Transform green beans from acceptable to extraordinary! Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic are a quick and easy side dish. Sautéed green beans are incredibly flavorful on their own, but the additions of bacon and garlic make this humble vegetable shine.
Adding bacon and garlic to plain ol’ green beans is one of my favorite ways to take simple cooked green beans from “oh that’s just fine” to “gimme! gimme all the green beans!”.
I think we tend to either over- or under-complicate side dishes, especially humble vegetables like green beans, and particularly around the holidays. Sure, green beans almondine is incredibly delicious. But there’s definitely some extra effort required! (And don’t even get me started on green bean casserole!)
Air fryer green beans are an easy favorite, but they’re not quite special enough for, say, Thanksgiving dinner. Italian-style green beans deliver on flavor, plus the cooking method is fairly straightforward.
But bacon green beans are by far my favorite green veggie to serve for special gatherings (and okay, sometimes on a random Tuesday, too!). Sometimes simple is the most direct road to addictively delicious, and this recipe is proof. Sweet, tender green beans with salty, crispy bacon is so simple (made with just four ingredients!) but it delivers huge flavor.
One of my favorite things about this recipe 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 side dish. Move over green bean casserole – bacon is here to take your green bean game next level!
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s cooked in one pan in 20 minutes – no additional blanching or steaming required.
- The green beans are cooked in the rendered bacon fat, adding additional flavor.
- Slightly dampened green beans saute and steam at the same time for the perfect balance between crisp and tender.
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How to Make Green Beans with Bacon
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?!?
- Brown chopped bacon in a large skillet until crisp and golden brown; remove using a slotted spoon.
- Rinse green beans in a colander; shake to remove excess moisture, but do not completely dry.
- Add the green beans to the skillet and toss to coat in the rendered bacon fat.
- Cover the pan. Cook, stirring every 2 minutes, until the green beans are charred and just about bite tender – about 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the skillet. Toss the garlic with the green beans and cook for 1 minute more, or until the garlic is lightly golden brown and very fragrant.
- Return the cooked bacon to the skillet and toss with the green beans.
- Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and additional salt (if needed).
- 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.
What Kind of Bacon Should I Use?
Both thick cut and regular bacon work. For thick-cut bacon, cut into into a 1″ dice. For regular bacon, cut into ½″ thick strips – they’ll hold their shape better.
What’s the Easiest Way to Cut Bacon?
If you’ve ever tried to slice bacon with a chef’s knife, you know it’s not exactly an “easy breezy” process. Use kitchen shears! It makes for quick, efficient work.
Did you make these bacon green beans? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
20-Minute Green Beans with Bacon and GarlicPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 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.