This Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions is easy to make from scratch without needing canned soup. Creamy, comforting, and crispy, it’s the best side dish for the holiday season!Jump to Recipe
Easy green bean side dish for the holidays
For me, it’s this Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions. Every bite is warm, creamy, and with just the right amount of crunch. Plus, it’s a delicious way to sneak vegetables into a rich holiday meal.
Fresh green beans are partially cooked, then tossed in a casserole dish with a creamy sauce seasoned with garlic, nutmeg, and Dijon. No cream of mushroom soup included! After the creamy green bean casserole is baked, French’s crispy fried onions are added on top, then baked once more until the onions are crisp and the sauce is bubbling.
Make this side dish a part of the holidays or enjoy it year-round! The best part is it’s easy to make ahead of time, helping you save time and indulge in this rich dish whenever a craving hits.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Green beans – Fresh green beans are the star of the show here. When shopping, look for green beans that are bright green and have very few brown spots or blemishes. Once you get them home, store the unwashed beans in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. This is the best way to keep the beans fresh for longer according to CookingLight.com.
- Unsalted butter – Butter provides fat and flavor to the cream sauce.
- Flour – All purpose flour is used as a thickening agent in the sauce. You can use an all purpose gluten free flour if you’re gluten free.
- Garlic powder – If you love savory, garlicky flavors, substitute 2 minced garlic cloves for the garlic powder.
- Kosher salt
- Nutmeg – For just a touch of warmth in the sauce.
- Dijon mustard – Or use yellow mustard if that’s all you have at home.
- Vegetable stock – Chicken stock or mushroom broth can also be used.
- Half and half – Whole milk should work well as a substitute.
- Fried onions – We’ve all seen a green bean casserole with French’s crispy onions on top, right? It’s a classic topping that gives this dish its crunch and savory flavor. Feel free to pick these up from the store or use this homemade fried onions recipe from Served From Scratch to make them yourself.
How to make green bean casserole with crispy onions
Place a large pot of salted water on the stove over high heat. While you wait for it to boil, fill a bowl with cold water and ice and set it aside.
Add the green beans to the pot of boiling water and cook until they’re almost tender. Drain, then immediately transfer them to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Drain the ice water and pat the green beans dry. Transfer them to a baking dish and set aside while you make the cream sauce.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then whisk in the flour, garlic powder, salt, nutmeg, and Dijon.
Slowly whisk in the broth until you have a smooth sauce. Next, whisk in the half and half. Bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer until it thickens.
Pour the warm sauce over the green beans in the dish. Toss to coat, then place it in the oven to bake.
Once the sauce is bubbling, take the casserole out of the oven and give it a good stir. Top with crispy fried onions, then bake until the onions are golden brown.
Serve the green bean casserole hot with your other favorite holiday side dishes and mains. Enjoy!
Customize the casserole
Play with the flavors, customize the add-ins, or make it suitable for a crowd! There are endless ways of customizing your green bean casserole from scratch:
- Cream sauce add-ins: Fresh thyme or rosemary, sauteed mushrooms, a pinch of cinnamon, a splash of white wine, onion powder, or parmesan cheese.
- Add more to the green beans and sauce: Stir fried bacon pieces, diced ham, or pancetta in with the assembled casserole.
- Dairy free: You can make a vegan green bean casserole by using vegan butter or olive oil and dairy free milk (like soy milk) instead of half and half.
- Topping suggestions: Finish the casserole with diced green onions or chives, fresh parsley, or cracked pepper on top.
- Instead of fried onions: Top the casserole with panko bread crumbs seasoned with melted butter, parmesan cheese, and dried parsley.
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely. Frozen green beans are already cooked, which means they’ll only need to be warmed in a pot of boiling water for about 3 minutes.
Yes, you can use canned green beans to make the casserole. Just like the frozen beans, they’re already cooked but don’t need to be boiled. Drain and rinse the canned beans before adding them to the baking dish with the sauce.
The secret is to cook the beans until they’re almost tender. They should still have a crunchy, slightly firm bite after boiling for about 5 minutes. Overcooking the green beans will lead to a mushy casserole.
The sauce should be thick and silky smooth, not loose and runny. If this happens, then it’s likely caused by too much half and half in the sauce or not enough flour being added.
This green bean casserole recipe serves up to 6 people, making it perfect for a small crowd. If you need extras, make a double or triple batch in up to 3 casserole dishes.
Yes! Prepare the casserole until the cooked green beans and cream sauce are either assembled in the baking dish or baked together. Leave the crispy onions off until serving.
Cover the assembled and cooled casserole and store it in the fridge for 1 or 2 days. When it’s time to eat, sprinkle the fried onions on top and bake as instructed.
Storing and freezing
Store: Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. The onions will lose their crunch over time, but you can always add more on top upon reheating.
Freeze: To freeze, assemble the casserole as normal (without the onions), then cover it with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. You can bake it from frozen but will need to add an extra 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time.
Reheating: Either reheat the leftovers in the microwave or in a 350ºF oven until warmed through.
Looking for more holiday side dishes?
- Easy and Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Swedish Meatballs
- Salt Roasted Potatoes
- Miso Butter Glazed Carrots
- Garlic French Green Beans
If you try this Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
- Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until nearly tender, about 2 minutes for fresh or 1 minute for frozen. Drain green beans and transfer them to the ice bath for 2 minutes. Drain green beans again, pat them dry and add them to a baking dish.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, garlic powder, salt, nutmeg and dijon, and cook for about 2 minutes, whisking occasionally.
- Slowly whisk in the stock until smooth. Slowly whisk in the half and half until combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the green beans and toss until fully coated.
- Bake on the center rack until the sauce starts to bubble, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss the green beans and sprinkle with fried onions. Continue to bake on the center rack until golden brown, about 5 more minutes.