Fresh Green Bean Casserole is the BEST tasting version of the classic Thanksgiving side dish. Fresh green beans are smothered with a homemade mushroom cream sauce (instead of the overly salted canned condensed soup), and topped with crispy fried onions.
You are going to fall in love with my fresh green bean casserole recipe! It is simple to make, without compromising amazing flavors. Even if you don’t typically like green bean casserole, you will need to give this one a try!
Don’t forget to round out your Thanksgiving menu with some of my other favorites such as Apple Stuffing, Brown Gravy, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes, and Honey Butter Rolls.
Green Bean Casserole with Fresh Green Beans
If you are wondering if green bean casserole is better with canned or fresh green beans, here’s my opinion: there’s only one way to make green bean casserole…and that is with fresh green beans.
I was always on the fence when it comes green bean casserole, until I made my green bean casserole with fresh green beans and homemade mushroom cream sauce. It seriously made all the difference.
This fresh green bean casserole recipe is a twist to the popular holiday dish and it is 100x much tastier. Not exaggerating at all!
Here is why you need my fresh green bean casserole recipe:
- no more mushy green beans! Fresh green beans are soft but not mushy. They have the perfect balance of softness and springiness in its texture.
- not overly salty. Instead of canned condensed mushroom soup that has a ridiculously high salt content and flavored primarily with just salt, we are making our own cream of mushrooms, which may sound like a lot of work but in reality takes about 10 minutes to make and NOT hard to at all!
- healthier. By using homemade cream of mushroom and fresh green beans, this dish has way less sodium compared to the classic version.
- cutting down on processed ingredients. We are making most of the ingredients from scratch! No more canned soup, no more canned green beans.
- only 30 minutes of active time. Fresh green bean casserole might be flavorful and delicious, but it doesn’t take long to prepare either. It’s totally worth it I promise you!
- Incredible flavors and textures. Sometimes green bean casserole and taste like a mouthful of mushiness, but not out fresh green bean casserole! Fresh green beans and homemade mushroom sauce make all the difference.
Here is the short list of ingredients you will need to make fresh green bean casserole:
- fresh green beans – well duh! Green beans can be trimmed or untrimmed, although I find that trimmed green beans are more pleasant to eat.
- salt – this will be used for 1) blanching green beans, and 2) opening up flavors in the mushroom cream sauce
- garlic – use fresh for best tasting sauce. Highly recommend avoiding substituting with garlic powder
- mushrooms – I like to use white or button mushrooms but any mushrooms work. You’ll want to dice them into small pieces. Kinda like the small chunks you get in cream of mushrooms.
- all-purpose flour – this is used to thicken the cream of mushroom.
- half and half – this brings a rich and creamy texture and flavor to the cream sauce for our fresh green bean casserole.
- chicken broth – this helps dilute the sauce and bring an additional dimension of flavor.
- black pepper – another seasoning used to open up the flavors in the mushroom cream sauce.
- fried onions – for ease we are using store-bought fried onions. This is one ingredient that I don’t think is worth making from scratch because deep frying is no fun and the store-bought ones taste pretty good to me. You can even buy better quality fried onions these days at specialty grocery stores if you don’t like the generic ones as much. If you want to make your own, here is a recipe.
How to make fresh green bean casserole
Next, let’s walk through step-by-step on how we make our green bean casserole using fresh green beans!
Prepare green beans: The first thing we need to wash and trim the ends from the green beans (like what we’ve done below), or buy already washed and plucked green beans! You can choose not to remove the ends if you prefer.
Next, blanch the green beans, which means cooking it briefly in boiling water so that it softens, but doesn’t turn mushy.
Blanch green beans in hot boiling water for 4-5 minutes. If you like green beans less soft, blanch for 4 minutes, and if you like green beans a little softer, blanch for 5 minutes.
Cook mushroom cream sauce: First melt butter in a pot, then saute minced garlic and mushroom pieces (cubed into small pieces). Add flour, then stir to combine. Add half and half and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and stir continuously to get rid of all the lumps from the flour.
Add salt and black pepper and then remove from heat once sauce reaches desired consistency. It should be slightly thicker.
Assemble casserole: Grease the bottom of a large 9″ x 13″ rectangular baking dish, then add green beans. Pour mushroom cream sauce all over green beans, and top with fried onions.
Bake: Bake fresh green bean casserole in the oven at 375℉ for 15 minutes. Since all the items are technically already cooked, we are letting each layer sit and combine together, and also browning the tops of crispy onions.
Cool: When fresh green bean casserole is done cooking, let it still for a few minutes to cool and set before digging into it.
Green bean casserole made with fresh green beans is seriously life-changing and takes green bean casserole to a whole new level.
The green beans are soft yet not mushy, coated in flavorful and creamy mushroom cream sauce, paired with those crunchy and tasty fried onions.
I want to give you the yummiest basic green bean casserole recipe, but if you are feeling fancy and want to jazz it up, try adding some of these ingredients:
- cheese – this will make your casserole cheesier and richer. Shredded cheddar cheese can be added as an extra layer after pouring mushroom cream sauce onto green beans.
- cooked bacon or bacon bits – bacon brings so much additional flavor and can be added as a layer before adding crispy onions or be tossed into the mushroom cream sauce.
Make Ahead and Reheating Instructions
Fresh green bean casserole is a great dish to make ahead for Thanksgiving dinner because you can get a lot of the hard work done before the busy few hours leading up to dinner time, and it heats well.
The best way to make ahead is to bring blanched green beans and mushroom cream sauce onto a casserole dish ahead of time, but only top with fried onions when ready to bake. If green bean casserole was stored in the refrigerator ahead of time, you’ll want to bake fresh green bean casserole at 375℉ covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for another 15 minutes to make sure it is heated through.
If green bean casserole is already topped with fried onions, I would bake it within two hours. Fried onions will turn soggy if it sits on the mushroom cream sauce for too long.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make green bean casserole in a crockpot by bringing blanched green beans and mushroom cream sauce into crockpot and cooking on low for 2-3 hours. Top with fried onions when done and send the pot into the oven to crispy up the tops of the onions at 350℉ for 10 minutes. Make sure the pot/container is oven safe.
Green bean casserole always taste best with fresh ingredients and therefore fresh green beans make a superior green bean casserole. Fresh green beans are not overly salted and also have a firm texture so it is not mushy.
I wouldn’t freeze it because freezing will change the texture of the fresh green beans and fried onions. They will be much mushier and less tasty. You can refrigerate green bean casserole for up to 5 days and reheat in the oven.
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More Casserole Sides
- Baked Potato Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
- Cheesy Bacon Potato Casserole
- Cheesy Garlic Scalloped Potatoes
- Broccoli au Gratin
Fresh Green Bean Casserole
- 1.5 lbs fresh green beans
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- 4 oz mushroom diced into small pieces
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1-2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 6 oz fried onions
- Pre-heat oven to 375℉
- Wash and trim fresh green beans.
- Fill a medium pot with water. add 1 tbsp of salt to water. Bring water to boil on stovetop. Add fresh green beans. Blanch green beans in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. If you like your green beans softer, boil it for closer to 6 minutes. When done, remove from heat drain water promptly.
- In another medium pot, melt butter under medium heat. Add minced garlic and diced mushrooms. Saute for a few minute until mushrooms softens. Add all purpose flour, stir to combine.
- Add half and half and chicken broth, and bring to boil. Stir continuously to remove lumps. Cook for 2-3 minutes under medium low heat until sauce reaches desired consistency. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Grease a 9'x13' rectangular casserole dish. Spread green beans out onto casserole dish then drizzle all over with mushroom cream sauce.
- Bake fresh green bean casserole in oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove and let it cool for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!