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Green beans and potatoes is one of my favorite side dishes.   I grew up on this dish.  I remember when my mother cooked fresh green beans and potatoes straight from the garden seasoned with a ham hock and we could not get enough.  They were just that good!  Mama used pork jowl and salt pork or just plain bacon as seasonings in any kind of beans she made for us.

Green Beans and Potatoes - TSLC

Today, I feel like the meal is really not complete if we don’t have some kind of beans and potatoes.  Mama always cooked a huge kettle of green beans and potatoes and we had them for several days. I never tired of them with cornbread muffins and would make a meal of just the two dishes.

Ingredients for Green Beans and Potatoes

2 pounds fresh, frozen or canned green beans (If fresh, remove ends and break into pieces and wash the beans)

6 or 7 red potatoes, cut in pieces (I have made this using any kind of potatoes)

1 to 2  cups chicken broth or 1 (14.5 ounce) can (You don’t have to use the chicken broth. I just think it makes them better)

1 ham hock (Can use cooked ham, bacon, pork jowl or salt pork about a half cup, chopped)

2 to 3 cups water

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely diced onion (Optional)

1 teaspoon minced garlic (Optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil, then turn to medium low and cook about 1 1/2 hours until potatoes are done and water has cooked down.  You can also do this in the crockpot and let cook on low 6 to 7 hours or high 4 hours.

Note:  You can add a couple teaspoons bacon drippings if you are just using ham. This will add flavor to the beans.

Makes 8 to 10 servings. Enjoy.

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  1. Charlotte Raines says:

    Many years ago, a black church friend turned me on to using smoked pork neck bones. They are absolutely the best thing to use for fresh green beans and especially collards or other greens.
    Boil them for a while in the water you’re going to use, then after you see and smell it ready, put your beans or greens in to cook.
    I use 3 or 4 neck bones at a time and keep a package in the freezer. Most grocery stores carry them. Try it! The smoky pork flavor is great!

  2. Phyllis Price says:

    Question for the Southern Lady. What is the best way to Cook frozen green beans

  3. When I cook fresh
    Or canned green beans I always use one medium onion bacon, ham hock and a little bacon grease. Several potatoes quartered and if canned only dump half the water out. Sometimes I will add a can of diced tomatoes. It is delishous. Don’t forget
    To add water to fresh ones.

  4. Michelle K Drozdibob says:

    I just made a big pot of it last week. Used a country ham (small smoked pork) about 2 lbs. At the end of cooking time, I stirred in a cornstarch slurry, and it gave the broth a nice consistency. Preference, that’s all.

  5. Lynda Allen says:

    they say the only dumb question is the unasked one, so, with that in mind . . . lid on or off to cook the beans on the stove? 🙂

    • The Southern Lady says:

      I bring them to a boil, turn to simmer or low and cover. You could cook uncovered but covering keeps the liquid from cooking out of the pot. Either way, just make sure you don’t let them cook dry. Don’t ever hesitate to ask, Lynda. Have a great week ahead and I hope you enjoy this recipe.

  6. In Chattanooga TN it’s called Better Than Bullion, or BTB, and is great stuff.

  7. laurie mitchell says:

    My family is from the upstate New York North Country.My mom and my grandmom made this boiled dinner in the fall when it started to get cold. Warmed our bellies and our souls!

  8. Ellen Pruner says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My dear departed mother in law used to make these on holidays. I haven’t had them in years and it was like having her at our table again. I even served them in one of her bowls. I think the fam thought I was a little crazy because all I could talk about at dinner were these wonderful beans like Grandma used to make. Truth be told my girls hated them back in the day as young kids, but loved them today. I am a northern city girl raised on boxes and cans. I love to cook and look forward to all of your posts!

    • The Southern Lady says:

      Thank you Ellen for the wonderful comment. I am so glad you found this recipe and it brought back such fond memories. Thank you so much for sharing. Have a wonderful week.

  9. Good Lord how I miss my people…

  10. My mom used fresh green beans red potatoes a lb of bacon and cream style corn..let it cook in a roaster on low all day at camp… we all do it..

  11. GLORIA EBINGER says:


  12. Seeing these made my mouth water and long for summer. I am a Florida transplant for Kentucky where I grew my own beans. Now I have to wait for summer or use Allen’s canned beans. The ham hock from my Christmas Kentucky Country ham will do nicely. Now if I could only get some decent tomatoes.

  13. Emma Chapman says:

    My mother always made this vegetable dish. Well, my grandmother too. They always used salt pork, (streak-o-lean). They would cut off a small block then cut through the meaty part to the skin, then leave the block intact with the slices fanned out. She added the potatoes last. She used fresh green beans from the garden or home canned beans. This was on our table every Sunday.

  14. I married a gentleman from Georgia and the first time I visited my in-laws my mother-in-law made this dish. That was in 1959 and it has been my very favorite southern dish ever since. So simple to put together, makes a meal all in one and has such flavor. My mother-in-law used salt pork but I am from the Northwest and I have chosen to use ham or bacon or combination of both. Onion is a must. For convenience I usually use top brand canned green beans and allow all to simmer until all flavors developed together. As an option to change up at different times: a sprinkle of dill or small sprig of thyme. The original recipe: Oh so great!

  15. Betsy Hicks says:

    I live in Texas, but grew up in Salem, Ohio. My mom made this all the time. She would boil a picnic ham and it was gone down to the bone, she would use it to make this dish. I’ve been making it for family and friends in Texas for forty years. Everybody loves it, but most had never heard of it. I also use smoked sausage sometimes. Yum.

  16. Been eating green beans and potatoes and macaroni with tomatoes all my life here in PA. I wonder where they and when they started.

  17. This is the only way to cook green beans. Just had some for supper last night!

  18. This was in reply to the two ladies from Virginia who couldn’t find ham hocks

  19. I get smoked ham hocks at Walmart!I use them when I make bean soup.

  20. Cristina González says:

    I Love this recipe. Wonderful. A friend told me about this one but never told me how to do it. She mixed it but now I have it. Thanks a lot

  21. If you use canned green beans ,do you drain them ? Also about how many cans of green beans do you use?. Thanks

  22. I love this however I add about a lb of kielbasa cut up in bite size pieces. So good.

  23. Nancy Peacock Boutell says:

    This has been a huge hit with family and friends.I made it three times in the first 10 days I had it !!

  24. I have been doing them this way for years, I usually make a meal of it.

  25. I have always made my greens beans like this…with bacon..everything the same I just have never tried with chicken broth…

  26. Sherry gottshalk says:

    This is unreal. So simple. Put too much fluid in crockpot for scaled down recipe..took off lid..let cook longer. How did I never know about this dish..m guess because I’m a Yankee.

  27. Um um. Thank you for sharing this. This dish is one of the best. My great aunts and ggm would serve this often and if it weren’t for self discipline i would have licked to bowl and turned it up to slurp the liquor remaining. Fresh green beans is a must and just about any potato will do. Never had it with the cabbage. Great site and good recipes. Definitely a ‘go to site’ for creative cooking.

  28. This is a favorite of mine. My mother was from Kentucky, and she made this often, only she added fresh carrots to it and about 15 minutes before she took it off the stove she would add fresh corn cut off the cob. Served with cornbread, it was a full meal : )

  29. You can also cook this in pressure cooker,on high for 15 min. Use only 2 cups of liquid.

  30. sharon edwards says:

    I have also used smoked sausage in them

  31. Yum, this is how my mother & I make green beans (without onions or garlic). I grew up in northeastern Ohio & received unseasoned, canned green beans in the school cafeteria. But my Kentucky Mama knew how to make them right. So I learned to eat both but I love the Southern ones & only make them now. The only problem I have been having for the last few years is finding ham hocks around here (central Virginia). I’ve been using bacon/grease. I’ve also used beef broth when chicken broth is unavailable & it makes the beans taste as good as the chicken. My favorite beans are the white half runners. In my book they are the best. But again, I have not found them in this area. Merry Christmas!

    • I too live in VA. Piedmont region. Try asking your butcher, you will probably do best at an independent local market that butchers their own meat. If not, try this: simmer ham bone in enough water that you will use to cook your beans. Then remove bone and discard. I would eliminate the broth from the recipe as you have essentially made your own. I always freeze my ham bone for a later use like this. Great taste and I love the little ham pieces that fall off in the pot to be in my beans! You can use the bone in this way for this recipe or pinto beans, or the water base for vegetable beef soup. Yummy. HTH.

    • You can also try “ham base”… not sure exactly what it is called but you should be able to find it with chicken/beef stock and bullion. It’s a paste. Just add a tablespoon or so to your beans. Beef stock is good as well (learned that in a weight-loss class). Gives the beans loads of flavor!

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