The BEST Green Casserole from Scratch with no canned soups!
This Green Bean Casserole recipe is made completely from scratch with fresh green beans and real ingredients! Tender green beans are blanketed in a homemade creamy mushroom sauce spiked with cheese and sour cream then topped with crunchy homemade fried onions. The resulting easy Green Casserole recipe is irresistibly creamy, cheesy, comforting perfection that is guaranteed to become your go-to from now on! I’ve also included helpful tips and tricks, recipe variations and how to make this Green Bean Casserole days ahead of time – just add the onions then bake!
Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Green Bean Casserole has become a quintessential staple at every Thanksgiving table, holiday gatherings, and church socials with its rich and creamy mushroom sauce and it’s crunchy fried onion topping. Too often, however, the classic casserole is made with mystery condensed soup, packaged fried onions and worst of all – limp canned green beans – sad, sad day.
But not today! Today, I give you a Green Bean Casserole FROM SCRATCH that will blow your mind. Every element is fresh, customized perfection resulting in a tantalizing addictive combination of flavors and textures. I’ve gone all out in this special occasion side with fresh green beans and a luxurious homemade mushroom gravy made with heavy cream, sour cream, cheeses and HOMEMADAE FRIED ONIONS that is destined to convert even the most reluctant green bean casserole haters!
In fact, my husband, who isn’t usually a Green Bean Casserole fan, couldn’t get enough. He exclaimed, “This Green Bean Casserole saves Thanksgiving.” I made it on the same day as my Apple Crisp, to which he further gushed, “All Thanksgiving needs is this casserole and Apple Crisp.”
While, I wouldn’t go that far, (I still need my company mashed potatoes and Pumpkin Cheesecake,) it safe to say this Green Beans from scratch recipe will have everyone singing your praises, begging for the recipe and polishing off their plates!
Green Bean Casserole FROM SCRATCH!
There simply is no comparison between this Green Bean Casserole from scratch and “canned” recipes. You truly haven’t tasted Green Bean Casserole until you try this version.
Now remember when you see the recipe that it requires more ingredients and a little more time than mixing some cans together but is SO worth it. Every ingredient contributes to the symphony of deliciousness. Also remember, you can make it a day ahead, refrigerate then bake when ready!
What set’s this Green Bean Casserole from Scratch apart:
Fresh green beans – BETTER THAN CANNED
Fresh green beans are blanched for 5 minutes until crisp-tender resulting in palate pleasing texture and flavor – no sad, soggy green beans in this casserole!
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup – BETTER THAN CONDENSED!
This homemade creamy mushroom sauce is divine – you’ll never want to buy condensed soup again! It starts by sautéing mushrooms until golden then making a roux with flour, chicken broth and heavy cream finished off with salty Parmesan, sharp cheddar and silky sour cream to create a luxurious from-scratch mushroom sauce that is mega flavorful, mega creamy and the base of the BEST Green Bean Casserole!
FLAVOR – BETTER THAN BLAND RECIPES!
Of course, a homemade mushroom gravy is a futile waste of time, effort and money if it doesn’t have FLAVOR. Never fear, this mushroom sauce is spiked with parsley, oregano, a hint of nutmeg and splashes of Worcestershire sauce and Dijon to create velvety, seasoned bliss that’s actually worthy of coveted space on your Thanksgiving plate.
Homemade fried onions — BETTER THAN FRENCH’S!
Heavens yes! Since Green Bean Casserole only comes around a couple times a year – you might as well make it the BEST Green Bean Casserole from scratch with REAL fried onions! And these, onions, my friends, are the real, addicting, I-could-eat-them-for-dayssssss deal. They are 1000X better than any baked “fried” versions and have French’s onions beat by a landslide.
The onions are soaked in buttermilk and then coated with crispy Panko/flour mixture then fried to golden crunchy perfection. They can also be made days in advance and will stay super crunchy. so there’s no reason not to make them!
That being said, if making homemade fried onions is just not an option, you can still use store-bought fried onions.
Ingredients for the BEST Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Please don’t shy way when you see the long list of ingredients for Green Bean Casserole from scratch. All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store and chances are you probably have 90% of them in your pantry right now!
INGREDIENTS FOR GREEN BEANS
- Green beans: please use FRESH green bean. No canned green beans in Green Bean Casserole from scratch!
- Butter: use unsalted butter so we can control the salt. You may also substitute with more olive oil.
- Olive oil: helps the butter not brown. Use quality olive oil for more flavor.
- Mushrooms: you can use any gourmet mushrooms or a combination such as creminis (baby bellas), shiitakes, or oyster mushrooms. I usually go with creminis because the are the most accessible. Please do NOT use white button mushrooms as they are the youngest and therefore have the least amount of flavor. Cremini mushrooms are a more mature version of the white button mushroom and therefore have more complex flavor.
- Garlic: 4 garlic cloves, more or less to taste.
- Flour: All purpose flour or gluten free baking flour will work here.
- Chicken broth: please use low sodium chicken broth so we can control the salt.
- Heavy cream: also called “heavy whipping cream.” Just ½ cup adds that something-something luxurious that elevates the entire Green Bean Casserole.
- Worcestershire sauce: boasts a complex savory, tangy flavor.
- Dijon mustard: adds a hint of complex vinegar tang.
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried parsley, dried oregano and nutmeg round out the flavor profile.
- Cheese. This Green Bean Casserole recipe calls for both freshly grated Parmesan for its salty bite and cheddar for it is sharp richness. They won’t make your Green Bean casserole “cheesy” just wonderfully delicious. Please only use freshly grated cheeses because the pre-shredded varieties don’t melt nearly as well – especially Parmesan.
- Sour Cream. Sour cream is a must in my book for the indulgent rich creaminess it adds and for the hint of tanginess. I use ½ cup but you are welcome to use even more. Full fat sour cream melts easier than nonfat, but you can certainly use nonfat with this knowledge. For full disclosure, I have not tried this Green Bean Casserole recipe with Greek Yogurt.
INGREDIENTS FOR FRIED ONIONS
- Onions: I like to use one yellow onion and one red onion for layers of flavor, but you can use all of one kind.
- Buttermilk: I often don’t have buttermilk, so I will use a DIY buttermilk. To make your own buttermilk, Add 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar to a 3 cup+ measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 2 1/2 cups. Give it a stir then wait 10-15 minutes for it to curdle, then give it another stir before using. If you only have 1% milk, then add a splash of heavy cream before filling the rest of the measuring cup with milk.
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour and have not experimented with gluten free flour but I imagine it would work fine.
- Panko: is a Japanese breadcrumb sold in every grocery store (including Walmart) usually next to the other breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are larger and dryer than normal breadcrumbs so they absorb less moisture and become much crispier. Please do not substitute panko breadcrumbs with Italian breadcrumbs or you will be missing out on the gorgeous, satisfying CRUNCH. If you need to omit the panko, then substitute with flour instead.
- Salt and pepper: to season those onions! I don’t recommend adding herbs because they can burn when fried.
- Oil: You will need oil with a neutral flavor and high smoking point to fry the onions. Vegetable or canola oil work great.
Can I use frozen green beans?
Yes! Frozen green beans are fresh green beans picked at the peak of freshness then blanched and flash frozen. This means you can enjoy the freshness of green beans without having to blanch them first. To use frozen green beans, thaw them first then dry very well so they don’t make your mushroom gravy runny (don’t blanch).
Do I have to add mushrooms?
Even if you don’t love mushrooms, I promise they are deliciously subtle in this Green Bean Casserole recipe. If you still can’t stomach them, then you can just omit them – no need to add anything in their place.
Do I have to make homemade fried onions?
Nope! Homemade fried onions definitely elevate this Green Bean Casserole recipe, but are not essential. You can substitute them with French’s Fried Onions or Trader Joe’s brand is also excellent.
About Fresh Green Beans
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN FRESH GREEN BEANS
The BEST Green Bean Casserole starts with fresh green beans. When selecting green beans, look for green beans that are:
- brightly colored without brown spots, blemishes, or discoloration.
- are firm and not saggy, and will give a good snap when broken. (I do not recommend breaking a bunch of beans in the store!!!) Avoid beans that are too stiff.
- on the thinner side. Avoid the largest beans because this means they have matured on the vine and are likely tough.
HOW TO STORE GREEN BEANS
Now that we have our fresh green beans, it’s important to not mess them up! To store fresh green beans, refrigerate them in a plastic bag for up to 1 week in the vegetable crisper drawer. Do NOT wash them first or they can get moldy in the bag.
If storing green beans for longer than 5 days, I recommend slipping in a piece of paper towel to absorb extra moisture.
HOW DO I CUT GREEN BEANS?
Fresh green beans are very simple to prep and trimming them yourself will save you money. You will want to trim both ends of the beans and cut them in half before blanching as they are easier to cut when the firmest.
To trim green beans quickly, gather a small portion of beans into a small pile, lining up the tips on one side. Trim the tips with one slice using a large knife. Push the beans the opposite direction so they are flush with the other side and trim that end. Next, cut the beans in half.
This method allows you to trim multiple beans at once so you can be done in minutes!
HOW TO MAKE Green Bean Casserole
Step 1: Soak onions
- Add onions to a shallow baking dish and pour buttermilk over top. Press the onions down so they’re submerged as much as possible.
- Let them soak at room temperature for an hour, stirring and pushing down occasionally. Cover and refrigerate if soaking longer.
Step 2: Fry onions
- When ready to fry onions, fill a Dutch oven or deep heavy-duty pot with approximately 2 inches of oil. Heat to 375 degrees F.
- While heating, combine flour, panko, salt and pepper in a large bowl; set aside. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
- Test the oil with a small pinch of panko; if it bubbles and fries, then it is hot enough.
- Using tongs, transfer a handful of onions from the buttermilk to the flour/panko mixture. Toss to combine, shake off any excess flour, then carefully transfer to the hot oil.
- Fry onions until golden brown (just 1-2 minutes), watch closely! Remove fried onions with a heat-proof slotted spoon or tongs to paper towels. Repeat with the remaining onion slices.
Step 3: Blanch Green Beans
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and stir in two tablespoon salt. Add the green beans and blanch 5 minutes (start timing as soon as you add the beans).
- Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water to transfer the greens to. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to ice water to stop cooking. Drain the beans and set aside.
Step 4: Sauté mushrooms
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and cook until nicely browned and starting to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté 30 seconds.
Step 4: Finish Mushroom Sauce
- Whisk in flour then cook, while stirring for 1 minute. Turn heat to low then gradually whisk in chicken broth and heavy cream followed by Dijon, Worcestershire sauce and all spices/seasonings.
- Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly then reduce heat to a simmer, whisking often until thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove skillet from heat and whisk in cheddar until melted followed by Parmesan cheese until melted. Whisk in sour cream until blended.
Step 4: Combine
- Pat green beans dry then add to sauce; stir to combine.
- Stir in 1 ½ cups fried onions. Stir in additional broth if needed to thin.
- Transfer green beans to a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Top with desired amount of onions.
Step 5: Bake
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BEST GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE RECIPE
- Pre-cut green beans. To save time, you can purchase pre-cut, pre-washed green beans. They are easy to find in 2-pound bags. I usually go for the bagged organic green beans because they seem to be thinner. You will still have to chop the beans in half, but the ends will be trimmed.
- Dry green bean. Make sure to pat green beans very dry so they don’t introduce additional moisture to he mushrooms sauce and make it runny.
- Brown mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until they are lightly brown and release most of their moisture, this can take up to 5 minutes, so be patient. Also don’t add the salt until the very end as per instructions, because salt will make the mushrooms retain water and inhibits the browning process.
- Cook flour long enough. After you sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, make sure you cook for a full 1-2 minutes until that nutty smell. This indicates the flour is cooked.
- Turn heat to low: Add the broth and heavy cream over low heat and keep stirring to prevent lumps.
- Thicken but not too thick. The sauce will require up to 8 minutes to thicken – so be patient and simmer on but don’t thicken the sauce too much because it will continue to thicken with the addition of the cheeses and the sour cream. The sauce is the right consistency when you can draw a path across the back of the spoon.
- Thin sauce if needed. The homemade cream of mushroom sauce can become too thick if simmered at too high of heat or for too long. But don’t worry, it’s SO easy to fix! Simply stir in a little chicken broth until it reaches desired consistency.
TIPS FOR HOMEMADE FRIED ONIONS
- Thinly slice onions. Thinly sliced onions ensure the ideal proportions of onions to coating to casserole. To shortcut this process, use a mandolin slicer if you have one.
- Slice onions ahead of time. You can slice the onions a day ahead of time and refrigerate in an airtight bag if you aren’t ready to fry right away. This will cut down on the onion prep significantly.
- Oil temperature. You want your oil to be about 375 degrees F which means it will be shimmering but not smoking. If your oil starts to smoke, lower the heat and give it some time to cool before adding the onions. Once you’ve tested that your oil is hot enough with some panko, you still want to make sure it’s not too hot, so it’s always a good idea to do a small test batch first.
- Stir onions. Once you add the onions to the hot oil, give them a stir to break up any of the onions that may be sticking together.
- Watch closely. The onions don’t take long at all to fry up – just a minute or two per batch, so make sure to watch closely. To check for doneness, use your slotted spoon and lift a few out of the pot because it can be hard to see their true color in the oil.
- Don’t over-fry. The onions should be lightly golden and not dark golden when you remove them from the oil because they are also going in the oven for 15 minutes in which they will continue to cook.
- If you overcook onions then don’t add them to the casserole while it bakes for the full time. Instead, add them to the casserole the last few minutes of baking just to warm through.
Green Bean Casserole Variations
- Make it gluten free. Use gluten free flour and replace the panko with gluten-free panko or substitute it with additional gluten free flour.
- Different mushrooms. Add extra mushroom flavor by using Chanterelle mushrooms or a mixture of gourmet mushrooms. You can also use more mushrooms then the recipe calls for.
- Add bacon. Thick-cut bacon can be chopped and cooked until crispy then stirred into the casserole.
- Add cheese. You can additional sharp cheddar cheese to the casserole as well as a layer of cheese on top of the casserole.
Make ahead GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
This easy Green Bean Casserole is a great make ahead side! You can make the fried onions and the green beans with sauce then just combine and bake when ready. Here’s how:
- Onions: Fry onions according to directions. Let onions cool COMPLETELY before transferring to an airtight container. Store onions at ROOM TEMPERATURE for up to three days.
- Green beans: Prepare green bean casserole according to directions up to the point of adding the onions – keep onions separate. Tightly cover baking dish and refrigerate up to 48 hours.
- Bake. When ready to bake, stir in 1-2 tablespoons milk into the green beans and give them a stir, COVER with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, add onions to the top of the green beans and bake, UNCOVERED for an additional 15 minutes or until the Green Bean Casserole is completely warmed through.
How to Store GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Green Bean Casserole should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it is good for up to 5 days, just keep in mind that the onions won’t be as crispy.
HOW TO REHEAT EASY GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Green Bean Casserole is best hot out of the oven because the onions are the crispiest and the casserole is the sauciest. I wouldn’t completely assemble the casserole and reheat for Thanksgiving, rather see the make ahead section above. Reheating Green Bean Casserole should be reserved for leftovers.
- Oven: Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Microwave. Microwave individual portions for 60 seconds then at 20 second intervals until heated through.
HOW TO FREEZE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Green Bean Casserole is best fresh but it can be frozen. Keep in mind the onions will lose most of their crispy texture so you might want to replace them with new homemade onions or store bought.
- Prepare Green Bean Casserole according to directions up to baking.
- Wrap casserole two times in plastic wrap followed by one layer of foil.
- Freeze for up to three months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator then bake as directed, adding an addition 5-10 minutes.
What goes with the best Green Bean Casserole?
Green Bean Casserole screams holiday and company food! Some of our favorite recipes to serve with this Green Bean Casserole from scratch are:
- Herb Butter Turkey
- Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
- Honey Baked Ham
- Garlic Herb Butter Pork Tenderloin
- Pot Roast
- Beef Tips and Gravy
- Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Roast Beef
- Beef Brisket
- Chicken Cordon Bleu
Green Bean Casserole also belongs with other worthy sides. Some of our favorite sides to serve easy Green Bean Casserole with are:
- Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cornbread Stuffing
- Creamed Corn
- Honey Roasted Carrots or Roasted Root Vegetables
- Cranberry Apple Wild Rice, Mushroom Orzo, Parmesan Risotto or Rice Pilaf
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Apple Salad, Fall Salad, Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, or Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
- Pineapple Cranberry Sauce
- Potatoes Au Gratin or Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
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