Serve a crowd with this mostly-from-scratch green bean casserole — with fresh green beans, homemade cream of mushroom soup, and crispy fried onions! Sherry and thyme fill this holiday side dish with extra flavor. Make ahead to make Thanksgiving day a little easier!
What’s a holiday meal without a delicious, creamy green bean casserole? Add in some rosemary sweet potato casserole with candied pecans or garlic truffle mashed potatoes along with a moist, juicy turkey or ham and you’ll have a feast!
But don’t settle for a dish full of limp canned green beans and canned mushroom soup when it can be sooo much better! This casserole uses freshly blanched green beans and a homemade cream of mushroom soup enriched with freshly browned mushrooms, thyme and plenty of sherry.
While this recipe makes enough for a Thanksgiving crowd (serves 12!), I have a small batch green bean casserole recipe that’s easy and accessible enough for a weeknight if you love this dish as much as I do!
Ingredients and method
This recipe is from scratch where it makes the biggest difference — fresh green beans and homemade cream of mushroom soup — and uses convenience ingredients where it saves the most time and effort without sacrificing taste and texture — crispy fried onions.
Let’s take a look at what we’re using and how.
Essentially, the process is this:
- Blanch the green beans
- Sauté the mushrooms
- Make the roux
- Add the liquids and seasonings
- Blend the soup (as much or as little as you prefer)
- Mix with green beans and top with onions
- Serve and enjoy!
Fresh green beans
My mom came over for dinner when I was testing this recipe, and said she didn’t know you could make green bean casserole without canned green beans. She didn’t think fresh beans would cook enough to be tender while baking the casserole, and she’s right. The secret is blanching them first.
Just throw 1 1/2 inch fresh green bean pieces in a salted pot of boiling water for 5-7 minutes or until they’re tender-crisp, and then shock them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them bright green.
That way they’re perfectly tender but not soggy, and baking the casserole only has to heat things up rather than doing the work of cooking the ingredients to perfection.
Fresh button mushrooms are the base of the homemade cream of mushroom soup. Dicing them takes a little time, but I do it for for two reasons.
First, it gives them more surface area to brown and makes it easier too — you can just stir with a wooden spoon to brown all sides instead of having to make sure you flip over each mushroom slice.
Second, we will eventually be blending them into the creamy soup with either an immersion blender or a regular blender. I like to pulse the immersion blender until it’s semi-blended but not completely, so I have some pureed mushrooms and some pieces left in the soup. Dicing the mushrooms before sautéing and blending them ensures none of the pieces remaining are too large.
Butter and flour
The mushrooms are sautéed in two batches (to help them brown instead of steaming them) in plenty of butter, which gives them amazing flavor and helps them brown. When you add the flour, it combines with the butter to make a roux that thickens the soup.
A little wine makes any recipe better! The sherry deglazes the pan and helps you scrape up any brown bits, adds tons of flavor to the mushrooms, and starts forming the creamy soup when mixed with the roux!
Chicken broth and half-and-half
Then we add broth for flavor and half-and-half for that luscious creaminess! Add them slowly and stir well in between to ensure the soup stays smooth and doesn’t become clumpy.
Thyme, salt, and pepper
Simple seasonings, but with the sherry and butter it’s all you need to make it a decadent soup!
After adding the spices and simmering for a bit, you blend up the soup with an immersion blender straight in the pan, or if you don’t have one, in a blender. I like to pulse it until it’s partially blended but still has some pieces left. If my sister was joining us for dinner, I’d completely puree it since she likes the flavor but not the texture of mushrooms. It’s your call how much to blend it!
Crispy fried onions
While this recipe is mostly from scratch, I do use readymade fried onions (like French’s). To me, these are the only “convenience ingredient” worth using in a traditional green bean casserole. I could munch on crispy fried onions straight out of the can or bag. They’re light and airy, perfectly salty, and add that crunch that rounds out the casserole!
While you could batter and fry your own onions, it would add a lot of time and cleanup to the process and your result would probably not have the same potato-chip-like quality as the premade ones.
Also, if you’re making this in advance, you know your storebought onions will be crunchy and take no time to sprinkle on top! Homemade fried food is best (and crispiest) when it’s freshly made, and you may not have time to fry onions if you’re making other sides and a turkey!
After mixing the blanched green beans into the soup and transferring the mixture into a casserole dish or 9×13 baking pan (optional), I coat the entire top of the casserole with crispy onions and keep some extras on the side to add as I please!
I recommend using either a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish or a 9×13 baking pan. The one in the photo is an 8×13 baking pan.
Absolutely! A 12-inch cast iron skillet will be full to the brim but can go from stovetop to oven and will save you a dish.
If you are making the casserole ahead of time, however, you will want to transfer the mixture to a different dish to refrigerate — cast iron is susceptible to rust when exposed to moisture for extended periods or when refrigerated.
If you’re making a turkey and 4 other side dishes, I’d highly suggest making it in advance so you aren’t trying to do a hundred things on Thanksgiving itself!
You can make the soup and green beans ahead of time. Transfer the mixture to a baking pan or casserole dish and store up to a few days in advance in the refrigerator if you’d like. Wait until just before baking to add the crispy fried onions so they don’t get soggy!
Other Thanksgiving side dishes
Like this recipe? Try these other sides to round out your holiday meal!
Fresh Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Mushroom Soup
- 12" Cast iron skillet or sauté pan
- 9×13 baking pan or 2 1/2 qt (2.3 L) casserole dish
- Immersion blender
- 3 lbs fresh green beans trimmed and washed
- 6 tbsp butter divided
- 24 oz mushrooms diced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 cup sherry
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 1/2 cups crispy fried onions like French's (a 2.8 oz container should be perfect)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp pepper
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut green beans into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add green beans, bring back to a boil, and blanch for 5-7 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain and transfer to an ice water bath so the cooking stops and they stay bright green.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add half the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes without stirring, then sauté an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan, and repeat with remaining butter and mushrooms.
- Add all the mushrooms back to the pan. Add flour, stir to coat and cook for about a minute.
- Splash in the sherry and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up any bits that have stuck. Add chicken broth and half-and-half, whisking until smooth between each ingredient so it doesn't get clumpy. Add thyme, pepper, and salt to taste. Simmer for a couple minutes until mixture has thickened.
- Tilt the pan and scrape the soup to pool on one side and pulse an immersion blender in the soup until it's semi-smooth but has some larger pieces of mushrooms in the mix. If you don't have an immersion blender you can transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until you reach the desired consistency, and then transfer it back to the pan.
- Mix in the green beans until evenly coated. Leave in the skillet, if oven-safe, or transfer to a 9×13 baking pan or 2 1/2 quart casserole dish if desired. Top with fried onions and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.
To prepare in advance
- If you're making this in advance, do everything except adding the fried onions. Transfer to a 9×13 baking pan or 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and refrigerate until ready to cook (it is not recommended to refrigerate food in a cast iron skillet as it may increase the chances of your pan rusting).
- Before cooking, let the casserole sit at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Top with fried onions and bake for 35-40 minutes or until edges are bubbly and casserole is heated throughout. You may need that extra 5 minutes or so if it still has some chill from the fridge.