How to make succotash

Our Test Kitchen surprised us with a few twists on this traditional dish.

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There are three must-have ingredients in a good pan of succotash. You must have fresh tomatoes, and we prefer cherry tomatoes to boost the sweetness of the dish and add a little acidity for balance. Instead of heavy cream, this recipe calls for salted butter to give the colorful vegetables richness without turning them gray. And where many succotash recipes call for soft herbs such as tarragon, chives, and parsley, we prefer basil. Its classic flavor and aroma just says “summer”. While pork is a traditional ingredient in many Southern variations of succotash, it’s certainly not essential to this side. For a vegetarian option, follow the recipe but omit the bacon and replace the drippings with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Still want a hint of spice? Sprinkle the finished dish with a little bit of smoked paprika.

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces fresh or frozen baby lima beans (2 cups)
  • 4 center-cut bacon slices
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion (from 1 small onion)
  • 4 ounces fresh okra, cut into ½-inch-thick slices (1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (1 tsp.)
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (4 ears)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1 cup)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • Step 1

Place lima beans in a medium saucepan, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to medium-low, and simmer until beans are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While beans simmer, place bacon slices in a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Cook until crisp, about 8 minutes, turning once after 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels; crumble and set aside. Reserve drippings in skillet.

Add chopped onion, fresh okra, and garlic to skillet over medium, and cook, stirring often, until onion is just tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in fresh corn kernels, salt, pepper, and drained beans, and cook, stirring often, until corn is tender and bright yellow, 5 to 6 minutes. Add butter, and cook, stirring constantly, until butter is melted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Stir in halved cherry tomatoes and sliced basil; sprinkle with crumbled bacon, and serve immediately.

How to make succotash

The word succotash is an Anglicized spelling of “msickquatash” a Naragansett word that means “broken corn” and typically referred to a stew of corn and other ingredients. Cookbooks and travel logs from the 18th and 19th century reveal that the tradition of eating corn, beans and squash together has been a tradition in this country for centuries, largely because these three crops are often grown together. This is also why they are often referred to as “The Three Sisters” which is the name of another dish with indigenous roots.

We love using this combo of sweet, savory summer veg to make a fresh side dish that will light up any warm-weather meal. Historically, the three ingredients would often be cooked along some form fresh or dried meat but in this case we’ve opted for bacon which will add a some nice crispy texture and porky flavor.

Tried out this summer veggie side? Let us know how it came out in the comments below!

thick strips bacon, cut into lardons (sliced crosswise into ¼” thick pieces)

cobs corn, kernels removed (about 2 cups)

medium zucchini, chopped into ¼” pieces

(15.5 oz) can lima beans, drained and rinsed or 16 oz bag frozen lima beans, thawed

Packed with healthy veggies like onion, corn, and lima beans, this traditional Southern side makes the perfect potluck dish.

By Robby Melvin

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh lima beans
  • ½ small yellow onion
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 uncooked bacon slices
  • 1 medium-size sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
  • 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Step 1

Bring first 4 ingredients and water to cover to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain beans, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Discard yellow onion, thyme, and garlic.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat 7 minutes or until crisp, turning once. Remove bacon, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels, and crumble.

Sauté chopped sweet onion in hot drippings over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Stir in corn, and cook, stirring often, 6 minutes or until corn is tender. Stir in tomatoes, cooked lima beans, and 3/4 cup reserved cooking liquid; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in butter and next 3 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Hope everybody had a wonderful holiday weekend with friends and family, and an extra day off today to recover. All the carbs and meat of late have me in the mood for some veggies and what a great time to introduce some summer succotash!

To be honest, I love a simple succotash mixture of baby butter beans and corn, maybe with a bit of onion and garlic, always some butter, and sometimes just a splash of cream. You can make succotash using fresh, frozen or even canned vegetables, so it’s pretty much a year round dish you can serve anytime.

But it’s summer, and in the summertime, succotash just calls out for those fresh, abundant summer vegetables – fresh corn on the cob, certainly fresh garden butter beans if ya got ’em, though truthfully, I tend to always keep frozen baby lima beans around, and they are delicious.

Add in some sweet Vidalia onion, garden fresh tomatoes and sweet bell peppers – red, yellow, orange or green, or even a combination of a few. You could even add in some summer squash or zucchini, eggplant, or whatever is fresh at the farmers market or in your own backyard garden.

Include some of your favorite garden fresh herbs too, whether it be simply parsley, or chives, dill, basil, thyme or tarragon – they all add their own unique flavor profile.

The fresh tastes of summer in a beloved succotash, so good, so fresh – I swear, this is one of those dishes where I could literally eat the entire pot, all on my own!

Check out more of my southern favorites on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I’d love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

Here’s how to make my summer succotash.

Recipe: Southern Summer Succotash

  • 3 medium ears corn
  • 1/2 pound fresh or frozen baby butter (lima) beans
  • 3 slices bacon , cooked and chopped, reserve drippings
  • 1/2 cup chopped andouille or smoked ham or turkey , optional
  • 1 cup sliced fresh or frozen okra , thawed
  • 1 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet bell pepper (green, red, yellow, orange or combination)
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt , or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper , or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning , or to taste, optional
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter , or 1/8 cup heavy cream

Cook corn using your favorite method, or place whole, unhusked corn in microwave and cook on high for 12 minutes (1000 watt); use oven mitt to remove and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, add butter beans to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, boil for 3 minutes, reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until mostly tender. Drain, setting aside 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Rinse beans and set aside. Use a sharp serrated knife to carefully cut off the root end of the corn, remove husks and silks and cut corn off of the cob. Use dull edge of the knife to scrape down the milk; set aside.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet, remove bacon and set aside to chop, but leave drippings in the skillet. Add sausage or ham to drippings, if using, and cook over medium high until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the beans. Add the okra to the drippings and cook for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add onion and bell pepper and cook another 4 minutes until softened; add the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the corn, sugar, butter beans, meat and seasonings to the skillet. Add some of the reserved cooking water, a little at a time, only if mixture is too dry. Reduce heat to medium low, cook and stir until everything is heated through, add tomatoes, bacon and parsley. Stir in butter or cream until warmed through; taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes: I like to precook the corn on the cob using the no-husk, microwave method, however, you may also grill or boil the corn, or remove from cob and skillet cook it before adding to the other ingredients. May also use stewed or diced canned tomatoes – I like adding Rotel. If using refrigerated bacon drippings, you’ll need about 1-1/2 tablespoons. For basic succotash, use only cooked baby lima beans and corn, add butter, salt and pepper.

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How to make succotash

Sufferin’ succotash! I promise, that’s my last Loony Tunes reference. This vegetarian succotash recipe is fresh, vibrant and bacon-free. It features pan-seared corn, plump lima beans and fresh peppers.

Make this recipe now with fresh early fall produce, or bookmark it for your Thanksgiving table. You can easily use thawed frozen corn if fresh sweet corn is hard to come by.

How to make succotash

As you’ll read below, succotash has Native American roots and many variations. Here in Kansas City, succotash is the namesake dish at a local restaurant called Succotash.

This recipe is my own interpretation of this uniquely American dish. I seared the corn in a skillet to develop more complex flavor. I added a variety of peppers (poblano, bell pepper and optional jalapeño) for some spice to help balance the sweetness of the corn. I’ve written the recipe to give you as much control as possible over the spice level, since individual preferences and corn’s sweetness can vary so much.

I omitted tomatoes because they made this dish more stew-like, and it’s more of a warm salad without. Creamy butter (no cream) and fresh herbs make this produce-driven, vegetarian side dish completely irresistible.

How to make succotash

Succotash Origins

Succotash originated from Narragansett Native Americans living in the area now known as Rhode Island. The name is derived from the Narragansett word sohquttahhash, meaning “broken corn kernels.”

Native Americans introduced succotash to struggling colonists in the 1600s. Succotash featured New World ingredients including corn and beans, which, when combined, offer a vegetarian source of all essential amino acids. Succotash was a New England staple before it became popular across the South, and it experienced a resurgence of popularity during the Great Depression because it’s pretty darn affordable.

Succotash recipes range considerably in ingredients and texture. The two essential ingredients are corn and lima beans. Many recipes include bacon or corned beef, okra, squash, tomatoes or heavy cream.

How to make succotash

How to Serve Succotash

This succotash recipe is perfect from summer through fall. You’ll often see succotash at the Thanksgiving table, and this dish would certainly liven up the meal. Here are a few serving suggestions:

Fresh Sweet Corn Tips

Buy fresh corn and use it promptly. Freshly harvested corn has the sweetest, most delicious flavor, and it loses that flavor as time goes on.

How to cut corn off the cob: I find it easiest to just lay the corn down on the cutting board. Slice off a strip of kernels lengthwise with a sharp knife, rotate so the flat side is against the cutting board, and repeat as necessary.

If you can’t find fresh corn or want to save a few minutes: Use defrosted frozen corn, which tastes much nicer than canned corn. We’ll be adding the corn to warm oil in the skillet, so watch out for splatters.

Warm, buttery, and delicious, corn succotash with its brightly colored red and yellow peppers, purple onions, yellow corn, and a medley of tomatoes is as comforting as it is beautiful.

Easily made on the stove in just about 10 minutes prep and 5-6 minutes cooking, this is an under 20 minutes to eating succotash recipe that is also super easy to edit with new herbs, spices, or the additive of other seasonal vegetables.

This roasted corn succotash is the perfect summer side dish with an incredibly colorful combination of zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Because corn succotash recipes can be made with fresh, frozen, canned, or grilled corn, it’s perfectly easy and is summer eating at its finest!

Incredibly bold flavors, there really are so many vegetables that go well with corn and it’s easy to mix up for the perfect potluck, party, or BBQ side dish.

How to make succotash

Succotash Ingredient List

Traditionally succotash is a combination of beans (like lima beans) and corn but over the years have developed into a wide variety of recipes that contain all sorts of fresh ingredients and flavor variations.

Inspired by the Cheesecake Factory Corn Succotash, this recipe plays a bit more with flavors, leaving the bright and bold vegetables as the star.

If you notice below, I have also included the various ingredients so whether you want a copycat cheesecake factory version, a traditional version, or our fresh and new take, this side dish will be easy to make and eat in minutes.

  • Corn – Corn can be frozen, drained from a can, or fresh off the grill. If using blackened charred corn from the grill, check out how we did our Grilled Mexican Street Corn for timing. You can also pressure cook corn on the cob and shave off the kernels if you want a super fresh homemade taste. The only real rule here is that the corn has to already be cooked (softened).
  • Zucchini – slice zucchini down and then slice again into bite sized pieces. This makes it easy to cook. Leave skin on so zucchini isn’t mushy.
  • Bell Peppers – I like to use a yellow and a red, but its fine to use an orange or simple two of the same color.
  • Butter – Real Butter
  • Tomatoes – 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes or cherry tomato Wild Tomatoes Medley (those have a variety of beautiful colors that look great in corn succotash as a side dish).
  • Red Onion – Diced down into bite sized pieces. A half a medium sized onion is fine.
  • Garnish – fresh herb garnish, either parsley or cilantro leaves
  • Seasoning – paprika, salt, pepper
  • Soft Cheese– half a block of Feta Cheese. Fine to substitute for Goat Cheese if preferred.
  • Fresh Lime
  • Additional ingredients not included that are common succotash ingredients: Frozen lima beans, diced down yellow squash

Corn Succotash Cheesecake Factory

If looking to make the very well-known corn succotash recipe from the cheesecake factory, a side dish copycat recipe would include adding yellow squash in place of zucchini, yellow onion over the red, cumin instead of paprika, and a dash of hot sauce before serving.

What does “succotash” mean?

Succotash is a term that generally means a combination of lima beans and corn. Not all corn succotash recipes use lima beans, however.

While I simply adore the taste and texture of lima beans, the mere fact of a lima bean being green can turn some kids (and adults) running away. Lima beans can be added to a variety of salad recipes but also taste great as their own side dish with just salt and butter.

What vegetables go with corn?

Corn is one of the earth’s most beautiful and bright-colored veggies. While many people do not eat corn that is on specific diets like Keto, corn contains a nutritional value with lots of fiber and varying vitamins and minerals.

That being said, many people like to combine corn with other large salads or sides to create new combinations and ensure they are enhancing the meal.

There are SO MANY different flavor choices that go well with corn. Avocado, sautéed vegetables like carrots and zucchini, seasonings like cilantro, kicking up the spice with jalapeno, or making it sweet by trying corn with pumpkin.

In simple corn succotash, combine onions, zucchini, corn, bright vegetables like peppers, and even bacon.

How to make succotash

Is Succotash Keto friendly?

Sorry to say that while corn is often considered low carb, it is NOT keto-friendly.

How to make Corn Succotash

This side dish is so popular because of the variety of flavors and colors in combination with the ease of making! The full instructions, including measurements, are below in the recipe card.

  • Sauté Fresh Vegetables – add a bit of butter to the pan on medium high heat and sauté up all the diced and sliced vegetables (minus tomatoes) into the pan. Because there really are so many ingredients in this dish, choose a very large skillet or cast iron pan. It is important to be generous with salt and pepper to really bring out the true flavors of each vegetable.
  • Season and Spice – Once vegetables are hot and sautéed, turn off eat and fold in halved tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese (cheese is totally optional but makes this dish ultra creamy and rich.)
  • Garnish – For a bit of color, add parsley and for a bit of flavor, try cilantro! Squeeze with a fresh lemon right before serving.

Other Simple Corn Side Dish Recipes

Corn is surely one of the best vegetables out there and so incredibly versatile. If you need some more corn side dish recipes, look no further!

Super creamy corn and bacon (also in a skillet) make a great rich and creamy side for chicken dinners.

Love the corn and tomatoes together? While not succotash, corn and tomato salad share quite a few ingredients in the recipe (although served cold!).

Everyone likes the ease of doing nothing in the kitchen and slow cooker cheesy corn lets you do just that.

Of course, corn is not just for side dishes – it makes dips and appetizers light up the room too! This fiesta corn dip and crack corn dip are pretty much the only dips you will need at any party this year.

Last but certainly not least, this traditional corn casserole is THE best side dish for the major holiday season.

How to make succotash

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How to make succotash

Succotash is far more popular in the South even though the word comes from Northern Indigenous peoples. The word comes from the Narragansett word msickquatash, which means "a dish of boiled or stewed corn."

A typical classic succotash contains corn and lima beans. Just before the dish is ready, butter is added along with some milk or cream.

This lima bean and corn succotash is a creamy mixture of fresh and frozen vegetables with heavy cream and complementary seasonings. In this version, butter is used to sauté the onions and peppers, but salt pork, pork belly, or bacon are frequently used in the dish. Feel free to cook some bacon or diced salt pork and cook the onions in that fat instead of butter. Add the crispy bacon or salt pork pieces to the succotash as a garnish. Some other vegetables common in succotash include sliced fresh okra, pimentos, cut green beans, or other kinds of cooked beans.

The dish is an excellent side dish that is special enough for a holiday feast, yet easy enough to fix and serve any day of the week. This recipe makes a generous batch, enough for 6 people, and it is easily scaled up for a party or potluck.

Margaret brings you her family’s take on classic succotash. Share her Thanksgiving family tradition with this simple recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 ears corn, kernels removed (about 3 cups)
  • 2 bags frozen lima beans
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 1 cube ham or chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill or thyme leaves

Instructions

Combine all ingredients and cover them with water.

Bring to a boil.

Turn down heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 6 ears corn, kernels removed (about 3 cups)
  • 2 bags frozen lima beans
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 1 cube ham or chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill or thyme leaves

Instructions

Combine all ingredients and cover them with water.

Bring to a boil.

Turn down heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Margaret’s Succotash

Succotash is a dish created by Native Americans centuries ago and celebrated on their tables ever since. One good thing about succotash is that it can be prepared different ways. Margaret takes great pride in her family recipes, and she is excited to share her version with you.

First, shuck and cut the corn. This is the most tedious part of the recipe, but Margaret has a great tip: “If you have a smaller bowl, put it upside-down in your bigger bowl. Stand the corn upright on the smaller bowl and slice downward, keeping all the kernels in the bowl.”

Succotash can be made in countless ways. Margaret’s recipe calls for dill and thyme, which give the dish a fresh and inviting kick.

There you have it: a classic Native American dish done Margaret’s way. There is something magical about a recipe this simple that has such a rich and storied history. A dish that can bring us to the table together to share our cultures and celebrate one another.

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