Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

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Photography Credit: Megan Keno

Our family, like every other family at Thanksgiving, is no stranger to green bean casserole, with its crunchy fried onion topping and rich, creamy filling. Truth be told, it’s one of my favorites, along with the jellied cranberry sauce.

But over the years, I have come to expect more from my green bean casserole than just opening up a few cans of beans, soup, and sprinkling on some prepared fried onions.

Here is my totally from-scratch version – you’ll never look at green bean casserole the same way again.

Classic Green Bean CasseroleFrying your own onions gives them a crunchy texture that can’t be beat by anything from a can. The onions are soaked in buttermilk and then coated with crispy Panko crumbs, herbs, and flour before being fried to a golden crisp.

I also make my own mushroom cream sauce. Button and Crimini mushrooms are always a good choice here, but try buttery Chantrelles if you want something a little more decadent. Mixing up the mushrooms is one way to give this dish a different flavor and make it stand out.

This dish can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to heat. To keep the fried onions crispy, store them separately in an airtight container on the counter. Wait to top the casserole until just before baking .

It’s hard to go back to the canned version after this!

Green Bean Casserole from Scratch Recipe

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  • Prep time: 45 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Make-ahead: Store the fried onions in an airtight container at room temperature and refrigerate the prepared filling. Wait to top the casserole with the onions until just before baking. Cooking time may be slightly longer.

Ingredients

For the fried onions:

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • 2 tablespoon mixed dried herbs - parsley, dill, thyme, whatever you want!
  • Salt, for seasoning
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the casserole:

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) regular salted butter
  • 1 pound crimini or button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method

1 Prepare the onions for frying: In a bowl, combine the sliced red onions and the buttermilk. Toss to coat the onions, then place them in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. In another small bowl, whisk together flour, panko, and dried mixed herbs.

Classic Green Bean Casserole Classic Green Bean Casserole

2 Heat the oil for deep-frying: Fill a Dutch oven or other deep pot with about 2 inches of vegetable oil, and heat to 375F, or until shimmering but not smoking (lower the heat if you start to see wisps of smoke). To check that the oil is hot enough, toss in a pinch of panko mixture; if it starts to bubble and fry, you’re ready to go. Set a baking sheet lined with paper towels near the stove to drain the fried onions.

3 Deep-fry the onions: Working in handfuls, lift the onions from the buttermilk and toss them in the flour/panko mixture. Gently lower the coated onions into the hot oil and fry until deep golden brown. Lift the onions from the oil with a heat-proof slotted spoon or tongs, and place on the paper towels to drain.

Classic Green Bean Casserole

4 Preheat the oven to 375F. Set a strainer over your sink and prepare a bowl with ice water.

5 Blanch the green beans: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and boil for 5 to 6 minutes until just tender, but still slightly crisp. Drain and then shock the green beans in the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. When cool, drain again and set aside.

Classic Green Bean Casserole Classic Green Bean Casserole

6 Cook the mushrooms: Melt the butter in a large skillet and add in the mushrooms. Season with salt and cook until softened and tender. Add in the garlic and thyme.

7 Make the creamy sauce: Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir until the mushrooms are coated. Stir in the half-and-half and the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and green beans.

Classic Green Bean Casserole

8 Assemble and bake the casserole: Transfer the creamy green bean and mushroom mixture to a 3-quart or 9x13 casserole dish. Scatter the fried onions over top, and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling. Serve hot.

Classic Green Bean Casserole Classic Green Bean Casserole

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Megan Keno

Megan Keno, is the writer, recipe developer, and photographer behind the nationally recognized food blog Country Cleaver. Her work has been featured in Country Living Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, America’s Test Kitchen, The Kitchn, and on The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen Blog.

More from Megan

Links:

Homemade Green Bean Casserole from Serious Eats

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions from Smitten Kitchen

Classic Green Bean Casserole

Showing 4 of 9 Comments

  • Claire

    I wonder about baking the onions since I’m cooking in a very small space with a touchy smoke detector. Hmm…

  • Serena Milan

    Making these today for thanksgiving. I’m more excited about this dish than anything else! I am not opposed to cans but I feel like thanksgiving deserves fresh

  • Dave Conrad

    When you say, refrigerate the filling. Does this mean, only the cream/mushroom mixture and do the beans separate. This is the first time I’m trying a bean casserole without the gunky mushroom soup so I want it to be perfect (or close to it)

  • Liz McCrea

    Is that fresh thyme you’re using for the casserole? Thanks!

  • Cheryl

    I tried to make the green bean casserole from scratch one year and was almost thrown out of the house… They want the cans – ugh! I will definitely try this recipe though as I think it looks awesome – thank you for sharing…

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