Green Beans with Tomatoes and Bacon

Ree's original recipe does not include the garlic or thyme. We added them because, why not? Tastes good. Also we halved the recipe, because for everyday meals we don't need to serve 10 to 12. Feel free to double to Ree's original Thanksgiving-worthy proportions.

This recipe also works well in the slow cooker, so I've added instructions for that as well.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 4 slices thick cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pounds of fresh, firm green beans (they should break when you bend them, not bend like a rubber band), stem ends trimmed
  • 1 14.5-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne


1 Place the bacon pieces on the bottom of a large, thick-bottomed pot. Heat on medium heat for several minutes until the bacon fat begins to render.

green-beans-tomato-bacon-1 green-beans-tomato-bacon-2

2 Add the chopped onions to the bacon. Cook a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic (if using) and cook a minute more. Drain off any excess fat.

3 Add the green beans to the pot. Add the whole, peeled, canned tomatoes and their juices. Add a sprig of thyme to the pot (if using). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

green-beans-tomato-bacon-3 green-beans-tomato-bacon-4

4 Cover the pot and lower the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the beans are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally.

Slow Cooker Instructions If you want to use a slow cooker for step 4, you can easily do so. Just put the cooked bacon and onions from steps 1 and 2, and the beans, tomatoes and spices into a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, depending on your slow cooker, until the beans are completely tender and the tomatoes have broken down.


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  • Maria

    Made these green beans for valentines dinner, sooooo good thank you

  • Sally

    I discovered this technique a couple of years ago from Mark Bittman. He uses olive oil instead of bacon. Either works. You cannot overcook these beans. One hour is minimum. Two or three? Great! Great leftovers and great reheated. Take in crockpot to holiday dinners. They are very popular, very easy and totally make ahead.

  • CAH // TheCarboholic

    Elise, I made some green beans tonight vaguely following this recipe and a few others (from Saveur and the NY Times). I don’t eat bacon (blasphemy, I know), so I had to wing it a bit. I also didn’t have an onion. I know, I know, I totally changed it up.

    But I was more coming back to comment on the cooking time. These beans were amazingly textured. I adored them, and they rounded out a great vegetarian meal. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Laura Jane

    Since it is hard to find consistently tender green beans in the markets at this time of the year, I used the whole frozen green beans instead. Worked beautifully! Thanks for this recipe Elise. . .your recipe made my 84 year old dad very happy. . .he is partial to slow cooked beans – not the steamed or roasted that we usually prepare!

  • Heather

    Growing up in South Louisiana, this is similar to how we always ate green beans. We did not add the tomato, and we ate it over rice. It’s also good to caramelize the onions to a nice, golden brown before adding either bacon or pickled pork.

  • Theresa JAMES

    We all loved this. I knew my husband and I would, but I was not so sure about my 12 yo picky son. I managed to score big tonight. I fixed this, which he loved, and another recipe from another site which he also loved! It just don’t get no bettern’ that

  • Judy

    Okay, we made this recipe today, and it was absolutely fantastic! Hubby wanted to use a can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes instead of the fresh Romas, and since we didn’t have thick cut sliced bacon, we used 7 slices of a thinner, hickory smoked, uncured bacon that we had on hand. Everything else was “as written” in your recipe, Elise. Hubby was afraid the green beans would be mushy, but they were firm and tender…just perfect! I’m not a fan of green beans, but after having these today, I see a lot more green beans in my future. They were really, REALLY good! I’m glad we have leftovers for tomorrow. :-) Thanks, Elise!


  • Bruce a'Beckett

    One hour . . . as recipe . . . apart from adding smoked paprika instead of cayenne, & chopping up a handful (is that a measurement) of Thyme. Absolutely superb. Master – almost 70 yo – chef down under in Adelaide, 2nd most liveable City in the world . . . after Melbourne. With rare Roast Beef for dinner tonight . . . amazing. Love the comments, love the presenters of these recipes. Have sooo many recipes sitting in a folder, just waiting for me to retire & focus on food !
    Have plans of being The Shortbread Maker of Adelaide, using some of the wonderful shortbread recipes shared over the last 6 months !

  • Nina

    These sound delicious and similar to a long-cooked broccoli dish I’ve made (a Marcella Hazan recipe, I think.)

    Question: Can they be cooked ahead for service the following day? I’m in charge of side dishes for a get-together with far-flung siblings the week after Thanksgiving and this would round things out nicely. Its just a lot easier showing up with things all ready to go (other than re-heating.) I’m just worried that after the long cooking, a day of sitting and then re-heating in either oven or microwave might push them over the edge to ick. What do you think?

    • Elise

      Hi Nina, great question. I just had some of these for leftovers, three days later, and they were great! All we did was reheat them in the microwave. I think the saving grace of this recipe is that late season green beans tend to be a bit sturdier than early summer or mid summer green beans. They’ve already cooked gently for an hour, a minute more in the microwave won’t hurt them.

      • Nina

        Hi, again, Elise. Just thought I’d report back that this recipe traveled and reheated perfectly – it was a big hit! While the beans did seem to tip-toe right up to that ready-to-turn-grey point, they didn’t tip over the line. (In truth, the green beans that I was able to get at my local market were not the prettiest by a long shot.) There were some leftover (I brought 4 vegetable dishes!) and one of my sisters grabbed them so fast and stuck them in her cooler to take home that it made my head spin! Thanks for sharing! Love your blog (and Pioneer Woman, too!)

  • Tina

    I too, have made green beans like this for many years. The only difference is I use tarragon instead of thyme.

  • li

    Hi Elise – I love receiving you recipes here at the southern tip of Africa, in Cape Town where summer has just arrived and Table Mountain and the Atlantic & Indian Oceans are celebrating with me! Have tried out quite a few of your enjoyable reads/recipes and always delicious – even for the african palate!

    I would love to try this recipe out as is – but also with broccoli as alternative – obviously less cooking time. Do you think the ingredients as listed will work? What do you recommend – I am not a food expert … li

    • Elise

      Hi Li, Broccoli is a completely different vegetable. I wouldn’t recommend this slow cooking approach with broccoli, but then, what do I know? I wouldn’t have recommended it with green beans either, but they turned out great. If you try it with broccoli, please let us know how it turns out for you.

  • Gary

    Sorry. Even at low heat, 45 mins.-1 hr. will result in overcooked texture for me. I like cooked but with a snap. This is going to be canned green beans texture. blech

    • Elise

      Hi Gary, they don’t snap, but they are certainly not overcooked. I personally hate canned green beans and refuse to eat them. These slow cooked green beans were great. I was so worried about overcooking them (they were gorgeous green beans from Whole Foods) I checked them every 15 minutes. They simply were not done until an hour was up. Weird! But true.

  • Judy

    My hubby and I were talking just a few minutes ago about how to dress up the Thanksgiving green beans this year. This sounds wonderful! Oddly enough, the Roma tomato plant in the greenhouse just presented us with 26 tomatoes that we didn’t know we’d get this late in the year. My question is, could we use some of them in this dish? I hate to use canned tomatoes if the Romas would work. Thanks for another great recipe, Elise! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • Elise

      Hi Judy, you would probably want to blanch them first to get the peels off, then proceed with the recipe. Should work fine!

  • Maggie

    I grew up on green beans fixed this way…my Italian mother, grandmother and aunts all made them this way. I raised my kids on them too and had to cook 2-3 lbs to satisfy them. The best!

  • L.D. Meyer

    I’m going to try this recipe but I’m going to opt for turkey bacon (Kosher thingy) and use diced tomatoes with green chilies. Bon Appetite

  • Isil

    Minus the bacon, this is very similar to classical Turkish dish of green beans in olive oil. Just replace the bacon with olive oil, and omit the thyme. Serve cold, with sprinkled parsley leaves on top.

  • Susan

    This is the perfect way to cook the mature green beans we then to find in the winter months. They are tougher and hold up well to longer cooking. I’ve cooked beans with bacon only or with tomatoes only but these sound like the best of both worlds! Thanks for sharing Ree’s recipe with your spin, Elise.

  • Susan

    I love these too! But I leave out the cayenne and add butter, a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of Apple cider vinegar. I have also substituted stewed tomatoes for the whole ones. Yum!

  • Susan Ortiz

    This is how they are cooked “soul food” style and how I ate them all my life sans the tomatoes. Love them!!! Can’t wait to try the recipe with tomatoes.

  • Cathy

    This, minus the bacon, was one of my favorite string bean dishes growing up. I always called it String Beans Marinara. It too was cooked long and slow – delicious. Will have to try it with the bacon some time – sounds great!

    We also use this basic recipe with sautéd pork chops – it creates moist, tender pork chops. You can add quartered potatoes to the mix as well.

    Thank you so much for inviting us into your home and inspiring us with your wonderful recipes.

    • Noell

      Ree is great! I must have done something wrong. After an hour of slow and low cooking, beans were still not cooked. I cooked them for an additional hour, still texture wasn’t right. I’ve cooked fresh beans many, many times; what did I do wrong? Flavor was ok, but not rich or intense. Its not Ree, it’s me…

      • Elise

        Sounds like you got a batch of tough beans. That can happen with late in the season green beans. A few years ago I got one batch of green beans that just refused to get tender. Ended up throwing them out.