Simple Classic Succotash Recipe

Delving into the world of comfort foods, this simple classic succotash is a timeless gem that's both hearty and vibrant. According to Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, this beloved dish, a cherished staple of American Southern cuisine, gracefully weaves together history, flavors, and traditions that tell stories of both the past and the present. 

The succotash's origins trace back to Native American cooking, where corn and beans were harmoniously combined to create a sustaining and delicious meal. Fast forward through time and cultures, and we find a modern rendition that captures the essence of this cherished heritage while incorporating fresh elements and culinary innovations.

While often seen as humble, succotash boasts a versatility that welcomes various interpretations — from family gatherings to high-end dining experiences. Join us as we dive into crafting this flavorful dish, and learn how a handful of simple ingredients can encapsulate a world of history and taste.

Gather the Ingredients for simple classic succotash

With so few ingredients, most of which carry historical importance in the eyes of the Native Americans who first prepared the dish, everything you put in your succotash matters. The corn, whether fresh or frozen, brings a natural sweetness and hearty bite that forms the foundation of succotash. Lima beans contribute an earthy richness, while green beans offer a satisfying crunch, adding layers of taste and texture to the medley. If you cannot find both beans, you can always use just one or the other, but lima beans are the more traditional legume for succotash.

White onion and red pepper, finely chopped, infuse the succotash with aromatic complexity, creating a savory backdrop to the sweet components. Halved cherry tomatoes provide bursts of juiciness and a touch of acidity that balances the dish's flavors (you can also use fresh diced tomatoes).

For seasonings, the trio of garlic, smoked paprika, and ground sage introduce a harmonious blend of spices, enhancing the overall taste profile and tying the succotash into a harmonious and satisfying whole. Don't skip the sage, as it's an ancient American herb that gives this dish a signature taste. You can also grab some fresh red chiles for heat, if desired. 

Sauté the aromatics

Begin by preheating your pan to medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until they turn translucent. This simple act infuses the dish with a rich and inviting aroma. But sautéing the chopped onion isn't just about the sizzle and fragrance. In fact, this simple process releases the onion's natural sweetness and deepens its flavor, forming a solid base for the succotash.

Build the succotash

Add the mix of main ingredients to the skillet: corn, lima beans, green beans, red bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes. If you like heat, this is the time to add in that fresh diced chile. You're now layering the colors, textures, and tastes of the summer harvest that the succotash represents and celebrates. 

Next, add the seasonings. The garlic, smoked paprika, sage, salt, and black pepper blend natural aromas into the dish, enhancing its overall taste and color. As you cook and stir, the seasonings and vegetables meld together, losing their individual attributes and mellowing their flavors into a soft, balanced dish.

Plate and serve the succotash

Finish the dish by stirring in the parsley and a pat of butter and letting it cook for another minute. This not only enriches the succotash's taste but also adds a luxurious sheen and a pop of vibrant color. This step epitomizes the creaminess that succotash is known for.

Now, grab a big plate and get ready to savor every bite of your labor. As you plate the succotash, you're not just serving a dish — you're presenting an homage to Mother Earth for everything she gave us this year. Succotash is best shared and enjoyed with friends, alongside other Southern staples like jambalaya, with a sweet tea cocktail (just make sure you use some authentic Southern tea when making it). Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Simple Classic Succotash Recipe
4.9 from 38 ratings
Corn, beans, and other veggies harmoniously combine to create a sustaining and delicious meal in this simple classic succotash recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Bowl of succotash with parsley around
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups frozen lima beans
  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Optional Ingredients
  • Fresh red chiles, diced
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes until it becomes clear.
  3. Add corn, lima beans, green beans, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, garlic, smoked paprika, sage, salt, and black pepper. Add diced red chiles, if using. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 6 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir in butter and parsley, and cook for 1 more minute until the butter melts. Taste and correct seasonings if needed.
Calories per Serving 224
Total Fat 7.9 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 5.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 35.7 g
Dietary Fiber 6.5 g
Total Sugars 6.4 g
Sodium 498.4 mg
Protein 7.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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