The BEST Green Bean Casserole

This easy Green Bean Casserole recipe is made 100% from scratch with lightened-up ingredients, including a delicious creamy green bean filling and a crispy onion topping.  It’s also easy to make ahead and always a crowd fave.

Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Move on over, canned creamy soup, frozen green beans, and packaged fried onions.

This green bean casserole recipe is made entirely from scratch, and tastes a million times better than the old-school classic casserole full of processed ingredients.  And it is my hands-down favorite♡♡♡

Mainly, I just love this recipe because it legitimately tastes fresh and flavorful.  For too many years, I always took a pass on the green bean casserole at Thanksgiving because it was so mushy and bland and boring.  But turns out — when this casserole is well-seasoned and made with scratch ingredients, it comes to life and is bursting with fresh flavors!

Instead of soggy frozen green beans, fresh green beans are the star of the show here, which are ever-so-briefly cooked in order to preserve their crisp texture and bright flavor.  Instead of cream of mushroom soup, fresh mushrooms are sautéed and folded into a lightened-up creamy alfredo sauce.  And instead of dry, packaged, palm-oil-fried onions, a fresh red onion is sautéed with panko breadcrumbs, which then toast up to golden perfection as the casserole bakes.

Altogether, it adds up to an absolute showstopper of a green bean casserole.  I make it every Thanksgiving, and friends and family all agree that it’s the best!

Green Bean Casserole Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Trimmed Green Beans

Best Green Bean Casserole Ingredients:

Alright, so before we get to the full recipe below, let’s talk for a sec about about the best green bean casserole ingredients.  The three components for this recipe include…

  • Green beans: I really recommend using fresh green beans (vs frozen) for optimal crispiness, cut into bite-sized pieces (with the ends trimmed off and discarded).
  • Crispy onion topping: By contrast to the retro French’s green bean casserole recipe, we will make our French “fried” onion topping from scratch!  All you need are some thinly-sliced onions (red, white or yellow — up to you), Panko breadcrumbs (which we will briefly sauté to make them extra crispy), Parmesan cheese, butter and salt.
  • Mushroom Alfredo sauce: Made with fresh baby bella mushrooms (or your favorite kind of mushrooms), lots of garlic, butter, flour, stock, milk, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Detailed ingredient measurements/instructions in the full recipe box below.

How To Make Green Bean Casserole

How To Make Green Bean Casserole:

So here’s the thing — since we’re going to make each of these components from scratch, this casserole will take a bit longer to prep than the old-school Campbell’s green bean casserole.  But I promise the extra effort will be worth it!  Just carve out an extra twenty or so minutes, maybe grab a helper in the kitchen, and it will be ready before you know it.

To make this healthy green bean casserole from scratch, simply:

  1. Trim, cut and briefly boil the green beans. Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes*, depending on how crispy you like your green beans.  Use a slotted spoon or a large strainer to transfer the beans immediately into a large bowl of ice water, and give them a quick stir in order to halt their cooking.  (*Keep in mind that the beans will cook more in the oven, so I would err on the side of undercooking them at this stage.)
  2. Prepare your crispy onion topping.  Briefly sauté a thinly-sliced red onion in butter in a large sauté pan until it is slightly softened but not soggy.  Transfer the onion to a separate plate, then sauté the Panko breadcrumbs in butter until golden.  Stir the onions, Panko, Parmesan, salt and pepper together in a small bowl, then set aside for later.
  3. Prepare your mushroom alfredo sauce.  Give that same sauté pan a quick rinse.  Then return it to the stove, add a little more butter, and sauté the mushrooms and garlic until golden and cooked.  Stir in the flour and sauté it for a minute, to cook off that flour-y taste and form the base of our roux.  Then stir in some vegetable stock, milk, and Parmesan.  Bring the sauce to a simmer until it has thickened, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Put it all together!  Combine the green beans and mushroom sauce in the stockpot, and stir until evenly combined.  Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and spread it out in an even layer.  Sprinkle the crispy onion topping evenly over the top of the casserole.
  5. Bake.  For about 20-25 minutes, or until the crispy onion topping is golden and crispy.
  6. Serve warm.  Then remove and serve the green bean casserole while it’s nice and warm, garnished with extra freshly-cracked black pepper (plus maybe some chopped parsley) if you’d like.

Easy Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Possible Variations:

There all sorts of ways that you can customize this fresh green bean casserole recipe.  For example, feel free to:

  • Make it gluten-free. To make gluten-free green bean casserole, be sure to use certified gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.  And in place of the all-purpose flour, use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.
  • Make it vegan.  To make vegan green bean casserole, use olive oil or vegan butter (in place of butter) and plain plant-based milk (instead of cow’s milk).  Then you can either omit the Parmesan altogether, sub vegan cheese in its place, or sprinkle in some nutritional yeast to taste.
  • Add a kick.  Want to add a little heat to this casserole?  I love adding a finely-diced jalapeño to the onion topping.  Or you can just sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes into the mushroom sauce.
  • Add bacon.  I mean, I’m never going to turn down a green bean casserole with bacon.  😉  Feel free to dice and fry up some bacon to add to this casserole if you would like.  And for extra flavor, use the leftover bacon grease to sauté the onions and mushrooms.
  • Add in extra cheese.  For extra flavor, feel free to stir some cheese (such as smoked gouda, cheddar, feta, blue or goat cheese) into the green bean filling.
  • Add Cajun seasoning.  I also really love adding in a few teaspoons of Cajun seasoning (or Old Bay seasoning) to the Alfredo sauce too.  It adds a nice extra kick, and pairs well with all of the other flavors in this casserole.

Many of you have also asked in the past for a CrockPot green bean casserole recipe.  And unfortunately, I just don’t think that this one translates very well to the slow cooker.  (The cream sauce needs to be cooked on the stove, and the onion topping really needs to be crisped up in the oven.)  So I vote go the traditional route with this one.

Best Green Bean Casserole Recipe

How To Make Ahead or Store Green Bean Casserole:

Make-Ahead Instructions: If you happen to be making this easy green bean casserole recipe for Thanksgiving — or any day of the year — and would like to prep it ahead of time, no problem!  Just follow the recipe until you get to the baking step.  And instead of placing the baking dish in the oven, cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  Then once you are ready to bake the casserole, uncover and bake as directed.

How To Refrigerate: If you have leftovers after the casserole has already been baked, just refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  (Unfortunately., the alfredo sauce does not freeze well, so I do not recommend freezing this casserole.)

How To Reheat: Then to reheat this cooked casserole, just pop it back in the oven at 350°F until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.  (Keep an eye on the casserole, and if the topping starts to get too toasty, just lay a piece of aluminum foil lightly over the top of the casserole.)

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Description

This easy Green Bean Casserole recipe is made from scratch with lightened-up ingredients, it’s nice and fresh and crispy, and it is full of the absolute best flavors.  Always a crowd fave!


Scale

Ingredients

Green Bean Casserole Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 batch Mushroom Alfredo Sauce (see below)
  • 1 batch Crispy Onion Topping (see below)

Crispy Onion Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly-sliced
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon each fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Mushroom Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%, but any milk will do)
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven.  Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Trim, cut and briefly boil the green beans. Heat a large stockpot of water over high-heat until boiling. Meanwhile, trim and cut the green beans.  Then add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your green beans. (Keep in mind that the beans will cook more in the oven, so err on the side of undercooking them to your taste during this step.)  Then use a slotted spoon or large strainer to transfer the beans immediately into a large bowl of ice water, and give them a quick stir.  This will prevent them from cooking longer.  Set aside.
  3. Prepare your crispy onion topping.  Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter (or olive oil) in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is partially cooked but still holds its shape.  (You don’t want the onion to get too soft.)  Transfer the onion to a clean bowl.  Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the sauté pan, along with the panko, and stir to combine.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the panko is lightly golden.  Remove from heat, and transfer the panko to the bowl with the onions.  Add in the Parmesan, salt and pepper, and toss the onion mixture until evenly combined.  Set aside.
  4. Prepare your mushroom alfredo sauce.  Briefly rinse and dry the sauté pan.  Then return it to the stove.  Melt the butter over medium-high heat. Then add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and soft.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.  Stir in the flour and sauté for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally.  Then add in the vegetable stock, and stir until the flour is evenly dissolved.  Add the milk and Parmesan, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking the sauce until it reaches a simmer and thickens.  Then remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Put it all together!  Combine the green beans and mushroom alfredo sauce in the stockpot, and stir the green bean mixture until evenly combined.  Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and spread the green bean mixture out in an even layer.  Sprinkle evenly with the crispy onion topping mixture.
  6. Bake.  Then bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crispy onion topping is golden and crispy.  (Keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.  If it does start to char, simply lay a piece of aluminum foil on top of the casserole.)
  7. Serve warm.  Remove from the oven and serve warm, garnished with extra freshly-cracked black pepper (plus maybe some parsley) if you’d like.


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Green Bean Casserole