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Cooking Tips

How to Make Green Bean Casserole Without a Can of Soup

A homemade creamy white sauce makes for a better green bean casserole. 
By Published Nov. 21, 2022

Tender green beans and mushrooms bound by a creamy sauce and topped with crispy, salty fried onions—there’s a lot to like about having a green bean casserole on your Thanksgiving table. And if a little runaway gravy happens to slide into range on your plate, well, that’s maybe more than OK too. 

But do you really need to make this iconic casserole with a can of cream of mushroom soup? No, you do not. 

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

Cook’s Country’s recipe for Extra-Crunchy Green Bean Casserole serves 6 to 8 diners and is easy to make. Best of all, no cans of soup are harmed in making it. Here are the components.

Green Bean Casserole Topping

We microwave ½ cup of panko bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter for about 2 minutes until the panko is browned, stirring every 30 seconds. Then we stir in 2½ cups of canned fried onions. The browned panko and fried onions combine for unbeatable flavor and crunch. And since you make them in advance, you don’t have to worry about the topping getting too dark in the oven. 

The Beans for Green Bean Casserole

Since our Extra-Crunchy Green Bean Casserole only bakes for about 25 minutes (at 400 degrees), it’s important to precook the beans themselves (which we trim and cut into 1-inch pieces). You could boil or steam them until just tender, but we find it easiest to microwave them with 1/2 cup of water for about 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through microwaving. You want beans that are still bright green and just tender.

Green Bean Casserole White Sauce—Not Canned Soup!

Canned soup has its place, but it can make for a gloppy green bean casserole. We prefer to make our own white sauce by softening a pound of sliced cremini mushrooms in melted butter (with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and fresh thyme). Next, we stir in ¼ cup of all-purpose flour and cook for 1 minute before whisking in 1½ cups each of chicken broth and heavy cream, plus ½ cup of dry white wine. In about 5 minutes (with occasional stirring), you have a thick, creamy white sauce that tastes fresh and delicious. 

Putting It All Together

All that’s left to do now is toss the sauce with the beans in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Then, pull the casserole from the oven and top it with the fried-onion mixture. The hardest part? Waiting 10 minutes for the green bean casserole to cool before digging in!