This Green Bean Casserole recipe is made completely from scratch, with tender green beans in a creamy mushroom sauce, topped with bread crumbs and deliciously crunchy fried onions! It’s the perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner!
Green Bean Casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish that traditionally appears on holiday tables across America.
Being Canadian, Green Bean Casserole isn’t as big a thing on the holiday dinner table, and I took that freedom and ran with it 😉
Because we didn’t eat it growing up, I decided to make my own version just how I wanted to and paid little attention to tradition (sorry, no cream of mushroom soup here!).
Before you panic, we’re still getting that classic mushroomy flavor — we’re just making it from scratch with a creamy mushroom parmesan sauce instead.
And before you worry about the timing and effort of not using a can of soup, I assure you, it’s still an easy recipe, and once you taste it you may just change your mind.
The whole thing takes less than an hour to make, and you can prep it ahead of time if you like!
- Bacon: thick-cut bacon works best in this recipe. Use your favorite brand.
- Vegetables: use a combination of onion and crimini mushrooms for the sauce.
- Seasoning: fresh garlic cloves, dried parsley, salt, freshly cracked pepper, paprika, and dried thyme will pack this dish full of flavor.
- Flour: use all-purpose flour to thicken the sauce.
- Cream: heavy cream is the base of the creamy sauce.
- Whole Milk: full-fat milk will help you achieve the right consistency for the sauce.
- Cheese: freshly grated Parmesan cheese will give you the best cheesy flavor in the sauce and topping.
- Green Beans: fresh green beans are best for this recipe, but you can use frozen green beans that have been thawed, then dried with a paper towel.
- Fried Onions: use French fried onions for that classic crunchy onion topping.
- Bread Crumbs: Panko bread crumbs are perfect to mix with the onions and cheese for a crunchy texture.
- Oil: any cooking oil like olive oil or vegetable oil will work well to bind the topping ingredients. You can also use melted butter for an added buttery flavor.
How to Make Easy Green Bean Casserole
This recipe has a few steps but they are all worth it! Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Cook bacon, onion, and mushrooms: In a large pan, cook the bacon, onion, and mushrooms.
- Add seasoning and flour: Stir the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme into the mushroom mixture. Add flour and cook.
- Make into a sauce: Whisk in the cream and milk. Cook until thickened. Add Parmesan, adjust seasonings to taste, and set aside.
- Blanch green beans: Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling water so that they’re not completely soft. Drain and rinse under cold water. Put green beans in the bottom of a baking dish.
- Add sauce and bake: Pour the sauce over the top, then cover and partly bake it.
- Add topping, and bake: Combine fried onions, panko, Parmesan, and oil and sprinkle over the top of the casserole, and bake until golden brown.
Easy Green Bean Casserole FAQs
If your green bean casserole mix has thinned too much before being put in the dish, either add more heavy cream or make a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up. Bear in mind that it will thicken as it cools, and some of the liquid will also cook out when it’s baking.
This casserole can easily be prepped ahead for the holidays. Simply prepare the sauce and the green beans, cool, and combine in a baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days before continuing with the recipe (you may need to add a few minutes to the bake time).
Store leftover green bean casserole once it has completely cooled, in an airtight container, or covered in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or covered with foil in the oven.
I’d recommend freezing the casserole without the crispy topping, as it will likely soften as it defrosts. Prepare the sauce and green beans in a freezer-safe dish cover, and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow it to defrost thoroughly before part baking, adding the topping, and baking again.
Keep in mind that the texture of the green beans will be softer after freezing.
Tips and Notes
- Blanching green beans: It’s important to use blanched green beans because they will continue to cook in the oven, and you don’t want them to be a soggy mess. Rinsing the parcooked beans in cold water, or giving them an ice water bath, stops them from cooking so they can start cooking again in the oven.
- Change up the cheese: You can change up the kind of cheese you use. Gruyere, sharp cheddar, or Monterey cheese would work well, too!
More Easy Thanksgiving Recipes to Try
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Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
Bacon Alfredo Sauce
- 4 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms (sliced) optional
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Green Bean Casserole
- 1½ lbs fresh green beans (trimmed and cut into 2" pieces)
- 1 cup fried onions
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon oil or melted butter
Bacon Alfredo Sauce
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon, onion, and mushrooms until the bacon is crispy and the onions and mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes.
- Stir the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme into the mushroom mixture, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add flour and cook and stir until no white remains.
- Whisk in the cream and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened.
- Stir in Parmesan, taste and adjust seasonings, and set aside.
Green Bean Casserole
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 3 minutes (you don’t want them too soft since they will continue to cook in the oven).
- Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
- Lightly grease a 9×13″ or similar-sized casserole dish or baking dish and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add the green beans to the dish in an even layer, and pour the sauce over top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly.
- Stir together the fried onions, panko, Parmesan, and oil and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
- Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes until the topping is a light golden brown.
- Serve hot.
- Bacon: you can omit the bacon to make this meatless side dish. Simply add a bit of oil to sauté your vegetables.
- Mushrooms: my family is not a fan of mushrooms, so I often make this without them, and it’s still delicious!
- Cream and milk: I do not recommend using lighter cream or low-fat milk as it can curdle with the long bake time. If you prefer, you could substitute the milk for chicken broth for a lighter, less rich sauce.
- Fried onions: feel free to make your own if you prefer! I use French’s because, hey, they’re delicious (and easy!).
- Store: Store leftover greens bean casserole once it has completely cooled, in an airtight container, or covered in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or covered with foil in the oven.
- Freeze: I’d recommend freezing the casserole without the crispy topping, as it will likely soften as it defrosts. Prepare the sauce and green beans in a freezer-safe dish cover, and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow it to defrost thoroughly before part baking, adding the topping, and baking again.
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