This Green Bean Casserole Recipe is a one-pot wonder that’s perfect for the holidays. It’s creamy, delicious, and full of bacon, cheddar cheese, and French-fried onion rings. No Cream of “X” Soup!
I feel like most people grew up eating some sort of green bean casserole. ALL green bean casserole recipes start with green beans, but there are SO many different variations that result in totally different flavors and textures.
Well, after testing dozens of recipes, I think I’ve found the perfect combination of ingredients – hint: bacon AND cheese are involved – to make the BEST green bean casserole recipe of all time!
I like to put together a makeshift homemade cream of mushroom soup to give this green bean casserole just a little something extra! Don’t worry, it’s incredibly easy and about 1,000 times better than canned condensed soup.
- Green Beans – the flavor and texture of fresh green beans are by far the best! Plus, you have more control over how crunchy or soft you like them.
- Bacon – adds a nice smoky flavor and crunchy texture.
- Salt and Pepper – highlight flavors and adds spice.
- Garlic – adds depth of flavor to the casserole.
- Homemade “Cream of Mushroom Soup” – Fresh Mushrooms, All-Purpose Flour, Chicken Broth, and Half & Half – since we’re not using canned cream of mushroom soup, this combination of ingredients make a homemade version! The mushrooms are the base, while the flour thickens, the broth adds flavor, and the half and half adds creaminess to the sauce (“soup”).
- French-Fried Onion Rings – you can’t have green bean casserole without the salty, crunch of fried onion rings. I like to use store-bought for convenience, but I’ve seen people make their own as well!
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese – cheddar adds a nice sharpness to this creamy, rich dish!
How to make
If you’re using fresh green beans, cook them in a large pot of salted water, drain the water, then place the beans in a large bowl of ice water. Drain again then set aside and continue with the rest of the recipe:
- Cook bacon in a large skillet.
- Add in mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook.
- Stir in garlic, flour, and broth.
- Mix in half and half then stir in the green beans and half of the onion rings.
- Top with cheese and remaining onion rings.
- Bake and serve immediately!
How long to cook
Green bean casserole cooks in the oven at 400ºF for 10-15 minutes. If you have to cook longer than that, cover the casserole with foil and cook in 2-3 minute increments, checking to see that the casserole is heated all the way through.
The total time, prep and cook, for this green bean casserole recipe is 40 minutes!
Do you cook covered or uncovered?
Cook the green bean casserole in your oven, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
If the cheese has browned but the filling isn’t warm yet, try covering your skillet with tin foil—which protects the top of the casserole from burning—and cooking until the casserole is bubbling and heated through.
Can i use frozen or canned green beans?
Fresh is best, but frozen or even canned green beans can be used for green bean casserole if you’re in a pinch.
If using frozen green beans, follow the cooking directions listed on the package. You may want to reduce the cook time slightly, however, because you want to be sure your green beans have a little “bite” to them. Mushy green beans are gross!
If using canned green beans, you’ll likely experience a “canned” flavor and slightly mushy texture. Simply drain, rinse, and continue with the recipe as directed.
The combination of bacon and cheddar takes this recipe over the top, but whether you’re vegan, or simply looking to lighten things up, I’ve got you covered:
- Gluten-free. Use a cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten-free flour to replace the traditional all-purpose flour. You’ll also need gluten-free onion rings but you can make your own using this homemade gluten-free crispy fried onion rings recipe!
- Vegan or vegetarian. Omit the bacon and use veggie broth to make this dish vegetarian. If you want to go a step further to make it vegan, you’ll need dairy-free milk to sub for the half & half then you can either omit the cheddar cheese or use vegan cheddar cheese instead!
- Lightened-up. If you’re looking for a slightly healthier version, check out this Healthy Green Bean Casserole by Fit Foodie Finds.
What to serve with green bean casserole
Green bean casserole is a great addition to a Thanksgiving meal or the perfect contribution to a potluck! Serve green bean casserole with a protein, salad, and a few other side dishes for a complete meal. Here are some of my favorite things to serve with green bean casserole:
- Turkey Pot Pie Soup
- Crockpot Honey Dijon Ham
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Sausage Stuffing or if you’re vegetarian, Crockpot Vegetarian Stuffing
- Creamy Corn Casserole
- Crockpot Sweet Potato Casserole
Can i make my green bean casserole ahead of time?
If you want to make your green bean casserole ahead of time, follow the directions as listed through step 10 in the recipe card (blanche the green beans and make the casserole on the stovetop), but don’t top it with your fried opinions and cheese. Instead, you’ll let the casserole cool completely, cover it or pour it into a sealed container, and place it in the fridge. You can store it like this up to a day in advance.
When you’re ready to bake, let the casserole come to room temperature for 30 minutes, pour it into an oven-safe dish, top it with cheese and fried onions, and bake as directed! You may need additional time if it’s still cold in the middle.
If you have leftovers of the make-ahead casserole, it will only keep in the fridge for 4-5 days as opposed to the 7 days if served right away.
Can you freeze green bean casserole
To freeze your green bean casserole, follow the above instructions on how to make ahead of time, then freeze that for up to two weeks.
When you’re ready to bake, thaw the mixture in the fridge for up to 24 hours! Then let the casserole come to room temperature for 30 minutes, pour it into an oven-safe dish, top it with cheese and fried onions, and bake as directed! You may need additional time if it’s still cold in the middle.
How to store
Leftover green bean casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. If you’d like to freeze, I recommend freezing before baking it (see above instructions.)
To reheat, place the casserole in the microwave and heat until warm OR place in a baking dish in the oven for roughly 10 minutes at 350ºF. If you’d like to maintain some of the crunchiness from the fried onions, I recommend baking it!
Get ready to dig into this creamy and delicious side dish!
Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 pound fresh green beans rinsed, trimmed and halved (if necessary)
- 2 slices bacon diced
- 1 (8 oz) package mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 (2.8 oz) can French-fried onion rings divided in half
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
For the green beans
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cook green beans for 3-5 minutes.
- Drain the green beans and immediately place them into a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain again and set aside.
Green Bean Casserole
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place diced bacon in a cast iron skillet* and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Stir in the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute, gently scraping up any brown bits.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and slowly stir in the half-and-half.
- Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat.
- Gently stir in the green beans and half the can of onion rings (about 3/4 cup).
- Top with shredded cheddar cheese and remaining onion rings.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
- Serve immediately.
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published November 6, 2016 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.