These Southern Green Beans are the realest of the real, y’all! Tenderly braised green beans slowly simmered in a rich and flavorful broth with hearty pieces of smoked meat throughout. If you’re looking for the best southern-style green beans, look no further. So easy, delicious, and makes for the perfect side dish!

southern green beans with potatoes in large white pot

Hey friends, hey! Summer has arrived and my lawddd are we feelin’ every single bit of it here in Florida. Like God, whatever you’re cooking outside, it’s done! Haha. Nevertheless, I’m back with another recipe for you. We’re tapping into another southern stunner…these southern green beans, whew. This one is a simple side dish that’s elevated and laced with some extra soul, baby.

Real Deal Southern Green Beans 🙌🏾

That’s right, these right here are traditional green beans made with a little oomph. The southern touch adds heaps of flavor, heartiness, and so much depthYOU WILL LOVE THEM! Southern green beans are also interchangeable with Black people green beans, ha! These are the green beans we serve up at family gatherings, holiday dinners, cookouts, and all other occasions.

BBR coziness: red beans and rice, these collard greens, classic chicken and waffles, my fave potato salad, and weeknight greats like shrimp and grits, this lemon herb butter ravioli, and filipino-style chicken adobo, incredible!

southern green beans in small white bowl with piece of cornbread on the side

Ingredients For Southern Green Beans

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Oil: For searing/browning the smoked meat.
  • Smoked meat: This is what makes these green beans southern in nature. The addition of smoked meat provides a heartiness and extra-filling richness. I use smoked turkey wings here. However, use any smoked meat of your choice: smoked turkey legs, and/or smoked ham hocks.
  • Onion: We’re developing a well-flavored base with onion flavor.
  • Garlic: These green beans have garlicky flavor throughout, six cloves!
  • Cajun seasoning: This type of seasoning is a blend that contains salt, red pepper, black pepper, garlic, and more. Brands such as, Slap Ya Mama or Tony Chachere’s, stay in my kitchen pantry. Seasoned salt also works!
  • Red pepper flakes: A lil touch of heat if you’d like.
  • Chicken broth/stock: The use of broth/stock in these green beans contributes to a well-seasoned and extra flavorful pot likker (the brothy liquid gold left behind after simmering) just like in my collard greens.
  • Green beans: The star of this recipe! Always fresh, plain and simple.
  • Potatoes: I love using red potatoes in my southern green beans. They’re a waxy potato with a creamy flesh, Yukon gold is also great!
  • salt/freshly ground pepper & hot sauce– for serving, if desired.

This whole pot of goodness comes together with less than 10 ingredients! 🙌🏾

ingredients for southern green beans laid out on beige surface

How To Make Southern Green Beans

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. In a large pot, heat up the oil and sear the pieces of smoked meat.
  2. Toss in the chopped onion and cook until tender.
  3. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.
  4. Season the pot with the cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes.
  5. Pour in the broth, covering the smoked meat.
  6. Cover the pot with a lid and braise the meat for 1 1/2 hours, until tender.
  7. Remove the meat and let cool. Then tear the meat off the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Afterwards, add the meat back into the pot.
  8. Add the green beans and chopped potatoes into the pot. If any broth has evaporated from the first braise, add in a little more to replenish.
  9. Cover the pot with a lid and braise again for 1 hour, until the green beans have broken down some and the potatoes are fork-tender.
  10. Give the pot a taste test and season with salt/pepper- to taste, if desired. Serve these southern green beans as-is or alongside a main entree. Enjoy!

⇢ This recipe is all about the power of a good braise, y’all. It’s super straightforward with a slight hands-off approach >> low-effort/high-reward.

southern green beans in large white pot with gold serving spoon on the side

Why You’ll Love These Green Beans ♡

Real talk, you’ll love these Southern Green Beans so much! These aren’t your average, everyday green beans that you toss in a pot with water. Nahhh, buddy. Instead of a crunch, these green beans are super tender and buttery.

The flavor-forward goodness here goes through a long simmer cooking process. All that smoked meat flavor, onion, garlic, and spices creates a melding powerhouse that sops up them green beans and potatoes, gahhh.

Can I Use Bacon?

A lot of southern green beans recipes call for bacon (it’s usually cooked to a crisp and then topped on to garnish the green beans). Here’s the deal, bacon can contribute a level of smokiness and bite, but I highly recommend using smoked meat. Why? ⇢ After braising, the smoked meat is super tender and gives a significantly greater amount of meatiness/heartiness than bacon.

Furthermore, because these green beans are braised, smoked meat is key here. The slow cooked method for these southern green beans transforms them from mundane green beans to melt-in-your mouth, soul food green beans. The smoked meat cooks in harmony with the green beans pot; it creates more texture and a luxurious vibe that bacon simply cannot match.

Let’s Talk About Green Beans

You might also know green beans being referred to as French beans, string beans, snap beans, or just snaps. Grab fresh, not frozen, green beans- they will cook the best. I love getting mine from either the farmers market or in the refrigerated produce area at my local grocery store (Whole Foods has good ones).

black hand holding the side of bowl with southern green beans and gold fork on the side

Slow Cooker Southern Green Beans

I know you’re wondering if you can whip up these southern green beans in that slow cooker. Why yes, yes you can! Here’s how it will go down:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep pot on the stove (as written in the recipe card, below). Sear the smoked meat and cook the onion until tender. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, then remove from heat.
  2. Add the seared smoked meat, onion/garlic mixture into your slow cooker. Sprinkle in the seasonings and pour in the broth, stir to combine.
  3. Cook on LOW for 3-4 hours, until the meat is tender. Then remove from the cooker and tear the meat, discarding skin and bones.
  4. Add the meat back into the pot along with the green beans and potatoes. Continue cooking for another 2-3 hours, until the potatoes are fork-tender.
close up of southern green beans with potatoes in large white pot

Serving These Southern Green Beans

One of the things I love most about this recipe is the rich flavor, swoon. A ton of flavorful broth will remain in the pot after cooking, and it is glorious! You can strain the green beans using a slotted utensil prior to serving or serve it with some of the broth, you decide. I often serve it up both ways and we also enjoy that hearty broth on its own as well, it truly warms the soul.

BBR note: While this recipe is considered a side dish, there is ample heartiness and filling textures to where one can enjoy this as a meal on its own. Pair these southern green beans with some delicious cornbread and/or a biscuit, or even some rice, and you’ve got a good ole country-style meal that hits.

How To Store & Reheat Southern String Beans

This recipe stores and reheats like a dream! Since these green beans are simmered, you don’t have to worry about losing crispiness. Store any leftover beans along with the broth/smoked meat/potatoes inside of an airtight container. These southern green beans will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

To reheat, add leftovers into a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring every so often until warmed through. You may or may not need to add more broth.

southern green beans in small white bowl with bottle of hot sauce on the side

You’ve just gotta hop on these Southern Green Beans, friends. There’s regular and then there’s southern-style, mmm! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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close up of southern green beans with potatoes in large white pot

Southern Green Beans

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern
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Description

These Southern Green Beans are the realest of the real, y’all! Tenderly braised green beans slowly simmered in a rich and flavorful broth with hearty pieces of smoked meat throughout. If you’re looking for the best southern-style green beans, look no further. So easy, delicious, and makes for the perfect side dish!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs smoked turkey wings- see notes
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken broth/stock, plus more as needed
  • 2 lbs fresh green beans, ends trimmed & then cut/snapped in half
  • 23 medium red potatoes, rinsed & cut into quarters
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, for serving, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, gently swirl the pot to evenly coat the bottom. Add in the smoked turkey wings (or alternate smoked meat), and let cook for 5 minutes, turning the meat every so often, until the pieces are nicely seared on all sides.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and stir together with the meat until the onions soften and become tender, about 4-5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and continue cooking for another 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. Toss in the cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes (if using).
  3. Then pour in the chicken broth- making sure the meat is fully submerged. If not, add a few more splashes of broth into the pot until the pieces of meat are covered, and stir to combine. 
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Allow the mixture to simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours- going back to the pot every so often to turn the meat.
  5. After simmering, the meat should be very tender. Remove the meat from the pot and let cool down for a few minutes before handling- do not shut off the heat. Use a fork or your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to tear the meat off the bones. Then discard the skin and bones and add the pieces of meat back into the pot.
  6. Add the green beans and potatoes into the pot. At this point, if any liquid has evaporated from the first simmer, add a touch more broth in to replenish the pot, only if needed. Stir everything well to fully combine, making sure the beans/potatoes are saturated.
  7. Cover the pot once more with lid. Let the green beans and potatoes simmer over medium-low heat for another 1 hour, until the green beans have broken down some and the potatoes are fork-tender.
  8. Uncover the pot, taste the green beans mixture, and season the pot with salt/pepper-to preference. Serve these southern green beans immediately alongside your favorite main entrees or simply as-is with a few dashes of hot sauce, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. For smoked meat: use any pieces of smoked meat (smoked turkey legs or smoked ham hocks, etc.- the meatier, the better!).