This classic green bean casserole, made with green beans, mushrooms, and a cream sauce, is a Thanksgiving tradition. Just say no to the can opener.
The precursor to this green bean casserole recipe was cleverly conceived by Campbell’s Soup in the ’50s to encourage the use of their products. The result has been millions of bastardized versions of a perfectly good dish. Here we make it from scratch. I am always surprised at how much taste the green beans have in this recipe.–Alex Guarnaschelli
Classic Green Bean Casserole FAQs
We have a simple technique to help determine if your frying oil is at optimum temperature. Drop a 1″ cube of bread into the hot oil and time how long it takes to turn golden brown. Your oil is in range, between 350° and 365°F, if the bread toasts in 50–60 seconds. If your bread is done before that, give the oil some time to cool down–burned onion rings will give anything else you fry an unsavory flavor.
This is actually easier than you’d imagine. Just finish to step 3 for the casserole–then put that part in the fridge until you need it. For the onions, fry, drain, and let cool. Store the onions separately in an airtight container on the counter. (Wait to top the casserole until just before baking to keep everything crispy.) Then the day of, you just need to assemble and slide it into the oven. Ta-da!
Classic Green Bean Casserole
- Deep fry thermometer
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 pound green beans ends trimmed, beans halved crosswise
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound white mushrooms stemmed and sliced into 1/2-inch (12-mm) slices (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 cups canola oil for frying
- 2 medium red onions cut into thin rounds
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Set a colander in the ice water.
- When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt and the green beans. Cook until the beans yield slightly when pierced with the tip of a knife but are not cooked through, about 4 minutes. Using a strainer or a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans from the hot water and dump them into the colander in the ice water. Swirl the beans around so they cool quickly. Lift the colander out of the ice bath, let the beans drain, and set aside.
- In a 10-inch cast-iron or another ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt, up to 1 teaspoon cayenne, if using, and the mustard. (If kids will be partaking, you may wish to tone down the cayenne.) Stir to blend and cook until the mushrooms give off most of their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a whisk, add the garlic and 2 tablespoons of flour. When the flour has been incorporated, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Stir in the cream and sour cream and gently simmer over low heat until the mixture thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. You should have about 2 cups. Turn off the heat and set the skillet aside.
- Pour the oil into a frying pan and heat it over medium heat until it registers 350ºF (176ºC) on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel and set out a slotted spoon.
- In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup flour and cayenne to taste, if using. Toss the onion rounds in the flour mixture and shake off any excess by shaking the rounds in a strainer. Test the oil by dropping in a single onion slice. It should begin to bubble and fry gradually. Drop a small batch of onions into the oil and gently swirl them as they fry. When they are light to medium brown, which ought to take 1 to 2 minutes, remove them with the slotted spoon and lay them out on the kitchen towel to cool. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all of the onions have been fried.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (176ºC).
- To assemble the green bean casserole, stir the green beans into the skillet containing the mushroom mixture. Simmer over low heat just until the green beans become tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in half the onions. Slide the skillet into the oven for 10 minutes to give the green bean casserole a baked effect. Top with the remaining onions and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This dish was unknown to me until I married my American husband. I’d gotten the classic recipe from his family and made it every year. Though it was good, I always felt it could be better. Sure enough, this recipe brought it to a totally different level. Even my oldest daughter, who was not a great fan of the classic, loved this—she even had seconds and thirds.
The end result was green beans which still had a nice crunchiness to them and a white sauce with the nice, strong flavor of mushrooms—that you could actually see and taste, too—and a topping of fried onions. Wow. I actually had to quickly make more fried onions as “little mice” were stealing them as they were fried. This will definitely be a staple at our house from now on.
This is such a rich, zingy take on the classic gloppy green bean casserole. It’s time-consuming, so the fact that it can be prepped ahead of time and assembled and baked right before eating is a big plus. All I’d suggest is to be careful with the cayenne in the sauce—1 1/2 teaspoons was a lot of heat, and we love spicy. I’m just not sure it’d be suitable for the younger ones that might be gathered around the table, and as this is a classic holiday dish, I assume there would be!
All I can think is, Oh wow! I never knew that a green bean casserole could be this amazing. I’ve always enjoyed the green bean casserole I grew up with—the one using the canned soup and onion rings—but the flavor of this one almost blew us away. It’s a little more work, but so worth it in the end. I’d suggest using a deep skillet though, since this makes quite a bit. I made mine in my cast-iron chicken fryer, which is much deeper than a standard cast-iron skillet, and it worked perfectly.
Originally published November 15, 2017