This green bean casserole is made from scratch and features crunchy beans tossed in a creamy mushroom sauce. Topped with golden fried onions rings, it’s a must-have side dish for the holidays!
Table of Contents
With this green bean casserole recipe, I turned an underwhelming yet traditional side dish into something mouth-watering. You won’t find canned green beans here. Instead, break out the high-quality, fresh ingredients for outstanding taste and texture. I’ll even show you how to make homemade onion rings for the topping.
Breaking down the entire process into three distinct parts makes it easy. By cooking each component with care, the green beans, gravy, and onion rings can reach their flavor potential. You’ll be surprised just how straightforward this dish is to make.
The right way to cook fresh green beans
Fresh green beans add a nice tender and crisp texture contrast to the casserole. I cut them into small 2-inch long bite-sized pieces. This length makes it much easier to serve. Blanching the green beans in salted boiling water, just until softened ensure seasoned vegetables that aren’t soggy.
The process only takes about 3 minutes. You’ll notice the color go from a dull olive to bright green. To stop the color change and cooking, immediately “shock” or chill the beans in a bowl of ice-cold water. You can drain them and use right away or store them for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Make a creamy mushroom sauce
Most of the time, people use condensed canned mushroom sauce. However, making it from scratch is simple and much more flavorful. Using fresh brown mushrooms adds a deep savory taste. The fungi contain a lot of water, so I saute them until they release their moisture and become tender.
To thicken the sauce, use a roux, equal parts in volume of butter and flour. I use chicken stock is used as the base liquid and simmer until slightly thickened. To add a velvety consistency that coats the vegetables, add in heavy cream at the very end. I simmer the sauce briefly to reduce and concentrate all of the wonderful flavors together.
Homemade crispy fried onions
Instead of grabbing a container of store-bought fried onion topping, make your own with no additives and less sodium. It’s easy! I use yellow onions; it holds its shape and has a hint of sweetness. I slice them into thin ⅛-inch thick pieces, so they cook quicker.
To make a light crispy coating, combine equal parts all-purpose flour and cornstarch. If you use only flour, the coating becomes too thick and heavy. With just cornstarch, the coating is too tough. A combination gives just the right balance.
I use the standard breading procedure. First coat the pieces in the flour mixture, dip it in a whisked egg to help it stick, then back into the flour. The recipe yields about 3 to 4 cups of french fried onions.
Properly frying the onions
I use vegetable or peanut oil for frying because they have a high smoke point. You will be frying several batches, and these fats keep their taste quality over time. Maintain a deep frying temperature between 350 to 360ºF (176 to 182ºC). This range yields a light golden color with a crispy coating that doesn’t taste greasy.
It’s best to enjoy the onions soon after frying. If needed, you can keep them warm in an oven at 200ºF (93ºC). Place the fried onions on a wire rack set on a baking sheet for up to 1 hour before serving.
Assembling the casserole
Mix the chilled green beans with the hot mushroom sauce. Spread the mixture in a 13×9-inch baking dish and bake until bubbly, about 10 to 15 minutes. You can do this step while making the onion topping if serving soon after, or wait until closer to eating time. Layer on the fried onions right before serving to prevent them from getting soggy. They taste best hot from the oil.
Making components ahead of time
- After chilling the green beans, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- When the mushroom sauce completely cools down, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- The green beans and mushroom sauce can be combined, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Add to the casserole dish and bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
- You can use store-bought fried onions instead of making your own from scratch. Add some on top of the casserole right before serving.
Extra topping ideas
Sprinkle some grated Cheddar, Gruyere, or Parmesan cheese over the green bean mixture as the dish heats in the oven. Chop up roasted bacon pieces and add for a smoky and savory flavor. Add pecans, walnuts, or sliced almonds on top for extra crunch.
What to serve this with
Using frozen green beans
For convenience, you can directly blanch frozen green beans in the boiling water. Even though the product is individually quick frozen, it has not been cooked. Once the beans are bright green and tender, chill them in ice water. If you want smaller pieces, slice them after blanching and shocking. I do not recommend using canned beans, as the texture can become mushy.
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Green Bean Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
- 3 quarts water
- 2 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 pounds green beans, fresh, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 pound brown mushrooms, cut into ½-inch thick slices
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ¾ teaspoons black pepper, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
Fried Onion Topping
- 1 small yellow onion, cut in ⅛-inch thick slices
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
Green Bean Casserole
- Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 425ºF (218ºC).
- In a large pot, bring the 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.
- Drain the beans and transfer to a large bowl filled with ice water. Chill until the vegetables are cool, about 5 minutes, then drain well.
- 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.
- 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, cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add 1 ½ cups heavy cream. Simmer until sauce thickens, occasionally stirring for about 5 minutes. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg. Turn off the heat. Season to taste. Stir in the drained cooked green beans.
- Transfer the mixture to a 13×9-inch baking dish. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the beans are hot, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and cover it with foil to keep warm. Meanwhile, make the onion topping.
Fried Onion Topping
- In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup flour, cup cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs.
- Coat the onion rings by dipping them first in the flour mixture, then the eggs, then back into the flour. Transfer breaded onions to a medium bowl.
- In a medium saucepan or saute pan, add vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches between 350 to 360ºF (176 to 182ºC). Fry the breaded onion rings in batches until both sides are a light golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the onion rings to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain any excess oil. Fry just enough onions to cover the casserole.
- Right before serving, place the fried onions on top of the hot green bean casserole. Serve immediately.
- For the homemade onion topping, use the smaller inside rings, instead of the larger perimeter slices. Keeping the onions petite makes them cook faster and are easier to eat.
- Store-bought French’s Crispy Fried Onions can be used instead of the homemade onions rings.
- Recipe Yield: About 8 cups
- Serving Size: About 1 cup
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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