This Semi-Homemade Green Bean Casserole Will Fool Everyone at the Table (2024)

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Meghan Splawn

Meghan Splawn

Meghan was the Food Editor for Kitchn's Skills content. She's a master of everyday baking, family cooking, and harnessing good light. Meghan approaches food with an eye towards budgeting — both time and money — and having fun. Meghan has a baking and pastry degree, and spent the first 10 years of her career as part of Alton Brown's culinary team. She co-hosts a weekly podcast about food and family called Didn't I Just Feed You.


updated Oct 10, 2023


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Learn how to make green bean casserole using the right grocery store shortcuts to rival the classic back-of-the-box recipe.

Serves8 to 10Prep10 minutesCook25 minutes to 30 minutes





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“Classic” green bean casserole can mean a lot of different things, depending on who you ask. The quickest green bean casseroles are assembled from store-bought ingredients and offered as the token green vegetable side dish for holiday dinners. While others include scratch-made components (fresh green beans! homemade mushroom sauce! freshly fried onions!).

Why not take the best bits from both extremes? This green bean casserole balances convenience and quality thanks to frozen green beans, a velvety from-scratch mushroom cream sauce, and everyone’s favorite store-bought crispy onions. Here’s how to make the best green bean casserole with frozen green beans.

Why You Should Use Frozen Green Beans

My mother always made green bean casserole with store-bought canned green beans because that’s what her mother did. When I make green bean casserole, I skip canned beans all together. Frozen green beans are the best green beans to use for green bean casserole.

Frozen green beans are blanched and flash-frozen to preserve their peak-season flavor. Simply thaw and drain the green beans before adding to the casserole — otherwise their excess moisture may thin the mushroom gravy.

How to Make Mushroom Sauce for Green Bean Casserole

Old-school green bean casserole uses condensed mushroom soup—an ode to the marketing geniuses at Campbell’s and French’s responsible for popularizing the dish. Luckily, a homemade mushroom sauce is simple, more flavorful, and affordable. Here are a few keys to success.

  • Be patient with the mushrooms: Cook the mushrooms until they brown and release most of their moisture. Mushrooms have more water in them than you’d think. This takes about five minutes over medium-high heat.
  • Wait for the nutty smell: Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook until the flour smells nutty, stirring regularly. This will help thicken the sauce.
  • Keep stirring: Add the milk and broth slowly and stir while mixing to prevent lumps. Bring the whole thing to a simmer and make sure it thickens in the pan. Remember that it will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • A surprise ingredient: A teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari adds that super-savory flavor and color we expect from condensed mushroom soup. You can certainly skip it, but be sure to taste the gravy and add more salt if needed.

What is the Best Topping for Green Bean Casserole?

Canned fried onions are the way to go. I have tried every method for making crispy onions for green bean casserole, from roasting breadcrumb-rolled rings to frying tempura-style onions to dehydrating onions until crisp. But no other onion comes close to the ease and flavor of the canned fried onions.

How to Make Green Bean Casserole in Advance

  • Up to three days before: Assemble the casserole without the crisp onion topping and store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • While the oven preheats: Remove the assembled casserole from the refrigerator to take some of the chill off while the oven heats up.
  • Just before baking: Top with the fried onions and bake according to instructions.

How To Make Green Bean Casserole with Frozen Green Beans

Learn how to make green bean casserole using the right grocery store shortcuts to rival the classic back-of-the-box recipe.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2 pounds

    frozen green beans

  • 12 ounces

    white button or cremini mushrooms

  • 2 cloves


  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups

    whole milk

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 teaspoon

    tamari or soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly grated nutmeg

  • 2 (6-ounce) cans

    fried onions, such as French's Fried Onions, divided


  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Chef's knife

  • Cutting board

  • Straight-sided skillet

  • 9x13-inch baking dish

  • Spatula or wooden spoon


Show Images

  1. Heat the oven to 325ºF.Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

  2. Prepre the vegetables. Thaw and drain any excess liquid from 1 1/2 pounds frozen green beans. Thinly slice 12 ounces white button or cremini mushrooms. Mince 2 garlic cloves.

  3. Cook the mushrooms.Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Make the sauce.Sprinkle 1/4 cup all-purpose flour evenly over the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Cook until the flour is no longer dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 cups whole milk, 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Add some of the fried onions and green beans.Remove the sauce from the heat. Add the green beans and 1/2 (6-ounce) can of the fried onions, and stir to combine. Transfer the green bean mixture to a 9x13-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer.

  6. Top and bake.Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 (6-ounce) cans fried onions. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes.

  7. Cool before serving.Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Assemble the casserole without the crisp onion topping and refrigerate tightly wrapped for up to 3 days. Remove from the refrigerator while the oven preheats. Uncover, top with the fried onions, and bake, it may need a few more minutes baking time.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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Frozen Foods

How To


This Semi-Homemade Green Bean Casserole Will Fool Everyone at the Table (2024)


How do you make green bean casserole not soggy? ›

If you are finding that your green bean casserole is soupy, be sure to drain the green beans really well after blanching so you aren't getting extra water in the casserole that way. Then make sure to thicken the sauce properly by letting the chicken broth and half-and-half simmer long enough to thicken.

Why is my green bean casserole always runny? ›

Green bean casserole should have a nice thick sauce that coats the green beans—it should not resemble soup. One common cause of a watery casserole is not adding enough thickener, such as flour or cornstarch, to your sauce.

How do you make green bean casserole thicker? ›

The Casserole Is Too Soupy

Don't worry, there's a relatively easy and quick fix that will help soak up the excess liquid: Make a slurry of flour or cornstarch in liquid (broth or water) to help thicken it up and then cook it for a bit longer.

Which is better frozen or canned green beans for green bean casserole? ›

When I make green bean casserole, I skip canned beans all together. Frozen green beans are the best green beans to use for green bean casserole.

How do you keep green beans crisp? ›

While the beans are cooking, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. As soon as the beans are done cooking, transfer them immediately to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and preserve their bright green color. Leave the beans in the bowl of ice water for a few minutes before removing them with tongs.

How do you fix a soggy casserole? ›

Just because your casserole is starting to look a bit soupy doesn't mean it's beyond saving. In fact, all you need to do is add some pasta noodles or grains to your base. This trick works for the simple reason that both types of ingredients soak up water as they cook.

Can you overcook green bean casserole? ›

Overcooking the beans won't just drain them of their appealing color, but it will also make them too soft and mushy, resulting in a less appetizing casserole.

How do you keep green beans firm? ›

How to Store Green Beans. Green beans should be stored unwashed in the crisper drawer of your fridge. If they came in a bag, keep them in the bag when storing. If they came in a small berry box from the market, transfer them to a reusable storage or plastic bag before storing them in the fridge.

Should green bean casserole be soupy? ›

Mistake #5: A Runny Casserole

If you sense it's a little watery, "add a thickener like roux or starch to absorb the additional liquid or cook a little longer," she says. That'll give it that rich, dense consistency you're looking for.

How many cans of green beans equals 4 cups? ›

✿ 4 cups of green beans is about 1½ pounds fresh or 16 ounces frozen or 2 cans (15 ounces each) drained.

Why is green bean casserole so good? ›

Fans love the dish in part because of how simple it is to throw together. It calls for ingredients that could be found in a typical home kitchen pantry: canned or fresh green beans, mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce and black pepper.

Should canned green beans be drained before cooking? ›

Unless the recipe tells you to keep the canned beans in their liquid, you should drain your can and give the beans a good rinse before using. This will improve the flavor and texture of your finished dish. Open your cans of beans using a can opener. There may be sharp edges from opening the can.

Why are my home canned green beans mushy? ›

To keep home-canned green beans firm, it's important to follow proper canning procedures to ensure that they are processed at the correct temperature and for the correct amount of time. Overcooking or undercooking can cause the beans to become mushy or tough.

How long can a green bean casserole sit out after baking? ›

The casserole can sit out at room temperature for about an hour, then it should be reheated or stored in the fridge.

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