Photo: William Dickey; Styling: Buffy Hargett
Prep Time
10 Mins
Cook Time
2 Hours 10 Mins
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Tese Southern-style butterbeans are flavored wtih bacon, brown sugar. and onion and offer the convenience of frozen butterbeans.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook bacon and onion in a large Dutch oven over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes. Add brown sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Stir in butterbeans and butter until butter is melted and beans are thoroughly coated. Stir in 12 cups water.

Step 2

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 hours or until beans are very tender and liquid is thickened and just below top of beans. Stir in salt and pepper.

Step 3

Home-Style Lima Beans: Substitute 1 (16-oz.) package frozen baby lima beans for butterbeans. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Ratings & Reviews

NotChefEd's Review

November 08, 2012
Well, I'm not chef but do enjoy cooking. I was disappointed with this recipe for one reason, 12 cups of water was entirely too much. After 6 hours..yes 6 hours of simmering I still had way, way too much water and I even tripled the amount of butter beans the recipe called for. The flavor was good but the 12 cups of water was ridiculous. I lost alot of faith in because of this lack of quality assurance prior to posting a recipe for others to try. Does anybody test these to make sure they work before giving them out? As stated in the first sentence, I am not a chef, so originally I wanted to triple this recipe, thank goodness I didn't have a pot big enough to hold 36 cups of water.

May 27, 2015
They had problems because the recipe calls for a ludicrous 12 cups of water.


September 20, 2015
I also made the recipe with 12 cups of water, which is way too much, cooked it for about an hour and half, before I realized it wasn't reducing down, I poured most of it off, added some chicken broth, margarine and ham pieces, boiled it for about 45 minutes than I added some white rice and let it cook absorbing some of that liquid, made some cornbread and I swear this should have been part of the original recipe, next time I will use 2 cups water and 2 cups chicken broth, oh and I did add a pinch of Cajun seasoning!!

Using Canned Beans

August 17, 2015
I make this recipe with canned butter beans, and it comes out great.  No need for any water -- just stop after the step where you coat the butter beans with butter and the sugar glaze.  I continue cooking a bit on low just to warm the beans. 


August 10, 2015
I'm pretty positive that "12 cups" was a misprint for "1/2 cup".  I've been cooking southern and mid-western food for a looooong time, so I knew at a glance that 12 was wrong.  It is a delicious bean dish, and other than the typo, well done.  Give a fair chance and try it again using only a 1/2 cup of water.  You'll be glad you did!  I'm giving it 5 stars because the author shouldn't be held responsible for a misprint.  

I found a way to fix this!

July 01, 2015
I found the 12 cups of water odd, but I have never made butter beans before so I went with it. Like everyone else, I realized after an hour it was NOT going to reduce down. I saved them by pouring all liquid into a new sauce pan and boiling it for another hour or so until it reduced down to syrup. I combined that with my beans that had already cooked by then. (I used rehydrated in a clamshell). It saved what I expect to be most of the flavor, but there is way too much sugar in this anyway. I had a half cup and I am in a sugar coma. I would cut it in half next time and it needed a little salt, too.

Fix this recipe.... Please

April 05, 2015
You cannot use the 12 cups of water if you use frozen Lima beans!!! I should have scrolled down to read reviews before making this recipe. I just removed 2/3 of the water I added. I lost a lot of the flavoring with it. Hope this turns out. I was planning on this as a side dish for Easter dinner.

jbv2387's Review

January 02, 2014
Made these for Christmas for my family and everyone loved them. They have requested the recipe. I will be making them again with minor adjustments. I will reduce the brown sugar to 1/4 of a cup and use 3 cups of waters.

sadchef's Review

December 28, 2013
I picked this because I love butter beans and I thought it would make a great side dish to take over to my cousins where we were having the whole family(20 people) over for Xmas eve dinner(everyone brought something). I'm sure when made properly it is very good. However if one follows the recipe "as written" it is ruined by the 12 cups of water. If you use a 16 oz bag of dry beans it works, not if you use the frozen as written.Needless to say I had tripled it and ended up with nothing to take. I left the watery 2.25 gals in the fridge with hopes of making something with it. I will make it again, but please re-write it to end the confusion and waste of expensive food. Thank you and Happy New Year.

AllyBK's Review

November 11, 2012
I have made this recipe on more than one occasion. It is always good. Last night I halved the recipe, used baby limas and cooked on medium low for about 1 1/4 hours. They were perfect. Not sure why others ha problems.