10 Steps to Perfecting Your Thanksgiving Bean Casserole: A Unique Twist on a Classic


As Thanksgiving approaches, we gather to express gratitude and enjoy family-favorite recipes. The Thanksgiving bean casserole is one such classic side dish that offers versatility and always manages to impress. This guide will take you through the process of crafting a standout bean casserole that will become a highlight of your Thanksgiving feast.

Bean Casserole in Thanksgiving History

The bean casserole tradition during Thanksgiving traces back to the 1950s. Initially a smart promotional tactic by a soup canning company, it quickly became an indispensable part of the holiday meal. Its straightforward preparation and full-bodied flavors contribute to its continued appeal in American households.

Selecting Ideal Beans for Your Casserole

The choice of beans is crucial when making a memorable Thanksgiving bean casserole. Green beans are a conventional choice, providing a crunchy texture and mild taste that pairs well with other components. Adventurous cooks can also try butter beans, cannellini beans, or kidney beans for an unexpected twist.

Crafting a Luxurious Base

The heart of a successful bean casserole is a decadent, creamy base. This usually involves a roux of butter and flour, coupled with cream or milk. To deepen the flavor, consider incorporating sautéed onions, garlic, or bacon bits into your roux. For a less rich variant, substitute cream with chicken or vegetable broth.

The Science of Casserole Topping

A Thanksgiving bean casserole demands a delightfully crunchy topping. While canned fried onions are traditional, you can upgrade your casserole with homemade crispy onions. Alternatively, butter-toasted bread crumbs offer an equally pleasing crunch.

An Illustrated Guide to Making Thanksgiving Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving bean casserole

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Meanwhile, trim and blanch your chosen beans in boiling water until they turn bright green and slightly tender.

  2. In another pan, prepare your roux. Melt butter, stir in flour until it forms a smooth paste, and then gradually add your chosen liquid while continuously stirring to create a thick, creamy sauce.

  3. Mix your beans into the sauce until they’re thoroughly coated. Transfer this mixture to a baking dish.

  4. Create your topping by tossing your selected ingredients in melted butter and distributing them evenly over the beans.

  5. Cook the casserole for around 30 minutes until the topping turns golden brown and the sauce bubbles.

  6. Allow the casserole to cool slightly before serving, this allows the flavors to perfectly blend together.

You can find more information about the history of bean casserole on Wikipedia.


While Thanksgiving celebrates tradition, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring a unique flair to classic dishes. With this comprehensive guide to crafting the perfect Thanksgiving bean casserole, you can transform this beloved side dish into a culinary sensation. This year, delight your guests with a bean casserole that takes center stage.

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