Green Bean Casserole
Next-level green bean casserole recipe! Made wholly from scratch, with fresh veg, creamy mushroom sauce, & addictively crispy French fried onions.
It’s green bean casserole day! Hooray!
I’ve been wanting to post this green bean casserole recipe forever, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, there isn’t a more perfect time.
This continues my years-long mission to arm you with all the best Thanksgiving recipes!
We are getting close to the finish line. Yesterday I shared what is, in my opinion, the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe ever, and we’ve got the quintessential Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, how to make turkey gravy, and mashed potatoes that will knock your socks off. Plus lots more!
And this recipe is completely next-level. It’s better than Campbell’s green bean casserole, better than French’s green bean casserole, or anything else out there like that. Because it’s made from scratch.
Fresh green beans, real mushrooms, milk and cream, and crispy fried onions that are absolutely addictive. Everything tastes so much better when it’s made from real, wholesome ingredients and when you put your whole heart into it.
Table of Contents
- What is green bean casserole?
- What’s great about this green bean casserole recipe
- What does green bean casserole taste like?
- Special equipment
- How to make green bean casserole from scratch
- How to serve green bean casserole
- Expert tips
- Frequently asked questions
- A few more of my favorite side dish recipes
What is green bean casserole?
This idea probably became popular in the middle part of last century, when convenience foods were having their heyday.
It’s a solid concept: green beans, blanketed in a creamy mushroom sauce, and topped off with crunchy French-fried onions. Everyone loved it! And has continued to do so for decades.
But back in the day, it was made with canned beans, canned condensed soup, and canned, freeze-dried onions.
So the beans were kinda limp, and everything was just really salty and a little flat-tasting.
Real ingredients make such a difference! That is what you get with this green bean casserole recipe. It’s a little more thoughtful, and the flavors of each component stand out a little more on their own and together.
What’s great about this green bean casserole recipe
- Tastes amazing: When you make everything from scratch, tasting and balancing the seasonings as you go, the difference will wow you.
- Real ingredients: Using fresh, wholesome, quality ingredients takes this classic dish to a whole different level.
- Easy to make: Take your time and work the steps one by one, and you’ll have no trouble with this recipe.
- Versatile: If someone you love has a special dietary restriction, this easily adapts to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
What does green bean casserole taste like?
Fresh green beans are the star of this show, and they cook up tender but toothsome, with a nice bite and a verdant, juicy flavor.
There’s also a rich mushroom gravy that’s a little earthy, with a hint of garlic and a nice balance of savory seasonings.
The French-fried onion topping is light and crispy, a little sweet, and a little spicy and savory. It’s a lot like a bloomin’ onion! To me, it’s the best part, and I think you’ll agree!
Mushrooms: We are going to use a combination of fresh sliced mushrooms and dried mushrooms that have been soaked in hot water. You can usually find dried mushrooms in the produce section of your supermarket, or you can order them online: Dried Mushrooms. Dried mushrooms are a total flavor bomb! So much umami, not just from the mushrooms themselves but also from the water they’re soaked in.
Butter: The mushrooms are sauteed in butter and that works in tandem with the flour to thicken the sauce. I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result. For a vegan or dairy-free green bean casserole recipe, use a plant-based butter that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1.
Seasonings: The sauce is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, which always compliments mushrooms in the loveliest way. And the fried onions get a pinch of cayenne, so they have just the barest whisper of heat.
Flour: Flour is used to thicken the sauce and to bread the onions, but if you prefer you can use half the amount of cornstarch, which is naturally gluten-free.
Milk and cream: Milk and cream are used in the sauce. If you like, you can use a vegan substitute. As long as it can swap 1:1 for regular dairy, it should work just fine.
Green beans: Fresh green beans! Trimmed and cut into perfect bite-sized pieces. You get to cook them exactly to the tenderness you like best.
Onions: I like a sweet onion, like Maui or Vidalia, but use whatever you have on hand!
Buttermilk: Buttermilk coats the onions and softens them up a little bit. If you don’t have it, you can use plain, unsweetened yogurt instead, or substitute by stirring 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into 1 cup of milk. Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes, or until thickened and slightly curdled.
- Measuring cups and spoons: For measuring out the ingredients. Follow this guide: How to Measure Ingredients.
- Large pot: In which to make the sauce and fry the onions.
- Whisk: Ensures a lump-free sauce.
- Silicone spatula: Helps get every drop out of the pot.
- Baking dish: 9×13-inches; in which to bake and serve the casserole.
- Spider or slotted spoon: For fishing the onions out of the frying oil.
How to make green bean casserole from scratch
This recipe comes together in 4 main steps.
Step 1: Make the mushroom sauce
First, soak the dried mushrooms in hot water until they’re soft enough to chop. This usually takes around 30 minutes.
Using dried mushrooms ups the flavor of this sauce by 1000%. These little babies have such an intense, earthy mushroom taste, and the water they’re soaked in makes a delicious mushroom “stock,” of sorts.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, and add the fresh mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped dried mushrooms, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Saute the mushrooms until they release their liquid, and then that liquid boils off and they get a nice brown crust.
Add a little more butter, then sprinkle everything all over with flour, and stir things around so every mushroom gets coated in the roux.
Now you’re going to drizzle in the mushroom liquid while whisking, making sure there are no lumps.
As this mixture comes up to a simmer, it will thicken right before your eyes.
Stir in the milk, cream, and Worcestershire sauce, and let it bubble for a minute or two.
Step 2: Fold in the green beans
Drop in your trimmed, cut green beans and stir until every one is coated in that luscious sauce.
If you like your green beans snappy, with a little crunch, take them right off the heat. If you like yours soft, let them cook for a minute or two.
Transfer the mixture to your baking dish, and it’s time to move on to the topping.
Step 3: Make the French-fried onions
Soak the sliced onions in buttermilk for a few minutes, and combine the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl or zip-top bag.
Drain the onions and add them to the dry mix, tossing them around so every millimeter gets coated.
Then drop them into hot oil in batches, allowing them to fry up until golden brown and crisp.
Top the green bean casserole with handfuls of these crispy onions, if you can stop yourself from eating them all!
Step 4: Bake
You can do all of the above steps ahead of time. Cover the dish and keep it in the fridge or freezer until the day you’re ready to serve it.
Then slide it into the oven (uncovered) to bake. If you like a little bit of crunch to your green beans, bake it less. If you like them very soft, a little longer.
I usually do this while I’m waiting for the turkey to rest. It gives you just the right amount of time!
How to serve green bean casserole
This green bean casserole recipe makes a great side dish to so many meals, but I think it’s most often enjoyed on the Thanksgiving buffet, alongside a roast turkey, with cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, and pillowy soft dinner rolls.
You’ll want to eat it hot, so many times I’ll sit the baking dish right on a warming tray: Warming Tray.
Make it ahead: You can make all of the components ahead, and then combine them just before baking. Think about making this casserole in a foil pan so your nice casserole dish isn’t tied up in the fridge or freezer for days on end.
Gluten-free green bean casserole: Use 1/4 cup of cornstarch in place of the flour in the sauce, and the same amount of cornstarch on the onions, for a gluten-free option.
Vegan green bean casserole: Use your favorite plant-based milk, cream, and butter products in place of the dairy. As long as they swap 1:1 for regular dairy, they should work just fine!
Frequently asked questions
Keep in mind that the green beans will release some liquid as they bake, so it is better if the sauce is a little on the thicker side.
But if it’s way too thick, you can just thin it out with a little more milk.
Keep in mind that the roux does not reach its full thickening power until the sauce comes to a simmer.
If your sauce is simmering but it still seems too thin, just stir about 2 tablespoons of flour together with about 1 tablespoon of oil.
Then, add a little of this mixture at a time to your sauce, whisking it in thoroughly to avoid lumps, until you have the consistency you’re after. As soon as it comes to a simmer, it should thicken right up.
This dish freezes beautifully, but the sauce may get a little “compacted” during the freeze/thaw process.
It usually works itself out with just a thorough stir, but you may want to add a little more milk to loosen it back up.
Green bean casserole will keep in the freezer for several months, and it can be thawed in the fridge and reheated in the oven until warmed through.
Place any leftovers in an airtight container. They should keep in the fridge for several days and can be reheated in the microwave.
This green bean casserole recipe makes enough to feed 12 people.
The nutritional info in the recipe card below reflects a serving size of 1/12 of the whole batch.
A few more of my favorite side dish recipes
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Green Bean Casserole
For the Green Bean Casserole
- .5 ounce (14.17 g) dried mushrooms
- 1 cup (236.59 g) hot water
- 6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, divided
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1.5 g) garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (366 g) milk
- 1/2 cup (119 g) heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) Worcestershire sauce
- 32 ounces (907.19 g) green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
To Make the Green Bean Casserole
- Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water until softened (approx. 30 minutes).
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the softened dried mushrooms (reserving the soaking liquid), fresh sliced mushrooms, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
- Saute until the juices release, then evaporate, and the mushrooms have a nice brown crust (approx. 5 to 10 minutes).
- Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and allow it to melt.
- Sprinkle the flour all over the surface and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are coated in the paste.
- Slowly whisk in the reserved mushroom water.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and cream, and allow the mixture to come to a simmer, then stir in the Worcestershire sauce.
- Place the green beans in a 3-quart baking dish and pour the sauce on top.
- Sprinkle with French fried onions and bake in a preheated, 350-degree F oven until the green beans are tender (approx. 20 to 45 minutes, depending upon your personal taste).
To Make the French Fried Onions
- Heat a large pot of oil to 350 degrees F over medium heat.
- Place the onions in a large bowl and add the buttermilk, tossing to coat.
- In a gallon-sized zip-top bag, combine the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Drain any excess buttermilk away, and add the onions to the bag, tossing to coat.