Green bean casserole gets a real Thanksgiving upgrade with fresh green beans and an easy-to-make, homemade mushroom sauce, for a creamy and classic side dish with an irresistible, salty crunch from crispy onion rings.
This recipe is brought to you by Alexia Foods
Green bean casserole is one of the most classic holiday side dishes, that’s right up there with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. So why go and change it? It’s true, sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with the classics, especially when they’re tied to food memories of time spent with family. But times change, and tastes evolve. The last time I was passed an 11×13-inch casserole dish of green bean casserole, it was a sad mixture of stunted, pallid beans in a gloopy grey gravy instead of a flavorful sauce. I knew I could give this dish the makeover it deserved.
The original green bean casserole was created during the era of home cooks transitioning from scratch-made meals to relishing in the convenience that cooking from a box or can delivers. To be fair, I’m the first one to raise my hand when it comes to saving time in the kitchen. The only exception? I won’t sacrifice flavor. That’s why you won’t find any cream of mushroom soup in my recipe. I’ve created an easy recipe that combines real, fresh ingredients with lots of flavors, while still saving you time. Everyone (especially me) is happy at the table.
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What’s in The Best Green Bean Casserole Recipe
To make the best green bean casserole recipe possible, I used only a handful of real, simple ingredients. Although this easy green bean casserole recipe is an upgrade from what I grew up eating, I didn’t try to reinvent the wheel when creating this dish. Here’s what you need to make this green bean casserole recipe:
Fresh Green Beans The original green bean casserole calls for canned green beans or frozen green beans. While flash-frozen green beans are a good option because they retain their nutrients, I use fresh green beans because I simply prefer the taste and texture. No mushy green beans here!
Better Creamy Mushroom Sauce Instead of using high-sodium canned cream of mushroom soup, I make my super easy standard white sauce where I can control how much salt goes into it. It’s flavored with fresh, sautéed mushrooms and onions with a bit of fresh thyme. I don’t use garlic in my green bean casserole, but if you wanted, you totally could. I’d suggest mincing 1 or 2 cloves.
The white sauce ingredient ratios are easy to remember: 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, and 2 cups milk or vegetable or chicken broth = 2:2:2.
A Better Crunchy Topping One of the signature flavors of le casserole de green bean is the crispy crunchy topper, and this is where I add another spin to the original recipe and use chef-inspired All Natural Alexia Crispy Onion Rings. I’m a big fan of onion rings, but I want them thick and crunchy, and definitely not greasy—and these rings totally deliver, and I much prefer them to French fried onions. The all-natural slices of Alexia’s sweet Spanish onions get their crunch from a coating of panko. The breading is seasoned with sea salt and it bakes up crisp and light. As I stood in the freezer aisle at my local Smith’s Marketplace and reviewed the ingredient list on the onion ring package, I recognized every simple ingredient and discovered they also have zero grams of trans fat.
How to Make This Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Shock the green beans. To take the raw edge off, shock the fresh green beans in boiling water for a minute or two, or until they turn bright green, then drain.
Bake the frozen onion rings for 10 minutes. Set them aside until you’re ready to assemble the green bean casserole.
Sauté the onion and mushrooms. While the onion rings bake, sauté the chopped onion in a buttered skillet, just until they turn translucent. Add the mushrooms to the same skillet, along with the salt, black pepper, and thyme, and continue cooking until they’re tender.
Get saucy. Add flour, milk, chicken stock, and nutmeg to the skillet and cook it down to create a creamy white sauce. Stir in the green beans, then transfer the green bean mixture to a baking dish and add the baked onion rings on top.
How do You Keep Green Bean Casserole From Getting Mushy
The biggest way to prevent your green bean casserole from getting mushy is to take care not to overcook your green beans. You want tender green beans that still have a bite to them. Overcooking them will give you sad and soggy beans.
Are You Supposed to Cover Green Bean Casserole When Baking
There’s no need to cover this green bean casserole recipe, but if for some reason you find it’s getting too brown, feel free to tent it with some aluminum foil.
Can You Make Green Bean Casserole Ahead of Time?
Yes, simply follow the recipe up to the point of baking (but hold the onion rings). Cover and refrigerate up to overnight. When you’re ready to bake, add the onion rings (otherwise they’ll get mushy and soggy). Note that your casserole may need a bit longer in the oven.
Can You Freeze Green Bean Casserole?
I don’t recommend freezing green bean casserole. The onion rings will lose their crispness, and the casserole itself will likely be quite mushy once reheated.
How to Reheat Green Bean Casserole
If you wind up with leftovers of this green bean casserole from scratch, you’ll want to reheat them in the oven at 350ºF. Don’t microwave leftover green bean casserole, or the green beans and onion rings will be rubbery.
Tips for Making the Best Green Bean Casserole
Instead of blanching the green beans, you could also steam them for a minute or so in the microwave with a tablespoon or two of water. Use the frozen variety if you prefer, just be sure to thaw and drain the excess water so your casserole doesn’t get runny.
When making the white sauce, add more chicken stock (this one’s my FAVORITE!) if you prefer a thinner sauce. For even more flavor, add white wine. Choose a white wine you’d actually drink, not one labeled as cooking wine.
Also, for the creamiest, most flavorful white sauce uses whole milk or half and half. Don’t use 2% or skim milk here, otherwise, your sauce won’t thicken up properly and your green bean casserole will be a runny mess. I don’t use any cheese in mine, but if you wanted, cheddar cheese would be an excellent addition to the sauce.
What to Serve with Your Green Bean Casserole
- The Best Juicy Roast Turkey
- My Favorite Ambrosia Salad
- Easy Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes
- Cranberry and Walnut Stuffing
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Rotisserie Herb Butter Turkey
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Savory Crumble
- Easy Dinner Rolls
- THE BEST Roast Turkey Breast
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Green Bean Casserole
- 1 pound green beans fresh or frozen
- 1 11- ounce bag Alexia Crispy Onion Rings with Panko Breading and Sea Salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 10 ounces brown cremini mushrooms sliced, about 4 cups
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk or half and half
- ½ cup white wine or chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Trim the green beans and cut in half, then place in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, and set aside. If using frozen, thaw in the microwave or on the counter and drain any excess water.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the onion rings on the tray and bake for 10 minutes or until the onion rings are crisp. Set aside.
- While the onion rings are baking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook the onions for 3-5 minutes or until they begin to soften and become translucent.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, black pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
- Sprinkle the mixture with the flour, stir to combine, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring so the flour doesn't burn but does cook out the flour-y taste. Add the milk or half and half, wine or chicken broth, and the nutmeg and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring, or until the sauce has reduced by half.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the green beans. Transfer half of the bean mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish, or 11 x 7- or 8-inch square baking dish and top with half of the onion rings, then the rest of the beans and top with the remaining onion rings.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbly. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, the sauce will thicken as it cools.
More Classic Thanksgiving Recipes with a Twist
- Herb Butter Rotisserie Turkey
- Buttermilk Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce
- Miso Roasted Butternut Squash
- Farro, Butternut Squash, Sausage and Dried Cherry Stuffing
- Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
- Pumpkin Tiramisu
This post is in partnership with Alexia Foods. Follow along on Alexia’s Facebook and Instagram, or check out their website to see their chef-inspired flavors, real ingredients, healthy alternatives and recipes. GET THE THANKSGIVING PREP GUIDE: Get your FREE Thanksgiving plan, timeline, recipe, and menu inspiration, plus all the tips & tricks you need to pull off the best Thanksgiving yet. AND! FREE printable.
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