Southern Green Beans is a delicious side dish with smoked turkey, fresh green beans, and cajun seasoning. This melt-in-your-mouth dish will be your new favorite way to take your Sunday dinner or special occasion to the next level.
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I’m no stranger to making flavorful green beans. I love smothered green beans as well as making green beans in a pressure cooker. But my all-time favorite has to be southern-style green beans.
What are southern green beans?
The best thing about this southern green bean recipe is the flavorful broth created by slow-cooking smoked turkey necks before simmering the green beans. They soak up all that wonderful cooking liquid and become incredibly tender and rich.
The green beans are cooked low and slow until they are nice and soft. They should not be waxy or crunchy, but tender. This ultimate comfort food will be a hit at your next holiday party or backyard barbecue.
These are the ingredients needed to make this green bean recipe from scratch.
- Smoked turkey necks
- Chicken broth
- Cajun seasoning
- Black pepper
- Green beans
How to make southern green beans
Here are brief instructions on how to make this flavorful green bean recipe.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, add the onions, and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
Add the turkey necks, chicken broth, water, cajun seasoning, and black pepper, and bring the pot to a simmer. Once the broth begins to simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook on medium-low heat until turkey necks start to become tender, about 1-2 hours (depending on the size of your turkey necks).
Add green beans to the pot and cover. Continue to cook, occasionally stirring, until they become tender, about 35-45 minutes.
Remove the turkey neck from the pot, shred the meat from the bone, add it back to the pot and discard the bone.
Serve the green beans with a slotted spoon.
Press “sauté” on the pressure cooker. Once the display reads “hot,” add the butter and saute the onions for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Press “cancel” on the pressure cooker.
Add the turkey necks, chicken broth, water, cajun seasoning, and black pepper. Cover, press “pressure cook,” and set it on high pressure for 35 minutes. Once it’s done cooking, allow the pot to naturally release pressure for 5 minutes, then carefully release the remaining pressure.
Add the green beans, cover, and press “pressure cook.” Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. When it’s finished, allow it to naturally release the pressure for five more minutes, then carefully release the remaining pressure.
Remove the lid and scoop the beans out with a slotted spoon into a large serving bowl.
Here are some tips for making this great side dish.
- Depending on how large the turkey necks are, they may need to cook a little longer.
- The beans should be perfectly soft and have a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and they shouldn’t be crunchy or mushy.
- Cook these southern-style green beans in a pan on the stove, baked in the oven, instant pot, or slow cooker. They just need to be cooked until they’re soft and the flavors have been soaked up. Any of these cooking methods will work for this.
Old-fashioned southern green beans can be adapted to fit your tastes and preferences. Here are some tips you can use to make this one of your favorite side dishes.
- Add red potatoes to make southern green beans with potatoes.
- Make it sweet by adding brown sugar.
- Pour in a tablespoon of vinegar for a tangy flavor.
- Use garlic powder and onion powder instead of fresh onions and garlic if you need.
- Make it spicy by adding red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
- Toss in some fresh herbs right before serving for a bright flavor at the end.
- Add Worcestershire sauce or mushrooms for a more savory flavor.
- Substitute the smoked turkey with other smoked meats like bacon or a ham hock.
- Use creole seasoning rather than cajun seasoning.
How to choose the best green beans
When choosing fresh green beans from the grocery store, look for a bright green color and a supple texture with no brown spots or soggy beans.
It takes a little patience to get a tender green bean when cooking them on the stove, but it’s entirely worth it for this great recipe.
You can also use canned beans or frozen beans. These will already be soft, so you won’t need to cook them as long as you would fresh beans.
All you need to do is add them to the pot liquor created by the smoky flavor from the slow-cooked turkey.
How to serve
This easy green bean recipe can be served with your favorite southern dishes like collard greens, pork chops, Air fryer fried chicken, perfect air fryer steak, southern-style shrimp and grits, or southern candied sweet potatoes.
How to store
Refrigerate: Keep leftover green beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Freeze: Store an extra batch of these beans in a large freezer bag in the freezer for up to three months.
Reheat: When you’re ready to eat this leftover dish, reheat it in the microwave in 30-second increments until they are warm all the way through. You can also reheat them in a pot on the stove if you’d rather.
Meal prep: If you’re making this delicious side dish for special occasions, like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you can prep it in advance and have it ready to cook the day of the event. It’s best to serve it the same day it’s cooked for the best flavor.
You can easily cook these southern-style green beans without meat to make them vegetarian or vegan. To make them vegetarian, leave out the smoked turkey. To make them vegan, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock as well.
String beans and green beans are the same type of green beans. Some green beans have a fibrous string running down the center, but that has been removed mainly by farmers planting only the variation without the string.
Yes, you can cook this southern green beans recipe in a crock pot. The key is to get the beans to that perfect, soft texture and not overcook them.
Southern Green Beans
- 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Yellow onion chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves chopped
- 1 lb smoked turkey necks
- 2 cups Chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 lbs Green beans trimmed and snapped into pieces
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add turkey necks, chicken broth, water, cajun seasoning, and black pepper.
- Bring to a simmer. Once the broth begins to simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook on medium-low heat until turkey necks start to become tender, about 1-2 hours (depending on the size of your turkey necks).
- Add green beans to the pot and cover. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the green beans become tender, about 35-45 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Remove the turkey neck and remove meat from the bone. Add meat back into the pot and discard the bone.
- Serve the green beans with a slotted spoon. Enjoy.
Electric Pressure Cooker Instructions
- Press “sauté” on the pressure cooker. Once the display reads “hot,” add butter. Add onions and sauté for 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Press “cancel” on the pressure cooker.
- Add turkey necks, chicken broth, water, cajun seasoning, and black pepper. Cover. Press “pressure cook” and pressure cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Once pressure has been done, natural release for 5 minutes, then carefully release the remaining pressure.
- Add green beans. Cover and press “pressure cook” and pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Once the timer is up, allow to natural release for 5 minutes. Then quickly release any remaining pressure.
- Serve and enjoy.