These Crack Green Beans on the stove are an amazing dish with the perfect blend of salty and sweet! They’re filled with healthy green beans, crispy bacon, and sweet honey, so they’re sure to be a hit at any dinner party. Plus, they’re so easy to make and require a total time of just 30 minutes!
Growing up, my family would host Thanksgiving every few years. We lived much further away from society than most of the family so it was always very exciting when they would make the trek to see us. And like most family gatherings, everyone has their signature dish they bring.
One year for Thanksgiving, my uncle made these green beans. They were sautéed instead of baked, used fresh green beans instead of canned, and were sweet and salty. They were the perfect California version of a traditional Turkey Day dish (they were so good!).
My uncle’s great dish is what this easy Crack Green Beans recipe is based on. If you haven’t heard of crack green beans, it’s typically a dish that’s baked with green beans (duh), brown sugar, soy sauce, and bacon. This recipe for crack green beans is fresh, bright, and packed with flavor, but still super easy and only requires 7 simple ingredients!
Table of Contents
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitute unless otherwise noted
Green Beans: These are the star of the show! We use fresh green beans for a super fresh bite. Just be sure to cut off the tough stems.
Substitutions: Three cans of drained green beans can be used in place of fresh green beans. If using canned, you don’t need to cook them in water prior to making the sauce, just omit the water from the recipe. Frozen green beans can also be used, but add 5 minutes to your cooking time.
Bacon: This adds a delicious fatty flavor to mellow out the saltiness of the soy sauce.
Substitutions: Bacon bits or turkey bacon can be used in place of fresh regular bacon. If you substitute turkey bacon, you will need to use ¼ of a cup butter or oil to cook the garlic and onions. You can also use slices of ham added at the end of the recipe.
White Onion: White onion is a great way to infuse flavor into the cooking sauce. It has a mild bite that adds much more flavor than powdered onion.
Substitutions: Yellow onion can be used instead of white. One tsp of onion powder can also be used.
Garlic: We use pre-minced garlic because we are lazy. Fun tip: if your minced garlic has been in your fridge a while and it smells extra garlicky, then it’s probably bad. Minced garlic in the fridge should have a mild garlic smell.
Substitutions: Fresh minced garlic can be used. One or two teaspoons of garlic powder can also be used.
Honey: We always prefer to use natural sugar instead of processed sugar if possible. Honey is the perfect sweetener to pair with soy sauce for a sweet, salty, sticky sauce.
Substitutions: Agave, coconut sugar, or 1/4 cup brown sugar can be used.
Soy Sauce: We use full sodium soy sauce because it’s acting as the only real salt in this dish. When you add it, the sauce may seem thin but it will thicken as it reduces.
Substitutions: Coconut aminos or any preferred soy sauce can be used.
Water: The water is the trick to cooking fresh green beans on the stovetop! After we add the water and cover the pan it essentially steams the green beans without making them mushy. Boom, perfectly cooked green beans!
Substitutions: The only substitute for this would be to leave it out if you are making this dish with canned green beans.
How to Make this – Step by Step
Step one: Cook your slices of bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. You can either cook these in whole pieces or cut them into small pieces.
Step two: Remove the crispy bacon and set them aside on paper towels to soak up the excess fat. In the same pan, sauté the onion and mined garlic in the bacon fat.
Step three: Once the garlic and onions are fragrant, add the green beans to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then, add enough water to just cover the entire bottom of the pan. For our 9” cast iron, this required ⅓ of a cup of water, but the amount will depend on your pan size. Cover the pan and let it cook for 15 minutes.
Step four: Once the green beans are softened, shift them to one side of the pan and add the honey and soy sauce to the open place in the pan. Mix the honey and soy sauce together with a whisk or fork. Then, toss the green beans in this savory sauce. Let the sauce come to a light boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
Step five: Dice the bacon into small bits, if cooked whole. Add the bacon pieces to the green beans and remove the pan from heat. Mix it all together and enjoy!
Watch How to Make This – Step by Step
Whenever you cook fresh green beans on the stovetop, you can skip steaming or blanching them by adding a little bit of water to the pan you are cooking everything else in. This is a great way to save time and make sure they are crisp but still cooked all the way through!
Facts and Common Questions
Should you break or cut green beans?
Sometimes folks will “snap” or break green beans rather than cutting them because they are so crisp they can be broken quickly. You can either cut or break them, either way is fine. Just be sure to remove the stems. The smaller the pieces the faster they’ll cook.
Why do my green beans taste bitter?
Raw green beans are very fibrous and slightly bitter by nature. The best way to reduce this is to steam them and use salt in the recipe. The salt helps a ton with neutralizing the bitterness.
Can I use canned green beans?
Yes, canned green beans can be used, but fresh green beans taste SO good! If you use canned green beans, you don’t need to add water to the pan to cook the green beans and don’t need to cook them for 15 minutes. They only need to be heated for a few minutes.
Why are they called crack green beans?
Because they are so addictive that even the pickiest eater will love them! That’s why they’re called crack green beans and why this delicious side dish makes a great addition to any family meal.
Want to Save it for Later? Here’s how!
These green beans keep in the fridge very well. The bacon does become a little bit soggy but do we really care? Not really, it is still delicious bacon.
Fridge: These will store for up to 5 days in a sealed airtight container. You can also cover the pan with plastic wrap (after it is cooled) or aluminum foil and store in the fridge.
To Reheat: To reheat, add green beans to a pan with a few tablespoons of water and a little bit of oil or butter. Heat over medium heat until warmed. You can also microwave for 1 minute but the texture will not be as good as reheating on the stove.
Green beans: Did you know that raw green beans are ever so slightly toxic? If you’re a green bean fan then don’t worry, the toxins break down when you cook the beans. Another fun fact: green beans are the third most popular vegetable to grow in gardens. They only trail behind tomatoes and peppers! (source)
Try these great pairings with your crack green beans:
Did you try this and love it? Leave us a review, we would love to hear from you!
- 3 cups green beans
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/3 cup water (more or less as needed)
- Cook your slices of bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. You can either cook these in whole pieces or cut them into small pieces.
- Remove the crispy bacon and set them aside on paper towels to soak up the excess fat. In the same pan, sauté the onion and mined garlic in the bacon fat.
- Once the garlic and onions are fragrant, add the green beans to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then, add enough water to just cover the entire bottom of the pan. For our 9” cast iron, this required ⅓ of a cup of water, but the amount will depend on your pan size. Cover the pan and let it cook for 15 minutes.
- Once the green beans are softened, shift them to one side of the pan and add the honey and soy sauce to the open place in the pan. Mix the honey and soy sauce together with a whisk or fork. Then, toss the green beans in this savory sauce. Let the sauce come to a light boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
- Dice the bacon into small bits, if cooked whole. Add the bacon pieces to the green beans and remove the pan from heat. Mix it all together and enjoy!