Caramelized Green Beans

CATEGORIES: Kate, Vegetables

Can you believe it’s Friday again? Can you believe it’s Easter? Yeah, me neither.

So when your mother-in-law invited you to Easter dinner, did she ask you to bring a vegetable side dish and you’re stumped? Want to expand your horizons past the good ol’ green bean/cream of mushroom/crispy onion casserole? Love fresh green beans and don’t know what to do with them? Look no further, friends. Your beans have arrived.

Let me warn you about something in advance–this recipe is very easy, but it has the capability of trashing your kitchen. Knowing that in advance will help things a lot. Start with an empty dishwasher and have all your ingredients ready to go, because once the beans go into the boiling water, things get a little wild. After you complete each step, pop the dirty dish in the dishwasher and then you won’t feel like slitting your wrists in the bean-making aftermath.

Oh, and as far as credits go, this recipe comes from Ohana at the Polynesian Resort in Disneyworld. I have a ton of yummy Polynesian-inspired recipes from Ohana for you guys to try, including the most evilly delicious shrimp I’ve ever had. Too bad Sara doesn’t like shrimp. Should we kick her off the island? Yeah, I thought so.

Caramelized Green Beans

1 lb. (actually, just a little bit more…maybe 1 1/8 lb.) fresh green beans
1/2 lb. bacon
1/2 red onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
olive oil
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Lots of freshly-ground pepper

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, soy sauce, and salt in a small bowl.

Make sure your onions are sliced, garlic is pressed (or minced…but I think if you don’t have a garlic press, the Easter Bunny needs to bring you one this year), and everything is ready to go. Hold on tight…it’s a crazy, crazy ride.

Remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel. If you feel like it, you can crumble it now or wait until it’s cooled off a little. Pour bacon drippings out of pan (I keep an empty tin can around for this very purpose).

Now…if you want to be naughty (and who doesnt??), return a couple tablespoons of bacon drippings to the pan. Otherwise, just use some olive oil and heat pan to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot…

–Add onions and garlic. Give them a quick stir and then…

–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, stir the onions and garlic so they don’t scorch. After one minute, drain beans in the colander in the sink.

–Once beans have been drained, add them to the onions and garlic. Stir fry 2-3 more minutes.

–Give your sauce a quick stir and then pour on top of the beans. Keep stir-frying until the beans get kind of glazy. Yeah, I make up words. Do this (stir fry, not make up words…you don’t have time to make up words right now!) for another 2 minutes.

–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. Transfer to a serving dish and allow to stand a few minutes so the beans cool down a bit and the glaze thickens up a little.

Now eat them. And eat and eat them. My 9-month old seriously ate these like they were candy tonight. The three-year-old and the Man, on the other hand…hey, I do what I can, right?




  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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! 🙂

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

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

  12. 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

  13. 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!

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

  15. 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?

  16. 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. 🙂

  17. Had these tonight for our pre Easter dinner. Delicious. Delicious. Delicious. I think next time I might leave out the salt in the soy sauce/sugar mix though. It doesn’t need the extra salt with the bacon. Thanks for a great one!

  18. I made these last night and my husband asked if these could be our regular green beans! They were awesome–not that I should be surprised, you girls always have awesome dishes!

  19. My two year old loved this recipe, as did my husband and I. I’ve never been a fan of green beans, but add bacon to anything and I’m game. The funny part was that my two year old only ate the green beans and onions and didn’t touch the bacon in it!

  20. I HATE green beans, and most veggies. Always have, always will. We got a giant amount of green beans in our Bountiful Basket last week, and I luckily found this recipe in your glorious cookbook. LOVED IT! This is honestly the first time in my life I have ever enjoyed eating a green bean. So thank you. I got my vegetable intake. 🙂

  21. It would be helpful if you had a link to print the recipes instead of
    having to copy 3 pages for one….great recipes!

  22. Hi Kate – do you think this recipe could be one that could be made up earlier in the day and reheated in the microwave before dinner? I would like to make it for Christmas dinner but would not have the time to make it fresh.

    1. I have the same question as Lori Holt…I’d like to make it for Christmas as well, can I make it earlier in the day and microwave it before dinner?

  23. Lori and Gail:
    I have had great success making these and then reheating. A trick: don’t add the bacon until just before serving so it stays nice and crisp. hope you find that helpful!!!

  24. Made these for Christmas dinner and turned out great! Will make again!
    Wondering if anyone has tried this with balsamic vinegar instead of soy sauce??

  25. So, after a year of me pestering my husband to buy me your cookbook, he finally did this year for Christmas…I’d made this recipe before, but was so excited to have a real recipe in the kitchen with me while I made it. I thought my parents were coming to dinner last minute and I didn’t have enough of what I had planned on, so I paged through the cookbook to find something to make for them. I picked this recipe, but then realized I was out of frozen green beans. My husband was going to pick some up on the way home from work, but when it turned out my parents weren’t staying for dinner, I decided to give it a try with the frozen broccoli I had in the freezer instead, and I thought they turned out good. The green beans are still better, but the broccoli was tasty too. Thank you!!

  26. I’m making this with filet mignion for v-day dinner tomorrow sounds super yummy… I’m going to cut my bacon up before frying though makes it alot easier

  27. Don’t call me crazy but I opted not to add bacon. I love bacon, but just didn’t see the need for it with the other items I served this with. Also, I left my beans whole instead of snapping them in half {I think they’re pretty that way!} and I decreased the amount of soy sauce and sugar, based on the amount of beans I was cooking. They were THEE BEST green beans I’ve ever had! And, like another reviewer, I really caramelized the onions…to black caramelizationy goodness! They were like dessert! I think I will cook them less for a more desired appearance next time….yes, there WILL BE a next time! and a next time after that! {and so on!} Thanks, Kate!

  28. I made these the other night. Made the bacon the day before to make it a quick throw together side dish. Can’t wait to make them again!! Next time I think I will cook just a tad longer to make the hubby happy. Sauce was De-lish!

  29. Hello! I really want to make these since my husband loves to buy green beans at Costco and I am running out of ways to prepare them- but can I skip or sub the bacon?

    PS Love everything I have ever made on from this site.

  30. I absolutely loved how these came out. This recipe is my first go-to now when I need a side dish. thank you so much.

  31. So I just made these for breakfast. I had to do a test batch before taking them to a dinner this weekend. YUM! So, so yummy. What would be the best way to transport them/keep them warm for about 30 minutes?? Or would they just get gross?

  32. I’ve made these for years and they are always great! I’ve subbed defrosted frozen french style green beans and bagged “real bacon bits” when rushed and they are still great. My kids like them even better the next day reheated. So, so good and easy!

  33. My husband hates vegetables, but could eat these right out of the skillet with a spoon! He requests them all the time and I make them when we have guests over and I want to WOW them….amazing recipe!!

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