Caramelized Green Beans

If you haven’t tried these caramelized green beans, your life is about to change. They are sweet, salty, smoky, perfection! Fresh green beans, caramelized onions, and crispy bacon are coated in a sweet and savory glaze. This is one of the rare green bean recipes that all my kids eat like candy. This recipe comes from Ohana at the Polynesian Resort in Disneyworld, so you know it’s going to be good.

Caramelized green beans on a fork with bacon

Ingredient Notes

  • Soy sauce – You can use regular or reduced sodium soy sauce. I prefer Aloha brand, personally. I think it has the best flavor, far and away!
  • Green beans – Use fresh beans from the produce section here. My favorite are the “french” style, which are thinner than standard green beans and require less trimming. Costco often sells bags of these in their refrigerated produce section.
  • Bacon – Grab your favorite bacon. Regular or thick cut will work great. 
  • Onion – Red onion is preferred but you could use yellow or white if you need to.
  • Garlic – you’ll want to use fresh garlic cloves in this recipe.
caramelized green bean ingredients on a counter

How to Make Caramelized Green Beans

1. Begin by frying the bacon in a large skillet. You will eventually cook all the green beans in this pan so choose accordingly. Then start boiling a large pot of water. Place beans in a colander and rinse them well. Then snap the ends off and snap them in half.

2. Prepare the sauce by mixing sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl.


3. Make sure your onions are sliced, garlic is pressed or minced, and everything is ready to go.

cooked bacon in a pan


4. Remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel. Remove all but 2-3 tablespoons bacon drippings from the pan (You may not need to remove any if it didn’t render more than that).

5. Add beans to boiling water. Place colander in a clean sink. Boil for one minute; you’re not cooking them until they’re done, just blanching them to take the edge off. Meanwhile, add the onions and garlic into the pan with the bacon drippings.

sauteed onions in frying pan

6. Add the drained green beans to the skillet. Stir fry 2-3 more minutes until onions are soft.

7. Give your sauce a quick stir and then pour on top of the beans. Keep stir-frying until the beans look shiny and glazed. If you have liquid in the pan keep simmering to evaporate until it turns into a thicker, glossy sauce.


8. Add crumbled bacon and lots of freshly-ground pepper to the beans. Keep stir frying until the sauce sticks to the beans and the bacon. Season with additional salt if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and allow to stand a few minutes.

caramelized green beans with bacon in serving dish

FAQs

Can I make these ahead of time? These beans are best made fresh. If you need to prep ahead, feel free to blanch the beans, cook your bacon (don’t forget to reserve some drippings!), and even prep your onions and garlic. That way, everything is ready to pop in the frying pan right before serving time. 

green beans and bacon on a fork

Related Recipes

Looking for more great holiday sides? Check out these other Our Best Bites favorites: 

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture on tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

green beans with bacon on a fork

Caramelized Green Beans

Sweet, savory, garlicky, caramelized bacon green beans are perfect for holidays and special occasions!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound actually, just a little bit more...maybe 1 1/8 pound fresh green beans1/2 pound bacon1/2 red onion, sliced3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed2 tablespoons sugar2 tablespoons soy sauceA few turns of freshly ground black pepper1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  •  

Instructions

  • Begin frying the bacon in a large skillet. Start boiling a large pot of water. Place beans in a colander and rinse them well. Then snap the ends off and snap them in half.
  • Prepare the sauce by mixing sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl.
  • Make sure your onions are sliced, garlic is pressed  and everything is ready to go.
  • Remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel. Drain all but 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings from pan (you may not need to remove any if it didn't render that much).
  • Add beans to boiling water. Place colander in a clean sink. Boil for one minute; you're not cooking them until they're done, just blanching them to take the edge off. After one minute, drain beans in the colander in the sink.
  • Heat pan with bacon drippings to medium heat. When the pan is hot, add onions and garlic. Give them a quick sauté for a 2 minutes or so, until the onions start to soften and then add the drained green beans. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or so.   
  • Give your sauce a quick stir and then pour on top of the beans. Keep stir-frying until the beans look shiny and glazed. This will take a few minutes.  The sauce will go from liquid to a thicker glaze consistency as water evaporates.
  • Crumble bacon and add to pan, along with several turns of black pepper.  Keep stir frying until the sauce sticks to the beans and the bacon. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and allow to stand a few minutes before serving. 
  •  
Author: Ohana Polynesian Resort
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. swifty–You could just pop them into a crock pot and plug it in when you get there. Or see if you can find one of those insulated take-along containers for dishes–that should keep it warm. 🙂

  2. These sound delish! I'm thinking about making these for a dinner party but am wondering how to keep the carmelized green beans warm on my drive over. Any suggestions?

  3. I love this recipe. We have made it several times and it gets eaten quicker then anything. Thanks!

  4. GREAT recipe! We made these for Thanksgiving dinner this year and they were a huge hit. Everyone asked for the recipe!

  5. These aren't just for Easter. Fresh green beans are bustin' out all over!!! Easy, yummy, different, thank you, thank you!

  6. We made these today for Thanksgiving and they were AWESOME!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your good eats with us all, I've tried so many of your recipes (3 were on our table today) and I love them all!

  7. this looks delish. I love green beans i love bacon. My son loves bacon but hates green beans. Maybe this recipe will do the trick. I blog about cooking for kids. I need to try this recipe out

  8. I finally got around to making these and loved them!! My silly husband didn't think beans and bacon "go" together though!

  9. Hey, Katie! 🙂

    I probably wouldn’t use canned green beans because the flavor is so different, but you could totally use frozen–it’s a way cheaper, easier option. Just be sure and boil them a bit longer than you would fresh beans and you’re good to go!

  10. Hmm… maybe THIS is my mother-in-law’s secret to her beans. They look just like this! Her’s have some toasted almond slivers in them as well. Sooo good! 🙂

  11. Okay, I totally messed these up on Thanksgiving. I didn’t boil them long enough, so when I was sautéeing them, they were still super crunchy. So I sautéed them and sautéed them until they the sauce was beyond carmelized (we’re talking, the onions were looking black), and the whole thing just looked really unappetizing. BUT, they still tasted delicious. Soooo, next time I’ll boil a little longer, so they look pretty like in your pictures!

  12. I made them last night, and they were amazing. My toddler cried when they were gone, and I ate way too many! Thank you!

  13. Hi… I made the green beans last night and let me just say…delicious!!! Thanks for the great recipe!

  14. mmmmm, bacon…. mmmmmmmmm. . .

    I made the banana cream pie and I have to say that it was absolutely THE BEST PIE EVER!!!!!! My husband (who has a taste for fine restaurants and scoffs at low quality desserts) devoured every bite while singing it’s praises.

  15. Hi! You don’t know me but I found your site off one of my friends blog. I think your blog is fabulous and I think your recipes look fabulous!! I am always looking for new, yummy recipes to try and I can’t wait to try these!!!! Thanks for your great blog!!!

  16. Oh, Manda, they make more than bacon. There’s all kinds of sausages and even some hams. You *should* be excited–you’re a Louisiana treasure! 🙂

  17. Thanks Kate for making my day. I am so excited about Manda bacon! Then I thought, wait, bacon? Should I be this excited? Yeah, I should.

    Also, I love green beans, so I’m making them soon!

  18. Kate I can see the pics.

    And I just have to say to everyone else that these beans are YUMMY. After getting the recipe from Kate last Christmas we make them all the time. It’s my go-to veggie dish for company. Love ’em!

  19. Kate, I’m really excited about this. Green Beans is one of the only vegtables Dale really likes. Not sure why, but I can’t see your pictures … I’ll have to come back when I make it and see if they show up.

  20. Funny how this recipe came from a Polynesian restaurant…cuz I am Hawaiian, got crazy one night and made green beans this same way! Who knew Poly’s think alike?!?! Oh and FYI, they are totally yummy this way!