Homemade green bean casserole uses fresh green beans and mushrooms, a simple creamy sauce, and crispy bacon. This version includes French’s Crispy Fried Onions on top so it still has all the crunchy vibes of the classic. Assemble and refrigerate up to 3 days ahead.
I’m guessing that this retro dish isn’t a must-have for every family, but for our family, it feels like something is missing if we don’t have green bean casserole with the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. We’ve tried variations over the years, but often default to the classic with canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, and French’s Crispy Fried Onions.
Never one to leave a classic alone, I’ve been making my own from-scratch version for years and prefer it made this way. Fresh green beans and mushrooms have so much more flavor and texture than their canned counterparts. I add some bacon for even more flavor and crunch.
Even if you're making the from-scratch version, I vote that you don’t skip the French’s Onions. They're hard to beat!
- Fresh Green Beans - Chop these into 2-inch (or even smaller) pieces so they are nice and bite-sized. You’ll boil them first to get them tender - see below for tips!
- French’s Crispy Fried Onions - I just love the simplicity, flavor, and crunch of store-bought French’s Crispy Fried Onions. (I’ve made homemade crispy fried onions for the dish and they’re never quite the same.) It’s totally fine to skip them if you prefer - the bacon will still give the dish great crunch and flavor.
- Button Mushrooms and Shallots - Mushrooms and shallots add rich, savory flavor to the sauce for this dish. Chop them both very finely so they practically disappear into the sauce.
- Bacon - Chop the bacon first so it cooks fast into small, crisp pieces that add flavor and crunch on top.
- Unsalted Butter - If using salted butter, just reduce the kosher salt in the recipe.
- Fresh Thyme Leaves - Dried thyme works well too.
- All-Purpose Flour - This thickens the sauce. See below if you need a gluten-free substitute.
- Milk - Any type of milk is just fine here. Feel free to use a dairy-free alternative. See below for options.
- Salt and Black Pepper - Don’t forget to season the dish, to taste!
How to Make Great Boiled Green Beans
To make great boiled green beans just follow these three tips:
- Use well-salted water - Boiling the beans in water that has been seasoned with a good amount of salt will insure the green beans have a lot of flavor.
- Boil just until bright green and tender - Keep an eye on the green beans and drain them as soon as they are tender enough to pierce easily with a fork but not floppy. The time this takes will vary based on how fresh the beans are.
- Ice bath - Plunge the cooked beans into an ice bath as soon as they are drained. This will stop the cooking process and retain the bright green flavor.
How to Make Green Bean Casserole Ahead
To make: Prepare the dish through step 10, transferring everything to a casserole dish. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
To bake: To bake the dish, take it out of the fridge an hour before baking so that it comes to room temperature (if frozen, let it thaw in the fridge until soft). Bake as directed.
Variations on Green Bean Casserole
- Make it vegetarian - Just skip the bacon for a vegetarian version of the dish. You can add an extra tablespoon of butter to account for the richness of the bacon grease when sautéing the mushrooms.
- Make it gluten-free - Use your favorite gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour or use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch as a sub for the 3 tablespoon of all-purpose flour. French’s Crispy Fried Onions are not gluten-free, but the bacon gives you a nice crunchy topping in its place.
- Make it dairy-free - Milk is the foundation of the creamy sauce in this dish, but any dairy-free alternative works well here. You can also use stock (chicken or vegetable), but keep in mind that the sauce won’t be quite as creamy. Store-bought stock can be quite salty, so you may want to reduce the additional salt in the recipe if using stock.
- Make it with a different green vegetable - This dish would be delicious made with finely chopped broccoli or asparagus.
My Complete Thanksgiving Menu
- Simple Roasted Turkey
- Bacon Wrapped Dates with Brie and Balsamic Honey (to serve as an appetizer)
- 1-Hour Light and Buttery Dinner Rolls
- Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Turkey Gravy with White Wine and Sage
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- Focaccia and Bacon Stuffing
- Creamy Butternut Squash and Spinach Casserole
- Cranberry Sauce (from Simply Recipes)
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake
Get more details and a complete Thanksgiving timeline here.
- Cuisinart Stockpot with Strainer
- All Clad 5-quart Saute Pan
- Anchor 3-Piece Glass Mixing Bowls
- OXO Good Grips 6-Inch Fine Mesh Strainer
- 9x13 Emile Henri Baker
Homemade Green Bean Casserole with Bacon
- Large Saucepan or Skillet
- Large Mixing Bowl
- 2 Quart Baking Dish
- 2 pounds Fresh Green Beans, trimmed and chopped into 2-inch lengths (see note)
- 6 strips Bacon, chopped into small pieces
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 10 ounces Button Mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Shallots
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 3 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
- 3 cups Milk
- 1 ¼ cups French’s Crispy Fried Onions, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C. Spray an 11x7-inch baking dish (or any 2-quart casserole dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bring a large stockpot of well-salted water to a boil.
- While the water is coming to a boil, prepare an ice bath by filling a large mixing bowl with ice water (about halfway full).
- When water is boiling, add green beans and boil until bright green and tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the beans and then transfer them to the ice bath to halt cooking. Set aside.
- Place a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and saute until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain off all but a thin layer of bacon grease and return skillet to medium heat.
- To bacon grease, add butter and then mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are cooked down and very tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in shallots and thyme leaves and saute for 2 minutes more.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper, and flour over mushrooms and stir until no dry spots of flour remain.
- Slowly pour in milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer and simmer until cream sauce has thickened, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Drain green beans well.
- Combine green beans, cream sauce, and ½ cup fried onions. Transfer to casserole dish.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake until heated all the way through and bubbly, about 35 minutes. (Note: If the dish was made ahead and chilled, add an extra 15 to 20 minutes to the cook time to insure it is heated all the way through.)
- Remove foil and top with bacon and ¾ cup fried onions.
- Continue baking, uncovered, until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes more.