Southern Green Beans

This is my favorite way to eat green beans – they are so full of flavor! My mom always made green beans this way, and growing up right next to her in the kitchen I could probably do this with my eyes closed. I can tell they’re done just by the way they sound in the pan!

Once you’ve made green beans this way a couple times,Β I bet you won’t even need a recipe! It’s basically a technique that can be adjusted to suit the amount of beans you’re making. I’ll give you the basic recipe and then show you a few step by step photos. Here we go!

Southern Green Beans (click here for a printable version of this recipe)

  • Canned Green Beans – usually called “cut green beans.” This does not work with french style, low sodium or frozen green beans.Β 
  • Olive Oil
  • Margarine or Butter – I use margarine
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Large, flat skillet – not a sauce pan

Place a large, flat skillet (a pot or sauce pan will not work) on medium-high heat. Add your canned green beans and at least half the juice from each can. I usually make two cans of beans, so I add all the juice with one can and then drain the other one.

Spread the beans into a flat layer in the pan. Drizzle about a Tablespoon of Olive Oil over the beans and season them with salt and pepper. Let the liquid come to a boil and do not stir the beans.

Once the liquid has almost completely cooked off, add 2 Tablespoons of Margarine for each can of green beans. When I do two cans, I just use half a stick of margarine. Reduce the heat to medium or medium low and let the beans cook down, stirring to make sure they are all coated with margarine, until they are slightly browned.

Taste and add more salt & pepper if needed.

You can keep these warm on the stove if you’re waiting on something else to finish cooking – they really won’t overcook. You can even make them a day ahead and reheat in the microwave!

Here are step by step photos of what the beans look like at each stage of the process! If you shop at Aldi, these are the green beans I buy for this recipe.

You can see the liquid and the olive oil in the picture below.

Once it starts boiling like the picture below, don’t stir them until the liquid is almost gone.

Liquid is gone!

Add the margarine – see that golden stuff in the pan below? The margarine will make that golden flavor coat your beans!

Let it cook until they look like this.

There isn’t any of the golden brown stuff in my pan anymore – it’s all on the beans! YUM!

These beans go really well with any chicken dish – baked chicken, chicken and dumplings or roast chicken, but they also go well with roast beef, Thanksgiving turkey or any other comfort food meal!

If you prefer green beans that have a little “bite” to them, try my Garlic Green Beans that are made with frozen beans!

Now I’ve typed the word BEANS so many times it’s starting to look funny. πŸ™‚


34 thoughts on “Southern Green Beans

  1. These sound really good! I usually cook frozen green beans and usually just add salt and pepper and a dab of butter. These sound decadent but delicious. Maybe I’ll try them for an occasion, not just for the two of us.


  2. Was wondering how you thought these would taste by following your garlic green beans, I have so many cans of canned green beans that I’d rather use those and if you think it would taste good, when would you suggest adding the garlic? Thank you for sharing, ive saved several of your recipes to try


    1. Hi Holly! I don’t know about that, I’ve never tried garlic on those beans. Personally, I feel like cooking them this way gives so much flavor that there’s no need for garlic. If you wanted to add it, I would say the best time for that is the very end. Alternatively, you could swap out the cooking liquid for chicken broth. That adds even more flavor. Either way, I hope you enjoy them! πŸ™‚


  3. Just made these green beans. Thanks to you and your mom so much. I use to do fresh green beans a lot like this but took 3-4 hours. These tasted just as good and I also used Aldi canned green beans. I love Aldi.


  4. Your mom taught me to make them this way a couple of years ago and we LOVE them! We make them with just about everything 😊


  5. I tried your garlic green beans tonight! They were great! I’ll try these Southern green beans next. They look so delicious with that butter! My mouth is watering now. πŸ˜‹


  6. I have been waiting for this recipe!!! Will definitely be making these. I love fresh green beans but never know what to do off season. Looks delicious and so easy!


  7. Yum! I love any green beans. I grew up eating canned green beans. My husband prefers fresh or frozen. My go to green been combo is frozen, salt and pepper and bacon grease. It’s such a delicious side.


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