The Creamiest Green Bean Casserole (no canned soup)

Green Bean Casserole is a Thanksgiving classic, but one that originated in the mid-20th century, when recipes were rife with canned goods and other processed food products. Now, more than 50 years later, tastes have shifted back toward fresh and from-scratch cooking, which I am not sad about. So I’ve taken this traditional Thanksgiving Classic dish, eliminated the condensed canned soup, and created my own super creamy mushroom sauce. I still have those tasty fried onions on top, but hey, I’ll make an exception for those. ;)

Want more Thanksgiving classics? Check out our Holiday Recipes category.

The Creamiest Green Bean Casserole (with no canned soup)

Close up of the Creamiest Green Bean Casserole made from scratch with no canned soup, topped with crunchy fried onions.

The Creamiest No-Canned-Soup Sauce

For this ultimate creamiest green bean casserole I whipped up a simple white sauce flavored with sautéed mushrooms and garlic, then added the secret ingredient that makes it creamier than creamy—cream cheese! Yeah, sounds weird, but when I tell you I was licking the pan after transferring everything to the casserole dish to bake, I’m not kidding. This mushroom cream sauce was soooo good and seriously tasted just like store bought cream-of-mushroom soup (except better, of course).

Should I Use Fresh or Frozen Green Beans in My Green Bean Casserole?

I really like whole green beans for this Green Bean Casserole because I think it the dish at least a little prettier, but you can use cut or French-cut green beans if you’d like. Whichever shape you use, I suggest using either frozen or fresh, but not canned beans. Canned green beans tend to be much too soft in both texture and flavor, and over salted. If using fresh green beans, just blanch them in boiling water for about 3-5 minutes, or just until they turn bright green and lose their raw edge (they should still be firm), before adding them to the casserole.

This is the Creamiest Green Bean Casserole you'll ever make with no "cream of" soups. The ingredient list is short and simple, but flavors are classic and comforting. BudgetBytes.com
Print Recipe
4.8 from 15 votes

Creamiest Green Bean Casserole

This is the Creamiest Green Bean Casserole you'll ever make with no condensed "cream of" soup. Try this "from scratch" version and taste the difference!
Keyword: From Scratch, Holiday, Thanksgiving
Total Cost: $7.85 recipe / $1.31 serving
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Beth M

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.13)
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms ($1.80)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • Pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 3 Tbsp butter ($0.39)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour ($0.03)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth* ($0.13)
  • 1 cup whole milk ($0.31)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese ($0.60)
  • 20 oz frozen green beans* ($2.50)
  • 3 oz. fried onions** ($1.75)

Instructions

  • Wash the mushrooms then roughly chop them into small pieces. Mince the garlic. Begin preheating the oven to 350ºF.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium, then add the olive oil. Swirl to coat the surface of the skillet, then add the mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their moisture, the skillet dries up again, and the edges of the mushrooms begin to brown slightly (7-10 minutes).
  • Add the butter and flour the skillet with the mushrooms. Continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes, or just until the flour begins to coat the bottom of the skillet and turns golden brown.
  • Whisk the vegetable broth into the skillet until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the skillet. Allow the broth to come to a simmer as you whisk, at which point it will thicken. 
  • When the liquid in the skillet has thickened, whisk in the milk. Allow the mixture to return to a simmer after adding the milk, then add the cream cheese (cut into small chunks). Continue to whisk and cook until the cream cheese has fully melted into the sauce. Taste the sauce and add another pinch of salt and pepper if needed. You want the sauce to be slightly over seasoned so the flavor doesn't get too diluted once the green beans are added.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the green beans (no need to thaw). The cold beans will thicken the sauce considerably. Transfer the beans and sauce to a 2-3 quart casserole dish. Top with the fried onions and transfer to the oven.
  • Bake the Green Bean Casserole for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through and the fried onions on top have browned slightly. Serve warm.

Notes

*I used Better Than Bouillon to make my vegetable broth, which is quite flavorful and provides a good amount of salt. If you are using a less flavorful broth your final dish may also be less flavorful.
**I used store bought crispy fried onions, like these. If you are outside the United States or otherwise cannot get these, there are several recipes online for fried onions that you can use in their place.
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A spoonful of the Creamiest Green Bean Casserole, made with no canned soup, and topped with crunchy fried onions.

The Creamiest Green Bean Casserole ready to be served. Made with no canned soup!

Step by Step Photos

Sautéed Mushrooms for Green Bean Casserole

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Wash 8oz. button mushrooms and roughly chopping them into small pieces. Mince two cloves of garlic. Heat a large skillet over medium, then add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Swirl to coat the skillet, then add the mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their moisture, the skillet dries up, and the mushrooms begin to brown a bit on the edges.

Flour and Butter for Green Bean Casserole

Add 3 Tbsp butter and 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour to the skillet (sorry the picture shows 2 Tbsp, made a last minute decision to add more after taking the photo. 😜)

Toasted Flour and Butter

Continue to sauté the mushrooms with the butter and flour until the flour begins to coat the bottom of the skillet and turn golden brown. This toasts the flour and prevents that floury flavor.

Thickened Vegetable Broth

Whisk 1 cup vegetable broth into the skillet, making sure all the flour dissolves off the bottom. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, while whisking, at which point it will thicken.

Milk and Cream Cheese Melted into Sauce

Whisk in 1 cup whole milk and allow it to come up to a simmer again. Cut the cream cheese into chunks, add it to the sauce, and continue to heat and whisk until it has fully melted in. At this point you want to taste the sauce and add another pinch of salt and pepper. You want the sauce to be just slightly more salty than you’d think it needs because once it’s combined with the green beans the flavor will dilute slightly.

Add Green Beans to Green Bean Casserole

Finally, remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the frozen green beans. I had a 20 oz. bag of green beans but you could probably use up to 1.5 lbs. (24 oz.) with this amount of sauce, if needed.

Green Bean Casserole Ready to Bake

Transfer the green beans and sauce to a 2-3 quart casserole dish and top with 3oz. fried onions (that’s half of 6oz. can of fried onions).

Baked Creamiest Green Bean Casserole

Bake the casserole in the preheated 350ºF oven for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through and the fried onions have become golden brown.

Close up view of the Creamiest Green Bean Casserole, made with whole green beans and topped with crispy fried onions.

Serve the CREAMIEST Green Bean Casserole warm! Yummmmmmm.