Recipe: Old-Fashioned Green Beans

A staple recipe in our household is Old-Fashioned Green Beans. They’re easy to make, and the recipe doubles easily so it can feed a crowd. My husband and I often take these beans to potlucks and other events where we are responsible for a side dish. We also serve them regularly at family meals.

The official green bean recipe, with updated annotations in the corner

Despite the simple recipe, my husband doesn’t think I make green beans right. This recipe comes from his side of the family, so he feels some proprietary ownership in it. He’s often suspicious of my cooking, thinking I don’t follow the recipe. And sometimes I don’t.

Still, what can go wrong with green beans? Fry the bacon and onion, dump in the beans, and add some spices.

It’s in the spices where he thinks I go wrong.

So I wrote down what he did when he made the green beans for our Thanksgiving dinner last week. Here is the official Old-Fashioned Green Bean recipe (though he modified it from his mother’s recipe, because we didn’t have the exact spices she used):

Old-Fashioned Green Beans

2 lbs green beans
2 strips bacon
1 medium onion
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Mrs. Dash or Perfect Pinch or Beau Monde (see, there are variations)
1 tsp seasoned salt (he used Lawry’s)
1 tsp garlic salt

Cut up bacon, fry on medium heat. Chop onion and add to bacon. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
Add beans, up to 1/3 pan of water, and seasonings.
Bring to boil, then simmer as long as time allows (at least 2 hours).


All that’s left of our Thanksgiving green beans — enough for one more meal for the two of us

What recipes does your family argue over?

Posted in Family, Recipes and tagged , , .


  1. Very similar to one I make, but mine is referred to as southern green beans (a staple to go with chicken fried steak). I use real garlic, sauted for about a minute with the onions. However, I remove the bacon to paper towels, leaving the bacon grease, before adding onions to the pan. The bacon is added at the end and mixed with the end product. Leaving the bacon while in simmering for 2 hours (same with my recipe), does add even more bacon flavor, but I prefer the texture of crisp bacon. Sometimes I add a little thye and my favorite, tarragon.

    Either way, bacon in or out, the taste is wonderful.

    • Bacon crisp or bacon boiled . . . tough choice.
      Where my husband says I go wrong is in putting in Italian seasonings, so it’s nice to have some validation that variations on the spices are possible.
      Thanks for sharing your version of the green bean recipe — and they are a southern staple, no matter what the version.

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