This succotash recipe is a classic American dish of tender, creamy butter beans sautéed with sweet corn, bell pepper and more for a wonderful side dish.
We’re cooking up a big batch of Butter Bean Succotash in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. Have you ever tried succotash?
If you’re looking for a vegetable-focused dish that can be served as a side dish with just about anything, this is a recipe you’ll want to keep on hand.
Succotash is a classic American dish of lima beans or other beans paired with sweet corn. Most often it includes other ingredients, such as bell peppers or sweet peppers, onion, garlic and a smattering of locally available vegetables.
The recipe was adopted from indigenous Americans by colonists and has been a staple ever since.
You’ll find versions all over the U.S., with recipes varying from cook to cook. It is particularly popular in the American south where it is a popular side dish.
You can easily adjust this succotash recipe to include your own favorite vegetables and seasonings. You can also add in meats, like andouille sausage or country ham, and serve it as more of a main dish.
While it is popularly served as a side, I’ve seen it served as more of a stew. This particular recipe is more of a vegetarian succotash, though again, feel free to add in meats and other ingredients to your preference, like spicy peppers.
Succotash is super versatile!
Let’s talk about how to make succotash, shall we?
- Vegetable Oil. Any oil will work here, like olive oil or peanut oil. You can also use bacon grease from some other recipe, or if you’re adding bacon for a non vegetarian succotash. See the recipe notes for meat ideas.
- Butter. For cooking and for optional added flavor.
- Onion. Red onion is great here, though you can use yellow, sweet or white onion.
- Peppers. Bell peppers are more traditionally used, but you can use others, like jalapeno peppers for more heat. I often add jalapenos to mine.
- Corn. Fresh corn is ideal here, but frozen corn works great.
- Butter Beans. Dried beans that are rehydrated are great for this recipe, but frozen lima beans are good, too. Baby lima beans or larger lima beans (butter beans) can both be used. You can make this recipe with other beans, but lima beans (aka butter beans) are more traditional.
- Cherry Tomatoes. Grape tomatoes are good, too, or chopped tomatoes.
- Fresh Chopped Herbs. I’m using basil, though you can use others, like marjoram, fresh chives, cilantro, parsley, or others.
- Salt and Black Pepper. To taste.
How to Make Succotash – the Recipe Method
Oil and Butter. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon butter together in a large pan over medium heat. Swirl to combine.
Onion, Peppers and Garlic. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, until it becomes fragrant.
Corn and Butter Beans. Add the corn, butter beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook stirring for 5 minutes, or until the corn kernels are golden in color and the beans and vegetables are tender and cooked to your preference.
Extra Butter, Tomatoes and Herbs. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of butter (if desired) along with the cherry tomatoes and fresh chopped basil, about 1 minute to warm. Use just 1/2 teaspoon for just a touch of additional buttery flavor.
Boom! Done! Your succotash is ready to serve. Easy enough to make, isn’t it? I love easy. And it looks delicious, nice and colorful. It really makes for a simple, yet perfect, side dish.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Other Vegetables. The typical base of classic succotash is corn and lima beans, with bell peppers coming in 3rd. You can easily add in others not used here. Some popular additions include fresh okra, potato, turnips, celery, greens and others. Be creative and use your favorites.
- The Beans. I’ve used a combination of creamy butter beans and baby lima beans, though you can use other shelled beans. Consider soy beans, edamame, great norther beans or others.
- Add Meats. This recipe does not include meat, but you can easily include it to round out the dish. Salt pork is very popular, as is smoked andouille sausage or corned beef. I enjoy mine with Mexican chorizo, but also ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey. Very tasty.
That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this succotash recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you and how you made it your own. I’ll bet you spiced yours up a little.
If you’re interested in southern cooking and cuisine, check out these cookbooks for some great southern recipes and history. I’m learning quite a lot about southern food and barbecue from them. Definitely some great eating!
- The Southerner’s Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories (affiliate link, my friends!)
- North Carolina Barbecue: Flavored by Time, by Bob Gardner (affiliate link, my friends!)
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Cowboy Caviar
- Cowboy Beans
- Charro Beans
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice
- Hoppin’ John
- Black Eye Peas
- Southern Vinegar Coleslaw
- Skillet Cornbread
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or use bacon grease
- 1 tablespoon butter + 1-2 tablespoons for later if desired
- 1 large red onion chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper chopped (or use jalapeno peppers for a spicier version)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels frozen is ok to use, thawed
- 1.5 pounds butter beans or baby lima beans - fresh hydrated, or thawed from frozen
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or use other fresh herbs
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon butter together in a large pan over medium heat. Swirl to combine.
- Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, until it becomes fragrant.
- Add the corn, butter beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook 5 minutes, or until the corn is golden in color and the beans are cooked to your preference.
- Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of butter (if desired) along with the cherry tomatoes and fresh chopped basil, about 1 minute to warm.