It’s hard to beat that cooked all day with smoky meat flavor of Southern Style green beans. They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and are ready in less than an hour.

The first time I ordered green beans at a barbecue restaurant, I expected a crunchy and fresh side dish. While Southern green beans are nothing of the sort, they are absolutely freaking delicious on a whole different level. I was so pleasantly surprised.

Southern Green Beans are tender green beans that cook in a meaty broth until they are soft – they literally melt in your mouth. They absorb all the flavors of the broth that they cook in, so bacon grease, a smoked turkey leg, or a ham hock can really take this easy side dish over the top.

This southern green bean recipe is one of the easiest side dishes to make – and it is one of my favorite dishes to have in my arsenal because it can be made any day of the week to go alongside an easy dinner – but it is also the perfect side dish to serve with Christmas dinner.

Two white bowls with southern green beans and bacon on a gray background with two yellow flowers and a yellow napkin.

This recipe is truly the definition of southern comfort food. If you do not have an Instant Pot, you won’t be able to make this Instant Pot recipe, but I have another easy green bean recipe that can be made in a slow cooker instead that is equally delicious. (It just takes a little longer!)

🥘 Ingredients Needed

A picture of the ingredients of southern green beans on a gray background, labeled.
  • Green Beans – You can use fresh or frozen green beans for this recipe. If you use fresh beans, snap off the ends and wash them really well. To use frozen beans, just do a quick pick through the beans and make sure that there are no stems in the bag. (If you are using frozen green beans, I like to use haricots verts, which is a fancy way of saying skinny green beans, but we also sometimes just use the classic “cut green beans.” I would not use canned green beans – they are already really soft – they will turn to mush if you pressure cook them.)
  • Butter – I like to use salted butter.
  • Diced Bacon – We like to use thick-sliced, smoked bacon to get a real meaty flavor into the beans.
  • Diced Onion – I usually use a Yellow or Spanish onion. A Vidalia onion will work as well.
  • Minced Fresh Garlic
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Dried Minced Onion
  • Dried Minced Garlic
  • Chicken Broth, Chicken Stock, or Bone Broth – You can make this recipe Vegetarian by excluding the bacon and using vegetable broth.
  • Optional Add-Ins – You can go all in with the meat and add a ham hock, leftover holiday ham, smoked sausage, a smoked turkey leg, or diced up pre-cooked ham to add more meaty flavor. You can also add potatoes and diced red bell peppers, as is common with green beans in the South, but if you add potatoes, you will need to add extra broth.

🍽 Equipment Needed

  • An Instant Pot or other Electric Pressure Cooker – I have tested this recipe now in a 3-Quart, 6-Quart, and 8-Quart Instant Pot.
  • A Cutting Board
  • A Sharp Knife
  • A Liquid Measuring Cup
  • A Wooden Spoon or Rubber Spatula

🥣 How to Make It

I love making these green beans in an Instant Pot – you end up with flavorful green beans that taste like they have cooked all day, but you don’t have to heat up the whole kitchen or plan ahead.

  1. If you are using fresh green beans, wash them, and snap off the ends. If you are using frozen green beans, rinse them, and drain off any excess water. Pick through the beans to remove any beans that don’t look very good and remove any stems.
  2. Dice up your onion, garlic, and bacon and measure out your spices. Having everything ready to go makes this recipe even faster to prepare.
  3. Press the Saute button on your Instant Pot and begin heating it up. (Picture 1) After a few seconds, add the butter and let melt. (Pictures 2 – 3)
  4. Once the butter is melted, add the diced bacon and cook it until it is mostly browned but not 100% crispy. (Pictures 4 – 5)
A collage of images showing the process of making southern green beans in an Instant Pot, steps 1 - 5.
  1. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, just a minute or two. (The onions will get cooked more when you pressure cook them, and since the Instant Pot is so hot, you have to be careful that the garlic doesn’t burn. We are just building layers of flavor at this point.) (Pictures 6 – 7)
  2. Next, deglaze the Instant Pot by pouring in the chicken broth – it will sizzle and sputter. (This will help prevent the dreaded “burn” message.) Using a wooden spoon or a hard spatula with an edge, scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot to get off any burnt bits of bacon. If too much food is stuck to the bottom or left behind, the sensor in the Instant Pot will think something is burning, even if it is not. (Picture 8)
  3. Now, add the green beans and all of the spices (kosher salt, pepper, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic, cayenne, and red pepper flakes.) (Pictures 9 – 10) Stir everything together. (Picture 11)
A collage of images showing the process of making southern green beans in an Instant Pot, steps 6 - 10.
  1. Put the lid on your Instant Pot and close the vent, making sure it is set to “Sealing.” (Picture 12)
  2. Switch the Instant Pot from the saute function to Manual Mode, then set the Cooking Time to 20 minutes at High Pressure. (Picture 13)
  3. When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes (Picture 14), then do a Quick Release to release any remaining pressure. (Picture 15) (Open the vent so that the pressure releases “quickly” or manually, just be careful so that your fingers are not near the steam.)
A collage of images showing the process of making southern green beans in an Instant Pot, steps 11 - 15.
  1. Carefully open the lid, then let the contents cool and enjoy! I recommend serving the beans with a slotted spoon and leaving the excess liquid in the Instant Pot.
An instant pot with cooked southern green beans in it and a wooden spoon.

🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

What makes these green beans “Southern” green beans?

Southern green beans are green beans that are cooked with bacon, garlic, and onion until they are so soft that they just fall apart when you stab them with a fork. They have so much flavor that they just melt in your mouth. They are sometimes cooked with leftover ham, a ham hock, smoked turkey, smoked sausage, or even red potatoes.

How do you snap the ends off of green beans?

Green beans snap like asparagus – just gently bend them near the end, and they will snap where it is natural for them to snap. Sometimes it will be a larger piece of the end that comes off, and sometimes it will be small – it all just depends on the beans and how fresh they are. Ideally, you don’t want to cut the ends off of green beans, you want to let them guide you where they want to be snapped.

Can you add anything else to these green beans?

Yes, absolutely! You can add a ham hock, leftover diced ham, smoked sausage, leftover turkey, smoked turkey legs, or even diced potatoes. If you are adding a ham hock, reduce the amount of bacon. If you are adding potatoes, increase the amount of broth.

Can you make Southern green beans with canned green beans?

The short answer is yes, you can. But I would cook those on the stove and for a very short amount of time. Canned green beans are already pretty soft from being pressure canned, and pressure cooking them will get rid of any remaining texture that they have. (AKA, the Instant Pot will turn them to MUSH.)

🍳 What to Serve on the Side

Instant Pot Green Beans (or Slow Cooker Green Beans) are a great way to add an easy vegetable side dish to a meal. We like to serve green beans with all kinds of dishes:

Button linking to the Pinterest page for Southern Bytes.

How to Store Leftovers

If there are any leftover green beans, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat them in the microwave or on the stove. I sometimes think they taste even better the next day.

These green beans will last in the fridge for about a week, or you can freeze them for a few months. If you are freezing beans, freeze them in their cooking juices for the best flavor when reheating them.

✏️ Helpful Tips

  • Make sure that you don’t cook your garlic for very long when sauteing it – the bottom of the Instant Pot can get really hot, and burnt garlic tastes pretty awful.
  • Be sure to really deglaze your Instant Pot when adding the broth – let it hit all the bacon bits on the bottom, and use a spoon or spatula to scrape the bottom of the inner pot of the Instant Pot. This will prevent the dreaded burn notice.
  • Be sure to let these beans cool off before having a taste as they will be HOT.
  • If you like a little heat, you can increase the spices in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon of cayenne and ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. (My husband didn’t even notice the heat when I used these quantities. I could notice, and I liked it, but I reduced it for the provided recipe below because I know it would be too spicy for a lot of people.)

Other Southern Side Dishes

Have You Tried This Recipe?
Please rate it and leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!

A white bowl of southern green beans and bacon on a gray background.

Instant Pot Southern Style Green Beans

4.85 from 19 votes
It's hard to beat that cooked all day with smoky meat flavor of Southern Style green beans. They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and are ready in less than an hour.
Author: Kari
Servings: 6
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Pressurizing/Release: 15 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 strips bacon diced (you can use more if you like)
  • ½ cup onion diced
  • 4 – 6 cloves garlic minced (garlic is one of those things that you measure with your heart – we like a lot. if you don't, use 3 -4.)
  • 1 cup chicken stock, chicken broth, or bone broth
  • 8 cups green beans frozen or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced garlic
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes add ¼ tsp if you like a little heat

Optional

  • 1 ham hock or smoked turkey leg
  • ½ cup diced cooked ham
  • 1 cup red potatoes cut into quarters (add extra broth if adding potatoes)

Instructions 

  • If you are using fresh green beans, wash them, and snap off the ends. If you are using frozen green beans, rinse them, and drain off any excess water. Pick through the beans to remove any beans that don't look very good and remove any stems.
    8 cups green beans
  • Dice up your onion, garlic, and bacon and measure out your spices. Having everything ready to go makes this recipe even faster to prepare.
    4 strips bacon, ½ cup onion, 4 – 6 cloves garlic
  • Press the Saute button on your Instant Pot and begin heating it up.
  • After a few seconds, add the butter and let melt.
    1 tablespoon butter
  • Once the butter is melted, add the diced bacon and cook it until it is mostly browned but not 100% crispy.
    4 strips bacon
  • Add the onions and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, just a minute or two.
    ½ cup onion, 4 – 6 cloves garlic
  • Next, deglaze the Instant Pot by pouring in the chicken broth – it will sizzle and sputter. Using a wooden spoon or a hard spatula with an edge, scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot to get off any burnt bits of bacon.
    1 cup chicken stock, chicken broth, or bone broth
  • Now, add the green beans and all of the spices. Stir everything together.
    8 cups green beans, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon dried minced onion, ½ teaspoon dried minced garlic, ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • If adding a ham hock, ham, or potatoes, add them now & submerge under the beans.
    1 ham hock or smoked turkey leg, ½ cup diced cooked ham, 1 cup red potatoes
  • Put the lid on your Instant Pot and close the vent, making sure the knob is pointed to "Sealing."
  • Switch the Instant Pot from the Saute function to Manual Mode, then set the Cooking Time to 20 minutes at High Pressure.
  • When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then do a Quick Release to release any remaining pressure.
  • Carefully open the lid, then let the contents cool and enjoy! I recommend serving the beans with a slotted spoon and leaving the excess liquid in the Instant Pot.

Video

Notes

How to Store Southern-Style Green Beans

If there are any leftover green beans, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat them in the microwave or on the stove. I sometimes think they taste even better the next day.
These green beans will last in the fridge for about a week, or you can freeze them for a few months. If you are freezing beans, freeze them in their cooking juices for the best flavor when reheating them.

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure that you don’t cook your garlic for very long when sauteing it – the bottom of the Instant Pot can get really hot, and burnt garlic tastes pretty awful.
  • Be sure to really deglaze your Instant Pot when adding the broth – let it hit all the bacon bits on the bottom, and use a spoon or spatula to scrape the bottom of the inner pot of the Instant Pot. This will prevent the dreaded burn notice.
  • Be sure to let these beans cool off before having a taste as they will be HOT.
  • If you like a little heat, you can increase the spices in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon of cayenne and ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. (My husband didn’t even notice the heat when I used these quantities. I could notice, and I liked it, but I reduced it for the provided recipe below because I know it would be too spicy for a lot of people.)

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 97kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 4gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 474mgPotassium: 391mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1100IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: green bean recipes, instant pot southern green beans, instantpot green beans, instapot green beans, southern green beans
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I’m Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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