Green Beans with Bacon

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Green beans with bacon and skinny fried onion strips tossed together

Credit: Tara Holland

In my opinion, everything tastes better with bacon. Green beans are no different. There is something quite magical about the marriage of crisp green beans and nuggets of crispy bacon, tossed in bacon fat and a little butter. This recipe is simple enough to make and serve midweek, but also a great Thanksgiving side and alternative for green bean casserole.

How to Shop for Green Beans 

It’s essential to try and find the freshest green beans possible. Otherwise, they can be woody and stringy. Look for firm green beans that are not lumpy — the lumpiness usually means they are older, as the beans are too big inside. Prepped trimmed beans in packages can be good, but they can also get moist and soggy, so check that the beans are completely dry inside. 


Why You Blanch and Shock Green Beans

Blanching helps to tenderize the green beans, and shocking the blanched green beans in ice water helps to prevent them from cooking any further. The result is crisp beans with a bright green color.

What to Serve with Green Beans and Bacon

This dish is a versatile side that goes with most proteins, but exceptionally well with the following:

How to Store Green Beans with Bacon

You can store leftover green beans and bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. 

In this recipe, bacon levels up a basic steamed green bean side.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    green beans

  • 1

    large shallot (2 1/2 to 3 ounces)

  • 6 slices

    thick-cut bacon (6 to 8 ounces)

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 3 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/3 cup

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, trim the ends from 1 1/2 pounds green beans. Thinly slice 1 large shallot. Chop 6 slices thick-cut bacon crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Juice 1/2 medium lemon until you have 1 tablespoon.

  2. Add the green beans and 2 1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt to boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil, cook until the beans are green and crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water.

  3. Drain the green beans in a colander, then transfer immediately to the ice water bath to cool completely. Reserve the colander for later.

  4. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a large paper towel-lined plate, leaving space for the shallot. Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often to separate the rings, until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper towel-lined plate next to the bacon. (Save the infused oil for future use, such as salad dressings). Sprinkle the shallots with a pinch of kosher salt.

  5. Drain the beans in the colander again and shake off the excess water. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Heat the bacon fat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the green beans, bacon, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter if using, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the green beans are heated through, about 3 minutes.

  6. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon juice and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the shallots.

Recipe Notes

Butter: Butter helps to emulsify the bacon drippings but can easily be skipped. The bacon fat alone is enough to coat the green beans.

Make ahead: You can blanch and shock the green beans in the ice water up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate the drained green beans in an airtight container.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Tara Holland

Contributor

Tara Holland is a British mom of two teenage girls residing in Brooklyn. She changed her successful career midlife from the financial corporate world to follow her culinary dream and graduated with honors at the Institute of Culinary Education in 2017. She went on to become an Assistant Food Editor at Rachael Ray Every Day magazine, and is now a freelance recipe developer, writer, and recipe tester.

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