Can You Make Green Bean Casserole Ahead Of Time?

Refrigerate? Yes. Freeze? Not so much.

It is a sure bet that green bean casseroles will be on dinner tables across the South this holiday season. As each hostess makes her potluck sign-up sheet, she will have two or three entries for this dish.

Whether it is made using canned, convenience products or straight from scratch, the green bean casserole is always one of the most popular casseroles at the party. It is also one of the easiest to prepare and, to make it even more attractive, it can be made in advance.

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
Caitlin Bensel/Southern Living

How to Prepare a Green Bean Casserole in Advance

If you want to get a jump start on holiday cooking and make this dish a day ahead:

  1. Assemble the casserole, but leave the fried onions off the top.
  2. Cover with foil, and refrigerate.
  3. When you're ready to cook it, set the baking dish out as you preheat your oven.
  4. Then, remove the foil, and add the remaining onions before baking according to recipe instructions.

How to Mix Up the Classic Casserole

Playing around with a favorite holiday dish can be almost dangerous in some families, but it can also be fun to tweak a classic.

For starters, skip the canned green beans, and choose frozen. Blanched and flash-frozen usually within a few hours of picking, frozen green beans retain their peak-season flavor and don't require any additional cooking before going into the casserole. You do need to thaw the frozen green beans and drain them before adding to the casserole, however, or else their excess moisture may thin the sauce.

If you want to change up your routine but don't want to venture off course to far, this made from scratch Old-School Green Bean Casserole is a tasty nod to the classic recipe. With frozen French-cut green beans, a homemade mushroom cream sauce, and crispy fried shallots, you may never go back to the canned version. Parmesan cheese adds some depth to the sauce, while water chestnuts lends a crunchy texture to the bean mixture.

Like the classic, this recipe can be made ahead of time. Prepare as instructed, but wait to add the toppings until you are ready to bake and serve.

If you don't like fried onions, opt for Japanese panko bread crumbs. Their crispiness mimics the onions without the strong flavor. You can also crush up some round butter crackers, toss them in butter, and toast them on top of the casserole just before serving.

Can You Freeze Green Bean Casserole?

So, by now you get it—it is perfectly fine to make a green bean casserole in advance of your dinner. Freezing one, however is another matter. Whether you make it from scratch or use canned soup, the sauce will likely break, separate, and be a watery mess. You wouldn't want that to happen to a casserole you serve at a party.

Who Invented the Green Bean Casserole?

The classic Green Bean Casserole using canned mushroom soup and canned beans was developed in 1955 by Campbell Test Kitchen Manager Dorcas Reilly. Yes, it has been around that long. With just six (or less, depending on which recipe you follow) ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time, this recipe has been a holiday favorite for over 60 years.

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