Cheesy Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole — Fresh green beans are cooked with bacon and a THREE CHEESE sauce in the slow cooker to free up valuable oven space! NO CANNED SOUP nor processed sauces here. An EASY comfort food side dish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, parties, and events!
Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Green bean casserole is always a family favorite over the holidays, and people who like the classic version are going to adore this cheesy version!
And do I ever mean cheesy since there are three types of cheeses, including Colby Jack, cheddar, and Parmesan in this casserole.
The green beans are tender without being mushy, the bacon adds depth of flavor you just can’t help but love, and the cheese lovers among us will adore the cheese sauce that smothers it all.
There’s also a creaminess to the dish thanks to sour cream while fried onions garnish and finish off the dish with the perfect amount of crispiness and light crunch.
Whether you’re making this side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, family get-togethers, or a special event, it’s so nice that the cheesy green bean casserole cooks in your slow cooker to free up valuable oven space.
Served alongside Easy Foolproof Roasted Turkey or Slow Cooker Pork Loin (recipe coming in December), this is an easy holiday side dish that will make everyone gobble up their green beans!
Ingredients in Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole with Cheese
For this family-favorite comfort food casserole, you’ll need the following common fridge and pantry ingredients:
- Green beans
- Ice water bath
- Yellow onion
- All-purpose flour (or arrowroot powder/starch – more on this below)
- Chicken broth
- 2% or whole milk
- Shredded Colby Jack cheese
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Heavy cream
- Smoked paprika or regular paprika
- Dried thyme
- Cooked bacon
- Crispy fried onions
How to Make Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
To make this Crockpot green bean casserole, you’ll need to start off by doing some things first on the stove.
First, blanch the fresh green beans in a large stockpot of boiling water for four minutes and then submerge them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process and set it aside,
To a large skillet, add the butter to melt it. Then add the onion and sauté until it’s translucent before adding the garlic and sautéing it for another minute.
Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir constantly for one more minute to make sure the flour is cooked properly before moving on.
Next add the broth and milk.
And the three glorious shredded cheeses and stir until all the cheese melts.
Add the heavy cream, spices, salt and pepper, and half the bacon.
Place the green beans in your slow cooker, add the cheese sauce, stir to combine, cover, and cook for either 1 hour on high or 2 hours on low.
Before serving, sprinkle the other half of the bacon.
And then toast up the fried onions in a dry skillet for a few minutes and then sprinkle them over the finished green bean casserole.
Do You Have to Use Fresh Green Beans?
Fresh green beans are usually readily available in American supermarkets before Thanksgiving, and generally are very accessible year-round.
I suggest using fresh green beans. They have a flavor, texture, and color that you just can’t get otherwise.
However, the second best option are frozen green beans. Thaw and drain them before using them. You can skip the blanching step if you’re using frozen.
I don’t like canned green beans so for me personally, this is a no since they will only continue to get mushier as they slow cook for another hour or two. Not to mention, the color is just not appetizing in my opinion.
What Size Slow Cooker Should I Use?
I used a basic 7-quart slow cooker. You can use in the 6 to 8 quart range. I wouldn’t go smaller than 6 quarts though.
Can You Double This Recipe?
Yes, you can but use a bigger slow cooker, in the 10 quart range is my recommendation. The cooking time should be approximately the same, but of course, the first time you make it keep an eye on it.
Can I Use This Recipe to Make Regular Green Bean Casserole?
I know that not everyone wants or uses their slow cooker all that much. For those of you who want to make a classic green bean casserole in the oven, and not in a slow cooker, have I got the recipe for you!
It’ll be live November 15, 2021, and it’s a recipe for Classic Green Bean Casserole without processed ingredients, no canned soups, and an updated spin on classic green bean casserole.
And guess what, it’s easy to make and a total family-favorite comfort food side dish. Check back here in 10 days for the recipe!
What Kind Of Cheese Is Best?
For all your cheese lovers like me, you’re going to be in cheesy casserole heaven with the three different cheeses used:
- Colby Jack*
*In place of the Colby Jack, if you want to make your cheese sauce more stringy like you’d find on the top of a pizza, use mozzarella.
I wouldn’t deviate too much from those cheeses. They’re easy to find shredded, not too expensive, and guaranteed to give your homemade cheese sauce the perfect texture and consistency.
Can Green Bean Casserole Be Made Gluten-Free?
For those who are gluten-free, you can easily make slow cooker green bean casserole gluten-free!
Simply substitute 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or starch in place of the 4 tablespoons, or 1/4 cup, of all-purpose flour. It’s naturally gluten-free and lower carb. The arrowroot will thicken faster than all-purpose flour does.
When the butter and onions are sautéed add your milk and broth in small amounts as you whisk and stir, and sprinkle in the arrowroot to thicken as needed.
For the crispy fried onions, you can make them yourself, or buy gluten-free fried onions.
Can You Make Green Bean Casserole Ahead of Time?
If you want to make this ahead of time in your slow cooker at home, and then bring it to an event, go for it!
Friends-giving type of Thanksgiving celebrations or potluck-style gatherings are increasingly popular and if you’re chosen for the role of bringing the green bean casserole, you can make it at home, no stress, no pressure.
Then, you can literally just unplug your Crockpot, put it in your car, and plug it in at your friend or family member’s home or just serve it right away directly from the slow cooker.
Obviously, use caution when transporting the Crock-Pot since it will be hot!
How to Store Green Bean Casserole
Extra slow cooker green bean casserole will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheat gently in the microwave or you could warm it in a low oven if you have extra time. Note that the onions won’t stay crisp on the leftovers.
Tips for the Best Green Bean Casserole
In classic green bean casserole, the crispy fried onions get lightly toasted in the oven.
However, since this is a slow cooker green bean casserole recipe, I toasted the French’s Crispy Fried Onions first in a dry skillet for a couple of minutes. Then, sprinkle them on shortly before serving so they don’t get soggy.
Major tip, friends, do not place the lid back on the slow cooker or the crispy fried onions will get soggy from the moisture and condensation that will accumulate on the underside of the lid. It can then can drip down onto the onions and make them mushy.
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Cheesy Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
Fresh green beans are cooked with bacon and a THREE CHEESE sauce in the slow cooker to free up valuable oven space! NO CANNED SOUP nor processed sauces here. An EASY comfort food side dish that's perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, parties, and events!
- 2 ½ pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed* (See Notes)
- Ice water bath
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, diced small
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (or arrowroot powder/starch, See Notes**)
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
- ½ cup 2% or whole milk
- 1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
- ½ dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme)
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 pound bacon, cooked and diced into 1/2-inch pieces; divided
- 2 cups crispy fried onions
- Blanch the green beans by adding them to a large stockpot of water that has already been brought to a boil over high heat. Cook for 4 minutes.
- Have a large bowl of water with ice cubes waiting.
- After 4 minutes, using a slotted spoon remove the green beans and immediately submerge them in the ice water bath to stop the cooking process; set aside.
- To a large skillet, add the butter and heat over medium-high heat to melt it.
- Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes; stir frequently.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir constantly.
- Evenly sprinkle the flour, and cook for 1 minute; stir constantly.
- While whisking constantly, add the broth, milk, and keep whisking until it begins to thicken, a couple minutes.
- Add the three cheeses, heavy cream, smoked paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, and stir continuously until the cheese melts and you have a nice smooth cheese sauce.
- Stir in half the bacon (reserve the remainder); set mixture aside.
- To your 7-quart slow cooker or similarly sized, add the green beans from the ice water bath, then pour the cheese sauce over the top, and stir to combine.
- Cover with the lid and cook on low for 2 hours or high for 1 hour.
- About 5 to 10 minutes before the green beans are done cooking, to a large skillet, add the crispy fried onions and toast them for about 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat until lightly browned; toss and stir frequently.
- Evenly sprinkle them over the top of the cooked green beans along with the remaining bacon. Tip - Do not place the lid back on the slow cooker or the crispy fried onions will get soggy.
- Serve immediately*** (See Notes). Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days noting the onions will not stay crispy; reheat gently in the microwave or oven if you have time.
*Fresh green beans are usually readily available in American supermarkets before Thanksgiving, and generally year-round very accessible. I suggest using fresh green beans. They have a flavor, texture, and color that you just can’t get otherwise. However, the second best option are frozen green beans. Thaw and drain them before using them. I don’t like canned green beans so for me personally, this is a no since they will only continue to get mushier as they slow cook for another hour or two. Not to mention, the color is just not appetizing.
**For those who are gluten-free, you can easily make slow cooker green bean casserole gluten-free! Simply substitute 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or starch in place of the 4 tablespoons, or 1/4 cup, of all-purpose flour. It’s naturally gluten-free and lower carb. The arrowroot will thicken faster than all-purpose flour does.1 ½ cup When the butter and onions are sautéed add your milk and broth in small amounts as you whisk and stir, and sprinkle in the arrowroot to thicken as needed. For the crispy fried onions, you can make them yourself, or buy gluten-free fried onions.
***If you'd like to make this in advance and bring it to an event, make it as written. Then, you can literally just unplug your Crock-Pot, put it in your car, and plug it in at your friend or family member’s home or just serve it right away directly from the slow cooker. Obviously use caution when transporting the Crock-Pot since it will be hot!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 504Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 1360mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 25g
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This does sound good and was thinking about making it for Thanksgiving. I do need to make it gluten-free for a couple family members. I want to mention your link to gluten-free fried onions is not correct, it does not lead to a gluten=free product. They’re regular fried onions, not gluten-free. Oh well, I’ll find them. Thanks for the recipe.