Is it even Thanksgiving if this classic side dish isn't on the table somewhere?
❤️ Why you'll love it
- Easy recipe only requires five ingredients
- Savory green beans are the perfect addition to a heavy holiday meal
- Make it ahead so you can save time prepping Thanksgiving dinner
Bring a taste of nostalgia and festive touch to the holiday table. This classic green bean casserole tastes even better than you remember it! Plus, it's loaded with crispy fried onions—the best part, of course!
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the green recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
You can use canned, frozen, or fresh green beans. If they are frozen be sure to thaw and drain them.
If they are fresh, they need to be cooked and tender—but not mushy.
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions are in the green recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Click on the image to watch me make this recipe from start to finish with extra tips! (Video opens in a new tab).
It's tempting to relax after enjoying so much Thanksgiving turkey, but just take a few minutes to put the extra food away so you can safely enjoy it again!
It's simple: cover leftover green bean casserole tightly with plastic wrap, or spoon it into an airtight container. It'll last for about two days in the refrigerator—any longer and the casserole gets watery.
You can freeze leftovers for up to three months, but the onion topping loses its crisp texture after thawing. If you'd like to go the freezer-route, I'd recommend following the instructions under "Variations" to properly make it in advance.
📖 Green bean casserole variations
The original recipe for French's green bean casserole is a classic holiday side dish in many families, but who's to say you can't make a few changes here or there? Try some of these ideas:
- Creamy Mushroom Sauce: You can use a homemade cream of mushroom soup if you prefer to avoid canned. Or, use a different variety of cream soup altogether.
- Extra Good Stuff: Some people like to stir in minced garlic, fresh chopped cremini mushrooms, shredded cheddar cheese, or bacon.
- Prep a Few Days Early: Assemble the casserole ahead of time, but leave the onion topping off. Wrap it with plastic, and refrigerate it for up to two days. Don't forget to add the onions mid-way through baking!
- Make Ahead and Freeze: As long as you make this classic green bean casserole recipe as written (that is, with the canned cream of mushroom soup) you can freeze it for up to three months. Just leave the onions off of the top until bake time.
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: If you use frozen green beans, be sure to thaw them completely. Then, drain for a few minutes in a colander and pat dry. You don't want any extra liquid to water down your casserole.
- You can use French style (or French cut) green beans if you prefer. However, it's easier to enjoy the creamy green bean casserole when each bite fits nicely on your fork—long beans make that a bit tougher.
- Using fresh ingredients? Great! Blanch the green beans for about five minutes in boiling water, then dunk them into an ice water bath. Let them drain and dry completely before proceeding with the recipe.
- The soy sauce enhances the flavor of the mushroom soup, but you can omit it if you're on a medically restrictive diet or otherwise watching your personal consumption of sodium. Worcestershire sauce has a bit less sodium if you're looking to replace the soy.
- Use fresh cracked black pepper for a richer flavor than ground pepper.
Sure thing! Crushed Ritz crackers, crushed potato chips, crushed croutons, and panko bread crumbs are all great ways to top a casserole! Tender green beans pair perfectly with pretty much anything salty and crunchy.
Absolutely—and when your family says it's the best green bean casserole ever, you can tell 'em it's all because of the homemade fried crispy onions. Here's a great recipe to try.
It tastes like the holidays! The classic side dish combines cooked green beans in a creamy, mushroom-based sauce. It's all topped off with crispy fried onions. Each bite is salty, savory, creamy, and has just a hint of earthy, umami flavor.
Technically, a 13"x9" dish is a 3-quart casserole. You can probably squeeze this recipe into a two-quart casserole dish if it's all you have, but I'd aim for a 13"x9" dish if at all possible.
It's about 2-3 (15-oz) cans, drained.
Sure! Leave out the crispy fried onions and you can make green bean casserole up to 3 days ahead of time. Add the onions just before baking.
📚 Related recipes
We love side dish recipes around here! The more the better!
- This Crockpot Green Beans and Ham side dish slow cooks all day so every bite is full of flavor—plus, you save valuable stovetop/oven space!
- Make a new holiday menu tradition with delicious Italian Green Bean Salad. It's full of zing, red onions, and tomatoes—great for adding some variety to the customary dinner table spread.
- Southern "Smothered" Green Beans have a drool-worthy, smoky flavor thanks to onions and a whole lotta bacon—need I say more?
- While fried cabbage isn't exactly Thanksgiving fare it is delicious!
🍽️ Serve with...
🧅 More of our Thanksgiving favorites -
📞 The last word
I spent years trying to improve Mom's green bean casserole - with fresh, from scratch ingredients... with fancy additions...
Honestly I always come back to the classic; the one that's been on my Thanksgiving table as long as I can remember.
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Green Bean Casserole
- 4 cups green beans, 2 15-ounce cans or 1-½ pounds fresh or 16 oz frozen
- 10.5 ounces cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce, optional
- 2 cups French fried onions
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Butter a 13x9 inch casserole dish
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Drain the green beans and add to the casserole dish.
- Blend the soup, milk, and soy sauce together until smooth.
- Pour the soup mixture over the green beans and stir so all the green beans are covered in the soup.
- Stir in 1 cup of the crispy onions.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Top with the remaining 1 cup of crispy onions.
- Bake for 10 more minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.
- Serve hot.
- If you use frozen green beans be sure to thaw them completely, drain for a few minutes in a colander, and pat dry. Too much liquid will make the casserole too watery.
- Cut green beans are best for green bean casserole because they fit on a fork or spoon better but you can use French style or whole, too.
- Substitute any cream soup for the cream of mushroom.
- You can assemble this ahead of time, wrap, and refrigerate for 2 days. Just wait to add the crispy onions until just before baking.
- You can freeze for up to 3 months.
- See the FAQs section for suggested substitutions for the onions.
- The soy sauce enhanced the mushroom flavor but you can leave it out if you wish - especially if you are watching your salt intake.
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- Green beans
- French fried onions or make the homemade ones
- Soy sauce
- Cream of mushroom soup
- medium bowl
- casserole dish
First published November 2009. Last updated November 2, 2022 for editorial changes and readability.