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Lima Beans Recipe

This Southern Style Lima Beans Recipe is a simple side dish that’s certain to complement most any entrée. They’re super simple to make flavored with smoky bacon, onion and pantry seasonings all simmered together in a flavorful broth until the beans are soft and buttery.


Easy Southern Lima Beans Recipe

What’s the difference between lima beans and butter beans? They’re really the very same legume that comes in different sizes, colors and varieties. Baby lima beans as seen in this recipe, are green but equally as popular in the South are the large white butter beans that when cooked have a soft texture and buttery flavor. I’ve also heard lima beans called butter peas, Madagascar beans and one variety is known as a Dixie speckled butter pea lima bean. Whew, that’s a mouthful isn’t it?  The bottom line is, in spite of the different varieties and places of origin, lima beans and butter beans are the same legume and come from the same plant. All will make a delicious addition to soups, stews, salads and casseroles. How to make simple Lima Beans:

  • Lima Beans – Two pounds frozen baby lima beans or butter beans.
  • Bacon – Four slices classic bacon
  • Vegetables – One small sweet onion i.e. Vidalia onion or similar.
  • Liquid – Four cups water.
  • Seasonings – Chicken base (i.e. Better Than Bouillon), black pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder.

How to Make the Best Southern Lima Beans Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make these easy Southern Lima Beans: 2 pounds frozen baby lima beans or butter beans, bacon, onion, water, chicken base i.e. Better Than Bouillon or similar, diced onion, black pepper, granulated garlic and onion powder.
  • Kitchen gadgets you’ll need: A heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven with a lid, measuring cups and spoons, sharp knife and chopping board or small food processor, a large slotted spoon and large serving spoon for serving.
  • You can use fresh shelled lima beans or frozen lima beans for this recipe. There’s no need to thaw frozen lima beans prior to adding them to the pot.
  • Should you choose to go with a larger butter bean, they will naturally swell more than a small baby lima bean so adjust the amount of liquid to accommodate.
  • When covering the beans with water, the amount can vary depending on the size of the pot used. Rule of thumb is, the beans should be covered with 1/2-1 inch of liquid for cooking.
  • You can add 4 ounces of cubed ham to the pot in place of bacon or in addition to the bacon, if desired.
  • Store leftover cooked Lima Beans chilled in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in single servings in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat.

More Southern Style Recipes to Serve with Lima Beans


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Lima Beans Recipe (with Bacon)

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lima-beans-recipes, southern-lima-beans
Servings: 8 servings (may vary)
Calories: 215kcal


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 small sweet onion finely diced
  • 2 lbs frozen baby lima beans or butter beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp chicken base (i.e. Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder


  • In a large heavy bottomed 4 quart pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes or just until bacon has rendered and browned.
  • Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate or platter and chop. Add diced onion to drippings, cook for 3-4 minutes over medium high heat or until softened and beginning to brown.
  • Meanwhile, dissolve chicken base in water. Add to the pot with lima beans, black pepper, granulated garlic and onion powder. Mix to combine. Bring to a boil then immediately lower heat to low and simmer covered for 35-45 minutes. (Add additional water if needed to completely cover beans.)
  • At 35 minutes, uncover and check beans for tenderness. Cook uncovered for 5-10 minutes over medium heat or just until stock has reduced and thickened slightly. (fresh beans may take longer.)
  • Add chopped bacon back to the pot and serve.


Please note:
  • Chicken base will have ample salt for the entire dish. You can use 4 cups of chicken stock adding 1-2 teaspoons of salt in place of water and chicken base, if desired.
  • When covering the beans with water, the amount can vary slightly depending on the size of the pot used. Rule of thumb is, the beans should be covered with 1/2-1 inch of liquid for cooking.  


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 595mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 3mg
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