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Southern Style Green Beans is a side dish that is often available in most restaurants across the south. Down here, it’s all about flavoring when it comes to good southern green beans.

The secret to perfectly seasoned green beans is a ham hock. This is the southern secret to delicious, fresh green beans. You can find ham hocks in the grocery store near other pork products. Sometimes they are cured or smoked.

If you can’t find ham hocks at your local grocer, don’t worry there are many substitutes you can use to get a similar flavor to your green beans.

Southern Green Beans Recipe

Southern Style Green Beans

The Domestic Diva
Green beans never tasted this good. Using fresh, frozen, or canned green beans this southern recipe brings so much flavor to the table it will become an instant family favorite.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 2 lbs. Fresh or Frozen Canned Green Beans (if using fresh remove the ends and cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1/2 small Vidalia Onion or yellow onion diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 small ham hock
  • salt to taste


  • If using fresh green beans, remove the ends. Then break each bean up into smaller bite sized pieces. If using frozen green beans this step is not necessary as they are already chopped for you.
  • Place desired type of green beans into a medium stock pot along with onion, butter, black pepper, and ham hock.
  • Cover with water.
  • Heat on stove until the beans begin to boil.
  • Cover, reduce heat to low-medium. Let simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until beans have reached desired tenderness.
  • Remove ham hock and discard after cooking.

Ham Hock Substitutes: What to use if you can't find a Ham Hock?

  • If you are unable to locate a ham hock at your local grocer, an alternative that we use here in the South is Goya Ham Flavored Concentrated Seasoning. Instead of adding the ham hock to the green beans, stir in one packet of Goya Ham Seasoning. For a more intense ham flavoring, two packets of Goya Ham Seasoning can be used.
  • A better alternative to Goya's Ham Flavoring packets would be the Better Than Boullion Ham Base. I love their chicken base for soups so this would be perfect for southern style green beans as well. I would start with a teaspoon of the ham base in place of the ham hock in this recipe. The amount of ham base used may need to be adjusted based on personal taste preferences. I would not exceed 2 teaspoons of Better Than Boullion Ham Base for 2 lbs. of green beans.
  • If you can't find a ham hock, Goya's Ham Seasoning, or Better Than Boullion Ham Base another alternative would be bacon (thick cut, preferred). Chop up two or three pieces of bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy in a large pot, the same one you are going to make your green beans in. Once the bacon is fully cooked add the green beans, onion, butter, and pepper. Cover with water and cook according to the directions above.


These southern style green beans go great alongside a slice of southern sweet cornbread and tall glass of sweet tea! Check out my favorite products for home cooks on Amazon.
Keyword Vegetables
Recipe CTA

Sometimes it is difficult to find a ham hock. Even living in the south it can be a bit of a challenge to find a ham hock when you really need one. This is when it is important to know alternatives to use when you are in a pinch.

What can I use instead of a ham hock?

Goya Ham Flavored Concentrated Seasoning

I keep a box of Goya Ham Flavored Concentrated Seasoning in my cabinet at all times for situations such as this. Maybe I forgot to pick up a ham hock at the store, couldn’t find one, or I’m just on a budget that week. Goya’s Ham Flavoring adds a good rich ham flavor to dishes such as southern green beans.

To substitute Goya Ham Seasoning in this recipe, start by adding 1 packed of seasoning to your pot of green beans instead of the ham hock. For a more intense ham flavoring, another packet of Goya Ham Seasoning can be used but do not exceed 2 packets for 2 lbs of green beans.

Better Than Boullion Ham Base

Better Than Boullion is a favorite brand of mine when it comes to seasoning. I love their bases for making soup, gravy, and savory meat dishes.

To substitute Better Than Boullion Ham Base for a ham hock in this recipe, I would start by adding 1 teaspoon of the ham base to the pot with the other ingredients. For a more intense flavor you could add another teaspoon of the Better Than Boullion Ham Base but I would not exceed 2 teaspoons of ham base for 2 lbs. of green beans.

Thick Cut Bacon

Lastly, another great alternative to using a ham hock would be bacon. I would prefer to use thick-cut bacon in this recipe but you could use any type of bacon you like.

To substitute bacon for a ham hock in this recipe: take two or three piece of bacon and cook it in the same pot you are going to cook the green beans. Cook the bacon until crispy. Once bacon is fully cooked, add the other ingredients to the pot. Do not drain the bacon grease as this is what will add the wonderful ham flavoring to your green beans. After adding the green beans, onion, pepper, and butter to your cooked bacon in a large pot, cover with water and cook according the directions above.

Simple Southern Style Creamed Corn Recipe made with frozen corn, butter, milk, and flour.
Simple Southern Style Creamed Corn Recipe made with frozen corn, butter, milk, and flour.
Southern Style Green Beans Recipe
Southern Style Green Beans Recipe

Heather began blogging in 2004 providing a glimpse into her domestic life. Over the years her writing topics have changed but one thing has remained the same, her love for preparing homemade, southern-style recipes for her family. When not dealing with household chores or cooking delicious recipes, she can be found homeschooling her two high school boys.


  1. I’m a huge fan of green beans, looking forward to giving this recipe a try.

  2. Aww yeah. I grew up in the south, and I can confirm that this is authentic and delicious.

  3. Richelle Escat Reply

    Thanks for this delicious healthy dish, I will love it for my sides.

  4. I love green beans they have that cruch and sweetness naturally. I’m crazy into side dishes. I’ll try this later!

  5. Monica Simpson Reply

    This sounds like the perfect side dish! I love ham or bacon flavor with green beans.

  6. I’m not a huge fan of green beans but your recipe looks incredibly delicious! Would love to give it a try!

  7. Green beans it’s something that my whole family eats. I will definitely try this recipe!

  8. natalia flores Reply

    haven’t heard about this but looks yummy. I would love to give this a try

  9. Thanks for sharing the recipe babe! I will be trying this soon!

  10. Hi, I will be making red beans and rice soon and I need a ham hock. But they are very expensive nowadays. So I decided to use a Goya ham flavored concentrate packet. Would it be okay to add the packet at the start of cooking the beans? Thanx for your response

    • Sounds delicious! Yes, I would add the seasoning packet at the beginning of cooking that way the beans have the entire cooking time to absorb the flavor. Let us know how it turns out. I’d love to know!

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