Crockpot Green Bean Casserole {From Scratch!} – WellPlated.com


This Crockpot Green Bean Casserole is everything that a green bean casserole can and should be (creamy, appropriately al dente, with a from-scratch flavor and addictively crunchy top) and exactly nothing that it shouldn’t be (mushy, overcooked to the point of destruction, bland). A legitimately tasty version of a time-honored side made easy in the slow cooker, this is the green bean casserole we all need!

A baking dish of crockpot green bean casserole

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I came to green bean casserole late in life.

After years of wondering how it became a seemingly obligatory part of Thanksgiving (why waste space on an overcooked casserole when you can pack in the Cornbread Stuffing, Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole, Brussels Sprouts Casserole, or any of these Thanksgiving recipes instead?), I finally decided to cook it myself and see if I could come up with a green bean casserole that merited its spot on the plate.

Guess what? I BELIEVE.

This Healthy Green Bean Casserole showed me the possibilities and is now mandatory in my personal Thanksgiving line up.

Today’s recipe is a slow cooker adaptation. I made a few tasty tweaks based on your feedback (like turning it into a crockpot green bean casserole with cheddar cheese—so good!) and streamlined the prep process so that you don’t have to blanch the green beans in advance.

Outsourcing side dishes to the slow cooker is a pro holiday move. No matter the size of the gathering, we always run out of space in the oven and the slow cooker is a brilliant solution!

Look to recipes like these Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes, this Crock Pot Stuffing, or this gluten free Crockpot Wild Rice Stuffing to free up your oven.

Plus, the inherent make-ahead nature of the crock pot will make the day of less stressful too.

A slow cooker with vegetables

How to Make The Best Crockpot Green Bean Casserole

This green bean casserole breaks down into three key parts: the green beans, the creamy gravy, and the topping. Let’s explore.


Part 1: The Green Beans

When it comes to the green beans for green bean casserole, you have three choices: fresh, frozen, or canned.

  • Fresh Green Beans. THE ONE YOU WANT. Fresh green beans are far less likely to overcook even after hours in the crockpot and have a crisp, delicious flavor. Trimming fresh green beans is quite possibly my least favorite kitchen task, and I am telling you, it is worth doing for fresh green bean casserole.
  • Frozen, Cut Green Beans. The next best option. If you’d like to save some time, you can purchase a bag of frozen, cut green beans. Steam them according to the package instructions and pat them very dry before adding them to the slow cooker. They will be a little mushy, but certainly not inedible.
  • Canned Green Beans. AVOID. Canned green beans will make your casserole mushy and inflict a metallic, stale flavor. If you haven’t liked green bean casserole in the past, the recipe likely used canned green beans.
Chopped mushrooms on a plate

While some crockpot fresh green bean casseroles call for blanching the green beans before adding them to the slow cooker, to me this took away the slow cooker’s ease.

After some playing around, I found by cutting the green beans into 1-inch pieces, I could cook them directly in the slow cooker without steaming or blanching. The green beans softened nicely, and we didn’t have any problems with hard pieces.

Crockpot green bean casserole

Part 2: The Creamy Mushroom Filling

Here, you have two options: canned cream of mushroom soup (like the Campbell’s crockpot green bean casserole recipe), or an easy homemade mushroom filling.

As with trimming green beans, making the creamy sauce for green bean casserole from scratch is 100% worth it!

This mushroom filling is easy, lusicious, and anything but bland.

  • To keep this a healthy crockpot green bean casserole, I skipped the cream/half-and-half and used regular milk. The filling was still tasted rich and just the right amount of decadent.
  • A splash of sherry vinegar and a touch of nutmeg make this filling shine. I had a hard time stopping myself from eating it right out of the pan!
  • I took a note from some classic Midwest versions of this recipe and your comments and stirred cheddar cheese into the green bean casserole at the end. DELISH.

Substitution Tip!

We made this crockpot green bean casserole with cheddar cheese. The flavor was elevated, but still all-American. For a gourmet twist, gruyere would be another incredible option.

A slow cooker with vegetables

Part 3: The Topping

While I’m proud about making these crock pot green beans from scratch, there was one store-bought ingredient that my taste testers actually preferred: the canned French fried onions.

I skipped stirring the onions into the casserole and used sauteed fresh onions in the filling instead, but for the topping, the salty, crispy crunch hit the spot.

A baking dish of crockpot green bean casserole

The Directions

Green beans in a slow cooker
  1. Trim and cut the green beans. Add them to a slow cooker. 6-quart is best to ensure even cooking.
Mushrooms and onions in a skillet
  1. Sauté the onion and mushrooms in butter.
Mushrooms and flour being stirred in a skillet
  1. Stir in the flour, and cook for a couple minutes.
Creamy mushrooms in a skillet
  1. Pour in the milk slowly, stirring constantly. Add the spices. Cook and stir until bubbly. Add the vinegar.
Creamy mushrooms over green beans
  1. Pour the sauce over the beans.
Crockpot green bean casserole with mushrooms
  1. Stir to coat. Cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours. Just before serving, add the cheese.
  2. Top with crispy onions. DIG IN!
Green bean casserole in a crockpot

Substitutions for Friend Onions

Now, if the French’s fried onions are not your thing, there are other choices.

  • Panko Breadcrumbs. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet. Add 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs and stir to coat. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle on just before serving (you also can make the breadcrumbs up to 1 day in advance; store at room temperature).
  • Fresh Breadcrumbs. Follow the steps above but swap fresh breadcrumbs for the Panko. To make fresh breadcrumbs, tear 4 slices of sandwich bread (or better yet, leftover artisan bread, such as sourdough or a baguette) into pieces and pulse in the food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Homemade Fried Onions. Soak 4 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions in 2 ½ cups buttermilk for about 10 minutes. Mix all-purpose flour, salt, and pepper together in a shallow dish or pie plate. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot on the stovetop until it reaches 375 degrees F. Working in small amounts, dredge the onions in the flour mixture, then drop them into the oil. Once golden, remove the onions from the oil, and let them dry on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Fried Shallots. Follow the steps above, swapping a thinly sliced shallot for the yellow onion.
  • Bacon. A sure crowd pleaser! Make this Oven Baked Bacon, then crumble the pieces over the casserole at the end. You also can do a crockpot green bean casserole with bacon in combination with any of the above suggested toppings. If using the Panko or breadcrumb option, consider frying the bacon instead, then sautéing the breadcrumbs in the drippings (YUM).

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate the casserole in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze green bean casserole in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. The crispy onions will become soggy (if using), but the casserole will still taste delicious. 

Make Ahead Tips

Prepare the mushroom sauce up to 1 day in advance, and place it in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator. Trim and cut the green beans up to 2 days in advance, and store them in a separate container in the refrigerator. 

You can also add the trimmed and cut green beans to a slow cooker, and stir them together with the mushroom sauce. Cover and refrigerate the slow cooker for up to 1 day, then finish the recipe as directed.

Crockpot green bean casserole with fried onions

Leftover Ideas

Turn leftover green bean casserole into a hearty main dish by stirring in some turkey, ham, or other protein of choice before reheating.

What to Serve with Green Bean Casserole

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Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Slow Cooker. This one switches to “warm” to deter overcooking.
  • Saucepan. You’ll use this kitchen tool on repeat.
  • Measuring Spoons. Since these are double-sided, you’ll have less to wash.

The Best Slow Cooker

I have used this kitchen appliance for everything from soups to casseroles to desserts. It’s ideal for hands-free cooking!

A baking dish of crockpot green bean casserole

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

FOR THE CASSEROLE:

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 16 ounces baby bella mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk a lower fat milk may curdle, so swap at your own risk; for more decadence, use part half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or gruyere cheese*

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 1 ½ cups fried onions store bought or homemade; to make your own, see blog post above; about 3 ounces

  • Trim the green beans and cut into 1-inch pieces (don’t be tempted to cut them larger than this, or your green beans will turn out too firm). Add them to a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker.

  • Melt the butter in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and golden and the mushrooms brown and have given up their liquid, about 12 minutes.

  • Sprinkle the flour over the top. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes more, until all of the flour turns golden and no white bits remain. The vegetables will seem dry.

  • Slowly add the milk a few splashes at a time, stirring between each addition to prevent lumps from forming. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook and stir, allowing the sauce to bubble gently, running a wooden spoon or rubber spatula along the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring for 6 minutes, then stir in the sherry vinegar. Cook 2 to 4 more minutes, until the sauce has thickened to resemble a creamy gravy. It should be clearly thicker than it was when you started, but still be loose enough to easily coat the green beans.

  • Pour the sauce over the green beans.

  • Stir to combine. Cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours, until the green beans are pleasantly tender but still have a bit of crispness (i.e. are done but not mushy). The amount of cook time you need will vary based upon your slow cooker and your preference for how al dente you like the green beans. I recommend checking at the 3-hour mark to gauge their progress. We like our green beans pretty crisp, so I only let ours cook a little beyond 3 hours. If at 3-hours you’d like your green beans more done, give the casserole a stir, recover, and keep cooking until they reach your desired texture.

  • Five minutes prior to serving, stir in the cheese. Recover, turn to WARM, and let cook 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

  • Immediately before serving, if desired, transfer the green beans and sauce to a serving dish. Sprinkle the fried onions over the top (if you will be serving right out of the slow cooker, remove the lid, then sprinkle the onions on top of the green beans in the slow cooker). Enjoy hot!

  • *I love either gruyere or cheddar here; gruyere is more intense and nutty and tastes classic with the nutmeg; cheddar is more “all-American”, so choose whichever one you and your family prefer.
  • TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare the mushroom sauce up to 1 day in advance, and place it in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator. Trim and cut the green beans up to 2 days in advance, and store them in a separate container in the refrigerator.
  • You can also add the trimmed and cut green beans to a slow cooker, and stir them together with the mushroom sauce. Cover and refrigerate the slow cooker for up to 1 day, then finish the recipe as directed.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate the casserole in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze green bean casserole in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. The crispy onions will become soggy, but the casserole will still taste delicious. 

Serving: 1(of 10)Calories: 199kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 8gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 23mgPotassium: 486mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 888IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 181mgIron: 1mg

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