and just about bite tender, about 6 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Return the bacon to the skillet and saute, stirring frequently, for a further minute.
- Remove from heat. Add the cracked black pepper and toss. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
- Use sugar free, nitrite/nitrate-free bacon to keep it paleo and Whole30 compliant
- Rinse the green beans and shake to dry, but don’t dry completely – the residual water clinging to the green beans will help them steam while heat sautés them.
- Be sure to drain excess bacon fat, leaving just a thin layer, to prevent overly greasy green beans.
- If you prefer firmer green beans, sautee for about 4 minutes in Step 4, instead of 6.