Southern Butter Beans



Pork tenderloin, butter beans and roasted potatoes

I love butter beans and have been eating them all my life. As a child I can remember working the fields at my grandmother and grandfather’s farm, picking all the beans and sitting around on the back porch shelling and snapping beans in the evening. My grandmother cooked the best butter beans, this is my version of her recipe and they are delicious!

Butter beans, lima beans, baby lima beans; whatever you like to call them, the difference would be size, with the larger ones commonly called limas and the smaller whiter ones butter beans. There is nothing better than fresh butter beans cooked southern style. During the summer months when I can find butter beans at the farmer’s market I load up on them and put them in the freezer. When I run out I will buy them frozen in bags at the local grocery store.

If you like butter beans then I am sure you have gotten them when you go your local meat and three restaurant, cafeteria or Cracker Barrel. Have you ever wondered how they cook the butter beans and make taste so delicious?! If you want to learn how to cook butter beans read more of my post, these will be the best you have ever eaten. I cook them southern style with thick bacon and a simple roux using butter and flour. When I make butter beans I make a l

For the Beans:
2 pounds fresh butter beans
3-4 strips bacon
1/2 medium size onion
1 whole clove garlic, do not chop (if desired, not required)

For the Roux:
2-3 Tablespoons butter
4-5 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
Cooking liquid from beans
¼ teaspoon paprika (add to taste)
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place the beans in a heavy saucepan and add water to cover the beans.

southern butter beans

Add bacon, onion half and garlic clove.

butter beans

southern lima beans

Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises from the bacon. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook on simmer to low until the beans are nearly tender, about thirty minutes. Be sure to not cook any higher or the bean will split open.

While the beans are cooking, go ahead and chop the green onion which will be added to the roux.

When the beans are done, strain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.  Remove and discard the bacon, onion and garlic clove if you can find it.

simple butter bean recipe

Now you are ready to make the roux, wipe out the bean pot and melt the butter. Add the green onions and sauté for a few minutes until soft, but do not let them brown.  Sprinkle over the flour, whisking until the sauce is smooth and thickened.

Add back the butter beans, slowly pour in 1 cup or more of the cooking liquid, reserve extra liquid in case you need it. You can add more of the cooking liquid as needed, many times I will use all the cooking liquid. Add the paprika and pepper to taste.

cooking butter beans

Continue to warm the butter beans on low until you are ready to eat, I usually cook them on a simmer for 3 hours.  Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

fingerling potatoes

We enjoy eating the Russian Banana fingerling potatoes, they are very delicious, buttery tasting. Roast the fingerling potatoes in a shallow pan, coat potatoes with olive oil and your favorite herbs. Roast for 30 minutes or until fork inserts easily.

grill pork loin

Since it’s only the two of us, I grilled a small pork tenderloin, which we will have two meals.

grilling porn loin

I like to cook the pork tenderloin to 150-155 degrees, then let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

butterbeans-and-fingerling-potatoes and pork tenderloin


Do you like butter beans? Have you cooked butter beans before?

Check out my recent post,

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creme brulee       best ever chocolate chip cake recipe

Cheesecake                               Strawberry Pie

cheesecake       fresh strawberry pie

solid Walnut cutting board       rectangle cutting board

18 thoughts on “Southern Butter Beans

  1. Now this is a completely new way to cook beans, it’s so great that you’re sharing your family’s recipe with us! I can just imagine the flavor from the bacon and then a beautiful roux! I can see why there’s so many memories around this recipe for you!

  2. I’ve only used butter beans in my favorite baked bean casserole but this sounds wonderful, Michael! I’d love to try your authentic southern recipe.

    BTW, I just posted about your board 🙂

  3. Mike – we love butter beans and your recipe is fabulous! Love how you cook them with bacon to flavor them. We make simple Italian recipe for butter beans, and mostly add them to our Drunkin Baked bean recipe during the BBQ season. I just saw one of your beautiful boards over at Susan’s blog. Fantastic! she is a doll! And your boards are so gorgeous! Have a great day!

    • I love them too, you can probably tell from my post! You should give my recipe a try, you will love the flavor! I need to check out your Italian recipe and your baked bean recipe. Thank you for your lovely comment on my cutting board! Susan did a great job on her post and the pictures too! Enjoy your evening! 🙂

  4. Michael, I love how you did the beans… and everything else. But, I’m a huge bean fan. Especially like this. Very creative with putting the bacon in with the beans to soak up the flavor… delish!

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