Learn how to make green bean casserole, and you mastered like, 90% of hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Ok, that's maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but this classic side dish has appeared at many a holiday table over the last 65 years.
While you're grandma's recipe may bring the nostalgia, we're going to take those amazing flavors, and bring them up a notch. There is no canned soup involved. Promise.
This recipe uses fresh green beans (although you can swap for frozen if you want to!), a made from scratch mushroom sauce, parmesan cheese, and of course, French's crispy fried onions.
There's really no point in making this without those fried onions, honestly.
Classic green bean casserole is a favorite for a reason. Fresh green beans, homemade mushroom sauce, and parmesan cheese kick this recipe up a notch for your holiday table.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it can! Get everything ready and assembled in the casserole dish. DON'T add the fried onions yet though. Cover, and place in the fridge. Let it come up to room temperature before you bake it for 30 minutes, add the fried onions, and then throw it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
While it does contain tons of veggies, this casserole also comes with a creamy, luxurious sauce made of whole milk and cheese, meaning it does have a high fat content. Also those fried onion rings on top aren't the healthiest either.
I wouldn't recommend freezing this casserole. There's just too much dairy going on here, I don't think it would hold up well. You can make it ahead of time though.
You can, but I wouldn't recommend it for this recipe. The texture and flavor are far better with fresh or frozen beans.
Why You're going to Love this Recipe
- This recipe has all the flavors you love from the original, just without the cream of mushroom soup. We're making that from scratch for the ultimate flavor.
- It's made with fresh green beans. It's hard to beat the texture of these fresh green beans. We're going to blanch them before cooking, so they won't be soggy at all in this casserole.
- We're making a glorious sauce packed with fresh mushrooms, shallots, and parmesan cheese. It's just so delicious.
- You can make it ahead of time! (See instructions below).
What is Green Bean Casserole?
Green bean casserole was originally developed by Campbell's Soup as an every day side dish. It didn't actually start taking off until Campbell's started printing it on cream of mushroom soup labels.
The original recipe was made with mushroom soup, soy sauce, pepper, French's fried onions, and frozen green beans. These days, many people still stick to the original recipe, but there are also tons of variations that exist.
According to Campbell's, 20 million green bean casseroles are served at Thanksgiving tables every year!
So, I know the original recipe contains the cream of mushroom soup. We are not going there today. It definitely takes a little extra effort, but it's still super simple, I promise.
- Fresh green beans: I do love fresh for this recipe. However, green beans are definitely not in season around Thanksgiving, so going with frozen is for sure an option. Just make sure you thaw them before you start, and then follow the recipe as usual.
- Butter: it's everywhere, we're going to cook the mushrooms in it, and we need it as the base for our sauce.
- Garlic: the flavor maker.
- Shallot: you can substitute onion here if you want, but I prefer the milder flavor of shallot in this recipe.
- Mixed mushrooms: you can use whatever type you'd like. My all-time favorite is a 50/50 mix of cremini and shiitake.
- Flour: this is for the roux at the base of our sauce.
- Whole milk: provides the body and flavor for the sauce.
- Chicken broth: this adds complexity to the whole dish. I like using unsalted, so I can season to my taste later.
- Parmesan cheese: this, to me, is the secret ingredient. The classic recipe doesn't call for cheese, but adding this beautiful umami flavor takes it from good to gourmet.
- Salt and pepper: always.
- French's Crispy Fried Onions: mandatory. I will not be taking questions at this time.
NOTE: Not picture are the crispy fried onions. I know. Fail.
How to Make it
I promise this is a pretty easy casserole to make, but there's a few steps to it. So let's go.
Step One: Blanch your Green Beans
The easiest way to do this is in the microwave. Add your beans to a microwave safe dish, cover, and then microwave on high for three minutes. Immediately remove them to a bowl of ice water. Drain the water, and set the green beans aside for the moment.
Step 2: Cook the Garlic, Shallot, Mushrooms
Add two tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium high heat. Allow the butter to melt, then add your garlic and shallot, sautéing until just fragrant (about one minute).
Slice and add your mushrooms. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until much of their moisture is gone, and the mushrooms are soft.
Remove the mushrooms from the pan, and put them in the same bowl as the green beans. Set aside for now.
Step 3: Make the Sauce
Add the remaining butter to the pan, and let it melt over medium high heat. Add the flour, whisking constantly. Cook it for two minutes, whisking the entire time.
Slowly add the milk, again, continuing to whisk. Add the chicken broth as well. Allow the sauce to thicken and simmer, this will take about five minutes. Add your parmesan cheese and salt, and stir into the sauce.
Step 4: Assemble
Add the sauce to the same bowl as the green beans and the mushroom, and mix everything together well. Place in an 8x8" casserole dish. DO NOT add the onions yet. They will burn if you try to add them right at the beginning.
Step 5: Bake and Crisp the Onions
Bake the casserole at 350F for 30 minutes. Once the casserole is hot and bubbling, pull it out of the oven and add the crispy fried onions. Return to the oven and bake for another five minutes.
Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!
Make it Ahead
You can make this recipe up to a day ahead of time. Follow the instructions right up until the first bake. Throw the assembled dish in the fridge. About an hour before you're ready to bake, it let it come up to room temperature on the counter.
Bake, then add the onions, and the bake for the last five minutes.
DO NOT add the onions ahead of time. They will be super soggy no matter how long you bake them for.
What to Serve it With
This recipe, without a doubt, belongs on a holiday (likely Thanksgiving) table. So here's what I'm serving it with. Note - I'm not a turkey person, don't @ me.
Tips and Tricks
- You can swap fresh for frozen green beans in this recipe, just let the green beans thaw before you start.
- Try adding different types of cheese to this sauce!
- You can also add different types of mushrooms.
- Do NOT add the fried onions right at the beginning of the baking process. They will burn.
Storage and Reheating
Leftovers of this casserole will keep for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
To reheat in the oven, preheat to 325 degrees, and heat for about 20 minutes.
You can also reheat in the microwave, but guaranteed your onions are going to be soggy.
How to Make Green Bean Casserole (with Fresh Green Beans)
- 1 lb green beans
- 6 tablespoon butter divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 large shallots thinly sliced
- 2-3 C mixed mushrooms sliced
- ¼ C flour
- 2 C whole milk
- 1 C chicken stock I like unsalted
- 1 C parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 C French's Crispy Fried Onions
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Prep your green beans and add them to a microwave safe dish. Add 1 cup of water, cover, and microwave on high for 3 minutes. While the beans are in the microwave, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Immediately transfer the beans to the ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain, and then set aside in a large bowl.
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and shallot. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms. Sauté until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the same bowl the green beans are in.
- In the same saucepan (no need to clean it), add the remaining 4 tablespoon of butter. Let it melt, then whisk in the flour. Cook the roux, whisking the entire time. Add the milk slowly, continuously whisking. Repeat with the chicken stock. Allow the sauce to cook for about 5 minutes. It should thicken up enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Add the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add the sauce to the bowl with the beans and mushrooms. Mix well.
- Pour the casserole mixture into an 8x8" casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and hot.
- Add the French's Crispy Fried Onions evenly over the top. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, until golden and crispy.