Fresh Green Bean Casserole covered in french fried onions is a creamy, crunchy, classic Thanksgiving side dish that nobody seems able to resist despite full plates and full bellies!

We love serving this fresh green bean casserole with a bacon roasted turkey, my easy homemade cranberry sauce, this sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and pecans, and our favorite southern cornbread dressing. Be sure not to miss any recipes in our classic Thanksgiving menu!

a close up of a white baking dish with green bean casserole and a serving spoon inside

This is fresh green bean casserole from scratch. Or at least mostly from scratch. There are no cans of cream of mushroom soup or canned green beans here. My one exception is the french fried onions.

Honestly, there is so much going on at Thanksgiving that even the most dedicated cooks are looking for ways to eliminate stress and ease the burden of pulling together the big feast. And when picking and choosing battles for where to invest my time prepping for Thanksgiving Day, french frying onions is not one that I'm going to bother with. And I'm okay with that. But if you have the energy, these crispy fried onions are a family favorite!

Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables (right up there with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, and bell peppers, which round out my top 5).

We love these green beans with bacon & pine nuts that my friend Lisa shared with me years ago when she brought them to us for dinner after our oldest daughter was born, and they are another fantastic option for Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you have anyone coming who adheres to a gluten-free diet.

But there is something so comforting about the classics like this savory, creamy & crunchy green bean casserole!

This really is the BEST green bean casserole recipe and it's not just something we eat at Thanksgiving. We really love it with grilled Santa Maria tri-tip or barbecue chicken as well!

An image of green bean casserole without cream of mushroom soup, topped with crispy French's fried onions.

I love the crisp-tender green beans instead of mushy canned green beans in this homemade version. And the easy, from-scratch sauce tastes lighter and silkier than the sometimes gloopy green bean casseroles made with cans of cream of mushroom soup.

Yes, it's a time-saver to use canned ingredients, but it's so easy and so much tastier to make green bean casserole without mushroom soup or canned green beans.

We all have our tried and true recipes for Thanksgiving sides, and yes, there are a few more steps here than the classic Campbell's green bean casserole recipe, but I promise that this Fresh Green Bean Casserole recipe is worth a try. I'm pretty sure your family will notice a difference, but only in the best way possible!

An image of a baking dish of fresh green bean casserole made without any canned ingredients.

How to Make Fresh Green Bean Casserole

  1. Start your green bean casserole by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove to blanch the beans. A good rule of thumb for salting water is to use 2 tablespoons of salt to about a gallon of water. The fresh green beans need to be partially cooked before adding them to the sauce or they won't soften enough in the oven, but you also don't want to overcook them. Once the water is boiling, dump in the beans and let them cook for 5 minutes (set a timer!). Then drain and immediately douse with very cold water or dump the green beans into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. They will finish cooking in the oven.
  2. Make the sauce by sauteing onions and garlic in a little melted butter until they soften. If you plan to use mushrooms, now is the time to add them for another minute or two of cooking just to soften.
  3. Then sprinkle with flour and cook for a couple of minutes before whisking in chicken broth and half-and-half. The sauce needs to simmer gently for 5-6 minutes to thicken just a bit, then it gets added to the green beans and they get tossed to coat everything.
  4. Dump the green beans and sauce into a serving dish and sprinkle the french fried onions over the top, then bake for 20 minutes in a 375 degree F oven until hot and bubbly.
A collage of step-by-step images for how to make fresh green bean casserole from scratch.

Can I Make Green Beans Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make most of this fresh green bean casserole recipe up to a day in advance.

Just follow all of the steps up to topping with the breadcrumbs and fried onions, since those will get soggy in the fridge overnight. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap before refrigerating.

Make-ahead green bean casserole is an easy way to save yourself some of the stress on Thanksgiving Day since all you need to do is heat it in the oven and top with French's fried onions right before sticking it in the oven to bake.

An image of make-ahead green bean casserole before adding the breadcrumbs and fried onions on top.
An image of a classic green bean casserole topped with fried onions before going into the oven to bake.

Can Green Bean Casserole be made in the Slow Cooker?

Yes, you can make this in the slow cooker! If you are tight on oven space, sometimes it makes sense to use another appliance!

To make this green bean casserole recipe in the slow cooker, just skip the step where you blanch the green beans and instead just throw them in the slow cooker after washing and trimming first. Then make the sauce as directed and pour that over the beans.

Mix everything together and cook on LOW for 2 hours, then stir well and top with the french fried onions. Cook for another 30-60 minutes before serving.

It won't crisp up as much as it does in the oven, but it's still delicious and will save you space!

Tips for Fresh Green Bean Casserole

  • I've already harped on this, but it's worth repeating that fresh green beans are going to make a big difference in this dish. Yes, it's kind of a bother to blanch them, but it's worth it.
  • You could skip the french fried onions and just use all panko bread crumbs instead if fried onions aren't your thing.
  • Chop your beans in half or in thirds for easier eating or leave them whole. Either approach works.
  • Even though I'm a HUGE fan of mushrooms, I actually prefer green bean casserole without them so the fresh, bright green bean flavor can come to the forefront without being muted by the mushrooms. But there is a note at the end of the recipe with instructions on when and how to add the mushrooms to this dish if you prefer it that way.

Recipe FAQ's

Can green bean casserole be frozen?

Yes, you can make and assemble your green bean casserole, but hold off on topping it with the french fried onions. Cover and freeze until you are ready to bake. You can bake start from frozen without adding the onions until the casserole has already baked for about 20 minutes.

An image of a traditional Thanksgiving side dish, Campbell's green bean casserole, except made without any canned ingredients.

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Fresh Green Bean Casserole

5 from 14 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 to 10
Fresh Green Bean Casserole covered in french fried onions is a creamy, classic Thanksgiving side dish that nobody seems able to resist despite full plates and full bellies!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and ends trimmed, then chopped in half
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces baby bella or white button mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 6 ounces french fried onions

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.  I aim for about 1 ½ tablespoons of salt in a gallon of water, but usually just eyeball it.  Prepare a large bowl with an ice bath for blanching the beans.
  • Blanch the beans by adding them to the boiling water and cooking for 5 minutes.  Then drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water.  This will stop the cooking process so the beans don't turn mushy.  Drain and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic, sauteing for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions start to soften.  Add the mushrooms (if using), salt and pepper and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the softened onions and stir to combine.  Cook for 2 minutes, then whisk in the chicken broth to make sure there are no lumps, then the half and half.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until it has thickened, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce over the beans and stir to combine, then transfer to a large 9x13-inch casserole dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and french fried onions.  
  • Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Cover the dish with foil if the onions start to brown too quickly.  

Video

Notes

Optional:  If you want mushrooms in your green bean casserole, chop about 8 ounces of button mushrooms or 2 portobello mushrooms and add once the onions and garlic have been sauteed, before adding the flour. 

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 647mg | Potassium: 322mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 975IU | Vitamin C: 17.1mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1.5mg
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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Easy to make and turned out great! Will definitely make this again as was a hit with the family. I chose to make it without mushrooms.

  2. Amy, your green bean casserole is SO DELISH!! Much lighter and healthier than the canned "cream of glop" versions.

    I used a 16-oz box of button mushrooms (because we love them), fat-free half and half, 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp of rosemary. Trader Joe's fresh haricot verts (a thinner, more tender green bean) worked perfectly. This is my go-to recipe from now on!

    1. Bacon makes everything better! I actually haven't ever made my green bean casserole with bacon, but I'll have to try it now!

    1. Technically, yes, but it wouldn't be as good. If you are concerned about timing, I would make it in advance and refrigerate it, or use the slow cooker approach before freezing.

  3. Looks delicious, can’t wait to try! I’ll be making this to bring to my moms for thanksgiving, and she doesn’t have a ton of room/time in the oven.. any thoughts on doing this in a slow cooker? 

    1. Sure! You can make these in the slow cooker! Just skip the step where you blanch the green beans and throw them in the slow cooker after washing and trimming first. Then make the sauce as directed and pour that over the beans. Mix everything together and cook on LOW for 2 hours, then stir well and top with the french fried onions. Cook for another 30-60 minutes before serving. It won't crisp up as much as it does in the oven, but it's still delicious and will save you space!

    1. I use regular chicken broth - the kind that comes in the cartons from Costco. If you use low sodium, you might just want to taste and adjust the salt a bit.

  4. Fresh green bean casserole is nothing like canned green beans and canned mushroom soup. It is a completely, absolutely different and better dish. I've never tried the slow cooker option, but I will tomorrow, with the final step being the fried onions on top and then putting it in the oven with the lid off. (I have a 3 pot slow cooker, with one pot for GB casserole, one for stuffing, and one for mashed potatoes. I also have a smaller crock pot for the gravy.)

  5. Sorry to be a pest but in the directions it says to "add the mushrooms" and they are not listed in the ingredients list as to how much mushrooms?? Is it one pound?? Just curious....

    1. Sorry about that! There is a note in the recipe card saying that mushrooms are optional (we never use them, but some people like to), and that is where they would be added. I made a clarification to fix that, so thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  6. It’s just personal preference, but if I make it again I will boil the green beans longer. Other than that, it was good. 

  7. So delicious! My daughter, who hates when I change things up, LOVED it! This will be our go-to recipe from now on. . The only thing she requested was to cut the beans up smaller.

  8. Unbelievably delish!!! The only thing I did different was make it gluten-free by thinking the gravy with corn starch and use gluten-free onion on top! 

    1. I'm not familiar with coconut flour, sorry! I think my biggest concern would be whether it thickens the sauce a bit. If not, you could always try making a slurry with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of cold water mixed together and add just a bit at a time to thicken the sauce. Just don't go too thick or it will be gloppy.

  9. I followed the directions and did not like it at all. Lacking flavor and my green beans were hard. I don’t understand why they were still hard being that they were pre-boiled. 

    1. If it was lacking flavor then you would want to increase the salt and pepper a bit. Or maybe making it with the mushroom variation would be up your alley since they give a wonderful umami flavor! If the beans were still too hard for your taste, then just boil them an extra minute or two longer. I personally don't love mushy beans in my green bean casserole, but I know that's what a lot of people grew up with, so they definitely could be cooked further.

      1. I agree not to overcook the green beans but I would try blanching just about seven minutes in salted water to help soften the bean. All green beans are not alike and adjustment must be made in cooking time. I also wanted to mention to add a bit of soy sauce in your recipe. No one wants a drab casserole on the holidays and seasoning is a must. Mushrooms should be sauteed along with the onions and garlic.

    1. Depends on portion size, but generally I would say around 10-12, especially with all the other options on a Thanksgiving table.

    1. Absolutely! The flavor won't be quite the same, but vegetable broth will still work well and make a great vegetarian version of this dish!

  10. Excellent. We loved it. Since I didn't have Panko or fried onions, I put it all in one large covered skillet to finish cooking. It seemed a bit juicy so I added 1/4 cup rice to thicken the mixture. Left out mushrooms. Definitely will make again.

    1. I wouldn't freeze it with the crispy onions on top, but otherwise yes! This would freeze well. Then bake and top with the crispy onions so they don't get soggy.

    1. Yes, you can make this the day (or even 2 or 3 days) before, just wait to add the onions until just before you bake it.

    1. The amounts are all in the recipe card. I just sprinkle on the panko before adding the onions - no need to mix them together.

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve made this two years in a row now bc it was such a keeper! Followed the recipe to a T and turned out perfectly both years. It’s become a family favorite over the canned crap!!

  12. 5 stars
    Very handy for me as I had bought a lot of winter green beans on sale that needed a recipe to finish them off. Plenty of mushrooms on hand, panko...check, fried onions...also check (rare), so a pretty good fit. Sitting in the fridges awaiting the bake...

    While we wait, I think about adding cheese, but that will change the recipe design. I forget about cheese, and think about the main...poached salmon (insane), or maybe just baked chicken thighs? Chicken is a better accompaniment, and I have a lot more of it and it's dead simple. And for salad, arugula (also on hand) with roasted red pepper honey-dijon vinaigrette and topped with feta, so I do get some cheese in there...and this can all stand to be heated, so it's good for my purpose.

    4:30 pm. The bean casserole gets baked, pretty tasty! I time the chicken thighs to finish at the same time. We plate everything in single serving containers, with just the dressing in it's own portion cup. 32 meals into the thermal bag, phone tag attached just in case. I walk it down to the protest site, it's Monday, so there are less people gathered around the Russian embassy, but there are still a lot of people who've been there all day.

    The meals are gone in a flash. Many people thank me. It's not nearly as warm as it was on the weekend, but it feels much more like spring, and most of the snow has melted, the sun is very bright. I wait around and chat with the protesters, and gather as many finished containers as I can as they finish, every little bit helps. Dessert tomorrow.

    1. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and inspirational response to your experience! I admire you for the service you are offering and am inspired by the ways people are coming together. It warms my heart to know my recipe played even a small part.