Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions

If I’m the one preparing an entire holiday meal, I really limit the number of fancy, time-consuming side dishes. Entertaining is supposed to be about the people, and I like to be able to enjoy my company – not be frenzied in the kitchen, or ready to pass out when they arrive.

If I’m serving roast turkey, it’s usually accompanied by creamy (and very simple) buttermilk-mashed potatoes, a savoury bread stuffing, and just one vegetable dish (plus gravy and cranberry sauce). However, this green bean casserole with crispy onions is one multi-step dish that almost always makes the cut. I could eat it on its own as a meal. Bubbly, creamy and topped with crispy golden fried onions, it’s one of my favourites at the holiday table.

My version is from scratch – nary a canned soup nor a French’s onion in sight. It just tastes so much better to do it right.

The recipe has a few components – you start by frying flour-coated onion slices until crisp and golden. Then you make a buttery béchamel sauce, and blanch the green beans in boiling water.  You can assemble the casserole a day in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake (it’ll probably take a bit longer to heat through).  Just store the crispy onions in a paper bag at room temperature so they don’t go soggy.

I served this at my own Thanksgiving dinner (it’s in October in Canada!), which is why there’s only one photo! My hungry friends were very patient with me.

Have a great weekend! 🙂


For topping:

  • Peanut or canola oil, for frying
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • salt
  • 2 lbs green beans, trimmed
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


To make topping:

  1. Heat 1/2″ oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat (you’ll know it’s ready when you slide a test onion into the oil and it bubbles up vigorously). Toss onion with flour and, using a slotted spoon, slide half of them into the hot oil (always slide, never drop things into the oil). Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, watching closely. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle immediately with salt. Repeat with remaining onions.

  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 1 1/2 litre/quart baking dish and set aside.

  3. Cook the green beans until crisp-tender in a pot of salted boiling water, about 6 minutes. Plunge in an ice bath (big bowl of ice and water) to stop the cooking.

  4. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes (reduce heat if browning occurs). Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly whisk in milk. Simmer 5-10 minutes, until mixture thickens. Whisk in sour cream, and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Drain beans and transfer to prepared baking dish; add sauce and stir to combine. Bake 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Top with crispy onions and bake 5 minutes more.

Last Updated on November 7, 2014 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Join the Foodess Tribe

Be the first to get new recipes and science-based cooking and baking tips straight to your inbox for free

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x