Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE SALES LINKS. PLEASE SEE MY FULL DISCLAIMER POLICY FOR DETAILS.
Learn how to make green bean casserole ahead of time this Thanksgiving! This Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole recipe is a totally homemade version of the classic side dish. Stir fresh green beans into a béchamel-style creamy mushroom sauce, then top with slivered almonds & iconic crispy French fried onions. So easy & no canned mushroom soup required! Prep up to 2 days in advance, then bake until bubbling at dinnertime.

A modern, made-from-scratch take on a holiday staple, perfect for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or any other special occasion meal!

Tired of Stressful Thanksgiving Hosting? Sign up to receive our FREE guide + timeline, The Ultimate Make Ahead Thanksgiving HERE! We’re sharing everything you need to make this your easiest Thanksgiving yet – all delivered straight to your inbox!

Featured In Make Ahead Thanksgiving
Finished make ahead green bean casserole made from scratch fills a large white ceramic baking dish that sits atop a light peach colored textured surface. A large wooden serving spoon rests atop the baking dish. A muted red linen napkin, red and orange Fall florals, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, two amber colored drinking glasses, and a stack of two white plates with two gold forks resting on top surround the baking dish at center.

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving

This recipe is part of PWWB’s Make-Ahead Thanksgiving series, a complete resource for time-saving holiday dinner prep. No one needs the stress of cooking a multi-course meal all in one day! Whether you’re a savvy home cook or a first-time dinner host, these make-ahead recipes will help you tackle your Thanksgiving prep little by little for a completely stress-free holiday meal. Learn more about Make-Ahead Thanksgiving!

Make Your Green Bean Casserole from Scratch This Thanksgiving (It’s Easy!)

I really enjoy trying new versions of classic green bean casserole (like the cutest green bean casserole bundles!) because it feels like the canned soup recipes of the past are ready for a refresh.

While canned green beans & cream of mushroom soup are traditionally convenient shortcuts, I don’t think they’re entirely necessary. That’s why I’m particularly smitten with this Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole from scratch. It highlights fresh ingredients & it’s nearly just as quick & easy to prepare – no can openers required!

IMO, making a green bean casserole with fresh green beans is the only way to go! You have total control over their texture – they stay tender, crisp & beautifully bright green. To really bring things over the top, they’re smothered in a creamy béchamel sauce made with fresh mushrooms. It sounds fancy, but honestly couldn’t be easier to make.

And the best part? You can make this green bean casserole from scratch up to 2 days before Thanksgiving. Just before you serve dinner, finish the casserole with a topping of French fried onions & almonds, then simply bake until reheated & golden. This classic holiday side has never been easier – or tastier!

Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole Recipe Highlights

You’ll love this make-ahead side dish for Thanksgiving or any other holiday dinner! It’s…

FULL OF FRESH INGREDIENTS. This make ahead green bean casserole is a seriously veggie-forward side dish. Each bite is loaded with vibrant fresh green beans & tender white mushrooms. Fresh is best!

MADE FROM SCRATCH. No canned soup here! Each component of this recipe is prepped from scratch, from the fresh green beans to the creamy mushroom sauce – & it’s still really easy to make!

A MODERN CLASSIC. This side dish has all the flavors you expect from classic green bean casserole, but it focuses on from-scratch cooking to create a slightly more updated version. Make-ahead-friendly prep keeps convenience top of mind without turning to canned ingredients.

The perfect update to a holiday icon! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!

Key Ingredients

You’ll love that this recipe uses simple, fresh ingredients to build classic green bean casserole flavors & textures. It delivers everything you crave in a classic green bean casserole but in a slightly more elevated way.

Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

You need…

  • Fresh green beans – While canned or frozen green beans are convenient options, a green bean casserole made with fresh green beans is simply unbeatable! Starting with fresh gives you much more control over the texture of the beans. They stay crisp-yet-tender & they’re never mushy. Feel free to use standard green beans or their slimmer French cousin, haricots verts.
  • Shallots & mushrooms – The base of flavor for the creamy mushroom sauce. I like to use sliced white mushrooms for a classic look, but your favorite wild mushrooms or cremini (aka baby bella) mushrooms work great too.
  • Sauce staplesButter, flour, & half & half are the simple staple ingredients of any creamy, rich homemade béchamel sauce. White wine & vegetable broth infuse the sauce with even more flavor. If keeping the casserole vegetarian isn’t a priority for you, feel free to use low-sodium chicken broth instead.
  • Slivered almonds & French fried onions – Classic & crispy, this is one instance when store-bought is just as good.
Ingredient Spotlight

Béchamel Sauce vs Canned Cream of Mushroom Soup

While it’s easy to understand the appeal of simply opening a can & pouring it into a casserole dish, preparing a homemade version is well worth the extra effort. Homemade canned cream of mushroom soup may seem like a complex component to prep from scratch, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward process. It’s basically a creamy béchamel sauce made with mushrooms – something you can easily make at home!

What is béchamel sauce? ⇢ Simply put, béchamel sauce is a creamy staple sauce made from a white roux & milk. The French consider it one of the “mother sauces” of cooking – a must-learn for classically trained chefs! Its creamy consistency makes it a great base for gravy, creamy pasta sauces, & casseroles.

This make ahead green bean casserole recipe builds a creamy béchamel with browned mushrooms in less than 10 minutes. Its flavor & texture are very similar to canned cream of mushroom soup but it’s completely made from scratch using just a handful of fresh ingredients.

How to Make Green Bean Casserole Ahead of Time

Preparing this green bean casserole from scratch ahead of time comes down to 2 key components: blanching fresh green beans & building a creamy mushroom sauce. It’s a quick & easy process that takes less than 30 minutes!

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

Preparing Fresh Green Beans

1

Trim the green beans. Remove the stringy ends & cut the bean into 1-inch pieces to 2-inch pieces. Pro Tip! ⇢ Use kitchen shears to snip each end of the green bean! It makes for super quick & precise work.

2

Blanch the green beans. Simmer the trimmed fresh green beans in generously salted boiling water for just a few minutes, then transfer them to an ice bath in a large bowl. Why? ⇢ Blanching is a quick process that partially cooks the green beans so they’re tender, yet still nice & crisp. The drastic temperature change of the ice bath liquid shocks the green beans, abruptly stopping the cooking process. This locks in their vibrant green color & stops them from overcooking when they reheat in the casserole.

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce

1

Brown the mushrooms & shallot. Cook them in butter until they are soft & fragrant, but not yet browned. Simple Swap! ⇢ We like the mild flavor of shallots, but onions & garlic work just fine if that’s what you already have on hand!

2

Deglaze. Slowly pour dry white wine into the pan & allow it to reduce for a few minutes. Why? ⇢ Deglazing plays double duty in this recipe. The steam created as the wine hits the bottom of the pan lifts any flavorful browned bits from the bottom, while the aromatic flavors of the wine infuse the mushrooms with tons of flavor as it simmers.

3

Build the creamy mushroom béchamel. Sprinkle flour over the top to coat the veggies. This creates a roux, which helps the sauce thicken. Add vegetable broth & stir constantly as the sauce bubbles & thickens, then finish with half & half.

How to Store for Later

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

With both of these key components prepped, all that’s left to do is bring them together.

Pat the green beans as dry as possible, then place them in a prepared baking dish. Pour the creamy mushroom sauce over top, mixing until it coats the beans nicely. Once it’s cooled completely, cover the dish in plastic wrap & foil. Store it in your fridge until Thanksgiving Day, up to 2 days.

Storage FAQs

How far ahead can you make green bean casserole?

You can prep this make ahead recipe up to 2 days before the big meal. It’s a great way to get Thanksgiving prep done in advance!

Can I make green bean casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it?

Yes! That’s what this make-ahead recipe is all about. Simply combine the blanched green beans & homemade mushroom sauce in a casserole dish, then pop it in the fridge. On Thanksgiving Day, all you have to do is finish it with a quick topping & bake it off in the oven – more details below!

Can green bean casserole be made ahead of time and frozen?

You can freeze this make ahead green bean casserole, but it’s not my preferred approach. The harsh, cold environment of the freezer impacts the super creamy texture of the mushroom sauce – & creaminess is key for a green bean casserole! If you’re tight on time you can give it a try, but I prefer to avoid the freezer here.

Reheating Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole on Thanksgiving Day

When Thanksgiving Day rolls around, all that’s on the green bean casserole to-do list is finishing it with a sprinkling of crispy toppers & popping it in the oven. So easy!

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

1

Prep. The best way to reheat green bean casserole starts by letting the chilled casserole come up to room temperature before transferring it to the oven; doing so helps ensure it bakes up evenly.

2

Finish & bake. Stir some French fried onions into the green bean casserole for crispy pops of texture throughout. Cover the casserole dish & bake it for about 30 minutes, at which point you’ll top it off with more onions & slivered almonds. Give it another 10 minutes in the oven, until it’s bubbling & golden.

Easy Recipe Variations

Green Bean Casserole with Bacon Rather than starting your creamy mushroom sauce with butter, render some thick-cut bacon instead. Once it’s crispy, chop it into fine pieces & sprinkle it on top of the green bean casserole with the French fried onions for an extra kick of rich, smoky flavor.

Cheesy Green Bean Casserole ⇢ For an extra-savory creamy mushroom sauce, fold in a few handfuls of your favorite cheese. I like a blend of white cheddar cheese, asiago cheese, & grated parmesan cheese. Gruyere & fontina are fantastic options, too!

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole ⇢ Rather than creating a roux for the base of the creamy mushroom sauce, thicken it with a cornstarch slurry. To ensure really thick & creamy results, you may want to use a little heavy cream in place of the half & half. Be sure to track down some gluten-free French fried onions!

Serving Suggestions: Fresh Green Beans Will Steal the (Sides) Show!

Everyone will love having this from-scratch, veggie-forward side on the Thanksgiving table this year! These vibrant, fresh green beans are the best leveled-up version of a holiday classic, & prepping them was almost as easy as opening a can. 😏

Serve the make ahead green bean casserole with other epic Thanksgiving sides like Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, or this a Savory Sweet Potato Casserole with Crispy Panko Breadcrumbs. Plus a Roasted Turkey (of course!) or even a Thanksgiving Chicken (yes, that’s allowed!).

It’s about to be one of your most delicious & stress-free holidays yet. 🙌🏼

I can’t wait for you to try this Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole! It’s as classic & comforting as traditional green bean casserole, but you’ll love that it’s completely homemade & so easy to prepare – especially when you prep it ahead of time. We think you’ll love it just as much as we do!

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy Thanksgiving!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Finished make ahead green bean casserole made from scratch fills a large white ceramic baking dish that sits atop a light peach colored textured surface. A large wooden serving spoon rests atop the baking dish. A muted red linen napkin, red and orange Fall florals, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, two amber colored drinking glasses, and a stack of two white plates with two gold forks resting on top surround the baking dish at center.

Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Reheating Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: serves 1012 1x
  • Category: Side Dish Recipes, Thanksgiving Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven, Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

If you’re wondering whether you can make green bean casserole ahead of time for Thanksgiving this year, this Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole recipe is perfect for you! 

Aside from its make-ahead-ability, you’ll love this recipe because it’s completely homemade using fresh ingredients – not a can in sight! Blanched fresh green beans are smothered in a homemade creamy mushroom béchamel.

In true make-ahead fashion, you can prep this green bean casserole up to 2 days in advance, finishing it off with a sprinkling of French fried onions & slivered nuts just before baking at dinnertime. 

As the casserole bakes, the creamy mushroom sauce simmers & bubbles the fresh green beans to a perfect tender-crisp doneness, while the crispy onion topping becomes golden & crunchy. The result is a classic green bean casserole with amazing creamy texture & scratch-made flavor. Everyone at your Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or holiday dinner table will love it! 

Be sure to check out the blog post, above, for plenty more tips & tricks, & if you love the idea of a make-ahead Thanksgiving, be sure to check out our complete Make-Ahead Thanksgiving guide. ♡ Happy holidays!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ½ pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed & cut into 2-inch pieces
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 8 ounces white button or cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, & thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dry, unoaked white wine
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup half and half
  • for reheating: 1 ½ cups French fried onions, divided
  • for reheating: ½ cup slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Par-cook the green beans: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large mixing bowl with ice & topping it off with cold water & set aside. Once the water is boiling, add the trimmed green beans. Once the green beans are vibrant green & tender but still crisp, after about 4-5 minutes, drain them. Working quickly, rinse the par-cooked green beans with cold water, then transfer to the prepared ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once the green beans are cold, transfer to a kitchen towel & thoroughly dry. Set aside.Par-cooked green beans in water, for green bean casserole with fresh green beans, fill a large white double handled pot. The pot sits atop a light peach colored textured surface surrounded by a large glass mixing bowl filled with ice water and a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt.
  2. Prepare the mushroom sauce: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once melted, add the shallot & mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened & fragrant, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine & allow to reduce about 2 minutes before sprinkling the flour over top, stirring to coat the veggies well. Slowly pour in the vegetable broth, stirring constantly, & cook until the sauce begins to bubble & thicken. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in the half and half, seasoning with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Once warmed through, remove from the heat & set aside to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.Mushroom sauce for make ahead green bean casserole fills a large white double handled braising pan that sits atop a light peach colored textured surface. A wooden spoon rests inside of the pan for mixing.
  3. Store for later: Place the dry par-cooked green beans in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Pour the mushroom sauce over top, stirring to coat the green beans well. Cool completely, then tightly cover the baking dish with plastic wrap then foil. Refrigerate up to 2 days.Partially assembled make ahead green bean casserole fills a large white ceramic baking dish that sits atop a light peach colored textured surface. The baking dish is partially covered with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and the words green bean casserole have been written on the outside of the foil in black permanent marker. The baking dish is surrounded by a black Sharpie marker, a bowl filled with French fried onions, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, another bowl filled with slivered almonds, and a red muted linen napkin.
  4. Reheating: Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour before you’d like to finish them in the oven. Remove the foil & plastic wrap. Stir ½ cup of the French fried onions into the green bean mixture, then tightly recover the baking dish with foil. Transfer to 350 degree F oven & reheat for 30 minutes. Remove the foil & sprinkle the remaining 1 cup French fried onions & the slivered almonds over the green bean casserole. Return to the oven for 10 minutes longer, until the green bean casserole is bubbling & the topping is golden.Finished green bean casserole made from scratch fills a large white ceramic baking dish that sits atop a light peach colored textured surface. A muted red linen napkin rests alongside the baking dish.
  5. Serving: Serve alongside your roast turkey or roast chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, & gravy. Enjoy!A make ahead thanksgiving dinner is served atop a white dinner plate with a gold fork resting atop. The plate is filled with make ahead sweet potato casserole, make ahead thanksgiving stuffing, make ahead mashed potatoes with make ahead gravy, make ahead green bean casserole, and a few slices of carved turkey. The plate is surrounded by a red muted linen napkin, red and orange Fall florals, a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt, two amber colored drinking glasses, a white ceramic gravy boat, and a clean white dinner plate with a gold fork resting atop.


Notes

  • Storage & Reheating: Leftover reheated make ahead green bean casserole (i.e. prepared through Step 4 of Recipe Directions above), will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.

Keywords: make ahead Thanksgiving recipes, make ahead green bean casserole, green bean casserole for Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving side dishes, easy side dishes

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by KJ & Company, Kate Poskochil

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more unfussy recipes that pack a big punch of flavor!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

Topics

Sign up for our newsletter

Leave a Rating & Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.