Green Bean Casserole with Cheese

4.75 from 4 votes
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Enjoy a delicious green bean casserole infused with creamy, melted cheese. Get ready to wow your taste buds and impress your guests with this irresistible side dish that will have everyone returning for seconds.

Green bean casserole with cheese and fried onions.

This green bean casserole recipe with cheese takes the traditional version to the next level! There are all of the components that you know and love: tender green beans, mushrooms, a creamy sauce, and crunchy fried onions. However, adding sharp cheddar cheese adds a melty element.

I prefer to use fresh green beans for a gourmet taste. It only takes a few extra minutes to blanch and shock the legumes for the most tender bites. Don’t worry. I share ways to substitute with canned or frozen products if you’re short on time. The beans are mixed in a velvety and cheesy cream sauce and then baked with a crunchy fried onion topping. Serving this at your holiday dinner table is a winner!

Key ingredients

Ingredients needed to make cheesy green bean casserole.
  • Green Beans: Use 2 pounds of fresh green beans. Haricot verts are a good swap as they are more slender and have a tender texture.
  • Mushrooms: Brown mushrooms add a meaty texture and more robust flavor than white mushrooms. Choose the latter for a more mild taste.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic adds an earthy allium flavor to the dish.
  • Roux: A combination of butter and flour is cooked into a paste, which helps to thicken the cream sauce.
  • Liquid: A combination of chicken stock and heavy whipping cream creates a rich and savory sauce.
  • Seasoning: Salt and black pepper enhances the taste of the cream sauce and green beans. A small amount of ground nutmeg adds a sweet aroma and dimension to the rich cream.
  • Cheese: Use melty cheese like sharp cheddar for an aged, nutty flavor. A portion is mixed into the sauce and then sprinkled on top of the casserole before baking.
  • Topping: Crispy fried onions add a delicious crunch. Use the store-bought options for a quick and easy topping, or make the fried onions from scratch using my classic green bean casserole recipe.

Cook the beans

Cooked green beans in a stock pot.

Using fresh green beans gives the best texture compared to frozen or canned varieties. Cut them into 2-inch long pieces. This size is perfect for serving; the bite-sized pieces make it easier to scoop from the baking dish. Cook the green beans in boiling salted water; the process only takes 3 to 4 minutes.

They should be bright green and crisp-tender. You don’t want the texture to be mushy as they will continue cooking in the sauce during baking. Immediately chill the beans in ice water for 5 minutes; this stops the cooking process.

Cook the mushrooms

Cast iron skillet with sauteed sliced mushrooms.

To complement the cheesy cream sauce, I like to add sauteed mushrooms and garlic. In a large skillet, briefly cook the minced garlic in melted butter. This will mellow out the raw and sulfurous taste.

Add one pound of sliced brown mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook until the moisture from the vegetable evaporates, about 5 minutes. This concentrates the flavor of the umami-packed fungi.

Make the sauce

To make a thickened bechamel sauce, add flour to the mushroom mixture. Cook for a minute to remove the raw flour taste. Whisk in the chicken stock first; this lessens the risk of the cream from curdling in the hot roux. When rapidly simmered for a few minutes, the stock will slightly thicken.

Reduce the heat and add in the heavy cream. It contains at least 36% milkfat, adding a velvety texture to the sauce. To gently melt the cheese, turn off the heat. Stir in 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese, fried onions, seasonings, and green beans.

Bake the casserole

Grean beans and mushrooms placed in a white casserole dish.

Add the bean mixture to a 13×9-inch baking dish. Bake the casserole so the sauce gets nice and hot, and the flavors meld together for about 25 minutes. To take the cheesy green bean casserole recipe to the next level, sprinkle more cheese and fried onions on top.

Bake for about 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown. The entire process will take about 30 minutes of baking time. Serve as soon as possible for the best texture contrast of creamy and tender vegetables, layers with melty cheese and crunchy onions.

Fried onion topping over a baking dish with green beans.

Flavor variations

Now that you’ve learned how to make green bean casserole with cheese, it’s easy to switch up the flavor. Try these tasty options to customize the side dish recipe each year:

  • Cheese: Add a different type of melty cheese like mozzarella, Monterey Jack, gouda, or gruyere. Sprinkle in parmesan or pecorino romano to bump up the saltiness.
  • Herbs: Add in chopped oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, or tarragon. Dried Italian parsley or herbs de Provence add an intense herbaceous note.
  • Spices: Add more allium flavor with onion powder or garlic powder. Roasted garlic would be amazing in the cream sauce. Sweet or smoked paprika will add a peppery flavor and red hue. Make it spicy with cayenne or chipotle chili powder.
  • Vegetables: Besides mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, fresh bell peppers, or caramelized onions would add interesting flavors.
  • Topping: Instead of the French fried onions, try breadcrumbs like panko, crispy bacon, chopped walnuts or pecans, or Ritz crackers.

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

Can I use canned or frozen green beans instead of fresh?

For two pounds of fresh green beans, substitute three 14.5-ounce cans of cut green beans. Drain, then mix directly into the sauce. Alternatively, use 32 ounces of frozen green beans (or two pounds). They are not fully cooked, so add the frozen vegetables to the boiling water. Blanch until defrosted and bright green, then chill in ice water.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

There are a lot of great dairy-free options available at the grocery store to make the green bean casserole vegan. Use plant-based butter, milk, and cheese. Add vegetable stock instead of chicken. Use coconut cream instead of heavy whipping cream or a dairy-free whipping cream alternative.

Can I prepare the casserole in advance and bake it later?

The green beans and sauce can be prepared 3 days before and refrigerated. The casserole can be assembled 3 days ahead, refrigerated, then baked until hot and bubbly. This may require more time since the ingredients and pan will be cold. Add the remaining cheese and fried onion topping in the last few minutes to melt and brown.

Can I freeze leftovers of green bean casserole with cheese?

The leftovers can be cooled and then frozen for up to 1 month. The beans will have a softer texture after freezing because the process ruptures the cell walls of the plant. The casserole will not be crispy, but more fried onions can be added on top later after reheating.

Close up of a spoon scooping into a cheesy green bean casserole.

Recipe Science

Using canned cream of mushroom

If you don’t want to make the cream sauce from scratch, condensed cream of mushroom soup is a good option. It already has cornstarch and flour to thicken the sauce. Dilute 10.5 ounces of condensed soup with ¾ cup of heavy cream, milk, water, or stock. This will yield about 3 cups of the cream of mushroom soup mixture for the green bean casserole sauce.

Green Bean Casserole with Cheese

Making green bean casserole with cheese adds a delightful twist to the classic recipe. The creamy, melted cheese amplifies the richness and indulgence of the dish, creating a savory combination.
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, cut into 2" pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound brown mushrooms, ½" thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted chicken stock, or broth
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded, divided
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 ounces crispy fried onions, divided

Instructions 

  • Heat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the center position. Heat to 350ºF (177ºC).
  • Cook the Beans – In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add in 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve. Add the cut green beans to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Chill the Beans – Drain the beans. Transfer them to a large bowl filled with ice water. Chill until the vegetables are cool, about 5 minutes, then drain well.
  • Cook the Mushrooms – Heat a large skillet with high sides over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan. Once melted, add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine. Saute until the mushrooms release their moisture and the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  • Make the Sauce – Add 3 tablespoons of flour, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add in the chicken stock, continually stirring to combine. Bring the stock to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
    Reduce heat to medium, add 1 ½ cups heavy cream. Simmer until the sauce thickens, occasionally stirring for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese, ½ cup of fried onion topping, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg, mixing until the cheese is melted. Stir in the drained cooked green beans.
  • Bake the Casserole – Transfer the mixture to a 13×9-inch baking dish. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the beans are hot, about 20 to 25 minutes.
    Remove the dish from the oven and top with ½ cup of cheddar cheese. Add the remaining fried onion topping, just enough to cover the surface. Bake until golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • To Serve – Serve immediately while the beans are hot and the onions are crispy.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: About 8 cups
  • Serving Size: About 1 cup
  • Make Ahead: The casserole can be assembled and refrigerated 3 days before. Alternatively, cook the beans and sauce separately, then combine. Add more bake time if needed until the sauce is hot and bubbly. Wait to add the final cheese and fried onion topping until the last 5 minutes of baking.
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Using Canned Beans: Use three 14.5-ounce cans of cut green beans. Drain, then add directly to the sauce.
  • Using Frozen Beans: Use 32 ounces (2 pounds) of frozen green beans. Blanch in the boiling water, then chill in ice water.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 505kcal (25%)Carbohydrates 24g (8%)Protein 13g (26%)Fat 41g (63%)Saturated Fat 23g (115%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0.2gCholesterol 90mg (30%)Sodium 707mg (29%)Potassium 607mg (17%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 6g (7%)Vitamin A 1855IU (37%)Vitamin C 14mg (17%)Calcium 299mg (30%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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