The quintessential American side dish for family gatherings, holidays, church socials, potlucks…the recipe clipping that virtually ever American woman has had lying somewhere at some point throughout the past gazillion decades. Only this one is different.
This one’s the best. Ever.
And it’s made from scratch.
If up until now you’ve just been kind of “meh” towards green bean casserole, prepare to experience a major paradigm shift in attitude. This isn’t your Aunt Betsy’s green bean casserole.
A developed this recipe a couple of weeks ago when I had about two pounds of fresh organic green beans that I needed to use up. I posted about it on my Daring Gourmet Facebook Page and on my readers asked me about a recipe for a green bean casserole. So I made two dishes using up those green beans: Southern-style Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Bacon and this green bean casserole. The bacon complemented the green beans so beautifully in the first dish, so why stop there, I thought?
Everything tastes better with bacon, right?
Yes, let’s just combine them all. Ultimate Green Bean Casserole. The outcome was so fabulous that I made it again two days later for Thanksgiving. And the proof in the pudding, so to speak, was when my brother tasted it. My brother has hated green beans since he was old enough to say the word. He has never relented to eating them. Ever. No exceptions. But he ate this. He ate this! Seriously, I don’t think you understand how monumental that is. He ate it…and he liked it!
Yes. Ultimate Green Bean Casserole. The best.
This recipe take a little longer than the 2 minutes and 38 seconds required to open a can of condensed mushroom soup, mix it with water, toss it with green beans, dump the mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle with French fried onions, and put it in the oven to bake (ie, the classic recipe first introduced by Campbell’s in 1955). But this Ultimate Green Bean Casserole is still quick to make and to say that there is no comparison between the two is an understatement. This isn’t called “ultimate” for no reason. You’re going to love this version and it’s destined to become your new go-to recipe for green bean casserole.
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Let’s get started!
Chop up the bacon, onions and garlic. Note: Bacon is WAY easier to dice while it’s still frozen.
Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent.
While the onions are cooking, chop the mushrooms.
Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Transfer the bacon/mushroom mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter in the same skillet, add the flour, and whisk until combined. Continue whisking for another minute until the mixture has slightly deepened in color.
Whisk in the half-and-half and chicken stock and continue to whisk, letting the mixture simmer, until it has slightly thickened.
Whisk in the white cheddar cheese until combined.
Add the bacon/mushroom mixture and stir to combine.
Add the salt and pepper.
Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the blanched green beans (see recipe box for instructions on blanching).
Stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
Since this is a made-from-scratch version, don’t go using nasty hydrogenated oil-packed French fried onions. There are several good options out there. I had two in my pantry to choose from. I went with Lars’ Crispy Onions this time.
You can conveniently purchase Lars’ crispy onions on Amazon and the best deal is buying them in bulk. They currently have a 3-pack and a 12-pack (a much better deal if you think you’re going to use them a lot, and they keep for a while.)
Sprinkle all of the French fried onions evenly over the casserole.
Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.
The BEST green bean casserole. EVER.
- 3 slices thick-cut bacon diced
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 12 ounces fresh button or cremini mushrooms chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound fresh green beans trimmed, halved, and blanched (boil 5 minutes, place beans in ice water for a couple of minutes, drain)
- 1 can French fried onions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Melt the butter in the same skillet and whisk in the flour. Once combined, continue whisking for another 2 minutes until the mixture has slightly deepened in color. Add the half-and-half and chicken broth while constantly whisking to prevent lumps. Once slightly thickened, add the cheese and whisk until melted and combined.
Next add the mushroom/bacon mixture along with the salt and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the green beans. Stir to combine.
Pour the bean mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish and sprinkle the French fried onions all over the top. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Preparing in Advance: Everything can be done in advance except for adding the crispy onions, otherwise they'll get soggy. Add those just before baking. Also, let the casserole sit for at least 30 minutes after removing it from the fridge before baking.