Home » Sweet & Sour Bacon Green Bean Side Dish Recipe

Sweet & Sour Bacon Green Bean Side Dish Recipe

This beautiful side dish will brighten up any menu! Fresh green beans and red bell pepper tossed in a mouth watering balsamic brown sugar glaze with crispy bits of bacon. The sweetness and acidity pair perfectly with a variety of main dishes.

This is not a new recipe, it is one that I grew up eating regularly at dinner time. Although a bit more basic without the crispy bacon, or red bell pepper. Apple cider vinegar and brown sugar with green beans tossed in. My version of this sweet and sour green bean recipe uses balsamic which I think adds zing with out making you squinch your face for the sourness. This delicious recipe is reminiscent of german potato salad if you have ever had that. It is also a favorite side dish of mine, you can find German Potato Salad here.

  1. this easy recipe is bright and fresh and beautiful on a plate
  2. it pairs well with a variety of menus, from bbq and grilled menus to richer menus such as Thanksgiving or Easter dinner, the acidity and sweetness go especially well with richer dishes such as scallop potatoes, au gratin potatoes, or a mac n cheese
  3. it has bacon in it, which goes with one of my life mottos “life needs more bacon!”
  • fresh green beans
  • red bell pepper
  • thick cut bacon strips
  • balsamic vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 quart sauce pan or larger
  • 12 inch cast iron or other skillet
  • large bowl, for ice bath
  • colander
  • sharp knife for cutting bacon and dicing red bell pepper
  • paring knife for trimming green beans
  • measuring spoons and cups
  • slotted spoon
  • tongs
  • serving dish
  1. Wash and trim green beans. Dice red bell pepper into small cubes. Dice thick cut bacon into small pieces.

2. Blanch green beans: first fill large bowl with cold water and ice, set off to the side. In a 3 quart or larger sauce pan bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Add green beans to the boiling water cook for 2 minutes, with a slotted spoon remove green beans to ice bath. Allow green beans to cool completely. Drain in a colander.

3. Cook bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium high heat, until browned and crispy. Remove pan from heat and spoon off all but approximately 1 tbsp of the bacon grease.

4. Return to heat, add in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, stir to combine and cook until sauce becomes the thickness of pancake syrup. Glaze should look like the next photo.

5. Lower to medium heat and add in drained green beans, toss to reheat and cover with glaze.

6. Add diced red bell peppers to the skillet, toss a few more times in sweet and sour sauce. Cook at medium low heat for 3-5 minutes or until green beans are heated through. Add salt and ground black pepper to your taste. Note: if you like a snappier bean cook for 3 minutes, if you prefer your veggies tender cook the full 5 minutes.

7. Remove green beans to serving dish with tongs or a slotted spoon, if sauce has loosed up from moisture released from the vegetables, return pan to heat and reduce sauce until it returns to syrupy consistency. Pour glaze over green beans, being sure to scrape all the bacony bits and goodness from the pan onto this tasty side dish!

  • cubes of pancetta or any salty cured meat can be used as a substitute for the bacon
  • bacon can be left out of recipe completely if you prefer this to be meat free, use 1 tbsp olive oil to replace bacon fat
  • would you Iike to spice up this side dish? YES please! add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the dish during the sauteing green beans step.
  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days, longer if you leave out the meat.
  • Can this dish be prepared in advance? Yes. The texture of the bean will be tenderer, but it can be done two ways. 1. Blanch the green beans the day before and the next day make the glaze and put the dish together 15 minutes before you plan on serving dinner. 2. Make the dish in its entirety, store in a microwave safe bowl and reheat in skillet or microwave.
  • How can this dish be made meatless or is there a vegan option? Yes you can leave the bacon out entirely. Heat olive oil in skillet add balsamic and brown sugar to make the glaze. Proceed with the recipe as stated in recipe card.
  • What type of food does this vegetable side dish pair best with? Sweet and sour green beans with bacon pair well with any barbecue type menu, especially if there is macaroni and cheese. The sweetness and acidity of the glaze goes well with rich foods such as scallop potatoes, au gratin potatoes, creamy mac n cheese, and it is great along side pork, chicken, and beef.
  • What can I use as a substitute for brown sugar? To be honest I have only tried this once with maple syrup in place of the brown sugar. I prefer the brown sugar. Let me know how it turns out if you give something else a try!

I promise this green been recipe is one your whole family will love! If you are looking for the perfect Easter menu I have shared some delicious recipes that go well with this side dish. Enjoy! XOX Sheila

Green beans, on a orange platter with sweet and sour bacon sauce being spooned over green beans

Sweet and Sour Bacon Green Bean Side Dish

Sweet and sour glaze is made using balsamic vinegar and brown sugar with crispy bacon; toss in the green beans and diced red pepper for a beautiful side dish that will brighten up any menu.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Sides
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 3 quart sauce pan for blanching green beans
  • deep 12 inch skillet for making sauce and sauting green beans
  • colander for draining green beans after ice bath
  • tongs for tossing green beans in sauce, you can use whatever works for you
  • slotted spoon for removing green beans from boiling water, you can also drain in colander and then put in ice bath
  • large bowl for ice water bath to cool green beans down after blanching


  • 2 lbs fresh green beans washed and trimmed
  • 4 slices thick sliced bacon diced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper more to your taste
  • salt to your taste


blanch green beans

  • Fill a large bowl with cold water add some ice. Add 6 cups of water plus 2 teaspoons of salt to a 3 quart or larger sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add cleaned and trimmed green beans to the boiling water cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon remove beans from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice bath. Leave in water until beans are cool to the touch. Drain in a colander.

sweet and sour glaze

  • In a 12" skillet over medium high heat add diced thick cut bacon, cook until crispy. Remove skillet from heat and spoon nearly all rendered fat from bacon, leaving approximately 1 tbsp of bacon grease in the pan.
  • Return pan to heat add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar whisk, turn heat down to medium-low and cook until glaze thickens (consistency of pancake syrup) add drained green beans to the pan and toss around with glaze. Add in diced bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Remove green beans to a serving dish. If sauce has loosened up from the juices released from vegetables, turn up the heat and allow glaze/ sauce to reduce. When sauce/glaze returns to the consistency of pancake syrup turn off heat and spoon over beans making sure to scrape all the bits of bacony goodness from the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch more salt and pepper and serve.


Note: green beans can be blanched a day ahead of time, or earlier in the day to save time.  This dish also warms up quite well, its not quite as perfect the next day, but if you wanted to prepare the entire side dish a day in advance and then warm in the microwave, in skillet on stove top  this does work. The beans will lose a bit of the bright green color and the texture will be softer. 
Keyword bacon, green beans, side dish, sides, sweet and sour
Tried this recipe?Mention @eat2gather or tag #eat2gather!

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