This is our favorite Green Bean Casserole recipe ~ made completely from scratch. Everything in this classic holiday side dish is made quick and easy without cans. The flavor is out of this world, and once you try it for Thanksgiving I promise you’ll be craving green bean casserole all year round.
I’ve never understood why so many traditional holiday foods involve cans. Since the holidays only come around once a year, doesn’t it make more sense to take the little extra effort to make them the right way?
This simple but 100% homemade version of green bean casserole is the ultimate version. Should I start with the homemade cream of mushroom soup that is so good it’s going to get a post of its own? Or do I jump right in with those crispy fried shallots? Maybe I should mention up front that this casserole has a good helping of Gruyere cheese in the sauce, as well as some sherry and nutmeg for the best flavor EVER.
Why this green bean casserole is the one you need on your Thanksgiving menu this year
You’ve got a lot of green bean casseroles to choose from, I get it, but this one is really really special…
- For one thing, it’s made from scratch, which makes it holiday worthy.
- Your vegetarian guests will love it, and it’s nice to have something meatless on the table that isn’t an afterthought.
- The flavors in the creamy sauce are elevated but hardly more trouble than opening a can.
- Gruyere cheese adds a more subtle sophisticated flavor than cheddar cheese, which you can substitute if you like.
- The beans, which are the whole point of this casserole to begin with, are fresh and firm, not mushy like canned or frozen beans.
- The fried shallots are to die for. You will not be sorry you made them. Keep the canned stuff for another day.
- All the components can be made ahead, then the casserole can be easily assembled and baked just before your meal.
Every component of this from-scratch casserole is important, but it all starts with fresh green beans.
Buy the best you can find, I like the thin French style beans, if you can find them. There’s no need to cut them, I like to leave them long and lean. The important thing is to blanch them briefly before assembling your casserole, which takes the raw edge off the beans. Just drop into boiling water for a few minutes, then plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking and lock in their brilliant green color.
As for that all important crispy topping, you could pop open a can of fried onions,
oooooooorrrrr you could do the right thing and fry up a quick batch of uber crispy homemade fried shallots…(a much better idea!)
I’m head over heels in love with my homemade cream of mushroom soup.
I was able to get so much flavor into it by infusing dried shiitake mushrooms into hot cream. It sat for about 30 minutes and then I pureed it. I make a quick roux of flour and butter to thicken the sauce, add a splash of sherry, some salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. This sauce packs some incredible wild mushroom flavor.
Note: the first few times I made this casserole I used my food processor to blend the mushroom sauce and it had a chunkier texture (see above.) Most recently I used my Vitamix blender and the texture was silky smooth (see below.) Both ways will work, it just depends on whether you want little chunks of mushroom in your sauce, or not. The flavor is the same either way.,
How to make this homemade green bean casserole ahead:
The best way to do it is to make each part separately, then construct when you’re ready to bake.
The beans can be par cooked, iced, dried, and stored in the fridge.
The mushroom sauce can be made and stored. The cheese grated and put in a zip lock baggie.
Even the shallots can be fried up to a day or two ahead. If they soften, crisp them up on a baking sheet in a 350F oven.
I hope I’ve convinced you to give this one a try, we were thrilled with it, and it’s going on our permanent Thanksgiving menu. We’ll probably make a pared down version a few more times this winter.
I could honestly happily make an entire holiday meal out of the sides alone, have you tried these other recipes from my archives?
- Butter Pecan Pumpkin Souffle
- Whipped Kabocha Squash
- Delicious Buttered Rutabagas
- Creamed Brussels Sprouts
- Kale and Butternut Salad
- Crock Pot Cranberry Butter
How to determine the size and capacity of your baking dishes
- To measure the size of your baking dishes, measure from rim to rim on the top of your pans, not the bottoms.
- To determine volume capacity, take a measuring cup and count how many cups it takes to fill the pan to the rim.
- The Lodge gratin dish below is a 2 quart capacity, so you know it will work with this recipe. A rectangle dish will work well, too.
Green Bean Casserole Recipe from Scratch!
- a gratin dish or similar baking dish (mine is 8x12) with at least a 2 quart capacity
- 3 large shallots, peeled and very thinly sliced into rings
- 1/4 cup` flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed
- 2 cups half and half, or cream
- 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms (I used Shitake)
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1/3 cup dry Sherry
- 1 heaped cup shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- dash of fresh grated nutmeg, or more to taste
- Note: you can fry the shallots first, or while the casserole is cooking. Fill a saucepan with 2 inches of oil and heat on medium high until hot, or a clip on thermometer reads 325F
- Mix the flour and salt together, then gently toss the shallots in the flour, carefully separating the rings as you add them.
- Fry the shallots, in batches, until golden, it should take under 2 minutes if your oil is hot enough. Drain on paper towels. Note: remove any brown bits from the oil in between batches, so they don't burn.
- Heat the cream to a simmer, then remove from the heat and add the dried mushrooms, stirring well. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Trim the beans but leave them whole. Blanche them in a large pot of boiling water for a total of about 3 minutes, just to take the raw edge off, they will still be crunchy.
- Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Drain the beans and immediately plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking and set their bright color. Add more ice if necessary to keep the water cold, then drain the beans on a clean towel.
- Puree the mushrooms and cream in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth. You may still have some texture to your sauce, that's ok, just get it as smooth as you can.
- Melt butter in a medium pan and add the flour to make a roux. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes over medium heat, but don't let it take on color.
- Add the sherry to the pan and stir or whisk well until blended, let the mixture cook for a minute, stirring or whisking constantly. Then add the mushroom sauce and whisk until the mixture comes to a simmer and is smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, but you will likely need more. Add a dash of nutmeg to taste. (Don't skip this step, the flavor is so wonderful.)
- Layer half your beans into your casserole, then drizzle half the sauce over the beans, nudging the sauce down and around all the beans. Repeat with the remaining beans and sauce. Try to get the sauce evenly distributed.
- Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Note: tent the casserole loosely with foil about halfway through if it browns too much. Top with the fried shallots and serve immediately.