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In so many homes the classic green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup is a tradition to serve for both Thanksgiving & Christmas. Creamy crunchy and full of green bean flavor. So simple to mix together it can be prepared the day ahead.

However, this quick & easy casserole is perfect for any family gathering as it is loved by young & old alike. Make this recipe the night before and keep it refrigerated to be baked on the day of your dinner.

Another family tradition in our home is a relatively new classic casserole: .


Buonpane Family Holiday Memories

Memories of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the strongest memories that I have of my childhood. One of my strongest memories at the dinner table for Thanksgiving is all the wonderful side dishes.

My beloved Aunt Lois made a fabulous Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows. My mom made fluffy mashed potatoes and always the traditional green bean casserole recipe. I don’t think I remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas when either my Mother or Aunt did not make this traditional dish.

I have discovered over the years that this is one of the recipes you can make the day before, put aluminum foil on the top, and put it in the refrigerator ready to go on Thanksgiving Day. It is also an easy recipe to put together right after you put the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven as it is a dump, stir, and go recipe.

Most Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner was at Aunt Lois’s house, my mother’s sister. My maternal grandmother lived with Aunt Lois so it was a natural choice for all of us to travel to where my Grandmother lived.

Most of my Grandmother’s antiques and serving dishes and along with family nicknacks and pictures were there for all of us kids to admire and learn all the stories that go with family memorability. This is where I learned so many of our family recipes and my love of cooking for family and friends.

Aunt Lois always told me that if you have a pot of coffee and a box of cake mix you can make a party and entertain. While we love to try new dishes and have everything fancy, hospitality and entertainment are about people not how much money you spend on the food. Such great advice she gave me as a young wife, that you do not have to have a lot, to have a lot of family and friends over to your home.

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I think for most of our family members the crunchy French Fried Onion topping is what everybody loves. Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn’t be right without this traditional side dish. It has been a tradition to make this recipe with Cambell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and French’s French Fried Onions. You can not have too many French Fried Onions in this recipe. No matter what else you add to this dish the fried onions make the side dish.

History of Green Bean Casserole using Cream of Mushroom Soup

Campbell’s tell is that this recipe was developed by Campbells in the 1950s for a newspaper article by Dorcas Reilly. Dorcas Reilly who is credited with this recipe submitted an original yellowed recipe card to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron Ohio in 2002. We all have a great debt of appreciation to Ms. Reilly for a tradition that will live on for years.

No matter where the recipe was created families have been serving up this side dish for years and will for years to come.


Ingredients for Traditional Green Bean Casserole

  • Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
  • Milk 1% or 2%
  • Soy Sauce
  • Dash of Pepper
  • Frozen Green Beans
  • French’s French Fried Onions

How to Make Green Bean Casserole with French Fried Onions

I would recommend making this with frozen green beans as they are freshly picked by the manufacturer before freezing. You can be put it in the refrigerator to thaw the night before.

If I am making this dish for Thanksgiving, on the day before Thanksgiving, I mix all the ingredients together and put it in a casserole. (leave off the topping until you are ready to bake) This way I have the side dish prepared early in the morning to be put in the oven an hour and a half before Thanksgiving dinner needs to be done.


This classic side dish is super easy and we make it year round. So yummy with any chicken dish perfect to take along for a summer picnic or backyard barbecue. For any events, you also can make it the day before and pop it in the oven an hour and a half before you leave. When I make the recipe the day before I do not put the crispy fried onions on top until I am ready to cook.


The basic time for cooking is about 25 minutes, however, if you have a lot of dishes in the oven and the casserole is cold from the refrigerator I put it in for one hour. Watch that the topping does not get too brown.

Start by defrosting the green beans, they can be put in the refrigerator the day before or defrosted in the microwave. I microwave them just enough to make sure they are not frozen. I have tried to mix the casserole when the green beans are too cold and it starts to freeze the cream of mushroom soup. The green beans are very hard to mix and look like a mess, so make sure they are not frozen when you begin to mix.

Remember this is just 5 ingredients. The holidays are the perfect time to get the younger generation interested in cooking the family traditions. So get the kids in the kitchen and use this recipe as a good starter for your little ones who want to cook with you.


In a large bowl mix the cream of mushroom soup, soy sauce, milk, and pepper to make a creamy sauce. Add the defrosted green beans and stir.

Now is the time when you can change up the recipe as your family likes by adding in the French fried onion. Add a little or a lot (our family likes a lot).

Spray your baking dish and add the green bean mixture. Top with as many french-fried onions. The traditional recipe has you only topping with the one-third cup on top, but as you can see we cover the casserole with the crunchy goodness. Pop in a preheated onion and bake.

Can I Freeze Green Bean Casserole?

You definitely can freeze green bean casserole after your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I like to make a big batch if not two whole casseroles. That was I have a lot of leftover green bean casserole.

You will first want to put the leftover green bean casserole in an airtight container. If you are going to use the casserole dish you baked in you can cover it tightly with plastic wrap. But I have found that the best way is to transfer to a smaller airtight container. I prefer a glass container that can be reheated in the microwave.

You can freeze green bean casserole for up to 2 to 3 months in the freezer. However, in our family, it would never last that long. As if you are having leftover frozen turkey or ham you have to grab the leftover green bean casserole.

The next day when microwaving small portions of leftovers I like to use my reheat setting on the microwave. Check your oven’s complete guide for the best setting.

Can Your Microwave Green Bean Casserole

The traditional recipe for green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom soup calls for it to be baked the in oven. When it is baked in the oven you get the delicious crispy fried onions on the top. Baking in the oven is the better option.

The good news is that if you are in a pinch for time you can use the convenient way of a microwave. If you can make your recipe in a microwave-safe dish you most definitely microwave green bean casserole.

Prepare the casserole as you would for baking. Combine the green beans, creamy mushroom sauce, and all the other delicious ingredients in a microwave-safe casserole bowl and transfer to a microwave-safe casserole dish.

Start by microwaving the casserole for 8 to 10 minutes without the French’s french fried onions. At the end of 8 minutes check for the proper temperature by using n instant-read thermometer to at least 160 degrees. Add more time if needed.

At this point add the crispy onion topping or cheese and add one or two more minutes.

Keep in mind that if you choose the microwave over the oven the texture of the recipe while still having that creamy sauce, may not have the most crunchy topping.

How long Does Green Bean Casserole Last in the Fridge?

As with most baked foods and side dishes, I recommend only leaving the green bean casserole in the fridge for no more than 3 days. After 3 days follow the directions for freezing leftovers above.

How to Reheat Green Bean Casserole From Frozen

If you are going to bake the leftover casserole have a preheated ovento 350°F (175°C). Remove any plastic lid or plastic wrapping. Make sure you have an oven safe dish. At this point, it may take an hour to 1.5 hours depending on how big of a casserole you are reheating.

If reheating in the microwave, again remove any plastic wrapping or covering and make sure the casserole is in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on medium to medium high power for about 5 minutes. If using a reheating setting follow the directions for your microwave. Test for doneness and you may want to stir to make sure the casserole is heated through.

Christmas & Thanksgiving Traditions

Jim and I both love the Christmas season, the sounds, the smells, and the decorations. In our family, Christmas preparation starts the week of Thanksgiving. We also tend to overdo it with the decorations and the presents. But that is the way we like it. It just would not be Christmas if we did not have that wow factor.

We love to share old Christmas movies with our children and discover new movies. Each year as the kids were young the Church Christmas Pageant was the main event. Joey and Katie’s always enjoyed participating and Christene enjoyed the crafting fun, the Youth Director would have each year.

In our early married life, we would have Christmas morning in our home with the children, and my dad, Jim Kirchner, would stop at about 9:00 am to enjoy the opening of presents. We all then would go to my husband’s parents for dinner and more presents as my dad wasalways invited.

As our parents got older my dad would come to our house for a noon meal and present and then go home for a rest. Then Jim, the kids, and I would stop in on Grace and Guerin, at Jim’s family home he grew up in, for presents and conversation.

Now as our family has expanded to Christene’s in-laws, we have a big three-day event here at our home and it is more lively and exciting than ever before. No matter how our family changes and grows, I love Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions.




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  • Author: Adapted from Campbell’s soup recipe
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
Print Recipe


Classic green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions.


Units Scale

  • 2 Cans Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 Tsp Soy Sauce
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 2 Bags of frozen Green Beans 16 oz bags thawed (about 8 cups)
  • 1 large container 6 oz of French’s French Fried Onions. (2 1/23 cups)
  • dash of pepper


  1. Mix together the soup, milk, and soy sauce & pepper. Mix this into the Green beans. Add about 1 cup of the French Fried Onion to this mixture, and make sure to leave a lot for the top.
  2. Put the mixture in a large casserole dish and top with the remaining Onions.
  3. Heat the oven to 350° and bake for 45 min if warm or 90 min if you make ahead and it is cold from the refrigerator.


  1. Update for 2021: This recipe tastes the best if made the night before and refrigerated. Make the recipe as above but leave the topping off until ready to cook on Thanksgiving day.
  2. The recipe is for a 13×9 large casserole dish. Cut the recipe in half for the smaller dish.


  • Serving Size: 8





Why is green bean casserole traditional at Thanksgiving? ›

It was originally marketed as an everyday side dish but became popular for Thanksgiving dinners in the 1960s after Campbell's placed the recipe on the can's label. The recipe popularized the combination of the soup with green beans.

How many green bean casseroles are thought to be made every Thanksgiving? ›

Green Bean Casseroles are served at 20 million Thanksgiving dinners every year.

Do people eat green bean casserole on Christmas? ›

It's the one dish guaranteed to be on most tables every Thanksgiving and Christmas: the infamous Green Bean Casserole.

Are the ingredients for green bean casserole? ›

A green bean casserole makes the Thanksgiving holiday complete, and this version can be on the table in no time at all thanks to just four ingredients from your pantry or fridge: canned green beans, condensed mushroom soup, French-fried onions, and shredded Cheddar cheese.

Which is better in green bean casserole canned or frozen? ›

When I make green bean casserole, I skip canned beans all together. Frozen green beans are the best green beans to use for green bean casserole.

Why is my green bean casserole so soupy? ›

Green bean casserole should have a nice thick sauce that coats the green beans—it should not resemble soup. One common cause of a watery casserole is not adding enough thickener, such as flour or cornstarch, to your sauce.

What is a fun fact about green bean casserole? ›

5. The original recipe is in a museum. Dorcas Reilly's original recipe for "Green Bean Bake," written on a recipe card, now belongs to National Inventor's Hall of Fame in Akron, OH—the same building where Thomas Edison's light bulb is on display.

How many days can you eat green bean casserole? ›

Green Bean Casserole Leftovers

Your creamy green bean casserole will last about four days in the fridge. The crunchy topping will get softer as time goes by; pop it into the oven to reheat to crisp it up a bit. While casseroles have a reputation for being freezer-friendly, green bean casseroles don't freeze so well.

Why do Americans eat green bean casserole? ›

How It Became a Holiday Staple. Green bean casserole was considered a perfect dish for holiday entertaining because it was simple, inexpensive, and could easily be made ahead of time. It became known as a "jiffy casserole" because it went from one bowl to one pan.

What are 3 traditional Christmas foods? ›

Every family in every part of the world serves their own traditional Christmas foods, but in the U.S., some are enjoyed nationwide:
  • Turkey.
  • Prime Rib.
  • Baked Ham.
  • Mashed Potatoes & Gravy.
  • Stuffing.
  • Green Bean Casserole.
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes.
  • Roasted Vegetables.
Dec 21, 2023

Is it safe to eat green bean casserole left out overnight? ›

According to the USDA, food that has been left out of the fridge for more than two hours should be thrown away. That's because between 40° F and 140° F (what the USDA calls the "Danger Zone"), bacteria grows incredibly fast and can make you sick.

Why is my green bean casserole bland? ›

The Casserole Is Bland

Another one of the most common green bean casserole mistakes is to choose a recipe that's a bit too simple, which can result in a bland dish.

Should green bean casserole be soupy before cooking? ›

Green Bean Casserole from Scratch FAQs

Cover and freeze until you are ready to bake. You can bake start from frozen without adding the onions until the casserole has already baked for about 20 minutes. Should green bean casserole be soupy? No, your green bean casserole should not be soupy.

How to make green bean casserole thicker? ›

Add a thickener

While your green bean casserole is on the stove, incorporate a thickener into the vegetables, such as cornstarch or flour. According to The Kitchn, you can combine cornstarch and a small amount of water or broth in a cup and stir until the lumps are gone, and it becomes a thick yet drizzly consistency.

Where did green bean casserole originate from? ›

It began in 1955, with Dorcas Reilly. Born on July 22, 1922, in New Jersey, Dorcas earned a cooking four-year college degree at Drexel University in 1947. She worked at Campbell's a few years later as a cook and created many dishes, including the first green bean casserole, according to David Moye from “HuffPost.”

Are baked beans a traditional Thanksgiving food? ›

As authentic early American cuisine, baked beans have a place on any holiday table, whether or not they were served at the three-day event that eventually gave rise to our Thanksgiving.

Which dish was not eaten at the first Thanksgiving? ›

What Wasn't Served at the First Thanksgiving. It is also worth noting what was not present at the first Thanksgiving feast. There were no cloudlike heaps of mashed potatoes, since white potatoes had not yet crossed over from South America.

What vegetables were most likely served at the first Thanksgiving? ›

So, to the question “What did the Pilgrims eat for Thanksgiving,” the answer is both surprising and expected. Turkey (probably), venison, seafood, and all of the vegetables that they had planted and harvested that year—onions, carrots, beans, spinach, lettuce, and other greens.


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