Smothered Bacon Green Bean Casserole — Homemade green bean casserole is made even better with the addition of BACON and CHEESE! Fresh green beans are smothered in a savory mushroom sauce before being topped with cheese, crumbled bacon, and fried onions. A truly decadent, cheesy casserole that’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or when you’re craving a comfort food side dish – and no canned or condensed soups in sight!
Table of Contents
- Green Bean Casserole with Cheese and Bacon
- Love Green Beans?
- Ingredients You’ll Need for Bacon Green Bean Casserole
- How to Prepare Fresh Green Beans for Green Bean Casserole
- How to Make Cheesy Bacon Green Bean Casserole
- Bacon Cooking Shortcut
- Make-Ahead Instructions for Green Bean Casserole
- Tips for Making Green Bean Casserole with Bacon
- Recipe FAQs for the Best Bacon Green Bean Casserole
- What Goes With Green Bean Casserole?
- Storage and Reheating Instructions
- Smothered Bacon Green Bean Casserole Recipe
- More Easy Vegetable Side Dish Recipes:
Green Bean Casserole with Cheese and Bacon
If you’re still making green bean casserole with canned beans and condensed cream of mushroom soup, it’s time you made a batch from scratch using all fresh ingredients! That’s right, no canned or condensed soups in sight in this homemade scratch recipe.
Homemade green bean casserole takes more time to prepare than using all canned goods, but it’s worth the extra effort, I promise!
Crisp-tender green beans, a creamy mushroom sauce, gooey cheese, and crispy fried onions on top.
Still not convinced this casserole is worth making from scratch? What if I told you this version is made with bacon!
That’s right, this is similar to your favorite green bean casserole recipe but with crumbled bacon thrown in for an extra dose of savory, salty flavor.
This cheesy bacon green bean casserole can be prepared in advance and then baked the day you plan on serving it. The last time I served this casserole, I forgot to tell my family I’d added bacon to it and I’ve never seen bigger smiles when they discovered the surprise!
Keep this smothered green bean casserole recipe on rotation this holiday season — it’s so good you’ll never have to worry about ‘what to do with all those leftovers’.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Bacon Green Bean Casserole
Making cheesy green bean bacon casserole is a cinch and each ingredient is easy to find – if you don’t already have them on hand in your refrigerator or pantry anyway during the holiday season!
Gather the following:
- Green beans
- Unsalted butter
- Mushrooms (white, cremini, baby portobello) – If you have some mushroom haters in your life, but still want to make this recipe, you can. Read the FAQs below where I address how to do it!
- Garlic cloves
- All-purpose flour
- Reduced sodium chicken broth
- Whole milk
- Lite soy sauce
- Black pepper
- Mozzarella cheese
- French’s Crispy Fried Onions or similar French-fried onions
- Cooked bacon
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
What Kind Of Green Beans are Best for Green Bean Casserole?
- Without a doubt, this is the time to pick up some fresh green beans. Generally they’re easy to find, inexpensive, and abundant before the holidays so I strongly recommend using fresh green beans.
- As a compromise, you can use frozen green beans that you thaw and drain well if you aren’t going to use fresh.
- However, I draw the line and cannot suggest canned green beans for this holiday casserole. Apart from their less-than-appealing color, the mushy factor would not be desirable this baked casserole as they would turn even mushier upon baking.
How to Prepare Fresh Green Beans for Green Bean Casserole
When making cheesy green bean casserole with fresh green beans, you must blanch them. Blanching means to partially cook them in boiling water and then submerge them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Blanching the green beans before adding them to the casserole ensures:
- they’ll cook through all the way once they’re in the oven.
- they’ll maintain their vibrant green color even after being smothered in bacon and mushroom sauce and baked.
To prepare green beans for green bean casserole:
- Wash and dry the green beans, then trim the ends. You can halve them as well, if desired.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water boils, fill a large mixing bowl ¾ full with cold tap water and top it off with ice cubes.
- Add the green beans to the pot of boiling water and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to blanch.
- Scoop out the green beans using a sieve or a slotted spoon.
- Immediately transfer to the ice bath and let sit for 1 minute before draining.
Writing about it makes it sound like a bigger “production” than it really is. Just drop them in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, and then into an ice bath. Same concept as hard-boiling eggs.
How to Make Cheesy Bacon Green Bean Casserole
After blanching the green beans as instructed in the section above, you can assemble the rest of the casserole. The total time for this recipe is about 45 minutes from start to finish, including blanching the beans.
Step 1: Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook on both sides until lightly browned, then add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Step 2: Move the mushrooms to the perimeter, add the flour to the pan, and cook for 1 minute over medium heat to remove the raw flour taste.
Step 3: Add the broth, soy sauce, milk, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the sauce thickens up slightly.
Step 4: Stir in the mozzarella cheese.
Step 5: Add the green beans to a 2-quart baking dish. Spoon the mushroom sauce over top, then sprinkle the green bean mixture with more cheese, the cooked and crumbled bacon, and the fried onions.
Step 6: Bake at 425ºF until the edges of the casserole are bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
Bacon Cooking Shortcut
If you’re making this for a special holiday meal and time and energy are in short supply, there are plenty of fully cooked real bacon options that exist today. Meaning, you just open a package of Hormel Naturals Uncured Fully Cooked Bacon, Hardwood Smoked Fully Cooked Bacon, or another favorite brand, place it on a microwave-safe plate, cover with paper towels and in about 90 seconds it’s ready.
With far less bacon grease to contend with than if you were cooking it from scratch because all of that was largely cooked out beforehand – no bacon drippings this way.
I like to use this type of bacon when I’m adding it into a recipe and don’t have time or desire for a big bacon cooking production. Truly the best shortcut!
Make-Ahead Instructions for Green Bean Casserole
To reduce the amount of prep time you spend in the kitchen when guests are over or about to come over, I highly suggest preparing this bacon green bean casserole ahead of time and storing it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it.
The entire casserole can be assembled up to the point of baking it up to 24 hours in advance.
Set it on your counter for about 20-30 minutes prior to baking it so you’re not putting a fridge-cold casserole dish straight into the oven which will increase baking time significantly.
Note that the green beans can be trimmed and blanched up to 3 days before assembling the entire casserole too. So if you just want to prepare an element of this recipe in advance, that’s an option too.
Tips for Making Green Bean Casserole with Bacon
Fresh green beans are best! Canned green beans are far too mushy for this recipe. Frozen green beans would work for this recipe, and you can skip the blanching step since they would have been blanched before being frozen. Let frozen green beans thaw overnight in the fridge and drain off the excess moisture before adding to the casserole. But again, fresh is preferred for this special holiday side dish.
Blanch the green beans for best results. Blanching the green beans keeps them green in color after being baked and also ensures they cook fully in the oven.
Cook the flour for 1 minute. After adding the flour to the skillet, it needs to be cooked for a full minute to remove the raw flour flavor. If you add the remaining sauce ingredients to the skillet without cooking the flour, your finished casserole will taste weirdly like paste — no, thanks!
Use another cheese, if desired. I love using mozzarella in this recipe since its mild flavor doesn’t compete with the savory mushroom sauce or salty bacon. However, white, regular cheddar cheese, or sharp cheddar cheese can be used as well.
Recipe FAQs for the Best Bacon Green Bean Casserole
No, this recipe won’t work with canned green beans. They’re far too soft and will create a soggy, soupy casserole that no one will want to eat!
American grocery stores are ripe with canister of French’s Crispy Fried Onions before Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’re super crispy, crunchy fried onions that have been seasoned, salted, and are simply a traditional topping or ‘garnish’ that Americans put on top of our green bean casseroles.
There are also competitors to French’s but they are always my go-to despite seeing other brands, and Trader Joe’s even sells their own this time of year. I’ve also seen Jalapeno Crispy Fried Onions and other more exotic or spicier flavors – which is fine if you’re up for it!
While you can fry your own onions to an extremely crispy state, it’s more work than I am usually looking for. The scent old grease and fried onions for lingering two days in my small kitchen isn’t in my plans but go for it if you can handle it!
Rather than actually fry onions though, I would consider the panko breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese crunchy topping I use in my Traditional Green Bean Casserole instead. Serves the purpose to add some crunch but doesn’t involve as much work or grease.
If you’re not a mushroom fan and want to make this green bean casserole sans mushrooms, that’s fine. It won’t be quite as ‘smothered’ of a green bean casserole but will still be just fine.
Simply omit them; however, you’ll still want to melt butter, add the garlic, add flour to make a roux, add the milk and soy sauce, salt, pepper, and half the cheese to make the melted cheese sauce. You’ll want to keep all of that the same so that you have the cheese sauce to pour over the green beans before topping the the fried onions, more cheese, and baking.
You can use any kind of bacon you like in this recipe. I would be careful though not to use a very strongly flavored bacon like applewood or heavily smoked bacon.
I used regular pork bacon for this casserole, but I imagine turkey bacon would work as well if your family doesn’t eat pork.
Make sure to cook and crumble the bacon before topping the casserole with it. To save yourself some time, buy pre-cooked bacon strips at the grocery store and then quickly nuke the slices bacon in the microwave to crisp them up like I mentioned in the bacon shortcut tip above.
Of course! If you want a bacon-free green bean casserole, I recommend making my traditional green bean casserole recipe instead.
Or, swap out the bacon with ham (cubed or deli sliced), chicken, or turkey. In this sense, if you have leftover holiday ham, turkey, turkey breast, or chicken, it’s the perfect way to use it up!
Follow my slow cooker green bean casserole recipe instead of this one if you want to bust out your Crockpot. That recipe also includes bacon but has been tested specifically for the Crockpot.
If your green bean bacon casserole is soggy or mushy, likely it that means you didn’t cook the mushroom sauce for long enough. You need to let the sauce simmer for a few minutes on the stove after adding in the flour to thicken it up.
The other options may mean that you used frozen green beans (or canned) and they weren’t properly drained or water leached out during the baking process. Or potentially you just needed to bake the casserole another 5 minutes or so.
What Goes With Green Bean Casserole?
- Creamed Corn Casserole
- Cauliflower Gratin
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping
- Classic Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole
- Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Classic Mashed Potatoes
- Perfect Gravy
- Mushroom Gravy
- The Best Traditional Stuffing
- Slow Cooker Sausage Stuffing
- Easy Stovetop Stuffing
- Cheesy Funeral Potatoes
- Candied Yams
- Red Wine Cranberry Sauce
- Apple Cranberry Sauce
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Foolproof Oven Roasted Turkey
- Honey Baked Ham
- Orange Pineapple Glazed Ham
- Glazed Pork Loin Roast
- Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin
Storage and Reheating Instructions
If you wind up with leftovers (unlikely!), store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
The casserole techincally can also be frozen for up to 3 months, but this isn’t really ideal. The topping will be soft and not crispy and the frozen-to-thawed green beans will be mushy. Not for me.
To reheat green bean casserole, I prefer warming smaller portions in the microwave at 30-second intervals. Larger portions can be transferred to a baking dish, covered with foil, and baked at 350ºF until hot. Be careful not to overcook it.
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Smothered Bacon Green Bean Casserole
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and halved if desired
- Ice + water
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms, brown button, cremini, or baby portobello may be substituted
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup whole milk, half-and-half may be substituted; 2% or skim milk not recommended
- 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ¾ cup French fried onions
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 425F and spray a large 2 to 3-quart casserole dish (a 9×9 or 9×13-inch pan may be used) with cooking spray; set aside.
- Blanching the Green Beans – Fill up a medium to large stockpot (big enough to hold the green beans) so that it has about 1 inch of water in it and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the beans, cover with a lid, turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer for about 4 minutes to blanch the green beans. Tip – Prep your ice bath now while the beans are blanching by adding about 3 or 4 cups of ice cubes to about 3 cups water in a large bowl.
- After blanching the beans, using a kitchen tongs or slotted spoon, remove the blanched beans from the boiling water and add them to the ice bath; let sit while you make the mushroom sauce.
- Mushroom Sauce – To a large skillet, add the butter, and heat over medium-high heat to melt.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes; stir and flip nearly continuously.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute; stir continuously.
- Using a rubber tipped spatula, move the mushrooms to the perimeter of the skillet, leaving an open 'hole' or area where you can now sprinkle the flour.
- Roux – (Making a roux means you are cooking flour with butter, which later thickens the sauce). After sprinkling the flour, allow it to. mix with the butter in the bottom of the skillet, and stir it a bit so it forms a clumpy paste. Allow it to cook for 1 minute, or until light tan in color and thickened.
- Stir the roux and mushrooms together.
- Add 1/2 cup cheese, and stir to combine until melted.
- Assembly – Remove the beans from the ice bath and evenly place them in the prepared baking dish. If desired, you can quickly blot them off once they're in baking dish with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.
- Evenly pour the mushroom cheese sauce over the green beans.
- Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
- Evenly scatter the French's Crispy Fried Onions (or a similar product).
- Evenly top with the cooked and crumbled bacon. Bacon Tips – If you’re making this for a special holiday meal and time and energy are in short supply, I recommend fully cooked real bacon strips. So just open a package of Hormel Naturals Uncured Fully Cooked Bacon, Hardwood Smoked Fully Cooked Bacon, or another favorite brand, place it on a microwave-safe plate, cover with paper towels and in about 90 seconds it’s ready to chop and sprinkle.
- Baking – Bake the casserole uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted, and the fried onions and bacon looks a bit more crisped.
- Serving and Storage – Serve immediately or at room temp. Extra casserole will keep airight in the fridge for up to 5 days, reheat gently in the microwave, noting you will not likely achieve the crispy top again with any leftovers and reheating. I don't recommend freezing this recipe as the crispy fried onions will turn soggy upon freezing/thawing and the green beans will take on a mushy texture.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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