Bacon Onion Green Beans and More Thanksgiving Side Dishes

October 24, 2023

Thanksgiving side dish of green beans with bacon and onions.

Add a burst of flavor to fresh or frozen green beans by sautéing them with bacon and onions.....the perfect side dish for Sunday dinner or Thanksgiving with family.

COOK + BAKE   |   Updated October 22, 2023

Bowl of Green Beans with Bacon

Of all the holidays we celebrate, Thanksgiving is probably the one most focused on traditions.

From the meal you enjoy to the people you have around your table and the way you spend your afternoon, practically everyone has a set plan as to how the day will go.

In my family, Thanksgiving dinner has been held at my mom's house, although the guest list has changed through the years. As far as I can remember, the menu has always been the same.....A golden roast turkey, homemade sage stuffing made according to grandma's recipe, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh squash, and cranberry Jello salad as an alternative to the common cranberry sauce.

There are some willing to deep fry the traditional bird or add ingredients like garlic to their potatoes. But for most, the food chosen to serve on Thanksgiving isn't something people are willing to experiment with thanks to the traditions passed on through the years.

Closeup of Green Beans with Bacon
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A side that many choose to include in their Thanksgiving menu is green beans. Most people will eat them and it is a vegetable that pairs well with turkey and the other meal items of the day.

I find that most every food is better when a little bacon is added, so this side dish of Bacon Onion Green Beans is one of my favorites. And it is a perfect side to accompany just about any mean during the year and doesn't need to be save for just the fall holiday.

What You'll Need

To make Bacon and Onion Green Beans, you'll need just a few key ingredients.

  • frozen green beans - Feel free to substitute fresh ones if they are still available for even more flavor. Just be sure to wash and trim the beans before adding them to the pan. I like to freeze mine in the fall and pull them out for recipes like this.

  • bacon - I prefer regular cut bacon (over thin or thick) for this recipe so that it stays crispy. Before frying, it should be chopped into small pieces (about 1/2 inch) suitable for accompanying the green beans .

  • onion - diced

  • salt and pepper

Cast Iron Skillet filled with Green Beans and Bacon

How to Make Bacon Onion Green Beans

Bacon and Onion Green Beans is a simple recipe to make and can be done in one single pan. A large seasoned cast iron skillet is idea because of the flavor it can impart on your food. But if you don't have one, any skillet will do.

Here's what you'll need to do:

STEP 1: In a large skillet, sauté the bacon over medium heat until it is cooked, but not yet crispy. Add the diced onion into the pan and continue cooking until the bacon becomes crisp and the onions soft and transparent.

STEP 2: Transfer the bacon and onions to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve about one Tablespoon of the bacon grease in the skillet, and pour out the rest.

STEP 3: Put the frozen beans into the pan. It isn't necessary to thaw them first. Season them to your liking with salt and pepper. Spread them out in a single layer in the pan and sauté the beans for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that they do not stick or burn.

STEP 4: Add the bacon and onions back into the pan and continue stirring for another 5 minutes or until the beans are fork tender, but still crisp. Pour them into a bowl and serve immediately.

Green Beans with Bacon and Onions

Tips for Making This Side Dish


You may want to freeze the bacon you are using for about 15 to 20 minutes before cutting it into the small chunks. This makes it easier to cut the without the meat sliding around or stretching. You don't want it frozen solid or it will be difficult to cut. You can use a chef's knife or try my favorite tool, kitchen shears, for quick cutting.


You don't want your beans to get too soft when they are cooked for this recipe. You're looking for fork tender while still crisp. And bright green without being charred.

If you are using fresh rather than frozen beans you'll want to decrease the sauté time as they won't take quite as long. Aim for about six minutes total time in the pan.


This recipe turns out best using a 12" skillet. This allows adequate space to spread the green beans out in a single layer to sauté.

I prefer using a seasoned cast iron skillet when sautéing in bacon grease, but feel free to use what you have available.


This recipe uses the leftover bacon fat to sauté the green beans. There will likely be much more than you need in the skillet, however. Drain the excess grease before you add the beans, leaving just a thin layer (about 1 Tablespoon) still in the pan. Too much of the fat will cause the green beans to be greasy.


A great tip for when you are serving company is to warm your serving dish before adding the cooked green beans. It will keep your vegetables warm as everyone fills their plates.

This can be done py placing the bowl into the microwave, a low temperature oven, or even just let it sit in really warm water for a few minutes before serving.

Thanksgiving dish of green beans


Add a unique burst of flavor to fresh or frozen green beans by sauteing them with bacon and onions.....the perfect side dish for Sunday dinner or Thanksgiving with family.

Makes six to eight servings



  • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 pound frozen green beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste


STEP 1: In a large skillet, sauté the bacon until it is cooked, but not crispy. Add the diced onion and continue cooking until the bacon is crisp and the onions transparent.

STEP 2: Remove the bacon and onions from the pan, reserving about a Tablespoon of grease in the skillet. Pour the frozen beans into the pan and season with salt and pepper.

STEP 3: Sauté the beans for five minutes, stirring occasionally so they do not stick. Add the bacon and onions back in and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until the beans are tender.

STEP 4: Pour the vegetables into a dish and serve immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions.


I don't recommend using canned green beans for this recipe. They are already soft and will not crisp up in the bacon fat. Fresh or frozen are your best options.


Place any remaining green beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. To reheat, cook in a cast iron pan or skillet with a little more bacon grease or olive oil continually stirring and just until heated through.


There are a lot of green bean recipes that include garlic and you can add it to this one, too, if you'd like. Feel free to use up to 4 minced cloves or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, depending on how much garlic flavor you prefer.


You can fry the bacon and onions early and set them aside, but I wouldn't suggest that you cook the vegetable before you are ready for dinner. You want the green beans as crisp as possible. While the recipe can be reheated, like most leftovers, it won't be as good as when it was fresh out of the pan the first time.

If you have guests who like to help in the kitchen, stirring the green beans would be a great job to give them.


Boiling or blanching helps to soften vegetables, but for this recipe you want them to stay crisp. Put the green beans in straight from the freezer.

White plate with Bacon Green Beans

Whether you go traditional in your Thanksgiving meal or want to experiment, I hope you'll consider serving this simple side dish to accompany your roasted turkey. Your guests are sure to love the flavor and you'll enjoy how simple it is to put together!

More Thanksgiving Recipes to Try



PUMPKIN PIE - This post shares the secret step that gives your pie a flavor like no other.

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE - The best green bean casserole starts with fresh ingredients.


TURKEY + STUFFING BAKE - My go-to recipe for using up those turkey leftovers.

APPLE BUTTER PIE - The look and texture of pumpkin, but packed with apple flavor.


This post is part of the Tastes of the Season series hosted by Kristen of Ella Clair & Co. Today we are making sure that you are completely prepared for what to serve with your Thanksgiving turkey by sharing our own favorite holiday recipes.

Click here to see all of my previous Tastes of the Season posts.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Apple Walnut Cranberry Sauce by Ella Claire   |   Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole by Nesting with Grace   |   Herb and Garlic Roasted Carrots by Craftberry Bush   |   Bacon Green Beans by anderson + grant   |   Pumpkin & Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes by My Sweet Savannah

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Sweet Potato Pie by City Farmhouse   |   Sweet Cornbread by Nina Hendrick Design Co.   |   Sally Lunn Bread by House 214   |   Cranberry & Brie Bites by Finding Home Farms   |   Avocado Bacon Butternut Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette by Nest of Posies

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Cranberry Pretzel Salad by Zevy Joy   |   Sweet & Savory Cornbread by Julie Blanner   |   Roasted Carrots with Candied Pecans & Goat Cheese by Inspired by Charm

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