Learning to make this classic green bean casserole from scratch, with whole food ingredients, takes this popular dish to the next level! Wow your friends and family with your own crispy fried onions, perfect beans, and from-scratch, creamy mushroom sauce, with a hidden ingredient that makes it the best you’ll ever have!
Why Should I Make this Classic Green Bean Casserole from Scratch?
My family loves those classic dishes made with easy-to-dump ingredients from a can. If I’m being honest, I do too! However, I like to have a little more control over what we’re eating.
Also, if I’m going to use our own garden produce, I have to get creative! We don’t eat canned green beans plain with every meal, just like we don’t eat raw onions. I need something yummy to use them in!
This recipe is incredibly versatile and can be made with what you have access to!
I will promise, though, that if you show up to your family’s Thanksgiving with this green bean casserole, everyone will be amazed to hear that not only did you make it, but all of the ingredients were made from scratch!
What You’ll Need for this Classic Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
For the Fried Onions:
- Unbleached flour
- Lard or Coconut oil (For frying)
Ingredients for the Cream Sauce:
- Unbleached flour (leftover from the onions)
- Chicken broth
- Shredded gouda cheese
- Green beans (I use canned, you can use fresh if you like)
Is Green Bean Casserole Better with Fresh or Canned Green Beans?
This is the most controversial part of this recipe, by far! However, I will stand by the fact that there is no right or wrong answer…just a right or wrong answer for you and your family’s preferences!
For example, I know that my brother is going to be eating this dish, and he can’t stand the “squeak” of fresh green beans! I also know that my family would prefer most of this dish to come from a store-bought can, including the beans, to taste like the classic green bean casserole they know.
For us, this means canned green beans all the way.
However, if you can’t stand the softer texture of the canned beans, you might prefer fresh! If you like the pop of vibrant green, then you’ll want to select fresh beans.
Either way, this recipe is delicious thanks to the cream of mushroom sauce, plus my secret ingredient, so choose your beans to your preference with no fear of ruining anything!
How to Make Classic Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
How to Make the Onions:
Start out by heating your lard or coconut oil in a cast iron pan over medium to medium high heat for frying the onions.
Cut your onion in half, peel the skin, and cut the top and bottom off. To slice our onions we are going to cut pole to pole (meaning top to bottom) unlike the direction you cut for a dice.
Slice the onions thinly so that when they are golden brown they are also cooked through.
Add the onions to a plastic bag and add the flour, salt, and pepper.
Seal the bag and shake the onions and flour to coat the onions evenly in the flour dredge.
By now your frying oil should be hot enough to fry the onions. To test, flick a tiny bit of flour into the oil. It should immediately sizzle and dissipate into the oil if it’s hot enough.
Add the onions to the hot lard or oil in batches.
I do about 3 batches to avoid overcrowding the onions while they are frying.
Fry the onions, stirring gently a few times to ensure they are browning evenly. Using a set of tongs for this makes this easy and prevents you separating the flour from the onions which would ruin the crispy coating.
Fry for 2 minutes on one “side” before stirring/flipping. Fry for another 2 minutes before removing them to a paper towel or dish towel lined plate.
Keep a close eye on them because they will be done quickly and burnt fried onions are not a pleasant flavor.
They are beautifully golden brown when done!
Set them aside and prepare the cream sauce for the beans.
How to Make the Cream Sauce:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Clean the cast iron you used for the onions or get another pan onto medium heat for your homemade cream of mushroom sauce.
While your skillet is preheating, chop your mushrooms. If your family is used to a canned cream of mushroom in their green bean casserole, dice your mushrooms fine.
For us, we like to taste a bit of the mushroom in every bite, so we do a rough chop.
After chopping the mushrooms, melt butter in your skillet.
Now, add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is released from them, but they are not completely cooked through.
Using the leftover flour from dredging the onions, create a roux by adding the flour to the mushrooms.
Cook the Roux
Cook the roux for another 3-4 minutes until the flour is toasted. It will be hard to tell based off color since the mushrooms are brown, but you should be able to smell the difference between the raw flour and toasted flour smells.
This will ensure that your cream sauce doesn’t taste like raw flour.
Next, add the broth
After toasting the roux, slowly add your chicken broth, to prevent clumps, and stir to combine.
Simmer the chicken broth until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. You’ll know its thickened when your spoon leaves a trail showing the skillet behind it in the broth.
Add the cream and stir to combine.
Simmer another 4-5 minutes until, again, the sauce is heated through and thickened.
Reduce the heat to medium low.
Now, add the secret ingredient: shredded gouda cheese!
Not only does this add a creamy texture you just can’t achieve without cheese, but the cheese also adds a different dimension of funky, cheesy, saltiness, without adding heaps of salt alone.
Once the cheese is melted and fully incorporated, it’s time to add the green beans.
Add the green beans
Be sure that your beans, if using canned, are fully, completely drained.
Gently fold in the green beans.
Pour your prepared green bean casserole into a casserole dish.
Top your green beans with the fried onions.
Top your green beans with the fried onions.
Bake the assembled casserole for 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Why is my Green Bean Casserole Soupy?
To prevent a soupy cream sauce, drain your beans well ahead of time.
If your mushrooms release too much liquid at the beginning for your roux to thicken, add more flour in this step. The roux should absorb all the liquid from the mushrooms.
Also, try simmering your broth and cream enough to thicken them effectively.
If you already are looking at a runny sauce, sprinkle flour over the top and stir well to combine and avoid lumps.
Can you Freeze this Classic Green Bean Casserole?
Yes! Cream, freshly shredded cheese, beans, mushrooms, and onions all freeze fine!
If you know ahead of time that you plan on making this to freeze, then leave the fried onions off when freezing. You should add these fresh when you plan on serving.
To freeze, wrap your casserole dish with plastic wrap. Then, wrap the dish in foil. Freeze flat.
When you are ready to thaw, thaw in the fridge 24 hours ahead of time. Check that there isn’t too much liquid at the top.
If there is, drain that off.
Then, remove the plastic wrap, cover with foil, and bake 25 minutes, until warmed through.
When the green bean casserole is reheated, top with fresh fried onions.
- 1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 1 medium Onion
- Lard or Coconut oil (For frying)
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1/4 Cup Unbleached flour with salt and pepper(leftover from the onions)
- 8 oz container Mushrooms
- 1 Cup Chicken broth
- 1 Cup Cream
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Gouda Cheese
- 1 quart Green beans (I use canned, you can use fresh if you like)
- Heat lard or coconut oil in a cast iron pan over medium to medium high heat.
- Cut your onion in half then slice pole to pole thinly.
- Add the onions to a plastic bag and add the flour, salt, and pepper.
- Seal the bag and shake the onions and flour to coat the onions evenly in the flour dredge.
- Test the oil's heat by flicking a tiny bit of flour into the oil. It should immediately sizzle and dissipate into the oil if it's hot enough.
- Add the onions to the hot lard or oil in batches. (I do about 3 batches to avoid overcrowding the onions while they are frying.)
- Fry the onions, stirring gently a few times to ensure they are browning evenly. (Using a set of tongs for this makes this easy and prevents you separating the flour from the onions which would ruin the crispy coating.)
- Fry for 2 minutes on one "side" before stirring/flipping. Fry for another 2 minutes before removing them to a paper towel or dish towel lined plate.
- Set them aside and prepare the cream sauce for the beans.
- Preheat your oven to 400°
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Chop the mushrooms. (fine dice for those who don't love mushrooms, rough chop if you want to taste the mushroom texture.)
- Saute for 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms release their liquid.
- Sprinkle the flour from the onions over the mushrooms to create a roux.
- Cook the roux for another 3-4 minutes until the flour is toasted.
- Next, add the broth slowly, stirring to prevent clumps.
- Simmer the chicken broth until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. You'll know its thickened when your spoon leaves a trail showing the skillet behind it in the broth.
- Add the cream and stir to combine.
- Simmer another 4-5 minutes until, again, the sauce is heated through and thickened.
- Reduce the heat to medium low.
- Add the shredded gouda cheese!
- Once the cheese is melted and fully incorporated, it's time to add the green beans.
- Gently fold in the green beans.
- Pour your prepared green bean casserole into a casserole dish.
- Top your green beans with the fried onions.
- Bake the assembled casserole for 10 minutes.
- Be sure that the green beans are drained fully to prevent a runny casserole
- If you are making this ahead of time, don't top the casserole with the fried onions until it's time to serve to prevent them getting soggy.