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Green Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

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Green beans with caramelized onions is an easy and flavorful side dish that’s perfect with many chicken and beef dishes.

Pin Green Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions to make later.

Overhead photo of green beans with bacon and caramelized onions.

What do I need to make green beans with bacon and caramelized onions?

  • Green beans – Get the kids involved to snap the ends of the beans. Snap longer ones in half.
  • Bacon – Everything is better with bacon!
  • Sweet onions – I use Vidalia when they are in season but any sweet onion will work.
  • Butter – I prefer unsalted but if you only have salted, it’s OK.
  • Garlic – Fresh is always best.
  • Cider vinegar – Don’t substitute. When you add it you’ll know why.
  • Light brown sugar – Do not substitute white sugar. The brown sugar adds better flavor.

Pro Tip: Add the bacon crumbles AFTER you move the green beans and caramelized onions from the skillet to the serving dish. Otherwise the bacon will get soggy.

Green beans and caramelized onions in a cast iron skillet.

What can I serve with this green bean vegetable side dish?

I serve these Green Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions with a variety of main dishes including these:

Green Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onion Twitter image.

Why we love this recipe

This unique green bean recipe requires multi-tasking and a watchful eye, the effort is worth the result! I prep the onions prior to starting anything and then prep the green beans while cooking the bacon.

  • It’s full of great flavors. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked for this recipe. It’s THAT good!
  • This a great holiday side dish that’s lighter than a traditional green bean casserole.
  • It’s made with lots of fresh ingredients.
  • The recipe can easily be scaled for more or less guests. 
  • These stovetop green beans use only 2 pans and free up oven space for other dishes.
  • Very little cleanup. I cook the bacon and onions in a cast iron pan and the green beans in a saucepan.

What type of onion should I use?

The best onion to use for this sauteed green bean with onions recipe is a sweet onion. My favorite is Vidalia but when they are not in season any sweet onion variety will do. Other sweet onion varieties include Walla Walla and Maui.

Spanish onions are also sweet but seem to be harder to find these days. At least in my area.

Easy Caramelized Onions in an iron skillet.

How do you caramelize onions?

You caramelize onions low and slow and is a process you should not rush. Check out my how to caramelize onions post for all the tips and tricks. 

A perfectly caramelized onion has fantastic flavor. Once you learn the technique, you’ll want to caramelize onions all the time!

Overhead photo of green beans with bacon and caramelized onions.

Green Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Dress up your green beans for an amazing side dish.


  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 medium sweet onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, washed, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces


  1. Cook bacon until crisp in a large skillet. Remove bacon, drain and crumble, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in the skillet.
  2. Add butter to drippings in skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat until melted. Add onions and garlic to skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat about 12 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover, add vinegar and brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium-high heat about 4 minutes or until onions are golden.
  3. Meanwhile, cook green beans in a large saucepan in a small amount of lightly slated water about 10 minutes or just until crisp-tender. Drain.
  4. To serve, toss green beans and onion mixture together. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below or share it on Pinterest!

This recipe for green beans with bacon and caramelized onions came from the Better Homes and Gardens Celebrate the Season 1999 cookbook.

I have quite a collection of cookbooks and consult them often but this green beans with bacon and caramelized onions recipe is one of my family’s absolute favorites and it winds up on our holiday table just about every year.

Celebrate the Season 1999 cookbook cover.

Enjoy these recipes my blogger friends made from their favorite cookbooks.

This post was originally published on December 31, 2014.


Wednesday 12th of October 2022

Perfect holiday side dish.


Wednesday 12th of October 2022

Green beans are one of the few veggies my guys will eat so I'm always looking for new ways to serve them up. You can never go wrong with bacon!


Sunday 12th of November 2017

Mmmmmm! Now that is my kind of green bean dish! Thanks so much for sharing at our sides and pies event!

Tracy | Pale Yellow

Monday 31st of October 2016

Great alternative to green bean casserole! I adore caramelized onions!

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