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Creamy Green Bean Casserole From Scratch

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Homemade green bean casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish recipe. This gourmet version is made from scratch. Think old-school French’s Green Bean Casserole without the preservatives.

With creamy homemade mushroom sauce, fresh green beans, and oven-baked crispy fried onions, my food snob approves this elevated version of holiday green bean casserole. I know you will, too!

Level up your mom’s classic Green Bean Casserole!

Level up your mom’s classic Green Bean Casserole!

History Of Green Bean Casserole

The traditional green bean casserole on every Thanksgiving table dates back to Dorcas Reilly, who worked for Campbell’s soup company’s test kitchen. She lived to the ripe old age of 92 and changed American holiday cooking forever.

Her casserole was a total 50’s dish, made with condensed cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans, and that signature can of french fried onions. It was perfect for thrifty, post-war cooks who were following the trend of convenience cooking.

Fast forward to the ’80s! Thirty years later, the condensed soup version was still gracing practically every holiday table. This Thanksgiving classic tastes like generations of family love.

While I appreciate chowing down on awesome 50s recipes, I also happen to be a total foodie. You can ask my mom, she’ll confirm. She has even, on occasion, called me a food snob. I know—shocking.

Even back in elementary school, I was studying ingredients. Dissecting the flavors in sauces and dishes at restaurants. Confirming that a sauce surely had turmeric in it. I think my mom always found me a little odd. I mean, what kid is subscribing to Food and Wine by junior high school?

I will teach you how to improve your beloved holiday side dish! I promise this is going to be your new old family favorite.

Making Green Bean Casserole From Scratch

I love the retro version of green bean casserole, too, but I don’t always love that the ingredients in the canned soup aren’t the healthiest.

And are those onions? Or are they just some weird onion-esque crunchy thing that tastes amazing but isn’t an onion? 

By using fresh ingredients to make green bean casserole from scratch, you’ll know exactly what’s in your baking dish.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

This easy recipe comes together to make the best green bean casserole. The extra work is worth it. 

The mushroom sauce. The creamy mushroom sauce for this recipe is divine, and it’s easy to make. Seriously, it only takes a tiny bit longer than opening a can of condensed soup.

Healthy green bean casserole. Because this recipe contains no artificial ingredients, you know it’s better for you.

Make it ahead. This green bean casserole can be made ahead of time, so you’ll have less to do on the go day! Pop it in a pretty casserole dish for easy serving.

Homemade crispy onion rings. These onion rings are delicious. They make a great topping and are also great on burgers.

Ingredients For Fresh Green Bean Casserole

This is the best green bean casserole. If you need this recipe to be gluten-free or dairy-free, no problem! There are a few substitutions that you can make to the recipe, and I promise it will still be delicious.

Haricots verts. These are just fancy French green beans. I like to use them because there is no prep work. But you can use any fresh green bean OR frozen if you must.

Fresh mushrooms. I usually use baby Bella mushrooms or brown mushrooms. To save time, you can buy them pre-sliced.

Onions. I recommend sweet yellow onions in this recipe.

All-purpose flour. A little flour is used on the onion rings to thicken the mushroom soup. 

Panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are made from the fluffy part of bread, no crusts included. They can be found in most grocery stores. You can also use packaged regular dried bread crumbs or make your own.

Heavy cream and butter. If you are going dairy-free, substitute your favorite dairy-free creamer. I have also used a simple cashew sauce as a substitute in this recipe. (See recipe notes below.)

Buttermilk. Buttermilk is used to soak the onions before breading. You can also use whole milk. 

Broth. I usually use chicken broth. You can also use a mushroom or vegetable broth.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1—Make The Crispy Onion Topping

Slice the onions, season, and then marinate in 1/2 cup buttermilk while you prep the green beans.

I like to use a mandoline slicer of a food processor to speed up the work.

Step 2—Crispy Onions From Scratch

Preheat the oven to 425℉.

Toss the onion rings in a mixture of bread crumbs and flour.

Add a little oil and bake until golden brown and crunchy, about 20 minutes.

Step 3—Blanched Green Beans

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the green beans.

Blanch the green beans for 4 to 6 minutes. You want them to be bright green.

Prepare an ice bath.

When the green beans are bright green, remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and quickly plunge them into the ice bath.

Step 4—Make The Mushroom Cream Sauce

Start by sautéing mushrooms in butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Once they are brown, add the garlic.

Thicken the sauce by adding a few tablespoons of flour to the mushrooms. Stir the flour in and then add the broth, stirring to combine. The flour and broth will combine to create a thick sauce.

Add the cream to the sauce, stirring occasionally. Then, finish the whole thing with a sprinkle of fresh thyme. For a subtle kick, add a dash of red pepper flakes.

Step 5—Assemble The Green Bean Casserole And Warm In The Oven

​Cut the green beans into thirds and place them in the casserole dish.

Add the cream of mushroom soup and about one-quarter to one-third of the onion rings.

Toss to combine the green bean mixture.

Top the whole thing with the remaining crispy onions. 

FAQs and Expert Tips

How long does it take to cook green bean casserole? Green bean casserole should be cooked long enough to warm it and make the sauce nice and bubbly. Everything in it is already cooked, so you want to get it warm enough to eat. Is there a way to make green bean casserole gluten-free? Use gluten-free flour (affiliate link) and gluten-free bread crumbs. Is there a way to make green bean casserole dairy-free? Use a dairy-free cream or a simple cashew sauce. What can I use instead of cream of mushroom soup in green bean casserole? I use a homemade mushroom cream sauce in place of canned condensed soup. Can you prep fresh green bean casserole the night before? Yes! If you make the casserole ahead of time, you’ll need to warm it up until it’s hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. (Cooking times will vary.) Making the onion rings the same day is best to ensure they are crispy. Can I use frozen green beans? Yes, you can use frozen green beans. I do not recommend the canned ones.

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Fresh Green Bean Casserole From Scratch
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Not your mom’s green bean casserole. This is a completely from-scratch version of French’s old school green bean casserole. Once you make this version, you’ll never go back.

Prep Time 20 minutes minsCook Time 50 minutes minsTotal Time 1 hour hr 10 minutes mins

Course Holiday, Side DishCuisine American

Servings 10Calories 132 kcal

Make the onion ringsLine the baking sheet with parchment paper.Combine the onions with the salt and the buttermilk. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes.2 medium onions, ½ cup buttermilk, 1 tsp kosher saltIn a large shallow dish, combine the flour and the panko bread crumbs and toss to combine. Add in the onion rings a little at a time. Toss to coat with the breading mixture and then set them on the baking sheet until you cook them. ¼ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup bread crumbsSpray a thin coat of spray on the onion rings. cooking oil sprayPlace the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.Watch closely as oven temperatures vary. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking.Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400℉.Blanch the green beansWhile the onions are cooking, prepare the beans.Bring the water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan.10 cups water, 2 tablespoons kosher saltAdd the beans and blanch for 5 minutes.1 pound haricots vertsDrain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once they thoroughly cooled, drain off the water and set aside. 10 cups ice waterCreamy Mushroom SauceHeat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and 1 teaspoon salt.  Cook, occasionally stirring, until the mushrooms are a deep golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.12 ounces mushrooms, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher saltStir in the garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes—season with black pepper. Adjust the salt if needed. 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperSprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. You want to cook the flour and brown it slightly. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flourAdd the broth, stir and simmer. The flour and broth will combine to thicken the sauce. 1 cup chicken brothDecrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.1 cup half-and-halfFinish the sauce with a sprinkle of fresh thyme. 1 teaspoon fresh thymeRemove the mushroom mixture from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onion rings. Stir to combine. Assemble The Green Bean CasseroleCombine the green beans and the creamy mushroom sauce. This can be done by adding the green beans to the mushroom sauce and then adding the mixture to your baking dish. OR The green beans can be added to the dish and then the mushroom sauce poured over the beans. Top with the remaining onion rings. (Right before baking.)Bake @ 400℉. Place the casserole into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Gluten-free: Use gluten-free flour and bread crumbs. 
Dairy-free: Use a dairy-free creamer instead of half and half, OR use a simple cashew sauce. 
Make-ahead Instructions
You can easily make the mushroom cream sauce and even blanch the green beans several days ahead. If you want to make sure the onion rings are crispy, it is best to make them the same day.  

Follow the instructions for the mushroom cream sauce with the exception of adding the onion rings. Store in an airtight container. 
Blanch the green beans and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

Simple Cashew Sauce

1 cup of raw cashews
3 cups of water (to soak overnight)
2 cloves of garlic
a few pinches of salt

How to make the cashew sauce

Soak the cashews overnight in water. 
Drain, and then add the cashews, garlic, and salt to a high-speed blender. 
Turn the blender on and begin to add fresh water until the sauce is the consistency of a thin pancake batter. You will use 1 to 2 cups of water. 
Optional: Add a squeeze of lemon juice. 

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Calories: 132kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 367mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gCalcium: 70mgIron: 1mg

Keyword green beans, side dish, Thanksgiving

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