Traditional recipes

Succotash of Fresh Corn, Lima Beans, Tomatoes, and Onion

Succotash of Fresh Corn, Lima Beans, Tomatoes, and Onion


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups chopped red tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 1/4 cups corn kernels cut from 4 ears of corn (preferably 2 ears of white corn and 2 ears of yellow corn)
  • 2 cups fresh lima beans (from about 2 pounds pods) or 10 to 11 ounces frozen lima beans or baby butter beans, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sprinkle with coarse salt. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, corn, and lima beans. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until corn and lima beans are tender and tomatoes are soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before continuing.

Recipe by Amelia Saltsman,Reviews Section

Corn Succotash

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, its perfectly easy and is summer eating at its finest!

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

Skillet Succotash Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Varies
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


Enjoy this delicious, old fashioned, Skillet Succotash. Made even better by cooking it in a cast iron skillet. Quick and easy.


2 cups Baby Lima Beans
4 slices Bacon
1 small Sweet Vidalia Onion, chopped
3 cups fresh Yellow Corn kernels
6 pods fresh Okra, sliced ½ inch
1 cup fresh Tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
3 Tablespoons Butter


Place Lima beans in medium sauce pot.
Add enough water to just cover beans.
Bring to a boil over Medium-High heat.
Reduce heat, simmer beans until tender, about 10 minutes.
Drain beans. Set aside.
Place large skillet over Medium heat on stove top.
When hot, add the slices of bacon.
Cook bacon until crisp. About 10 minutes, turning once.
Remove bacon and place on paper towels to drain and cool.
Do not remove drippings from skillet. Crumble bacon when cool.
Place onion in skillet.
Add sliced okra. Stir and cook until onions are tender. About 8 minutes.
Add Lima beans.
Add corn.
Add salt.
Add black pepper.
Add sugar.
Stir and cook until corn is tender. About 8 minutes.
Add butter. Stir constantly until butter is melted.
Add tomatoes. Continue to cook until tomatoes are hot.
Add crumbled bacon on top.
Remove from heat. Serve warm.


Frozen beans and corn may be used if you don’t have fresh.

Keywords: succotash, skillet, cast iron, Lima Beans, Corn, Tomatoes, Okra, old fashioned, Southern

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Frequently asked Questions

  • Question: What is succotash made of?
    Answer:The term “succotash” comes from a Narragansett word sohquttahhash, which means “broken corn kernels.” The dish consists primarily of sweet corn kernels with lima beans or other shelled beans.
  • Question: What do you eat succotash with?
    Answer:This succotash is great warm or at room temperature. Serve it as a side to grilled chicken or fish or even as a vegetarian main dish. If you can’t find lima beans, substitute frozen shelled edamame.
  • Question: What is the origin of succotash?
    Answer:The name is a somewhat Anglicized spelling of the Narragansett Indian word &ldquomsickquatash,&rdquo which referred to a simmering pot of corn to which other ingredients were added. Most often, it contained corn, beans and squash, the Three Sisters, which the natives cultivated together in distinct mounds.
  • Question: What does succotash mean?
    Answer:Succotash (from Narragansett sohquttahhash, “broken corn kernels”) is a culinary dish consisting primarily of sweet corn with lima beans or other shell beans. Other ingredients may be added including corned beef, potatoes, turnips, salt pork, tomatoes, multi-colored sweet peppers, and okra.
  • Question: What did Sylvester the cat always say?
    Answer:Sylvester’s trademark exclamation is “Sufferin’ succotash!”, which is said to be a minced oath of “Suffering Savior”.
  • Question: What is the national dish of Equatorial Guinea?

List of related literature:

Succotash Corn and lima beans, two staples of Native American cooking, are combined to make this simple dish.

Add okra cut into pieces, corn cut from the cob, shelled lima beans, coarsely chopped pimentos, chopped parsley, and a little Worcestershire sauce.

As a side dish, prepare a quickly sautéed succotash with fresh baby lima beans, diced red bell pepper, pearl onions, cubed summer squashes such as pattypan or zucchini, and corn kernels freshly cut from the cob.

Add the corn, lima beans, tomatoes, poblano, and butter to the skillet and simmer until the corn and lima beans are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir together reserved 2 teaspoons cumin mixture, diced tomatoes with green chiles, black beans, and corn in a large bowl.


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Succotash is a dish built around corn and some kind of bean. Here in the Deep South, that is generally baby lima beans, though there are many regional variations across the country. It's a dish that's been around a long time, being taught to the colonists by Native Americans - though they would have originally used a bean other than lima beans, since limas came to us from South America a bit later. The term "succotash" is generally thought to mean boiled corn kernels and originating from the word msickquatash used by the Narragansett Indians of Rhode Island.

This side dish takes on many forms, often utilizing what's fresh and in-season during the summer months especially, but this one, made very simply with baby lima beans and corn, is the basic backbone of them all.

I don't know what it is about this combination of veggies that is so endearing, but it certainly is. Not much out there that could be more simple either. Absolutely best with freshly shelled beans and corn just stripped from the cob, but it's pretty darned good when made with frozen too.

Try seasoning with bacon, or flavoring the cooking water with a bit of salt pork, onion and garlic before adding the beans for a nice boost, add some heavy cream toward the end, or make it a triple succotash by including tomato in some form. No matter how you take it, it'll be good. Here's how to make it.

For more of my favorite veggies and side dish recipes, visit my page 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!

Recipe: Succotash

  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen baby lima beans
  • 1-1/2 cups of corn cut from the cob, about 2 average ears
  • 2 tablespoons of butter , melted
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper , to taste
  • Hot pepper sauce , for the table

Bring water to a boil, add beans and return to a boil reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 25 minutes for fresh, 10 minutes for frozen. Add the corn and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until beans and corn are fork tender. Drain toss with butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve with hot pepper sauce at the table.

Variations: Season the boiling water with salt pork, chopped onion and minced garlic before adding the beans. For triple succotash, add in a 15-ounce can of stewed, diced or 10-ounce Rotel diced tomatoes. For a creamy version, drain but retain the cooking water. Return the beans and corn to the pot, add 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and enough of the reserved cooking water back to the pot to completely cover the beans. Cover and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Add bacon for extra flavor.

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Southern-style Succotash

Southern-style Succotash is chock full of delicious healthy organic veggies like sweet yellow corn, lima beans, onions, tomatoes, and crisp smoked hickory bacon. This Classic Southern side makes the perfect potluck dish.

This amazing Southern-style Succotash side dish isn’t just a summer dish in many Southern homes. Traditionally our family serves it on Thanksgiving and sometimes even around Christmas. That’s right this delicious side can be enjoyed all year round!

Before we get started, let us get to the history of this beautiful dish and how it came to be Succotash, that savory combination of yellow sweet corn and lima beans, is an excellent dish with a long history. In the 17th-century Native Americans introduced the stew to the struggling colonial immigrants. Composed of ingredients unknown in Europe at the time, it gradually became a standard meal in the settlers’ kitchens.

Frequently Succotash contained corn, beans, and some squash, the Three Sisters, which the natives cultivated together in distinct mounds. There was winter succotash, made from dried corn, dried beans, and pumpkin, or summer succotash, made with fresh sweet corn, shelling beans, and tender summer squash. Fresh or dried meat or fish were frequent additions in the Succotash.

Succotash has made its rounds across the United States. Ask anyone from the Northeast, and you will find succotash is technical of a Northern origin of the Colonial States. In the South, we have just lent our spin and flavors to this classic dish.

While many think of succotash as a Southern dish, it is said to have evolved from a thick corn, bean and squash stew the Native Americans introduced to the 17th century settlers of the first colonies in New England. You will now find it prepared throughout of the country as a side dish, varying from cook to cook, region to region and season to season. In summer it is usually prepared with fresh corn cut off the cob and fresh baby limas beans or other young shell beans such as fava or cranberry beans. Fresh garden vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, peppers or okra are often added. Later in the year, it might be prepared from frozen corn, dried beans, a piece of salt pork and a splash of cream.

I had succotash at a friends home that was delicious and asked if she would share how she prepared it. She sent me this note, “I’m happy to share the recipe. It actually came from Epicurious, but I modified it quite a bit, just like you do. Here is my take, and please know that measurements are not precise. I sometimes cook from the seat of my pants.”

Of course, I think we all take a recipe and modify it to our own tastes and what we have available in our kitchen as I’ve done with the recipe I’m sharing here. At this time of the year, the dish is wonderful when made from fresh flavorful summer ingredients so I’ve added tomatoes to create a sunny and colorful dish.

  • 10 oz. package (2 c.) frozen baby lima beans
  • 2 strips of thick cut bacon cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. finely diced sweet Vidalia onion or a bunch of scallions (green onions) sliced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 c. corn kernels cut from 3 to 4 ears, frozen and thawed can be substituted
  • a dozen cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. cream (optional)
  • A generous splash (2 Tbsp.) of white wine (optional)
  1. To remove corn kernels from the cob, husk and remove the silk, stand the corn on one end and carefully slice the kernels off with a sharp knife. One ear will yield about 1/2 cup kernels.
  2. If you don’t have limas, edamame or fava beans are a good substitute.
  3. Frozen baby lima beans take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on size to get tender. Adjust the cooking time according to the beans you are using.
  4. Do Not Add Salt to the beans when initially cooking, it can interfere with them getting tender.
  5. For a hint of spice, you can sauté a jalapeño pepper with the other ingredients or add a little cayenne or hot smoked paprika.
  6. The original recipe called for heavy cream for a creamy succotash. For a lighter summer dish, it can be omitted, I’ve made it both ways and they are both good.
  7. For a vegetarian version, you can omit the bacon, cream and butter and just use olive oil.
  8. Sprinkle the finished dish with finely chopped fresh parsley or basil as a garnish, if you wish.

Succotash is a true celebration of fresh vegetables from summer gardens or local Farmer’s Markets all across America. Each cook has their own version of this traditional side dish but it usually starts out with sweet summer corn and tender baby lima beans or other young shelled beans that are sautéed in butter, olive oil or bacon fat until just barely tender. If vine ripe tomatoes are in season, they add wonderful flavor, sweetness and color to the succotash.

Southern Butter Bean Succotash

Butter beans and lima beans are the same bean! I couldn’t find canned lima beans, only because they were labeled as butter beans. In the southern U.S. and in the U.K., people often refer to them as butter beans. There is no butter in the beans, it’s just a name. The word “succotash” originates from a late 1700s Narragansett Indian (from Rhode Island) word “msickquatash,” which was a simmering pot of corn and vegetables. Such fascinating food history for such a humble dish!

Typically, southern succotash has okra added to it, but I didn’t have any okra on hand during this COVID-19 isolation quarantine. Never fear, the dish is perfectly delicious without the okra. Often corn, beans and squash are added to succotash, a combination commonly called the Three Sisters (sort of like the Trinity of New Orleans cooking). Beans, corn and squash were the three main crops grown by the Native Americans in the 18th century. If you use all three, you can call your dish Three Sisters Succotash. When adding fresh okra or squash, 1 cup will work for either one, or between 1/2 and 1 cup of each if you want to go crazy and add both vegetables. Just increase the veggie broth to 3/4 cup or 1 cup rather than the 1/2 cup in the recipe, to keep it moist.

I like a little spicy flavor, so I add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun or Creole spice. Try my recipe to make your own spice mix if you don’t have any on hand.

Southern succotash can be eaten hot or cold. But it’s so much tastier when cooked a few hours ahead, cooled and refrigerated, then eaten. You can reheat it in a skillet on the stove, or microwave individual portions 30 to 60 seconds before serving. Even though lima beans are most commonly used in succotash, any shelled bean will work, even chickpeas or black beans. Go crazy! It’s also very delicious served over rice or cornbread, corn waffles or corn pancakes (flapjacks).

I’ve made succotash with dried lima beans which were soaked, cooked and cooled first, or by using the canned precooked butter beans. Both ways are equally as delectable and the texture of the beans isn’t any different.

Some people insist on using a red bell pepper for this dish, but I like using green bell pepper since the fresh tomatoes already add red to the dish. Any bell pepper will do!

If you like this dish, you might enjoy other dishes in my Cajun Cuisine and US Southern Cuisine recipe categories.

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.