Make classic Campbells Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving dinner! This simple recipe is a holiday tradition. Includes instructions for making air fryer green bean casserole or baking this popular recipe in the oven.
When it comes to iconic Thanksgiving sides green bean casserole is at the top! It was one of my grandma’s favorite side dishes and she always made it for Thanksgiving dinner, along with turkey and mashed potatoes.
As a kid I assumed it was my grandma’s recipe, but when I grew up and started hosting Thanksgiving dinner I found out she actually just used the standard Campbells green bean casserole recipe! After all, why mess with a classic?
And the recipe is extremely popular not just in the midwest, where my grandma lived, but also all over the country. Campbell’s estimates it is served at 20 million Thanksgiving dinners each year, including mine.
But I’m always looking for ways to save oven space on Thanksgiving though, so this year I thought, “Why not make green bean casserole in the air fryer?” I tried it last week and sure enough, it works great and cooks very quickly.
I include instructions for cooking it in an air fryer below, along with the standard oven recipe. It isn’t quite how grandma did it, but I know she would love air fryer green bean casserole!
Why Everyone Loves Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole
- It is super easy to make, with only 5 basic ingredients. So even a novice cook can make it and bring it along as a contribution to a Thanksgiving day feast.
- The sauce is creamy and smooth with goes amazingly well with the crispy onion topping.
- It hides the taste of green beans. (You know this is part of the appeal, especially for kids.)
- While this is a holiday favorite it doesn’t just have to be for Thanksgiving. It is a family-pleasing side anytime. My family was thrilled to eat it on a random Tuesday last week!
Cream of Mushroom Soup – You can experiment with other condensed soups, but cream of mushroom is the classic flavor.
Green Beans – The recipe was designed for canned green beans, but you can substitute frozen or fresh. I just use canned because they are inexpensive and easy.
Soy Sauce – The soy sauce adds umami taste to the dish. It is surprising how much difference just a little bit of soy sauce makes in the taste! It really amps up the flavor and I think it is one of the reasons this side dish has stood the test of time.
French Fried Onions – These add a crispy layer on top and give it amazing taste.
Milk – The milk is for thinning out the soup and making the sauce creamy.
Seasoning – Don’t add salt! Between the soy sauce and soup there is plenty of salt in this recipe already. Some black pepper is a good addition though.
Making Campbells Green Bean Casserole
1. Prep the Beans
If you are using fresh green beans you will need to wash them, cut the stem ends off and blanch them. To blanch them cook them in a big pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes. If you are using canned green beans just drain the cans. Frozen beans don’t need to be thawed.
2. Make the Sauce
Combine the cream of mushroom soup and milk in a bowl. I like to use my mom’s 1970s bright gold Corning bowl, just for nostalgia’s sake!
Stir it together to make a smooth sauce, stirring out all the lumps. Then add the soy sauce and stir it again.
3. Add the Beans
Put the beans and half of the fried onions in the bowl with the soup mixture. Season with pepper and stir everything together.
How to Cook Green Bean Casserole
1. Air Fryer
To make this in the air fryer you need to find a baking dish that will fit inside. I used a standard 1 1/2 quart dish, which just fit into my 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer.
But I didn’t consider how I would get it out of the hot air fryer basket without burning my hands after it was cooked. There wasn’t much room between the sides of the dish and the basket!
I ended up lifting it out with a spatula underneath. Long silicone gloves would also work. When I make this on Thanksgiving I’m going to use a pan that is designed for the air fryer and comes with a metal handle!
Spray your chosen dish with non-stick spray, then pour the green bean mixture into it. Bake it at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes pull it out and stir the to make sure it is all hot. Smooth the top back down and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of the fried onions on top.
Put it back in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 2-3 minutes until the onions are golden brown. Then take the it out and serve.
Pick a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray, then add the bean mixture.
Bake it in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Then pull it out and stir it and make sure the middle is hot.
I have found that if my oven is cooking a bunch of things at once like macaroni and cheese, rolls and cornbread dressing then it can take longer to cook everything. So check to make sure the casserole is cooked through and hot in the middle.
Sprinkle the rest of the fried onions on the top. Put it back in the oven and cook it for another 5 minute until onions are brown and crispy.
Make Ahead Directions
You can make this side ahead of time by putting the bean mixture together and keeping it in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it. Store it in the dish you plan to bake it in or a separate bowl.
Since it will be cold it will take a little longer to cook. Cook it for 15 minutes in the air fryer or 35 minutes in the oven if it is coming from the refrigerator.
If you want to change things up from the classic recipe try some of these fun versions.
- Crumble up some cooked slices bacon and sprinkle it on top with the onions.
- Cheese lovers can add some of their favorite cheese to the bean mixture and then sprinkle additional cheese on top.
- Use a different condensed soup like cream of asparagus, cream of celery or cheddar cheese soup.
- Use almonds instead of fried onions for the topping.
History of Campbells Green Bean Casserole
Wondering where Campbells original recipe came from? It was invented by Dorcas Reilly, who was a chef with Campbell Test Kitchen in the 1950s.
It was developed as an everyday side dish, but became popular as a Thanksgiving side in the 1960s. Check out this article for more fun green bean casserole facts.
Yes, but it will freeze better without the onions on top. If you freeze it with the onions they will not be crisp when it is reheated. If they are already on top I recommend stirring them in or scraping them off, then putting it in an airtight container and freezing for up to 3 months.
To reheat it thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Bake it, covered, at 350 F for 20 minutes, then take it out, stir it and bake it uncovered 10 more minutes or until the middle is hot. Then add more onions on top and cook it another 5 minutes to brown the onions.
Four cups of green beans is equivalent to two cans.
Yes, frozen green beans can be used with or without thawing. Fresh green beans should be cooked in boiling water for about 2 minutes before using.
Find more Thanksgiving Recipes
- Crockpot Cornbread Stuffing
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Find lots more Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas
- 1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom soup (10.5 ounces)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoons soy sauce
- 4 cups cut green beans (2 cans green beans, one 16 ounce package frozen green beans or 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans)
- 1 1/3 cup crispy French fried onions, divided
- pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- If using fresh green beans clean them, cut them and blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. If using canned green beans drain them in a colander.
- Mix the soup and milk together in a bowl. Stir it so it is smooth and all the lumps are gone. Then stir in the soy sauce.
- Stir in the green beans and 2/3 of a cup of the onions (about half). Add pepper to taste and mix everything well.
- Cook In the Air Fryer: Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Stir the casserole, then sprinkle the remaining onions on top and cook for 2 more minutes to brown them.
- Cook In the Oven: Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Stir, then sprinkle the remaining onions on top and bake for 5 more minutes until they are golden brown.
The ingredients for this recipe include a lot of sodium, so it shouldn't need extra salt. You can use unsalted cream of mushroom soup and reduced sodium soy sauce if you prefer, but it probably still won't need salt.
If you are cooking a lot of things in the oven at once, like a turkey, stuffing, rolls and so on, it might take longer to cook the casserole. Make sure the middle is hot before serving it.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 727mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 6g
Nutrition facts are estimates.