Sweet and Spicy Succotash with Maple and Bacon (vegetarian modification included!)

Succotash is a classic dish and I am one of it's most loyal fans, for sure. I usually like to serve it as it's supposed to be, in all it's simple glory, with just corn, Lima beans and a little salt and pepper. But, lately I've been taking a few little liberties with this old-fashioned dish by adding in some onion and crispy bacon bits. My small adaptations to this old standby were on the list for an upcoming fall post, until it seems life intervened and made the changes a bit more dramatic... and better.

As are so many of the recipes I post here, this sweet and spicy version of succotash was born out of a grocery list-based mistake. My family of very distracted shoppers continues to keep me on my toes in the kitchen. I love it, really. This homebody has to get fresh inspiration from somewhere, right?!

Keep up the good work, crazy little family.

Last weekend, I was frying bacon meant to be included in a batch of succotash and everything was completely normal and hunky dory, until the entire kitchen (and house for that matter) started smelling of maple syrup! It was SO weird! I quickly realized that Evan had brought home maple-flavored bacon instead of the regular, smoky bacon (Have I mentioned that we are all horrible at reading labels sometimes?). Pfffft. Ugh. Bleh. I'm pretty sure I said all things things out loud at that moment.

After a brief freezer inspection, it was clear that the maple-y bacon was all we had on hand, so I just decided to roll with it and I polished off the dish with a very small dash of cayenne and a small splash of pure maple syrup (seriously, you would have thought Evan was a desperately shocked contestant on Fear Factor when he saw me reach for that bottle of syrup!). The rich flavors of the maple syrup and smoky bacon pair up perfectly with the hearty vegetables and it was surprisingly good. Maple syrup has definitely become a thing for me with succotash. 

This veggie recipe is so tasty and it can work for so many folks with special diets too as it's gluten-free and dairy-free. Just yesterday, I decided to make a vegetarian version of this sweet and spicy succotash. I used smoked paprika, cayenne and, of course, maple syrup to try and recreate the wonderful smoky-sweet-spicy flavor combination in this dish. My vegetarian readers are definitely gonna want to get in on this dish too. (vegetarian version follows)

Sweet and Spicy Succotash with Maple and Bacon
  • 5 slices of uncooked bacon
  • 2-3 tbsp bacon drippings or other fat (such as extra-virgin olive oil or butter )
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1-1/2  cups cooked baby Lima beans (I used frozen beans, cooked according to package directions.)
  • 3 cups corn kernels 
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • small dash ground cayenne pepper 
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crisp, reserving 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings. Allow the cooked bacon to drain on paper towels and drain any excess grease from the pan. Crumble the crispy bacon into bits. 

2. Return the reserved bacon drippings or other oil to the skillet and warm over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, Lima beans, and corn to the hot skillet and saute, stirring often. After about 4 minutes, add the bacon bits to the pan. 

3. Saute for another 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are very lightly browned. 

3. Reduce the heat to low and add the salt and peppers. Stir well. Remove the skillet from the heat and gently stir in the maple syrup. 

4. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Sweet and Spicy Succotash
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked baby Lima beans
  • 3 cups corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • small dash cayenne pepper 
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1. Heat the oil or butter in large skillet over medium-high heat and when the oil is hot, add the vegetables. 

2. Saute, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are very lightly browned. (about 6-7 minutes)

3. Reduce the heat to low and add the salt, peppers and smoked paprika. Stir well. 

4. Remove the skillet from the heat and gently stir in the maple syrup. 

5. Enjoy!


  1. I am a loyal fan of anything with legumes and sweet corn..this looks totally right up my alley.

  2. The maple flavor sounds really good in this. Such a happy accident! Some of my best dishes start as as mistakes. :-) Good stuff -- thanks.

  3. Marcelle, your recipe sounds so good. The maple syrup sounds delightful. Thanks you for your sweet visit. You are not using the Recipes Generator?

    1. Hi Linda, thank you! I haven't had the time I hope to sit down and work with it. But, I will. I usually run a week or two behind in my big plans :)

  4. I have always loved succotash but was completely spoiled by my mother who always used fresh Lima beans. I was a little shocked the first time I had it at a school cafeteria and the Lima beans had no "bite!." That didn't stop me, though, from eating everyone's at the table - apparently I was the only one who liked it! Love the additions, even if accidental. Isn't that the way the best recipes are devised, Marcelle?

  5. do you know that i have NEVER used maple syrup to sweeten succotash?! what a great idea! i would love either version. :)

  6. I've never heard about this dish, but it looks so good, I would love to try it:)

  7. I love the liberties you took, Marcella ;) Your succotash sounds delicious!


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