This easy Green Bean Casserole recipe is made 100% from scratch with lightened-up ingredients, including a delicious creamy green bean filling and crispy onion topping. It’s also easy to make ahead and always a crowd fave.
Move over, canned creamy soup, frozen green beans, and packaged fried onions.
This modern homemade green bean casserole recipe is made entirely from scratch and tastes a million times better than the retro casserole full of processed ingredients. And it is my hands-down fave. ♡♡♡
For too many years, I always passed on the green bean casserole at Thanksgiving because it was so mushy, bland and boring. But as it turns out, when homemade green bean casserole is well-seasoned and made with better ingredients, it comes to life and tastes SO fresh and flavorful. And it’s still quite simple to make!
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 canned 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, fresh red onion is sautéed with crispy panko breadcrumbs, which toast to golden perfection as the casserole bakes.
Together, all of these ingredients combine to make a casserole that is legit delicious and anything but boring. I make it every Thanksgiving, and friends and family all agree that it’s the best!
Green Bean Casserole Recipe | 1-Minute Video
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 here from scratch. All you need are some very 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.
Green Bean Casserole Tips
Full instructions are included in the recipe below for how to make green bean casserole, but here are a few key tips to remember:
Don’t overcook the green beans: Remember when you are blanching the green beans that they will continue to cook and soften while baking in the oven with the rest of the casserole. So it’s important to undercook them slightly during this first step so that they don’t get mushy in the oven. (I like my beans pretty crispy so I usually boil mine for about 2 minutes.)
Pre-toast the breadcrumbs: In order for the Panko breadcrumbs to get extra crispy and golden, it helps to sauté them briefly in a bit of butter before baking them in the oven.
Very thinly slice the red onion: I also recommend slicing the onion as thinly as possible so that it can crisp up well in the oven.
Feel free to make the casserole ahead of time: If you would like to prep the casserole ahead of time (very helpful for Thanksgiving), just follow the recipe instructions through the end of Step 5. Then instead of placing the baking dish in the oven, cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. Once you are ready to bake the casserole, uncover and bake as directed.
There are many different ways that you can customize this fresh green bean casserole recipe to your liking. For example, feel free to…
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 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. To make extra cheesy green bean casserole, 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.
Add some heat. 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.
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.
More Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes:
Feel free to check out our entire section of Thanksgiving recipes for more inspiration, but here are a few of my faves that I make every year…
1/4 teaspooneach 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
Preheat oven. Heat oven to 375°F.
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 2-3 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Serve warm. Remove from the oven and serve warm, garnished with extra freshly-cracked black pepper (plus maybe some parsley) if you’d like.
Make-ahead instructions: Follow the recipe through the end of Step 5. Then instead of placing the baking dish in the oven, cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. Once you are ready to bake the casserole, uncover and bake as directed.
Storage instructions: If you have leftovers after the casserole has already been baked, just refrigerate them 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.)