Creamy Bacon Brown Sugar Lima Beans Recipe: A Creative Thanksgiving Side Dish by Heather Holter

Creamy Bacon Brown Sugar Lima Beans Recipe: A Creative Thanksgiving Side Dish

At my in-law's house for the holidays they served these amazing lima beans that everyone loved. The only problem was they took literally days to make. This is because they started with dry beans, had to soak them overnight, then the next day they had to bake them at very a low temperature for two to four hours. The lima beans contained cream, and cooking at higher temperatures ruins the sauce because the cream curdles. So you literally have to sit and smell it while waiting all day for my absolute favorite holiday side dish. I'll take baked lima beans over the pie any day of the week! 

I call them sugar beans at my house. I made this complicated lima bean recipe a few times myself at home, but once kids came along I wasn't about to invest that sort of time in a side dish. So recently, after going many years without these beans, I made a stovetop version and you can barely tell the difference!

To make these gluten-free lima beans you will need four cans of lima beans, bacon, heavy cream, ground mustard and brown sugar. The beans simmer gently on the stovetop until thick, rich and delicious. Serve these sweet lima beans as a side dish for dinner

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Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 4 cans (15 ounces each) lima beans or butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pound cooked bacon (reserve grease)
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (divided)

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Recipe Notes

  • I used lima beans and butter beans combined, but you can use one or the other as long as you use four cans. Next time I think I will use all butter beans. They absorb the sauce much better.
  • These lima beans get even better the next day.
  • Whenever you make bacon save and freeze the grease to use in recipes where you need the grease but want to use premade bacon.
  • This dish goes great with my smoked barbecue pulled pork sandwiches (recipe coming soon) and corn casserole.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Combine lima beans with 2 tablespoons bacon grease in a pot at medium heat. Add half the brown sugar and stir until melted.
  2. Add cream and ground mustard. Reduce heat so the cream is barely bubbling, stirring every few minutes to prevent sticking. Cook until the cream has thickened, up to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Add half the bacon. Cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the rest of the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. (This is to taste. I like them sweeter, so I use it all, but some like just a hint of sweetness.) Stir in remaining bacon. Let stand 5 minutes and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 425

Total Fat: 28.2g

Saturated Fat: 11.8g

Cholesterol: 83mg

Sodium: 1371mg

Total Carbohydrate: 20.8g

Dietary Fiber: 3.4g

Total Sugars: 7.1g

Protein: 20.8g

Vitamin D: 12mcg

Calcium: 48mg

Iron: 2mg

Potassium: 292mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Donna John
People either love or hate lima beans, and I love them. This recipe sounds amazing. I put brown sugar in my green beans, which I copied from a local barbecue restaurant. Brown sugar and hot sauce. Butter beans are also a favorite of mine. I grew up eating fresh butter beans. Think I'll do half and half when I make this recipe. How do you think it would be cutting it in half?
Heather Holter
You can DEFINITELY half the recipe and they may cook faster bc there is less liquid.

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