A match made in heaven, these green beans with bacon are completely irresistible. They very well might be your new favorite green bean recipe! 

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This recipe takes green beans to new heights.

How long it takes: about 20 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: saucepan, colander, skillet, sharp knife
Servings: 4

Image of vibrant green beans in a black cast iron skillet, sprinkled with garlic, onion, and bacon. Lemon wedges are used for garnish.
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The other day, I had green beans on my grocery list and my shopper texted and said the store (not naming names, here) was all out! I couldn’t believe it. Summer isn’t really over yet, is it? I’m hoping everyone just snatched up all the beans in a last-ditch effort to squeeze all the fresh beans they could into these last few summer days. 

Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan and Basil - Get the easy and delicious side dish recipe on RachelCooks.com

Thankfully, we have a beautiful farm stand up the road from where we live. I headed there to grab some tomatoes (I get a little crazy if I don’t have some of those amazing summer tomatoes waiting for me on my counter). To my surprise, there sat two bags of fresh green beans. They had picked them that morning and they were so amazingly delicious. I found myself feeling really thankful that the store was all out, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought them from the farm stand. 

A match made in heaven, these green beans with bacon are completely irresistible. They very well might be your new favorite green bean recipe! 

About These Green Beans with Bacon

Add bacon to anything and I’m on board, seriously. (Although I will say, not everyone agrees with me…just check out the comments on my broccoli salad.)

Should we say more about this recipe or can we just say, “bacon, gooooood.”

I’d be fine with leaving it at bacon, but I love this recipe and you guys are going to as well. The sweet yellow onions, fragrant garlic, and salty bacon pair perfectly with fresh and flavorful green beans. Finished off with a little heat from red pepper flakes and some bright lemon juice? It’s “beany” perfection.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Green Beans: Fresh are definitely the best for this recipe. Frozen or canned green beans can be substituted. If you prefer, steam the beans instead of blanching them.
  • Bacon: Use thick cut bacon for heartier bits of bacon. You’ll need about ¼ pound, or 4 ounces.
  • Onions: Any type of onion will work. Use your favorite.
  • Garlic: Make it as garlicky as you like. I usually use one clove of garlic because my husband isn’t a huge garlic fan.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: You’ll love the extra zing that red pepper flakes add. If you’re all out, a few good grinds of black pepper are delicious.
  • Fresh Lemon: Garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon. Keep reading for more about why you definitely don’t want to leave this ingredient out.

A match made in heaven, these green beans with bacon are completely irresistible. They very well might be your new favorite green bean recipe! 

Why Lemon?

You’ll notice I recommend serving with lemon wedges. This recipe tastes so great with a little acidity from lemon juice. It can slightly affect the color of the green beans, browning them a little, so I like to squeeze it on immediately before eating, but you could do this before serving if you’d prefer. The beans are also good with a little splash of vinegar to provide acidity (apple cider vinegar is a good choice).

Finely diced fresh tomatoes are also a good choice. They add acidity, color, and flavor. 

green beans with bacon in a cast iron skillet, garnished with lemon wedges

Why an ice bath?

Because you want green beans, not brown beans! The ice bath stops the cooking and helps the beans retain their bright color and crisp texture. If you’re in a hurry (or if you like softer beans), skip it, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a quick little extra step to take this recipe to the next level. 

Make it happen if you’re serving this up for guests. You’ll be glad you did. Busy Monday night, I’ll be honest, I probably wouldn’t bother. 

Overhead view of green beans and bacon in a black skillet.

Make It Your Own 

I mentioned a few ideas in the previous paragraph about adding acidity (lemon! vinegar! tomatoes!), but there are more ways you can make these green beans your own: 

  • Add almonds for crunch. Obviously we can’t do that in our house due to my kids’ nut allergies, but if you can, go for it! If you love almonds, be sure to try my green beans almondine recipe.
  • Add a touch of sweetness. Stir a teaspoon of brown sugar into the onions and garlic; let it melt a little before stirring in the beans. If the mixture seems a little dry, add a bacon grease or butter. The sweetness of the brown sugar contrasts well with the spicy red pepper flakes. 
  • Use bacon bits instead of real bacon, if you have to. But really, don’t. Please.
  • Make them Whole30 compliant: I love that some bacon is Whole30 compliant, If you choose a Whole30 compliant bacon, and don’t follow the sugar suggestion I just mentioned, this recipe fits into a Whole30 program.

Make-Ahead Ideas

The components of this recipe can be prepared ahead of time. Cook the bacon and blanch the beans (cook as directed, cool in ice bath). Store separately in the refrigerator up to two days.

When you’re ready to serve the green beans, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Sizzle the onions and garlic, as directed, then add the beans and red pepper flakes, stirring and cooking for a few minutes until the beans are heated. Add the bacon and cook for a few more seconds. Serve with lemon.

Leftover Love

If you have lots of green beans with bacon left, make a pasta side dish. Cook up a small batch of your favorite pasta, reserving a half cup of the cooking water when you drain it. Stir in the green beans, bacon, and shredded Parmesan cheese. Add water as needed to make a sauce. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle with fresh herbs (parsley, basil, or oregano) and additional cheese.

More green bean Love

Try some of these popular recipes:


Green Beans with Bacon, Garlic, and Onion

4.23 from 9 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
A match made in heaven, these green beans with bacon are completely irresistible. They very well might become your new favorite green bean recipe! 
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  • 1 pound fresh green beans, stem ends trimmed off
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ pound (4 ounces) sliced bacon, cut into ½ -inch pieces
  • ¾ cup finely chopped yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon minced garlic)
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Lemon wedges, if desired


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and boil for 8 minutes, or until just tender. Drain into a colander, then plunge the colander with the beans into a bowl of ice water. Drain again.
  • Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from frying pan.
  • Carefully add onions to bacon grease and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. 
  • Add red pepper flakes and green beans, stirring to combine (tongs work great here, too!).
  • Sprinkle with bacon immediately before serving. Serve with lemon wedge, if desired.


  • I like to use center cut bacon because it has more meat and less fat.
  • If you would like to use frozen green beans instead of fresh, cook beans as directed on bag, cool in ice bath, and proceed with step 2, as directed.
  • For canned green beans, begin with step 2, drain beans, and add them to the bacon mixture to heat.



Calories: 167kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 674mg, Potassium: 344mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 812IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.23 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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  1. Pamela Kaminski says:

    There is no way that you should boil the beans for 8 minutes or until tender. I did mine for less than 6 and they were very limp. I would probably only go 4 minutes and then warm up in the skillet.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Hi Pamela, it depends on the thickness of your beans as well as your preferred crispness and texture. You can definitely do it for less, that’s the beauty of a recipe..lots of room to make it your own!

  2. Vickie busterna says:

    Hi….ive been cooking this green bean recipe 4 over 20 years….its same(everything)minus the lemon…it came out of necessity ,didnt have much in fridge or freezer and came up with this..also make green bean stew,use couple pork chops,same seasons and boil….add diced potatos last 10 mins,then put litlle bit instant potao 2 thicken and add some milk to make soupy…bake corn bread…GREAT BREN MAKING THIS SONCE MY KIDS WERE LITTLE(GROWN NOW…THEY LOVED IT AS KIDS…

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Love that! Thanks for leave a comment!

  3. denise says:

    such a classic and tasty dish.

    when I was a kid, I never understood why my grandma’s green beans were brown. It’s a Southern thing. I remember Oprah and Faith Hill opine on them (cooked to death beans) fondly years ago.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Interesting! I like them crisp but I’d never judge ;)