Silky, savory, and packed with flavor, these super easy slow cooker green beans are a simple side dish that are perfect for weeknight dinners or festive holiday spreads. Slow cooked to tender perfection, they include tons of flavor from sweet onions and smokey bacon. Plus, mostly hands-off cooking time means you can free up the oven (and your time) for more important things!

Overhead shot of cooked green beans in a slow cooker.

About these Slow Cooker Green Beans

I love cooking vegetables in my crock pot (hello slow cooker carrots, slow cooker potatoes, and slow cooker baked potatoes), because the low and slow cook time yields tender and flavorful results, all with mostly hands-off cook time.

This simple slow cooker green bean recipe includes a hit of flavor from savory bacon, along with a smokey kick from smoked paprika.

You’ll also find a touch of sweetness from brown sugar, along with a pleasant tang from the apple cider vinegar.

The great thing is that prep for these green beans can be done in about 10 minutes, leaving your oven (and you!) free for more important things.

I love serving these simple green beans alongside juicy turkey breast or garlicky baked chicken, but you’ll find they go with just about any weeknight meal, and are just as fitting for a Thanksgiving table.

Tip: The bacon is optional in this recipe, and I’ve provided notes, below, on how to make this recipe vegetarian slow cooker green beans!

Overhead shot of cooked onions and tomatoes in a skillet.
Overhead shot of cooked onion and bacon in a cast iron skillet.

Prep, Make Ahead & Storage Notes

The bacon and onion mixture can be prepped up to 4 days in advance, then stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Note that if making the bacon onion mixture ahead, the bacon fat will harden upon refrigeration, but it will melt again upon gentle reheating. 

The green beans can also be washed and trimmed ahead of time.

The fully cooked green beans can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

You can even use the slow cooker to reheat the cooked green beans by warming them on low for 30-60 minutes, covered.

Vegetarian Tip: To make these crockpot green beans with no bacon and instead with tomatoes, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add ¼ cup diced oil-packed sun dried tomatoes along with the spices, and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Overhead shot of green beans, cooked onions and tomatoes in a slow cooker.

Why Make Green Beans in the Slow Cooker

There are a number of reasons you might want to cook green beans in the slow cooker rather than on the stovetop.

For the holidays like Thanksgiving, cooking green beans in the slow cooker can save precious stovetop space for other dishes.

Or, during the hot months of summer, cooking them in the slow cooker will keep the kitchen cool, a game-changer when that summer harvest or CSA haul of green beans comes in!

Finally, cooking them in the crockpot can be handy when bringing the dish to potlucks or to a friend’s house.

Overhead shot of cooked green beans in a slow cooker.

Testing Notes, Key Ingredients & Substitutions

Green beans: There are over 130 known varieties of edible pod beans (source), but for this recipe I recommend a tender, non-starchy French string bean such as haricots verts. I’ve also tested this recipe with frozen, defrosted haricots verts and it worked well.

I haven’t tested it with any other type of beans or canned green bean, so if you give it a try let me know how it turns out in the comments. Note that starchier beans will result in a starchier end result.

Bacon: Look for thick cut bacon. For vegetarian slow cooker green beans with no bacon and instead with tomatoes, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add ¼ cup diced oil-packed sun dried tomatoes along with the spices, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock.

Smoked paprika: Lends a smoky flavor in addition to the bacon. Regular paprika can be used instead.

Brown sugar: Adds a subtle sweetness to the beans, but for a no-sugar, low-carb option, feel free to skip it.

Apple cider vinegar: Adds a nice tang to the beans. Balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar will also work.

Tip: Have extra green beans? Check out this simple and delicious roasted green beans & Brussels sprouts recipe.

Overhead shot of cooked green beans in a slow cooker.
Overhead shot of cooked green beans in a slow cooker.
5 stars (1 rating)

Slow Cooker Green Beans (with Bacon!)

Silky, savory, and packed with flavor, these super easy slow cooker green beans are a simple side dish that are perfect for weeknight dinners or festive holiday spreads. Slow cooked to tender perfection, they include tons of flavor from sweet onions and smokey bacon. Plus, mostly hands-off cooking time means you can free up the oven (and your time) for more important things!

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and ends trimmed, such as Haricots Verts

To Add at the End

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • freshly cracked ground pepper

Instructions 

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet.
  • To the same skillet, add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and paprika, then cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. 
  • Add the salt, brown sugar, stock and vinegar to a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring to combine. Add the cooked onion mixture, 2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled and the green beans, tossing to coat.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours on high, or low for 6-7.
  • Uncover and drain all but ¼ cup of cooking liquid. Add the butter and remaining 2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled, to the green beans, stirring to combine. 
  • Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if desired. Serve warm.

Notes

See above blog posts for a vegetarian variation with tomatoes and no bacon, substitutions, make ahead tips, and troubleshooting notes.
Note: Some of the photos show the vegetarian variation with sun dried tomatoes, while others show the bacon version because I tested the recipe with both options. Please follow the recipe directions as written in the recipe card for best results.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 (of 8), Calories: 144kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 190mg, Potassium: 358mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 895IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 53mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition disclaimer
Did you make this recipe?If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

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