For many, no Thanksgiving side dish spread is complete without a homemade green bean casserole. According to Campbell’s Soup Company, which is responsible for the original recipe, it’s served at 20 million tables every year. There are nearly as many variations as there are Thanksgiving tablescapes. And sure, you could go with the tried-and-true(with canned soup and canned green beans, it’s certainly the easy choice). But upgrading to a homemade sauce and fresh green beans isn’t that much more difficult—and if you ask us, it tastes worlds better.
In 2016 test kitchen director Chris Morocco set out to develop his ideal version of the classic green bean casserole recipe. He swapped out store-bought cream of mushroom soup in favor of fresh sliced criminis and a béchamel finished with Parmesan cheese. Well-browned mushrooms are crucial for building flavor here, so he cooked them in batches, making sure not to season them until they were beautifully caramelized (salting too soon will lead to soggy, steamed mushrooms).
Then came the onion topping. You may assume Chris opted for DIY fried shallots (and you certainly could if you’re so inclined), but he threw us a curveball. According to Chris, French’s Crispy Fried Onions are famous for a reason: “They are astonishingly delicious and practically define this Thanksgiving classic,” so we let them stay.
While many a casserole dish can be made ahead of time, this green bean casserole is best made day-of, so plan accordingly and use the bake time to work on a few other perfect side dishes, like our Ultra-Creamy Mashed Potatoes, a streamlined cranberry sauce, and a cornflake-topped sweet potato casserole.