This easy green bean casserole recipe can be made with fresh, frozen, or canned green beans. We’ll skip the condensed soup and make our own for the best, most flavorful version you’ve ever had! Recipe includes a how-to video!
My Favorite Green Bean Casserole Recipe
My green bean casserole recipe is like the classic version you grew up with, but better. Made with fresh green beans and a from-scratch mushroom base, this recipe is creamy and rich (but not too rich) with a crisp-crunchy French fried onion topping. It’s a Thanksgiving staple that must be served each year, nestled besides the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce (and of course the turkey, which is somehow always an afterthought to me!).
Why you want THIS recipe on your dinner table:
- No canned cream of anything–we’ll make our own from scratch! The flavor is truly unparalleled this way (your guests are going to be blown away).
- Shockingly easy. Anyone can make this dish at home, you won’t believe you didn’t make it this way in the past!
- Includes instructions for using frozen or canned green beans (though fresh are my preference).
- Can be made ahead of time to take the pressure off on the big day (just like my brussels sprouts salad or make ahead dinner rolls).
- Easily doubles or triples for a crowd (or if you’re just a really big fan of this dish like I am 😉).
What You Need
Since we are making our own cream of mushroom soup, there are a few more ingredients here than you’d typically expect, but nothing too complicated. Here are the important ones!
- Green beans. I love using fresh green beans in this green bean casserole recipe; they have the perfect texture that keeps the dish from being too rich. You could use canned or frozen green beans though; I include instructions for substituting them below.
- Mushrooms. Instead of using a canned cream of mushroom soup, we will be making our own. I use sliced white button mushrooms for this, but you could use whatever type you like.
- Chicken broth. Chicken stock or vegetable broth would also work just fine! Whatever you use, make sure to add it slowly and scrape the bottom of the pan as you do; this will create a creamy, almost gravy-like base.
- Milk and cream. You could substitute the milk and cream with half and half (1 cup of half and half total).
- French fried onions. I cook completely from-scratch most of the time, but when I’m prepping Thanksgiving dinner, I don’t have the time to fry my own onions. It’s just not worth it *to me* in this particular instance, but you certainly can though; here’s a good guide on how to make French fried onions from scratch. Store-bought works just fine for me here though!
SAM’S TIP: If you’d really like to mimic the canned cream of mushroom soup, you can finely dice your mushrooms so they are in small bits just like the kind in the soup.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Green Bean Casserole
Blanch the Beans
Blanching the green beans is important! This step partially cooks the beans so they need less time in the oven, ultimately creating the perfect tender texture when the casserole is baked. It only takes minutes.
- Add the green beans to pot of boiling salted water and boil for 5 minutes.
- Drain the green beans and immediately place them in an ice bath. Set aside.
Make the Sauce
- Saute the onions in melted butter until softened, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the mushrooms and stir frequently as they cook until they are softened (they’ll shrink a bit in size, too).
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir until it is absorbed, then cook for 30 seconds more to let the flour toast.
- Slowly drizzle in the chicken broth while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan.
Assemble and Bake
- Stir in the milk, cream, salt, pepper, and thyme and cook until the sauce thickens. Make sure to stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.
- Thickness test: the sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Swipe your finger down the middle; if your finger leaves a clear trail, the sauce is ready.
- Add the drained green beans and stir to combine, then transfer to a 2 quart baking dish.
- Evenly sprinkle french fried onions over the top of the casserole and bake at 350F (175C) for 30 minutes.
SAM’S TIP: If you’d like to prepare this green bean casserole in advance, wait to add the french fried onions until just before baking. I’ll talk more about this below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! If you use canned green beans, there is no need to blanch them first; simply drain and add them to the sauce. If you want to use frozen beans, you will need to just thaw and drain them before tossing in the sauce.
Yes! You’ll simply want to prepare the casserole and stop before adding the fried onions. Let the green bean mixture cool in the baking dish for 15 minutes, then cover and place in the fridge. It will keep for up to 3 days.
When you are ready to serve, uncover the dish and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before adding the onions and baking at 350F (175C) for 30 minutes. You can also bake it directly from the fridge (without thawing first) but it will take longer to bake.
I personally don’t like to freeze this dish; the textures don’t come out very well after freezing. You can make the this green bean casserole recipe ahead though; detailed instructions for this are in the recipe card below.
I’ve got a few more Thanksgiving sides to share before the big day–stay tuned!
Green Bean Casserole
- 1 lb (453 g) fresh green beans ends trimmed and beans cut into 2” (5cm) pieces (4 cups) (see note for frozen or canned green beans)
- ⅓ cup (76 g) salted butter
- ½ cup (70 g) finely chopped onion
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 8 oz (226 g) white-button mushrooms sliced or chopped into small pieces
- ⅓ cup (42 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (236 ml) chicken broth
- ½ cup (118 ml) whole milk (see note)
- ½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream (see note)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups (130 g) French fried onions
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
- Blanch the green beans. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add green beans and boil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water. Drain green beans then immediately submerge in the ice bath. Let sit while you prepare the sauce.1 lb (453 g) fresh green beans
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook butter until melted.⅓ cup (76 g) salted butter
- Add onion and cook until softened and translucent.½ cup (70 g) finely chopped onion
- Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until softened.8 oz (226 g) white-button mushrooms
- Sprinkle flour over the veggies and cook until absorbed, then cook an additional 30 seconds longer to lightly toast (builds flavor!).⅓ cup (42 g) all-purpose flour
- While stirring, gradually drizzle in chicken broth, then add milk, cream, salt, black pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened (should coat the back of a spoon)..1 cup (236 ml) chicken broth, ½ cup (118 ml) whole milk, ½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream, 1 teaspoon table salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- Drain green beans and add to the sauce, stir until beans are covered with sauce.
- Spread evenly into a 2qt baking dish and sprinkle the top with French fried onions.2 cups (130 g) French fried onions
- Transfer to center rack of 350F (175C) oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes (will likely be bubbling around the edges).
Heavy cream/milkYou may substitute the heavy cream and milk for 1 cup (236ml) of half-and-half.
For frozen green beansSkip the step for blanching. Thaw and drain 4 cups frozen green beans and add them to the sauce in step 9.
For canned green beans.Skip the step for blanching. Use two 14.5-oz cans of green beans. Drain well then add to the sauce in step 9.
Making in advancePrepare recipe through step 9. Pour into 2qt baking dish (do not add French fried onions), let cool for about 15 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to bake, remove cover, and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add French fried onions overtop, and cook on 350F (175C) for 30 minutes/until bubbling and warmed through (note, if you bake directly from the refrigerator the casserole will take longer to bake).
StoringAfter baking, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or in 350F (175C) oven until heated through (green beans will be softer after cooking a second time). I don’t love freezing this dish.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.