Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole

How to Freeze a Green Bean Casserole
Made from Scratch with Fresh Green Beans & Fresh Mushrooms

First there was the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole, the viral recipe on A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables. Now? Let's call this new recipe the World’s Most "Convenient" Green Bean Casserole. Both recipes are made from scratch and call for fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms. But with Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole? You make the entire casserole in advance and then freeze it for serving later! See what I mean? Convenient!

Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole ♥, made with fresh beans and mushrooms, then frozen to bake later.

America’s Favorite Thanksgiving Casserole, Made In Advance & Frozen. Vegetarian. Travels Well.

  • "... it was AMAZING! I crave it all the time!!!" ~ Beebs

Just Call Me the Green Bean Casserole Lady

People don’t call me the "green bean casserole lady" for nothing. You see, way back in 2006, the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole created a big stir (and a few moans) on so-so many Thanksgiving tables. It's made with fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms bathed in a thyme-scented, sherry-sweetened cream sauce. It's extraordinary comfort food. It honors the original green bean casserole, it's just fresher. Even people who won't eat green bean casserole love the World's Best Green Bean Casserole.

Does Thanksgiving Really Need Another Green Bean Casserole?

So why, then, am I here with another recipe for green bean casserole?

This new recipe is a lot like the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole: both are made from scratch; both use fresh beans and fresh mushrooms; neither calls for canned beans or canned mushroom soup.

It Does! Because Convenience Matters

So let’s call this new recipe the World’s Most Convenient Green Bean Casserole. That's because, in this new recipe:

  • The beans go into the casserole raw, the uncooked kind of raw. That saves a cooking step and later, the beans cook in the oven just fine, really.
  • The casserole is made in advance and then frozen.
  • Then it's baked straight from the freezer. It needn’t be thawed, really.

Don't Get Me Wrong.

On the basis of taste alone, the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole remains my first and truest love. There’s just something magnificent about the bean-cooking technique that draws out every burst of bean flavor.

But for convenience, well, this Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole wins, hands-down. Here's when I think this version of the fresh green bean casserole makes sense.

  • For extra-large holiday gatherings, because it can be made so far in advance.
  • For small holiday gatherings, because it can be split up into multiple dishes for freezing.
  • For meal prep, because it can be frozen in smaller portions.
  • For sharing a dish for new moms, families needing meal help, etc., because it can go in the freezer and then bakes from the frozen state.
  • For traveling to a holiday gathering, because it can stay frozen in a cooler.
  • Any more ideas? Do let me know!

And besides, while Thanksgiving is the #1 occasion for a fresh green bean casserole, it's also such a favorite that all my green bean casserole recipes see "bumps" in traffic on other holidays too, Christmas, New Years, Easter and even the 4th of July!

Here's What Makes This Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole Special

  • It's made from scratch with fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms.
  • It uses common, everyday ingredients, no running around to find a special ingredients.
  • It's made without canned soup and without cheese, that keeps the flavor and texture focused on the beans and mushrooms.
  • It's easy to double or triple the recipe for a crowd.
  • It not only freezes well, it's expressly designed to be made in advance and frozen before baking.
  • It's slightly easier to make than the World's Best Green Bean Casserole.
  • It's baked in the oven, straight from the freezer, no thawing required.
  • It travels well.

The Green Bean Casserole Lady Offers Choices

World's Best Green Bean Casserole ♥, yesterday's comfort food made with fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms, no canned beans, no cream of mushroom soup. Rave reviews since 2006.

Over the years, I've collected several green bean casserole resources and recipes. Not ONE recipe calls for canned mushroom soup!

So call me the Green Bean Casserole Lady. I’ll just smile knowingly and think to myself, "Yes, a good green bean casserole recipe. It really can light my light." (And now you can share my knowing smile, it's all here, Happy Thanksgiving from the Green Bean Casserole Lady: A Love Story.

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this fresh green beans are welcome at your table, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole ♥, made with fresh beans and mushrooms, then frozen to bake later.


Prep time: 50 minutes
Freezing time: overnight - two months
Baking time: at least 90 minutes
Serves 16 in smallish servings for a big dinner
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 8 ounces (225g) fresh mushrooms, caps broken into pieces, stems roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (assumes Morton's Kosher Salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (don’t skimp on these)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup (31g) flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed
  • 2 pounds (900g) fresh green beans, stems trimmed, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups (about 3 ounces) canned fried onions, chopped

FRESH MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are cooked and the mushroom liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about a minute. Sprinkle the mushrooms with flour all across the top and stir it in as best you can. A tablespoon at a time at first, stir in the chicken stock, letting each tablespoon become absorbed by the mushrooms/flour before adding another. (This will take several minutes, be patient or you’ll risk a lumpy mess.) Stir in the wine and cream. Bring to a boil. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sherry. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper, if needed. (The Mushroom Sauce should be slightly salty and slightly peppery since the beans themselves are unseasoned.)

FRESH GREEN BEANS While the sauce cooks, toss the beans and cornstarch well. Transfer to a 9x13 ceramic baking dish. Pour the hot Fresh Mushroom Cream Sauce over the beans. With the back of a spoon or spatula, gently press the beans into the sauce so that all the beans are submerged. Cool completely.

FREEZE Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic onto the casserole, making sure there’s no air between the beans and the plastic. Wrap the baking dish with foil. Freeze for up to a couple of months. IMPORTANT Do not thaw before baking!

FRIED ONION TOPPING No more than a day before serving, mix the panko, butter, salt and pepper in a skillet. On medium heat, let the crumbs brown, stirring often, being careful not to burn. Stir in the fried onions.

BAKE Heat the oven to 400F/200C. Important! Before baking the casserole, be sure to remove the plastic wrap first; it would be easy to forget since it's underneath the foil wrapping! Then use fresh foil to cover the top of the casserole dish.

First, bake for 30 minutes with the foil on.

Second, remove the foil and bake for another 50 minutes. (If the sauce is too thin or the beans not cooked enough after 50 minutes, leave the casserole in the oven, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until it thickens.)

Finally, spread topping over the casserole and bake for another 10 minutes until the topping golden.

ALANNA's TIPS Because it starts off frozen, this casserole takes a long time to bake, 90 minutes or more in a 400F/200C oven. Thanksgiving is always a balancing act, oven-wise, so make sure that the timing works out with the other items on the menu. For this reason, I think about skipping the freezing step and just cook the mixture in the slow cooker, then finish in the oven. (Or maybe freeze in the slow cooker???) I've tested this recipe in a shallow Corningware baking dish and in small ramekins. I suspect that taller and larger baking dishes require a longer cooking time.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (assumes 16): 150 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 19mg Cholesterol; 193mg Sodium; 12g Carb; 2g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 5 & myWW green 5 & blue 5 & purple 5 & future WW points
Adapted from Cook’s Country November 2008

Seasonal Cooking: Thanksgiving Planning Across the Years

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous11/09/2008

    Green bean casserole lady - ha. The other one is so good. But this new one is tempting. The kitchen is so busy on Thanksgiving Day.

  2. Anonymous11/10/2008

    Your make ahead fresh green bean casserole sounds great. But how long and at what temp if I just want to assemble it on TG morning, bake and serve, no freezing?

    I'm a new subscriber and loving your newsletter!

    Best, Nancy

  3. Anonymous11/13/2008

    This looks wonderful! Just a quick question - should I use "heavy" or "light" cream? (it just calls for "cream")

    Thanks! Great website!

  4. I used heavy cream when testing this recipe but use half 'n' half (I suppose this would be light cream, it's half cream and half whole milk) when making the World's Best Green Bean Casserole. So I think that either would be fine!

  5. Anonymous11/17/2008

    Thanks! I will use the heavy cream for this recipe, as I will be doing the "freeze-ahead" directions. If I decide on making the w.b.g.b.c. recipe, THEN I will use half & half. Thanks! Can't wait to make this and have it all ready on Thanksgiving!!!!!

  6. Anonymous11/19/2008

    Alanna, This is just what I was looking for! I want to do it in the slow cooker, too. How long and at hi or lo?

  7. Anonymous -- Sorry, I've not tested it in the slow cooker so just can't say for sure. If it were me, I'd do on high until it was done, then hold on warm. (And I'd keep track for another time, to share with others. If you do, maybe you'll share?!)

  8. Anonymous11/24/2008

    I want to try this for Thanksgiving Day, can I use french style bread crumbs instead of panko? And do you think it can just sit in the refig. for a day?

  9. Hi Amanda,

    Yes, bread crumbs from a French loaf will work fine, but I'd recommend letting them dry first, either by leaving out (cubed) for the next couple of days or tucking (cubed) into the oven for a few minutes.

    As for whether or not to freezer, yes, I think that would be fine but I haven't tested it that way so can't say for sure. At minimum, the timing will be affected. But it's also possible that the freezing changes the chemical structure of the beans, breaking down the fiber, and that the 'cooking' process actually starts in the freezer. How's that for the long way of saying, I really don't know? Hope it helps, however!

  10. Anonymous1/15/2009

    Please would someone tell me what PLANKO is? A type of crumb?


  11. Hi Anonymous ~ Good question, I should have mentioned. Panko -- not planko -- is a Japanese bread crumb. It's quite dry and crispy and so makes a great topping for gratins, even fruit crisps. It's not as fine as most commercial bread crumbs. I'm starting to see it in nearly all grocery stores in the States now, even in 'Italian' versions with Italian-style herbs added, others too. Hope this helps! If you can't find panko, just substitute your own bread crumbs using a hearty bread, perhaps drying the pieces in the oven for a few minutes too.

  12. My friend made this last year for thanksgiving and it was AMAZING! I crave it all the time!!!

  13. Anonymous8/28/2012

    I made a half batch of this and did not have enough sauce to submerge the beans. Is the flour amount right? It turned out thick, sauce is very tasty.

  14. Anonymous ~ Hmm, yes the flour amount is right, I've made this many times, as you can see, so have others. It does have "less sauce" than you're maybe used to with canned mushroom soup but still, shouldn't be thick. If it were me, I'd work milk into the sauce until you have a mixture than can be stirred into the beans.

  15. Anonymous5/12/2014

    Hey Alanna, I'm not sure if you're still responding to comments, but I have a question. I made a variation of this for mother's day yesterday, but I used the french's fried onions (I just love them! They're my favorite part so I can't bear to leave them out).Anyway, my problem is that the raw green beans are too raw after cooking. Because of the fried onions, I can't keep them in the oven too much longer as they burn. I usually love this casserole as a leftover but I'm actually not looking forward to them today because of the hard beans. Is there a way to soften up the beans in the already baked casserole without burning the onions? Thanks a bunch!

  16. Anonymous ~ Ask away, yes! Might it be possible to scrape off the onions and then bake the green beans by themselves? You might need to loosen the green beans a bit by adding extra milk, I’d also cover the dish to really concentrate the heat on the beans.

    Let’s hope these leftovers can be saved!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna