Quick Bacon Green Beans are the perfect healthy side dish to serve at Thanksgiving! This dish is made with tender, flavorful green beans, butter or olive oil, salt + pepper, and fresh garlic. Jazz things up with crisp bacon pieces and toasted nuts (optional) and watch this crowd-pleasing side dish fly off the platter!
This post was originally published on November 9, 2018, but I just updated it with new photos and a much simpler version of the recipe that still yields the same delicious final results.
Don’t get me wrong – I love a good green bean casserole – but I would also never say no to a platter of tender, seasoned green beans with plenty of crisp bacon crumbled on top. It’s the best way to simplify your life at Thanksgiving (it’s quicker than a full on casserole) and it’s the perfect side to make if you are having guests who can’t have gluten or dairy! The butter in this recipe can easily be swapped for olive oil, and you can always serve the bacon on the side for anyone who’s vegetarian.
How to Make Bacon Green Beans:
This recipe couldn’t be simpler! Get your bacon going on a pan in the oven, and start the green beans while that’s cooking away. Add your fresh, rinsed beans to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
Then, drain the water from the pot of green beans, and add in some salted butter! I mean, it’s Thanksgiving – it just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t add salted butter to every single dish. But, you can swap in olive oil here if you need to hold off on the dairy. After adding your butter or olive oil, add fresh minced garlic, and cook a few minutes more, until desired tenderness is reached. Taste the beans (yum!) and add salt and pepper to taste.
At this point, you can let the green beans cool in a container on your counter for a bit, before sealing them up and popping them in the fridge. They can be stored this way for 1-2 days ahead of Thanksgiving. Then, you’ll just need to add your cooked bacon and toasted nuts (an optional addition) right before serving.
If you’re making these the day you’ll serve them, you can go ahead and add your cooked, crumbled bacon right away.
Toasted Macadamia Nuts or Almonds:
Green beans almondine is a popular dish, and I riffed on it here by using macadamia nuts to top our green beans, instead of almonds. (Almondine just means the dish is garnished with almonds – it’s nothing too fancy!) Either way, adding a few handfuls of toasted almonds or macadamia nuts amps this dish up and makes it feel a bit fancier than the amount of work you actually had to put into making it.
To toast your nuts, add slivered almonds or chopped macadamia nuts to a nonstick pan over medium low heat. Stir them every 10 seconds, for 2-4 minutes total. Remove the nuts from the pan once they’re golden brown and fragrant, so you don’t burn them.
This is truly an elegant side dish that is as delicious as it looks! And, it’s always a bonus when the recipe is friendly and flexible to all sorts of food allergies and dietary needs. (Nuts and bacon can be served on the side, and guests can add their desired toppings to the green beans, if you have a wide variety of guests with dietary needs.)
I hope you love these Bacon Green Beans as much as we do! Happy Thanksgiving.
More Easy Thanksgiving Sides to Love:
- Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad with Maple Thyme Vinaigrette – Made with bright kale, sweet honeycrisp apples, crunchy bacon bits, juicy pomegranate arils, fresh figs, and a sprinkle of feta.
- Puff Pastry Bites with Gouda and Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce – These are a mouthful to say, but take minutes to throw together. Use store-bought puff pastry for ease, and make or buy the cranberry sauce.
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel Topping – Pile that life-changing topping high over a creamy sweet potato filling flavored with brown sugar and maple syrup, and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Brussels Sprouts Salad with Maple Dressing – Who said brussels sprouts had to be boring? These are anything but in a flavorful salad complete with honeycrisp apples, dried cranberries,pepitas, crisp bacon, and parmesan cheese. Bonus – it takes all of 15 minutes to make.
- Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash with Bacon – This side dish comes together in just 10 minutes, and everything cooks together in one go on one pan.
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole – We can’t forget the classic Green Bean Casserole! This one is homemade and doesn’t use canned soup mix.
- Fall Harvest Cheese Board – Short on time? Throw together a beautiful cheese board with minimal effort, and be the star of the day!
- Cheesy Garlic Herb Pull-Apart Rolls – These use pre-made dough for ease, and are always a huge hit! I mean, you can’t go wrong with cheese-stuffed bread.
- Brioche Stuffing with Cranberries – This is my take on everyone’s favorite side. The cranberries add an unexpected twist to this delicious dish.
- Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Maple, Bourbon, and Orange – There are so many delicious flavors in this sauce, which takes all of 15 minutes to make.
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Quick Bacon Green Beans
For the Bacon Green Beans
- 4-6 slices bacon
- 2 lbs fresh green beans
- salt + pepper, to taste
- 5 tbsp salted butter
- 6 large cloves minced garlic
- a pinch of lemon zest
- 1/2 cup your favorite nuts, toasted I recommend Almonds or Macadamia Nuts
- Cook the Bacon: Cook your bacon according to package directions (I recommend doing it in the oven! It's efficient and hands-off!). Prep the beans while the bacon cooks. When the bacon is done, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to remove excess grease. Then, crumble into bite-sized pieces.
- Cook the Green Beans: Rinse your green beans and add them to a large pot or dutch oven. Fill with water so that the beans are covered. Add a few pinches of salt. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the green beans for 5 minutes. They should be a bit soft. Drain the water from the pot, then return it to medium-low heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted. Add the minced garlic, and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Beans will be bright green. Check the tenderness of the green beans, and cook for 3-5 additional minutes if you want them a bit more tender. Add your cooked bacon and toasted nuts (if using) just before serving. You could also keep these in small bowls on the side so any guests with dietary restrictions can choose whether or not to add them to their serving.
- Serve + Store: Serve while nice and warm! Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Make ahead tip: This dish can be made 1-2 days before Thanksgiving, and reheated in a pot on the stovetop for a few minutes before serving. If you make it ahead, I recommend waiting to add the cooked bacon and toasted nuts (if using) until just before serving.
- Toasting Almonds or Macadamia Nuts: Add slivered almonds or chopped macadamia nuts to a small non-stick pan over low heat, and toast, stirring every 10 seconds or so, until they begin to turn golden brown (a few minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside until ready to use.
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