Now you can enjoy a delicious green bean casserole without the mandatory can of soup. Just green beans, a simple homemade sauce, and a topping of your choice will give you a new appreciation for this classic Thanksgiving side dish.
With the holidays approaching, one of the most loved side dishes is a green bean casserole. Please understand I hate cooking with cans of soup. Just a general principle I follow if possible. So let's get a better, fresher version of this holiday classic but without that soup.
Just an FYI interesting tidbit. Green bean casserole was developed by Campbell soup kitchen in the 1950s as a way to sell soup and canned beans.
Inspired by Allrecipe's Grandma's Green Bean Casserole, I made a few adjustments after reading the comments. I'm giving options for your favorite topping, fresh green beans, and different cheeses.
It's a nice 4. Grandpa and wifo had two servings each.
The Green Beans
Many prefer canned beans for this recipe. But this recipe works fine with fresh, frozen, or canned green beans. You may use the French cut or straight cut beans.
The frozen and canned beans are just dumped and go, so I gave instructions to fresh but use what you want.
Amount of Green Beans: Since this is generally a large family holiday recipe, I have set the amounts and instructions to 8 servings. But it is an easy recipe to cut in half if you want.
You will need about 2 pounds of beans for the 8 serving size. It can be fresh, picked over and cut up some, frozen, or 3 cans of drained green beans.
Fresh Green Bean Variation: You can not just put fresh green beans in the casserole. They need precooking, or they may not cook thoroughly. I suggest boiling them. Bring the water to a boil and cook for five minutes.
Why no can of soup? Cans of soup are used in many casseroles and crockpot cooking to thicken things and sometimes add some flavor. But for that, you are adding a lot of chemicals and flavors that I don't enjoy.
In this recipe, we are thickening with a traditional roux— the traditional and relatively simple way to thicken things. We are using butter and flour, then adding cheese and sour cream. For more discussion on creating a roux, see How To Make Gravy at Home.
Nice cheddar cheese is commonly used and provides a great classic taste. But any cheese will be fine, like Colby Jack or Swiss (my choice).
Now we are into the passionate part of green bean casserole. Everybody has their favorite.
I suggest a topping of crushed butter crackers (Ritz) mixed with butter. Again, a break from tradition for many but a great and easy topping.
If you want the traditional can of fried onion rings, that should work fine. Leave off the crackers, cook as directed but add the onion rings for the last five minutes of cooking.
How to Make Green Bean Casserole Without Mushroom Soup
- Preheat oven
- If using fresh green beans, clean and precook by boiling,
- Cook a chopped onion in butter in a large skillet.
- Add flour and make a roux.
- Remove from heat, and add sour cream and seaoning.
- Mix in green beans and some cheese.
- Move to a casserole dish and top with more cheese.
- Add crushed Ritz crackers with butter. If using fried onion rings, bake topped with just the cheese and add the onion rings the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Bake until goldern brown and bubbly.
Sure, 2-3 days is safe if stored refrigerated and airtight. Leave off your topping and add at the time of cooking.
This is an easy recipe to make smaller. Use the serving adjustment in the recipe card and change from 8 to 4 servings. This will ONLY adjust the ingredient list—not the written instructions.
Use those amounts to assemble the casserole. It will fit in a 1-quart dish but use what you have available. Cooking time will be about the same but watch the top color.
The cooked casserole can be refrigerated airtight for 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for 3-4 months.
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🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350° convection or 375° conventional.
If you are using fresh green beans, clean and trim. Then, 5 minutes in boiling water with some salt. One teaspoon of salt per quart of water is fine.
Chop one small onion. Add two tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until clearing some, about 2-3 minutes.
Stir in two tablespoons of flour until smooth, and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat.
Add one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon sugar, and one cup sour cream. Mix well. Stir in about two pounds of green beans and one cup of shredded cheese of your choice. I used swiss, but cheddar would be a good choice also.
Transfer the bean mixture to a 2 ½ quart casserole dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. You can cover at this point and refrigerate to cook for 1-3 days. Do the topping at the time of cooking.
Crush 12 Ritz crackers to make ½ cup of crumbs. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a microwave, and then mix the butter with the crushed crackers. You can use a can of fried onion rings if you wish instead.
Sprinkle your topping over the casserole.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the top is golden and the casserole is bubbly.
Green Bean Casserole Without Mushroom Soup
- 2 pounds green beans - Canned, frozen, or fresh
- 1 onion - small
- 3 tablespoons butter - divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups shredded cheese - of choice
- 12 butter crackers - Ritz crushed
- Preheat oven to 350° convection or 375° conventional.
- If you are using fresh green beans, clean and trim. Then, 5 minutes in boiling water with some salt. One teaspoon of salt per quart of water is good.
- Chop one small onion. Add two tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until clearing some, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in two tablespoons of flour until smooth and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat. Add one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon sugar, and one cup sour cream. Mix well.
- Stir in about two pounds of green beans and one cup of shredded cheese of your choice. I use Swiss, but cheddar would be a good choice also.
- Transfer the bean mixture to a 2 ½ quart casserole dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. You can cover at this point and refrigerate to cook in 1-3 days. Do the topping at the time of cooking.
- Crush 12 Ritz crackers to make ½ cup of crumbs. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a microwave, and then mix the butter with the crushed crackers. You can use a can of fried onion rings if you wish instead.
- Sprinkle your topping over the casserole.
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the top is golden and casserole is bubbly.
My Private Notes
- First, never cook a new recipe for the first time for an important meal. Do a test run a week or two ahead.
- This is a very easy recipe to cut in half. Use a small casserole dish—about 1 quart. Cooking time will be about the same. Watch the color of the top.
- Many prefer canned beans but use the beans of your choice. I prefer fresh but frozen or canned will do. Note that it will take about 3 cans of drained green beans to be 2 pounds of beans.
- Most will want cheddar cheese which is fine but I love Swiss cheese here.
- I think you should try the Ritz cracker topping but if you really want the traditional can of fried onion rings that should work fine. Leave off the crackers, cook as directed but add the onion rings for the last five minutes of cooking.
- A great make-ahead dish. Do up to mixing the topping. Then you can cover and refrigerate for 1-3 days. Create and use the topping just before cooking.
- Leftovers are good in the refrigerator for about three days.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published November 21, 2015. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.