Green bean casserole is an iconic American side dish. Here's how to heat, freeze, or fix yours for the perfect holiday meal.
Green bean casserole is a side dish that you either love or loathe, but the percentage of Americans who love and rely on it every year for the holidays is staggering.
I personally love it, and I’m not alone.
Since the 1950s, green bean casserole has been a popular side dish for any meal in the United States.
In the ’60s it shot up in popularity as a Thanksgiving menu side dish when Campbell’s soup company shared the recipe on their can label.
The company now reports that the recipe is viewed online approximately 4 million times annually at that time of year!
Clearly, many people feel their Thanksgiving table is incomplete without this integral part of the holiday meal.
In general, Americans love casserole dishes.
They’re extremely easy to cook and typically use few dishes, which is very helpful when you’re preparing a large meal for several guests.
Most casseroles rely on shelf-stable simple ingredients that are generally inexpensive and last a long time, so consumers are less reluctant to purchase them.
Not to mention that casseroles are very filling, which leaves you feeling satisfied.
Can You Make Green Bean Casserole in the Microwave?
If you recently made your favorite classic green bean casserole, yes — you can microwave the leftovers!
Whether you’re trying to make sure you have plenty of oven space or you just need to whip something up last minute, microwave green bean casserole is quick and boasts many of the same benefits as a casserole that's heated in the oven.
Plus, the cook time will be shorter.
To make a microwave green bean casserole, you will need:
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (10.5 oz)
½ cup whole milk
3 cans cut green beans, drained (14.5 oz per can)
¼ tsp black pepper
1 ½ cups crispy fried onions
How to make microwave green bean casserole:
Stir together the soup and milk in a medium sized bowl until blended. Add green beans, pepper, and 1 cup of the fried onions and stir until combined.
Transfer this mix to an 8-inch square baking dish. Make sure it's a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.
Gently stir mixture and sprinkle with remaining onions. Microwave on high until heated through, for about 3 minutes.
By the way — you can also make green bean casserole in an Instant Pot!
And while this recipe calls for canned beans, you can also use fresh green beans, which arguably offer the best results.
It won't change the cooking time or cooking process, and is a great way to incorporate fresh veggies.
Some people also add fresh mushrooms, bacon bits, or bread crumbs, while others prefer a cheesy green bean casserole that relies on Parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese to modify this more traditional recipe as part of your Thanksgiving dinner.
Regardless of your specific green bean casserole recipe, the basics remain unchanged (though some people skip the crispy onions).
And this Thanksgiving staple is often served alongside sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and other Thanksgiving side dishes because the tender green beans offer a nice counterbalance.
Can You Heat Up Green Bean Casserole?
You can reheat green bean casserole, no matter how you’ve made it.
This dish can easily be kept in a fridge or freezer to be reheated at a later time, making it a great leftover from your holiday dinner.
To reheat in larger portions, follow these simple steps:
Remove thawed or freshly stored green bean casserole in a baking dish from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to baking so you begin at room temperature.
If your casserole seems to be too dry, add a splash of flavorful liquid, such as broth or stock, or simply add water.
If you make your green bean casserole with a sprinkle of cheese, consider adding a fresh layer to bring your casserole back to life.
Follow the instructions on your original recipe as to whether or not to cover the casserole while baking.
Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes at 350°F. You will know it is done when it is warmed all the way through and you see the casserole bubbling. The amount of time will vary and may exceed our instructions depending on how thick your casserole is.
To reheat in smaller portions, follow these simple steps:
-Transfer desired amount into a heat safe dish.
-Place the dish inside the air fryer basket.
-Cook for 8 minutes at 375°F.
-Place desired amount on a microwave safe dish.
-Cover with damp paper towel to preserve moisture.
-Heat in 1-minute intervals until heated through.
Can I Eat Week-Old Green Bean Casserole?
Green bean casserole lasts up to four days in the fridge, though we recommend trying to eat or freeze your leftovers within 2-3 days for the best flavor — and of course for food safety purposes.
Make sure you know how to tell if green beans are bad.
How Do You Freeze Uncooked Green Bean Casserole?
One of the best things about green bean casserole is that it can be prepared in advance and still taste great.
In preparation for freezing a green bean casserole that has never been baked, you will want to assemble your ingredients in an aluminum pan.
Wrap the pan tightly in a layer of plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place the entire recipe in an airtight container.
You can store it for up to four months using this method.
Thaw the casserole overnight in the fridge before heating. Cook as directed.
How Do You Freeze Green Bean Casserole After Baking?
You can save your green bean casserole for future use if you don’t eat your leftovers in time.
Allow your dish to cool completely at room temperature and then wrap tightly in foil.
This can be stored for up to four months. Be sure to label it.
Remove the casserole from the freezer and allow to thaw overnight before preparing the following day. Cook as directed.
Freshen up any frozen green bean casserole, whether uncooked or previously cooked, by adding a fresh layer of onion topping and/or cheese.
You may also want to split it into small portions or even individual portions before freezing.
Especially if you're planning to just eat the leftovers yourself — or with a smaller group — as a weeknight side dish.
How Do You Fix an Undercooked Green Bean Casserole?
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the recipe doesn’t turn out as you'd expected.
The most common issue with a green bean casserole is that it's undercooked, which leaves it with a watery consistency that's undesirable.
The end result of a properly prepared green bean casserole should be thick and saucy, not thin and watery, and the onion topping should be crunchy and feel fresh.
Thankfully, there is a simple solution to fixing watery green bean casserole. You don’t have to start from scratch, and it can be done in minutes.
Here are our best solutions for thickening up a watery green bean casserole:
Cook it longer. So you’ve removed the casserole from the oven, expecting it to be done, and discover that the dish is too thin. No worries! Remove the onion topping and place the casserole ingredients in a dish on your stovetop. Add the thickening agent above to the mix and cook a few minutes longer, until you reach the desired consistency. Move the casserole back to an oven safe dish and top with a fresh layer of onions. Bake until it is crisp and toasted!
Can You Microwave a Glass Casserole Dish?
Glass casserole dishes can be used in the microwave if they are labeled “microwave safe.”
This means that your particular dish is made of materials that have been tested and proven to be safe for use in the microwave.
Putting items in the microwave that are not labeled microwave safe will not only ruin your meal but possibly your appliance.
The length of time that you can microwave a dish will vary based on manufacturer guidelines.
If you feel you need to microwave something for a length of time, reach out to the company to find the best solution for your needs.
Before microwaving glass casserole dishes for any purpose, follow these simple safety steps:
Inspect the glassware. Safe glassware will be free of any chips, cracks, or blemishes that can cause a weakening in the surface.
Read instructions on the glassware. Look for the microwave safe wording or imagery on the bottom of the glassware. You can also read the packaging it came in or any applicable paperwork, tags, or stickers.
Consult your microwave’s user manual to help determine what is safe to use in your particular microwave. This can sometimes be found online.
Microwave as instructed. Follow the guidelines for your specific glassware and microwave to determine how long you can microwave your meal safely. Using your items as instructed will prevent damage that can cause physical harm or be costly to repair or replace.
Note: If you make a mess and need to clean your microwave, you can use vinegar. Hopefully it won’t come to that!
Feeling hungry now? Try our foolproof, easy green bean casserole recipe, whether to pair with your Thanksgiving turkey or just brighten a random Tuesday.
Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.