Southern Green Bean Casserole
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There are many dishes that exemplify Americana. That is, uniquely and truly American cuisine. From the classics like Mac and Cheese to the famous Cheeseburger, America has produced some phenomenal cuisine over the years, always packed full of big flavors. Perhaps lesser known on the world stage, but just as American is the amazing Southern Green Bean Casserole! A delicious side dish that is typically served at festive occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a staple dish that’s welcome at any American household

What is a Southern Green Bean Casserole?

Perhaps not too unique to Southern Cooking is the inclusion of heavier, richer ingredients like Butter, and Cream. These ingredients are definitely not too far from the skillet when a Southern Green Bean Casserole is on the menu!

A Green Bean Casserole typically consists of a creamy mushroom based sauce, that is flavored with all kinds of goodness from Shallots, Garlic, Mustard, and sometimes Cheese. The Sauce is reduced down to a lovely thick consistency which then coats (sometimes drenches) delicious Green Beans

The dish is then topped with a variety of different toppings, usually to add more sweetness or a crunchy texture to mix it all up. It’s a wonderful dish, and a fantastic side for a big protein. Whether you’re serving this delicious Bean dish alongside a big roast Turkey, or more southern classics like Fried Chicken or Pork Chops, it’s going to bring the flavor. Big time!

Green Bean Casserole with Pork Chop
Green Bean Casserole is great when paired alongside a perfectly cooked protein, such as this wonderful Pork Chop

How to make our Southern Green Bean Casserole

Every household has their own version of a Green Bean Casserole, and they all vary a little bit. Which is what makes this dish so great. There’s no ‘true’ way to make a Green Bean Casserole. We’re not talking about French cooking here where everything must be done the exact, precise way. This is American food! Throw what you want into the mix and see how it tastes!

For our Southern Green Bean Casserole, we are sticking generally to the traditional method. There are three main elements of this dish which we’ll break down for you in this recipe. Those are:

  1. The Creamy Sauce
  2. Green Beans
  3. Toppings

1. How to make that wonderful, Creamy sauce

Making the sauce is quite simple. It’s all about laying flavors and taking your time. The sauce will probably take about 25 minutes to make from start to finish so, not an entirely long time really, but you do need to be a little bit patient. Don’t load all the ingredients into the pan at once, instead, we build flavors by adding certain ingredients to the pan over time

Start by adding the sliced Shallots and Mushrooms with a little bit of Butter in the pan. Cooking the Mushrooms first is important, as they are loaded up with so much water. You want to fry them off in a dry pan to remove most of that water, as it will dilute the flavor of the sauce. It’s ok to keep a little bit, as it does have some flavor. Once the Mushrooms have almost completely evaporated we add the Garlic

I’ve always found adding Garlic too early into a dish will cause it to overcook. It may not ‘burn’ when doing this, but it does lose a lot of its flavor. You want to just cook the Garlic enough that it becomes aromatic, and then add the liquids

Green Bean Casserole with Creamy Sauce
This beautiful Creamy Sauce is made with Heavy Cream, Chicken Broth, and Dijon Mustard and tastes amazing on the Green Bean Casserole

The secret to a great Creamy Sauce is using homemade Chicken Broth

If you’ve read any of our recipes that require stock you know we’re all about homemade Broth. The flavor comparisons are just not even there when comparing it to the store-bought stuff. It’s also way healthier for you, so you’ve got no excuse but to use your own homemade Chicken Broth

The good news; we’ve got plenty of delicious Broth recipes here. We always encourage people to have a good stock of frozen broth in the freezer so it’s ready to go whenever you need it. For this recipe we use about 1 cup of Chicken Broth. Add it to the Mushroom, Shallots, and Garlic and let it cook for about 5 minutes or so

We then add the Cream and Dijon Mustard, along with a bit of Salt for seasoning. Let that sauce reduce over a low simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes until you reach a lovely, thick consistency

2. Cooking the Green Beans

This may be, perhaps, where our Green Bean Casserole veers away from the tradition just a tad. Personally, I much prefer Beans when they are just cooked, so they are nice and crispy and still have that wonderful ‘snap’ to them. Many Green Bean Casseroles will have you cook the Beans in the Cream Sauce for a long time. I’ve found if you do this, the Beans tend to come out soggy and overcooked

If Beans are just cooked, you’ll get much more of their natural flavor. When overcooked they become a little bitter and will just absorb the flavors of the cream sauce a little too much. So, after the Sauce is reduced add the Beans and then cover the pan. Let them cook / steam in the sauce for about 5 minutes until just cooked, then they’re ready to be served!

Southern Green Bean Casserole crunchy beans
We prefer to only just cook our Beans, about 5 minutes or so, to keep them lovely and crunchy in the casserole

3. The most important element of Southern Green Bean Casserole – the toppings!

Who doesn’t love toppings? They’re a great final touch to a dish to give them unique flavors and textures. There are so many ways you can go when it comes to toppings for Green Bean Casserole. A few favorites that are used are crispy Shallots, and even crushed Almonds or Pecans

For our Green Bean Casserole, we’re sticking with two classics which add such wonderful flavor and texture. Those are Caramelized Onions and Toasted Breadcrumbs. The Caramelized Onions add a lovely sweetness to the dish, and the breadcrumbs bring the crunch!

To make the Caramelized Onions, it’s best to prepare them before you start cooking the Cream Sauce. We like to slow cook our Caramelized Onions to get them a lovely, silky texture. It’s the way we cook them in our French Onion Soup and they turn our simply delicious. Add a little butter to a Saucepan, then add your sliced Onions along with some Salt. Slow cook them for about 35 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until they turn a dark, golden-brown color

We’re huge fans of Caramelized Onions and put them on everything! We’ve even dedicated an entire recipe to it here. Go check it out if you want to dive deep into the wonders of Caramelizing Onions!

The second topping for our Southern Green Bean Casserole is the classic Toasted Breadcrumbs. We use Panko breadcrumbs as they are a bit thicker, so have a nicer, crunchier texture. Add a bit of butter to a pan alongside your Breadcrumbs and toast them for about 5 minutes. They’ll turn a lovely golden color, and they taste so good!

Southern Green Bean Casserole with toppings
Perhaps the best part about this Southern Green Bean Casserole is the toppings! Crunchy Breadcrumbs and sweet Caramelized Onions complete this delicious side dish

Do you need Parmesan Cheese on Green Bean Casserole?

A classic ingredient to add to Green Bean Casserole is grated fresh Parmesan Cheese. This is a totally optional addition you can add to the dish. Personally, we don’t think the dish needs it. The dish is plenty creamy enough with the sauce, so texturally the Parmesan Cheese doesn’t add much

What Parmesan Cheese does bring is a wonderful nutty flavor. If you’re after that flavor then simply grate some Parmesan Cheese into the Cream Sauce right before serving. Or, you can simply grate the Cheese over the plated Beans. It’s optional, but worth it if you’re looking for that cheesy hit of flavor!

Recipe Details

Servings

4 – 6 people

Prep time

15 minutes

Cooking time

30 minutes

Total time

45 minutes

Southern Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

  • 400g / 14 oz. Green Beans
  • 200g / 7 oz. Button or Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Shallots, finely diced
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 200ml / 7 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 1 ½ tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth (recipe here)
  • ¼ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Juice of ½ a Lemon
  • 2 ½ tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • Salt
  • Optional: ½ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Melt 1 tbsp. of Butter in a Saucepan over medium heat and then add the sliced Onion. Season with ½ tsp. of Salt and mix through. Turn the heat to medium / low and slowly cook the Onions until they caramelize, stirring occasionally. This will take about 35 – 40 minutes
  2. While the Onions are cooking, add 1 tsp. of Butter to a frying pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the Panko Breadcrumbs, and mix well to cover with Butter. Toast for 5 minutes until browned. Remove the Breadcrumbs and set aside
  3. In the same pan, add the remaining Butter (1 tbsp.) along with the Shallots, Mushrooms and ½ tsp. of Salt. Cook for 5 minutes on medium, stirring frequently until the Mushrooms have released their liquid. Add Garlic then cook for a further 1 minute until fragrant
  4. Add the Chicken Broth and cook for 5 minutes, then add the Heavy Cream and Dijon Mustard. Mix well to incorporate, bring to a simmer, and then reduce the head to medium / low. Lightly simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the Sauce has thickened
  5. Add the Green Beans to the sauce. Cover and cook for a further 5 – 7 minutes until the Beans are just cooked (they will still be crunchy).
  6. Remove the cover, add another ½ tsp. of Salt and the Lemon Juice. Stir well to incorporate and check for seasoning. Place on a serving plate and finish with the Caramelized Onions and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Southern Green Bean Casserole is a great side dish

This Green Bean Casserole makes for a phenomenal side dish. Perfect to serve on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other gathering with family and friends. It’s also great alongside a delicious piece of Protein like Pork, Steak, or Chicken

If you enjoyed this recipe, we’ve got loads of more delicious Side Dishes here. Here are a few of our favorites we’d love you to try:

Happy Cooking!

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