This easy Green Bean Casserole without cream of mushroom soup has a homemade sauce that coats the green beans in a rich, savory flavor. With crispy bacon, tender beans, and crunchy fried onions baked until perfectly creamy, this recipe makes a delicious Thanksgiving side dish the whole family will love.
- Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Key Ingredients
- How to Make Green Bean Casserole without Mushrooms
- Why is my Green Bean Casserole watery?
- Can You Make this Green Bean Casserole Ahead of Time?
- Recipe Variations
- What to Serve with Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- Storage and Reheating Instructions
- Recipe FAQs
- Recommended Recipes
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Perfectly Creamy - With a homemade cream sauce instead of the watery canned soup version, this green bean casserole achieves the ideal velvety texture.
- No Mushrooms - If you don't like mushrooms then this is the recipe for you! (Though if you love mushrooms, check the recipe notes for how you can add them.)
- Nostalgic - Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without the flavors of a classic green bean casserole, and this easy, from-scratch version captures that nostalgia.
- Bacon - Crispy cooked bacon adds a delicious smoky flavor and savory crunch to every bite. Can it get any better?
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
Green Beans - If you are using fresh green beans, select brightly colored beans without many black spots. Wash and trim the beans before cooking.
Bacon - Save the center-cut bacon for another recipe! Since the sauce is made using the bacon grease you want to use a fattier cut of bacon.
Chicken Broth - Chicken broth adds a savory flavor. I prefer reduced-sodium so that the sauce isn't too salty. Vegetable broth can be substituted but it will change the flavor of the dish.
Heavy Cream - The fat content of heavy cream helps to create a rich and velvety sauce. Half and half can be substituted but the sauce won't be as thick.
Parmesan Cheese - Parmesan adds a salty, savory flavor. I highly recommend using freshly grated cheese from a wedge. If you do not have it then you can leave the cheese out. I do not recommend substituting canned Parmesan.
Fried Onions - Get French's brand of French fried onions to match the classic taste.
Can You Use Fresh Green Beans Instead of Frozen?
This recipe works with fresh, frozen, or canned green beans so use the kind that you like best!
Fresh - If using fresh green beans, start by washing and trimming them. I like to cut them into 2-inch pieces so that you don't need a knife to eat the casserole.
Boil the beans for 7-8 minutes, until they are crisp-tender (they will finish cooking in the oven). Then drain the pot and place the beans in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain well before placing them in the baking dish.
Frozen - Frozen cut green beans are great because they are picked at their peak in freshness so you don't have to worry about the quality of out-of-season beans. If you use frozen green beans it's best to thaw them so they cook properly, and also to ensure they don't make the soup runny.
Canned - If you like the texture of a traditional green bean casserole then stick with canned beans! Just drain them well before using them.
How to Make Green Bean Casserole without Mushrooms
1) Cook Bacon
- Cook the chopped bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Separate the bacon pieces while stirring.
- Once they are crisp and browned use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from the pan and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Reserve bacon grease to cook the roux.
2) Make Sauce
- Estimate how much bacon grease is left in the pan. If it is close to ¼ cup then keep going. Otherwise, add a little butter to bring it to ¼ cup.
- Cook the onions for 1 minute, then add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, while stirring constantly.
- Stir in the minced garlic.
- Then slowly whisk in chicken broth and cook the sauce until it is smooth and thickened.
- Stir in heavy cream and pepper.
- Taste the sauce. Depending on the sodium content of your chicken broth you may need to add a little salt.
3) Mix in Pan
- Add the green beans to a 9x13 casserole dish.
- Pour the creamy sauce mixture over the green beans.
- Sprinkle the cooked bacon over the top of the casserole.
- Use a large spoon to stir it all together until the beans are well coated.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the center of the casserole is hot and the sauce is bubbling.
4) Top with Cheese & Fried Onions
- Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the saucy beans.
- Then add the crispy fried onions on top.
- Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
Why is my Green Bean Casserole watery?
The primary reason your sauce would be watery is that it was not cooked long enough. Be sure to let it simmer for several minutes.
Another possible culprit is that there is not enough flour to properly thicken the sauce. If you realize this after adding the liquid then the best remedy is to use cornstarch to further thicken the sauce. To do this, remove ¼ cup of the sauce and mix it with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add the slurry back into the sauce and cook for an additional minute.
Be sure to drain your green beans well (including thawed beans) as any excess liquid will thin out the soup.
Can You Make this Green Bean Casserole Ahead of Time?
Yes, this green bean casserole recipe can be prepared a day or two in advance for convenient holiday cooking.
- Prepare the casserole up to the point of adding the crispy onions and parmesan topping.
- Store the finished green bean mixture in the refrigerator.
- .When ready to serve, bake at 350°F (180°C) for 25-30 minutes (5-10 minutes longer than normal, since the casserole is cold).
- Top with the cheese and onions, then continue baking for an additional 10 minutes.
Cheesy: For extra cheesy flavor, mix 1 ½ cups of shredded Cheddar cheese, or your favorite shredded cheese like Gruyère or Monterey Jack, into the sauce. Or stick with Parmesan by mixing ½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese into the sauce, in addition to the cheese sprinkled on top.
Vegetarian: It's easy to turn this into a vegetarian casserole! Simply omit the bacon, using olive oil or butter for sautéing the onions, and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
Mushrooms: For those who love mushrooms, add 1 cup of sliced cremini or white mushrooms when cooking the onion.
Breadcrumb Topping: For an alternative to the crispy onion topping, combine 1 cup panko breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle over the baked beans and cook an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Spicy: Add a little heat by sprinkling ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes over the beans before mixing in the baking dish.
What to Serve with Homemade Green Bean Casserole
This easy homemade green bean casserole with bacon makes the perfect addition to any holiday table.
For Sunday dinner it can be a side to chicken, pork chops, or meatloaf.
With its simple ingredients and crowd-pleasing taste, this is the best green bean casserole for just about any meal!
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Refrigerate: Cover any leftovers tightly with plastic wrap or transfer them to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reheating: When ready to reheat, remove desired portions and microwave on High in 1-minute intervals until it is hot throughout. Add more crispy fried onions just before serving.
Freezing: Freeze the baked casserole in individual portions for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
The unbaked casserole can be frozen for up to 3 months. Cover the entire pan with 2 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, or place the casserole mixture in a zip-top freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
Pro Tip: I recommend freezing the cheese and fried onions in a freezer bag separate from the casserole. Tape it to the casserole bag to keep the components together.
Overcooked green beans can make your casserole soggy. When cooking fresh green beans for this recipe they should still be slightly crisp after cooking on the stove, as they will cook further in the oven. Also, drain the green beans well before mixing them into the casserole.
If you like a more traditional casserole flavor then you can certainly use condensed soup instead of the scratch-made sauce. Mix two 10.75-ounce cans of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup with 1 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.
It is not necessary to cover the casserole during baking. You can cover it during the initial bake-time if desired. But once the onion topping is added leave the pan uncovered so that the onions stay crispy.
Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind-the-scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!
Green Bean Casserole Without Mushroom SoupRecipe by:
- 6 cups washed and trimmed green beans (or 3 15-ounce cans)
- 8 ounces bacon diced
- 1-2 tablespoons butter if needed
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion or 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups fried onions
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Fresh Green Beans: Cook in boiling water for 5-7 minutes, until fork tender. Drain well. Frozen Green Beans: Thaw the beans overnight in the refrigerator, then drain off any excess water. Canned Green Beans: Drain well.Add the beans to a 9x13 baking dish.6 cups washed and trimmed green beans
- Cook the bacon in a medium skillet, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes, or until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Do not discard the grease.8 ounces bacon
- The total amount of grease remaining in the skillet should be ¼ cup. If needed, add butter to increase the grease to that amount.1-2 tablespoons butter
- Cook the onions in the bacon grease over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until just starting to soften.¼ cup finely chopped onion
- Add the garlic, then stir in the flour and continue cooking, while stirring frequently, for an additional minute.3 cloves garlic, ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Slowly pour the chicken broth into the roux, whisking continuously. Bring to a boil, then cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.2 cups chicken broth
- Stir in the heavy cream and black pepper. Once it is completely mixed in, remove the pan from the heat. Taste the sauce and add ¼ teaspoon of salt, if needed.¾ cup heavy cream, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Pour the sauce over the beans, then sprinkle with the crispy bacon and toss until the beans are coated completely.
- Place the baking dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the center is warm and the sauce is bubbling.
- Then remove the pan from the oven and add the grated Parmesan and fried onions over the top of the dish.2 cups fried onions, ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- Bake for an additional 10 minutes.