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.
Video: How to Make Green Bean Casserole
Green Been Casserole
Homemade Fried Onion Topping – Better Than French's!
Frying your own onions gives them a crunchy texture that can’t be beaten 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.
This said, if you'd like to give yourself a shortcut on this most-busiest of holidays, French's Fried Onions make a fine substitute. Trader Joe's also makes a brand that we really like!
Homemade Mushroom Cream Sauce – Better Than Canned!
I also make my own mushroom cream sauce. Button and Cremini 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.
We don't suggest swapping this cream sauce for canned cream sauce. The casserole just isn't as good!
A Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dish
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!
Not Into Mushrooms? Skip them!
You can omit the mushrooms in this casserole if you want and just use the cream sauce. Skip Step 6 altogether. In Step 7, add the butter, garlic, and thyme that you would have used in Step 6 to sauté the mushrooms to a pot, add the flour, half and half, and broth and follow the directions to create the sauce.
If it's the texture, not the flavor, of mushrooms that's unappealing, use a stick blender to blend the mushrooms into the sauce.
If you do skip the mushrooms, add extra green beans.
Gluten Free Tweaks for Green Bean Casserole
- Use gluten-free flour or cornstarch in place of all-purpose flour. If using cornstarch, reduce the amount to 1 1/2 tablespoons.
- Purchase gluten-free French-fried onions or use gluten-free panko and gluten-free flour to make the onions.
A Vegan Green Bean Casserole?
While we've never tried to make this casserole vegan, one of our commenters has. If you follow commenter ABC's suggestions, keep in mind they have not been tested out.
- Coconut milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar for the milk.
- Vegan sour cream for the half-and-half.
- Vegan Parmesan for the Parmesan.
- Vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
Looking for More Thanksgiving Sides From Scratch? Here You Go!
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
- Baked Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar
- Slow Cooker Honey-Dijon Glazed Carrots
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
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.
For the Crispy Onions:
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons mixed dried herbs (parsley, dill, thyme, whatever you want!)
Kosher 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 cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups half and half
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
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.
Heat the oil for deep-frying:
Fill a Dutch oven or other deep pot with about 2 inches of vegetable oil, and heat to 375°F, 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.
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.
Preheat the oven and prepare a bowl:
Preheat the oven to 375°F and set a strainer over your sink and prepare a bowl with ice water.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12g||15%|
|Saturated Fat 5g||23%|
|Total Carbohydrate 33g||12%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||19%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 12mg||61%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|