Canned cream of mushroom soup has nothing to do in a vegetable side dish like this! This green bean casserole is made from scratch and packs the flavor without the soup. It has got deliciously crispy onion and bacon and just a tiny bit of cheese to make it even more luscious. A perfect Thanksgiving side dish!
Speaking of Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is the time for an abundance of side dishes and fancy main dishes. If it is too much for you to even think about, remember that I have a complete Thanksgiving for 2 post with grocery shopping, oven schedule, and more.
More Thanksgiving recipes I recommend include garlic parmesan green beans, whole orange pepper chicken, rosemary turkey breast, savory mashed sweet potatoes, honey-roasted brussels sprouts, and a butternut squash kale salad.
Why you’ll love this recipe
You will love this green bean casserole because
- It is made from scratch so there are no funny ingredients
- Even though it is made from scratch, it is so easy anyone can do it
- Not to mention it is so tasty! Not overdoing any flavors so the green beans can shine.
- But there are still some interesting textures from the crispy onions and bacon
- Green beans or asparagus beans are the heroes of the dish
- Garlic and onion for boosting flavors and making it more comforting
- Crispy fried onions and bacon for an interesting and super flavorful topping
- Bacon fat and all-purpose flour to thicken the sauce
- White wine, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, milk, and vegetable stock for a delicious white sauce
- A little bit of Swiss cheese to make it more creamy
Preheat oven to 375℉ (190℃).
Trim and cut green beans into bite-sized pieces. Cook in boiling water until still slightly undercooked, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water (using a slotted spoon) and give it a quick stir. Pour into an 8x8-inch baking dish or something similar. If using asparagus beans: Skip the boiling and add straight to the baking dish.
In a large saucepan over high heat, fry bacon until crispy (1). To fit into the saucepan, I cut each strip in half. Pat dry with a paper towel and set aside. Crumble once cold. Save the bacon fat for the next step.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add butter if needed, otherwise, keep using the bacon fat. We need about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan (although you may need to add more oil later). Add finely chopped yellow onion (2). Cook until soft, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant.
Add the all-purpose flour (3) and whisk for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is golden brown (4). While constantly whisking, slowly pour in the white wine, then the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, the broth then finally the milk - each separately (to build flavor) (5-6).
Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes, until slightly thickened. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Pour the sauce over the green beans (7-8) and bake, for about 30 minutes. If it starts to brown, cover it with aluminum foil.
Add the cooked bacon and crispy, fried onion and bake for 5 more minutes (or until the asparagus or green beans are tender). Let rest for 10 minutes before serving to let the sauce thicken a little.
This dish is best served immediately. That being said, it is a great make-ahead dish if you stop at a certain step - see Expert tips below.
However, if you find yourself with too many leftovers after dinner, this green bean casserole can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
The topping will not be crispy, but you can 1) Ignore it and enjoy the dish, 2) Add more crispy onion on top after re-heating, or 3) Scoop off the mushy onion and top with new crispy onion after re-heating.
To reheat, preheat the oven to about 300℉ (150℃), add the casserole, and heat until warmed through, about 15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, you can add new crispy onion if you want. You can also use these green beans in some leftover egg cups!
Why is green bean casserole so gross?
This is a funny question. It is most likely gross because you opted for the easiest solution which is the canned cream of mushroom soup, or maybe you also used canned or overcooked green beans.
This green bean casserole, made from scratch and without cream of mushroom soup, should not be gross whatsoever.
How do you keep it from getting mushy?
There are two tips to keep a green bean casserole from getting mushy, and they are kind of one and the same thing. The clue is to avoid overcooking the green beans.
You should blanch the green beans until they are still slightly undercooked (crisp-tender), roughly 2 minutes, and then quickly take them out with a slotted spoon and add them to a bowl of iced water. The ice water crisps up the green beans, giving a fresher mouthfeel.
If you use asparagus beans (so good by the way!), you don't even need to blanch them. Just cut, trim and add straight to the baking dish with the sauce. Easy peasy!
Are you supposed to cover the casserole when it is baking?
No, there's no need to keep it covered while baking. However, if it does gets too brown in the first 25 minutes, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
And the last 5 minutes we want the crispy onion and bacon to stay crisp, and adding a lid/foil does not help with this. If you notice the bacon turns too crisp for your liking, you should take the dish out of the oven. The green beans are done either way!
Can I make green bean casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it?
Luckily, you can. You can prepare the green beans and add them to the sauce in the baking dish. Before baking, and once it has cooled, add plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. It can stay like this for 2 days.
When you are ready to serve it, continue with the recipe. Bake and cover with crispy onion and bacon. I would then cook the bacon this day too so that it stays crispy.
What to serve with green bean casserole
Green bean casserole is a staple at many Thanksgiving dinner parties, and I get it. They are creamy, fresh, crispy and so comforting.
- For Thanksgiving: You can follow this Thanksgiving for 2, and instead of the garlic parmesan green beans, you can make this green bean casserole. Prepare the dish 1-2 days in advance as stated above, and when you take the turkey out of the oven, add this casserole on one rack and the brussels sprouts on another rack after 10 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes. Easy substitute!
- Another Thanksgiving tip: You can also serve it with a whole roasted chicken with orange pepper, brussels sprouts and butternut squash kale salad, and cranberry sauce or chanterelle cream sauce - whatever you fancy the most.
- For everyday dinners: I really like this dish with a cooked chicken breast and chanterelle cream sauce (see the previous point) or pollock with caramelized onion, and some oven-roasted potato wedges. For this I would also add an element that is a little fresher, such as garlic kale. A balanced and delicious meal.
Especially for Thanksgiving, we love the idea of making some dishes ahead of time. And this green bean casserole is no exception. There are however some steps that should be done at the same day (baking and adding the crispy onion and baking).
For a more thorough explanation, see Recipe FAQs above.
You can use this recipe as a guide but then do whatever you want really. There's no problem with adding some mushrooms to this dish. I usually add mushrooms to everything but found that this dish actually didn't need it. However, if you want to add mushrooms here is what I would do:
Add 1 cup of sliced mushrooms to the skillet when you are cooking the diced onion. Cook until the mushroom has softened, about 5-7 minutes. Then proceed with the recipe as is.
You don't even have to use green beans. My favorite is actually asparagus beans because you don't have to blanch/cook them before baking. Asparagus beans are really similar to green beans, with a slightly nutty taste. They are fabulous.
You could also use asparagus if you're feeling rich, or even small florets of broccoli. The clue for every one of these is to keep the cooking/blanching to a minimum and shock them in ice water before baking.
You can use frozen green beans
You can use frozen green beans or asparagus beans if that is all you can find. Cook them in boiling water for about 4-5 minutes, add to ice water as with fresh. Once cool to the touch, add to the sauce in the casserole and bake as with the original recipe.
Fresh are always better, but it's not always easy to find fresh in November, so we make do with what we've got, right!
Make crispy onion from scratch
Let me be honest here, I love making things from scratch as you can probably see from my blog. However, crispy onions are almost always better when store-bought. You will very rarely hear me say this.
The fine line between burning and crisping up the onion is, as I said, fine. I would recommend getting crispy onion from the store and keeping the headache to a minimum. French's Crispy Fried Onions are the most popular in the US, in Norway, you can use sprøstekt løk.
If you still want to make crispy fried onion from scratch, there's your chance. Either way, enjoy!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more Thanksgiving dishes I think you’d love:
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amy liu dong
Tuesday 6th of December 2022
This casserole dish looks absolutely yummy! even without the mushroom soup. Love to make this for the family!
Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice
Tuesday 6th of December 2022
Hope you'll give it a try, Amy!
Monday 5th of December 2022
Super delicious recipe and so easy to make. Thank you! Everyone loved it and wants more.
Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice
Tuesday 6th of December 2022
Thank you so much, Giangi!