This delicious green bean casserole is made with fresh green beans, creamy mushroom soup, and the beloved French fried onions. It's the irresistible version of a Thanksgiving holiday classic!
Why you'll love fresh green bean casserole
Green bean casserole is the hugely popular Thanksgiving side dish that's often earmarked for disappointment. But, trust me when I say, this fresh green bean casserole recipe solves that problem well beyond the fate of a tolerated side dish.
How? I'm giving you my very test-driven, very trusted, family recipe that creates perfectly cooked, tender-crisp green beans coated in creamy, velvety homemade cream of mushroom soup, all baked under a crispy French onion topping.
This means your fresh green bean casserole will be flavorful, texture-loaded, and memorable – and most definitely not the soupy side everyone loves to hate.
Holiday kitchen rookies will also love this easy recipe with same-day and make-ahead instructions. I've included both in the recipe card below.
Lastly, this fresh green bean casserole is naturally vegetarian so it's perfect for family dinner or Friendsgiving! Veg or not, this side dish always holds its own next to juicy Thanksgiving turkey with gravy, cranberry orange sauce, and savory smashed potatoes. Oh, and it makes such delicious leftovers, you will change minds about GBC for good!
fresh green beans – Use French style or regular green beans for this recipe. Both are tender-crisp and full of flavor. See my 'recipe tips' section below if using frozen or canned variety.
sea salt – I recommend salting the boiling water for green beans instead of adding later in the process to prevent salt pockets.
cream of mushroom soup – Trust me, you want to use homemade cream of mushroom soup with fresh green bean casserole. You can make it ahead or the same day. Canned soup will work too, but doesn't hold a candle to homemade.
French's crispy fried onions – These beauties are one of the few exceptions I'll make for homemade GBC because they're so convenient and delicious.
How to make green bean casserole with fresh green beans
Once you have your mushroom soup in hand, be it homemade (or the other stuff), you're ready to blanch beans and bake this casserole in your oven or air fryer oven. Enjoy these step-by-step photo instructions for reference and grab the printable recipe below.
Cook green beans in salted boiling water for 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Transfer beans to a colander to drain, then plunge in cold water to shock the beans which helps maintain their tender-crisp texture. Drain thoroughly.
Preheat oven or air fryer oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine cooked green beans with 3 cups of the mushroom soup and place in prepared baking dish. Spread the remaining soup over the surface and scatter a layer of French fried onions.
If using frozen OR canned green beans, do not blanch or cook either before assembly. For frozen beans, thaw first and remove excess water with a paper towel. For canned beans, drain and rinse before using.
Cut some (or all) fresh green beans into bite-sized pieces for texture variation and easier handling when serving and eating.
Don't overcook the green beans during the boiling step. You want the texture to be tender-crisp because they'll soften more while baking in the oven.
If you need to adjust mushroom soup consistency to make it thinner, stir in small splashes of milk or broth at room temperature or warmed. Be careful to not make it too thin.
Use French green beans or regular green beans for this recipe.
This green bean casserole is made with mushroom soup. To make it without, simply substitute 1 medium diced onion for mushrooms in the soup recipe. Or use any variety condensed creamed soup, thinned with a splash of milk or broth.
Substitute French's crispy fried onions with panko bread crumbs tossed in a little olive oil. A layer of crumbled potato chips is a popular topping too!
Add bacon – Before baking the casserole, you can either stir crumbled bacon into the saucy mixture, or sprinkle it over the top, or both! When serving, I recommend garnishing with more crispy bacon because YUM!
Make it cheesy - Before baking, stir ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese into the casserole. Then sprinkle another ¼ to ½ cup cheese over the green bean casserole followed by French fried onions.
Make ahead instructions
To make components up to 3 days ahead:
- Complete recipe steps 1 through 4 for the green beans and make mushroom soup.
- Cool these components completely and refrigerate separately in airtight containers. Portion the fried onions into another container and store at room temperature.
- When ready to bake, resume step #5 of the recipe card below.
To assemble up to 1 day ahead:
- Complete recipe steps 1 through 7.
- Then cover and refrigerate the casserole without the fried onion topping.
- Prepare for baking by resting the chilled casserole at room temperature for 30 minutes as a safety precaution to prevent thermal shock.
- Resume step #8 on the recipe card below.
I invite you to post questions or feedback below. Tag me on Instagram with your own casserole creations. xo Traci
Fresh Green Bean Casserole
- 8 cups Water
- 1 teaspoon Salt, for boiling green beans
- 2 pounds Fresh Green Beans, rinsed, trimmed, and cut
- 4 cups Cream of Mushroom Soup, reserve 1 cup
- Milk or Broth, only if needed to thin the soup
- 2 cups French's Crispy Onions
- Combine WATER and SALT in a large soup pot and bring to a rolling boil.
- Prepare a large bowl of cold tap water or ice water.
- Cook GREEN BEANS in the boiling water for 5 minutes, or until they are tender-crisp.
- Transfer beans to a colander to drain, then into the cold water bowl until completely cooled. Drain thoroughly.
- Preheat oven or air fryer oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray baking dish with cooking spray.
- Combine cooked green beans with 3 cups MUSHROOM SOUP until beans are coated.
- Pour green bean casserole mixture into baking dish and spread the remaining 1 cup mushroom soup over the surface.
- Scatter FRENCH FRIED ONIONS over the surface.
- Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes until the topping is golden brown and mushroom sauce is bubbling. (Bake 20-30 minutes for air fryer oven)
- Rest casserole for 5 minutes on trivet. Serve warm.
Traci's Recipe Notes
3 days ahead – Blanch green beans and make mushroom soup. Allow both to cool completely and refrigerate separately in airtight containers. When ready to bake, resume step #5 of the recipe card above. 1 day ahead – Assemble, cover, and refrigerate fresh green bean casserole (without fried onions). Rest casserole at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking to prevent thermal shock and resume step #8 on the recipe card above.
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.