Easy Southern summer succotash features lima beans, corn and tomatoes — plus crumbled bacon — for a delicious classic side dish that's great for BBQs, picnics, potlucks and summer dinners!
I am struggling getting back into life after our seriously fabulous family vacation last week. It has been ROUGH!
I just don't want to do it.
You know, the job. The stuff. The day-to-day life. A big ole BLAH!
Also I know, a big ole kick in my own pants cause woe is me, right? I was fortunate enough to have an amazing opportunity to get away with my family for an incredible week of fun so there should be zero complaints.
And I am grateful. Very, very grateful. I'm just transitioning poorly back into the real world is what I mean.
But enough of that. I'll suck it up soon enough and put my big girl pants back on.
So let's move right along to the food...
Y'all know I love my classic Southern recipes, right? It's my heritage and it's what I grew up with here in North Carolina.
Here's a few Southern favorites I've shared previously:
And today we're continuing with another of my favorites: classic summer Southern succotash!
I’ll just say right now that succotash is one of those recipes that everyone has a unique take on.
Some use hominy, some use fresh corn.
Some use lima beans, some use butter beans.
I’ve seen it made with milk or cream, with meats added in or vegetarian, and people will use different mixes of veggies in this dish.
This here is my version of summer succotash. And it’s easy. And I’m Southern so I get to claim that it’s officially Southern style succotash.
It’s OK, that’s how we all work down here. 😉
But this easy Southern summer succotash recipe really should be your go-to because it’s got ALL the classic flavors (and then some) and it's hardly any work!
(You might also want to check out classic baked beans for another favorite bean-based side dish.)
What makes this version of succotash the best ever:
- Bacon. Duh. The veggies get a great background of smoky flavor from cooking in the bacon grease and then you crumble the cooked, crispy bacon on top for serving. So so good!
- Paprika. Something about having a bit of this mixed in really brings a nice warmth to the dish.
- Apple cider vinegar. This is added near the end and helps brighten all of the veggies and make this dish seem so fresh and vibrant!
I’ve got quite a few notes for you on this recipe, but only so that you can have the option to customize it just like you want it! 👍
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
What is succotash?
At its most basic, this dish is just corn and lima beans cooked together.
Most recipes also call for some mixture of other vegetables, such as onion, bell peppers, tomatoes and/or okra.
It's often finished off with lard or butter on top.
Since the ingredients are inexpensive and pretty readily available, this was a popular dish during the Great Depression and among poorer people in rural areas.
Notes on making Southern style succotash:
- You can use fresh corn (my preference when it's in season) and you'll need about 4 cobs for this recipe. You can also use frozen corn, however. Just make sure to thaw it (either in the fridge or under some running water).
- I prefer lima beans but you can substitute butter beans if you want for this recipe. If you can get fresh lima beans from the farmer’s market, that’s great, but I’ve used frozen before and they work well too. Just be sure they’re already cooked for use in this succotash recipe.
- Some recipes call for peppers, carrots or okra in this dish, so you could certainly add those if you want.
- I don’t think it needs it, but some people swear by adding a pat of butter at the end. Do what works for you!
- If you don’t want to use the bacon or need to make it vegetarian, you can skip it and use butter or oil to sauté the veggies. (But the crumbled bacon tastes great on top of this and adds a great smoky flavor to the veggies as they cook in the bacon grease so I recommend you go for it if you're not vegetarian!)
I like this succotash best served warm but it’s also fabulous at room temperature so it’s a great dish for a party or BBQ where you can let it sit out.
(Or just a traditional Southern dinner when you need to make some things ahead to be able to focus on other dishes.)
I’ve even had it cold straight from the fridge. This dish is so flavorful, it’s pretty forgiving 😉
If you are new to succotash, I hope you’ll give it a try this summer - I think it’ll become a fast favorite!
Have a great weekend!
- 4 slices of bacon (I use thick-cut)
- 1 cup sweet yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups of corn (see notes)
- 2 cups of cooked lima beans
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until cooked through and crispy, about 10 minutes.
- Remove bacon from pan, reserving the bacon drippings in the pan, and let sit on a paper towel until cool enough to crumble. Set aside.
- Return the pan to medium heat and add the onion. Saute the onion in the bacon grease over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds.
- Add corn, lima beans and cherry tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Add paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 more minutes until the veggies are softened.
- Stir in the apple cider vinegar and cook 1 more minute.
- Serve succotash sprinkled with fresh basil and reserved crumbled bacon.
You can use fresh summer corn (you'll need about 4 medium cobs) or frozen corn, thawed.
I prefer lima beans but you can substitute butter beans if you want for this recipe. If you can get them from the farmer’s market that’s great, but I’ve used frozen before and they work well too. Just be sure they’re already cooked for using in this recipe.
If you don’t want to use the bacon, you can skip it and use a tablespoon or so of butter or oil to sauté the veggies.
You can also finish this dish off with a pat of butter, for extra richness, if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 185mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 8gSugar: 8gProtein: 11g
This post was previously published in July 2017. It has been updated with new photos, a recipe video and some additional information about the recipe.