Old-fashioned String Beans with Bacon Recipe

String Beans with Bacon (and onions) are delicious, and they are quick and easy to make. This hundred-year-old recipe brings back vague memories of string bean dishes from my childhood.

The recipe calls for cooking the beans until they are tender – and I cooked them for about 20 minutes. They weren’t crisp like the beans often prepared using modern recipes – but I found them to be a refreshing change, and enjoyed this dish’s old-fashioned goodness.Β The recipe is definitely a keeper.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1917)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

String Beans with Bacon

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 pound string beans (use either yellow or green beans)

2 small onions, thinly sliced

1 slice bacon, chopped


1/8 teaspoon salt

dash cayenne (red) pepper

Clean string beans, remove tips, and snap into 1-inch pieces. Place in a saucepan. Add the sliced onions and Β chopped bacon; then just barely cover with water, and add the salt and cayenne pepper. Β Place on the stove and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, then remove from heat, drain any excess liquid (a little is okay), and serve.

47 thoughts on “Old-fashioned String Beans with Bacon Recipe

    1. Some recipes come and go as food fads wax and wane in popularity, but some old recipes stand the test of time and are always tasty.

  1. I still make beans this way. It’s a common way of serving them in Texas restaurants, too. Even the fancy take-out place I occasionally get something from makes them this way. It’s like the little black dress and pearls of green beans, and so much better than that mushroom soup and fried onion routine.

  2. This sounds good. But is a further example of two peoples divided by a common language. We Brits call them runner beans, though I do recognise the term string beans.

    1. I don’t think that the term “string bean” is used as much in the U.S. as it once was. I generally call these beans “green beans” if they are green, and “yellow beans” (or “wax beans”) if they are yellow. When I wrote this post, I kept typing “green beans” without thinking, and then would have to go back and change it to “string beans” to match the old recipe.

      1. ! We’re more likely to call French beans ( the little ones) green beans, though lately the name of choice seems to be ‘bobby beans’. Isn’t life complicated πŸ˜‰ ?

        1. It is – though it’s fun to learn about all the various types of beans and their names. It’s amazing how much variation there is.

    1. Maybe old-time cooks like the simplicity of just throwing everything into one pan. The bacon is in this recipe is not crisp; rather it is tender and flavorful.

    1. No, I used a modern variety of string beans so I didn’t need to remove the strings. I just broke the tips of the beans off, and then snapped them. Now that you asked, I’m thinking that it would be fun to make this recipe again and use heirloom beans with strings. It would be more authentic. πŸ™‚

  3. Mom made these too – good idea for next weekend. Been going to farmers market now that summer is here and looking for ways to cook fresh veggies. Going to try cold beets like mom used to make. If you find a recipe for I guess it could be called chilled beets let us know. πŸ™‚ I remember it had onion. No vinegar and oil that I can remember. I think she just cooked them in the morning and then cooled them for a nice cold veggie for dinner on a hot summers day.

    1. mmm. . . your mother’s beet recipe sounds delicious. I’ll have to look and see if I can find any old-time beet recipes similar to the one you describe.

    1. I think that you’d like cayenne pepper. In my opinion, cayenne pepper is a little hotter and less pungent than black pepper – though this recipes doesn’t call for much cayenne, so this dish is not hot.

  4. I’ve had green beans cooked like this before, and loved them! (Although I’m not sure they had the cayenne pepper in the.) Now I’m going to try to make them myself, thanks for the recipe.

  5. One of my favorite foods my Grandma used to make was a new red potato, bacon, and string bean recipe. I loved it! I haven’t thought of that in years. Thank you for the happy memory. πŸ™‚

    1. It’s nice to hear that this recipe brought back some good memories. I never would have thought of putting string beans and potatoes together, but I may have to give it a try. I have both new potatoes and string beans, and am looking for ways to use them.

      1. I hope you like it! My grandma would cook bacon until it was almost black. She would put the potatoes (diced) and string beans in the crock pot, add the bacon crumbled and pour the bacon grease over it. Cook it on low for 6-8 hours. Not very healthy, but oh-so-delicious. πŸ˜‰

        1. Thanks for the details. I won’t have thought of cooking the bacon until it was super crispy and then putting everything in a crock pot.

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