July 18, 2021

Southern-Style Canned Green Beans

The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!

My daddy used to say he liked green beans lots of ways. He liked them cooked fresh from the garden. He liked them firm and crisp, the “frou-frou” way. But he liked them best from a can and “cooked all to hell”.

And you know what? Me too!!

I’ve watched enough Food Network and been to enough fancy restaurants to know there are more refined ways to cook green beans and that most foodies look down their noses at vegetables from a can, but I love green beans cooked like this!

Southern-Style Canned Green Beans! The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!

Now, I’ve been around enough southern kitchens to know there are different methods for cooking canned green beans but I’ve got a little trick that will give you “cooked all to hell” flavor without busted up or watery beans!

Most Southerners will agree the key to cooking good canned green beans is to “cook the can out” of the beans. I don’t know the precise moment it happens but at some point or temperature, that “canned” flavor cooks out, which is the difference in really good beans and beans that literally taste like you just dumped them out of the can. 

Some folks pour the liquid out then replace it with water or broth to cook but I’ve never found that to be necessary so long as they cook enough.

Southern-Style Canned Green Beans! The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!

The second thing most of us will agree on is to add some sort of fat. My go-to is bacon grease, which I keep in a coffee cup in the fridge. Pouring out bacon grease will get you kicked out of my kitchen (and maybe the house). Vegetable oil, olive oil, butter or margarine all work great too.

And last, but not least, we need to add some flavor. When I’m in a hurry, that might be a beef bullion cube or a handful of prepared bacon pieces (like for salads) but when I have time, I like to use fresh-cooked bacon.

OK, back to that little trick!

Southern-Style Canned Green Beans! The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!

Simply pour a can of regular green beans (with the can juices) into a wide pot or skillet with some bacon grease or other fat, then cook those suckers until all the liquid has evaporated and the beans start to sizzle.

That’s it! You can walk away from the pot and just leave the beans to cook down – just set a timer because they will go from perfect to burnt slap up within minutes once the liquid evaporates. 

Oh, and DO NOT add salt. Once the liquid evaporates, the beans are plenty salty. You will be tempted, but trust me, they will be too salty if you add any salt. These are frog’s hair away from being too salty so if you’re sensitive to salt, consider using reduced sodium beans or omitting the bacon and using olive oil instead.

Southern-Style Canned Green Beans! The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!

HOW TO COOK SOUTHERN-STYLE CANNED GREEN BEANS

  1. Select a pot or skillet wide enough that the beans will be about an inch deep in.
  2. Cook bacon until crispy then remove bacon to add back later, leaving the pan drippings in the pot.
  3. Add canned green beans with liquid to the pot.
  4. Boil until all of the liquid has evaporated and the beans start to sizzle in the bacon drippings, adding the cooked bacon pieces back to the pot about halfway through cooking.
Southern-Style Canned Green Beans! The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!

NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE

  • This recipe is on the salty side. If you’re sensitive to salt, consider using reduced sodium beans or omitting the bacon and using olive oil instead.
  • The beans with liquid should be about an inch deep in whatever vessel you’re cooking them in (1½ inches max). Don’t cook them in anything they would be too deep in or they may not cook properly. If you cook them shallower than an inch, you will need to reduce cooking time as the liquid will evaporate more quickly.
  • To use a 28-oz can of beans, use 3-4 slices of bacon (or 2 tablespoons bacon grease) and cook in a smaller pot or skillet. For a 14-oz can, I use 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and don't bother frying up the bacon.
  • The brown sugar is completely optional. I don’t typically use sugar in southern vegetables but think that little hint is perfect in these!
  • Don't use any "southern seasoned" canned beans for this recipe (as they will have waaay too much salt to cook this way). I almost always use Del Monte or the store brand. 
Southern-Style Canned Green Beans! The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!

Southern-Style Canned Green Beans

Southern-Style Canned Green Beans
Yield: 10 Servings
Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min
The trick to making perfectly cooked Southern-style green beans with canned beans - the beans don’t fall apart but taste like they’ve cooked all day!

Ingredients

  • 1 50-oz can cut green beans
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • Pinch of brown sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut bacon into small pieces then cook until very crispy in a wide pot or skillet (see first two notes).
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pot and set aside. The goal is to have about 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings; measure if you’re unsure or feel that you have too much.
  3. Add green beans WITH the can liquid and a hefty pinch of brown sugar to the pot with the bacon drippings then gently stir. Cook, uncovered, over high heat until boiling.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-high. We want the beans to boil the entire time but don’t need to cook them so hard that they’re rolling and tearing up.
  5. Once boiling, cook for 20 minutes then stir in the bacon pieces.
  6. Continue cooking for 10-15 minutes or until all of the liquid has evaporated from the pot and the beans begin to sizzle in the bacon drippings. When the bottom of the pot starts to brown, remove from heat then serve.

Notes:

  • This recipe is on the salty side. If you’re sensitive to salt, consider using reduced-sodium beans or omitting the bacon and using olive oil instead.
  • The beans with liquid should be about an inch deep in whatever vessel you’re cooking them in (1½ inches max). Don’t cook them in anything they would be too deep in or they may not cook properly. If you cook them shallower than an inch, you will need to reduce cooking time as the liquid will evaporate more quickly.
  • To use a 28-oz can of beans, use 3-4 slices of bacon (or 2 tablespoons bacon grease) and cook in a smaller pot or skillet. For a 14-oz can, I use 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and don't bother frying up the bacon.
  • The brown sugar is completely optional. I don’t typically use sugar in southern vegetables but think that little hint is perfect in these!
green beans, string beans, cut beans, canned beans, can, cook the can out, trick, secret, sizzle, scorch, dry, evaporate, bacon, grease, olive oil, butter, southern, best, how to, brown sugar, sugar, skillet, del monte
side dish, vegetables
american, southern
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @southyourmouth on instagram and hashtag it #MacAndCheese
Keep up with my latest shenanigans by following South Your Mouth!


14 comments:

  1. My Mama said that the secret was bacon grease and "cooking them to the pan". Sounds like we cook canned green beans the same way. I also cook my collards that way. I don't like juice in my collards, but you absolutely must leave it in turnip greens. You can't have turnip green without "pot licker" (Liquor if your from the city)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah, you're missing the onion. I use bacon, onion, and canned green beans and they are my family's favorite (mine too). :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Kathy. They have to have onions that have been sautéed in the bacon fat. And we add a tiny bit of garlic powder.

      Delete
    2. I use bacon grease that I save in a jar in my fridge. No bacon because of the salt. And yes I add onion that I cook for a couple of minutes in the bacon grease before adding the green beans. If I use fresh green beans I do cook and add bacon. And I sometimes add a little Better Than Bouillon chicken flavor to the beans it no salt.

      Delete
  3. Got a pot of these on the stove as we speak.You are the first person to add the brown sugar that I know of. It is essential. Makes me think of days gone by cooking with my aunt. Good receipt! No, I didn't spell that wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad I’m not the only one who loves them this way! The bullion cube adds so much flavor.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I grew up on these green beans. Cooking them any other way just isn't right. The only differences between yours and the way I was raised is that we use about a tablespoon more of bacon grease and omit the bacon (it's unnecessary because the grease gives the exact same flavor as adding bacon) and, instead of pulling them off the heat when they begin to simmer, we allow them to simmer, add about a cum of water, and let them simmer down once more. Then done! I would imagine the two recipes taste pretty well identical though!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I use the Hanover brand canned green beans. Put two large cans in my trusty Guardian Serviceware pot with a hamhock (or two) and let them simmer for a few hours. Tastes like country beans to my family!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Where do you get a 50-oz. can of green beans?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen that size at the Food Lion, I'm sure places like Costco and BJ's have them as well.

      Delete
  8. I use the canned whole green beans (blue lake), chopped up bacon, butter, brown sugar, soy sauce and bake them in a 9 x13 pan at 375 til “cooked to death!” (Usually 35 - 40 minutes.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I make my canned green beans like this too, bacon grease and chopped bacon. I was trying to get those southern green beans I eat at Cracker Barrel when I travel. We never had Cracker Barrel in California until the last couple years. I love them so much I had to find a way to make them so I could have them more often than I travel.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow! These were incredible. I used a 15 ounce can of green beans and cannot believe how delicious they were. What a guilty pleasure!

    ReplyDelete
  11. These were excellent! I made them over the weekend and they remind me of how my gram would boil the fresh green beans then fry up in pan with bacon. They were so very good! I'll be making them often. Thank you

    ReplyDelete

Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy