One of America’s Favorites – Green Bean Casserole

September 19, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Green bean casserole

Green bean casserole is an American baked dish consisting primarily of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions.

It is a popular side dish for Thanksgiving dinners in the United States and has been described as iconic. The recipe was created in 1955 by Dorcas Reilly at the Campbell Soup Company. As of 2020 Campbell’s estimated it was served in 20 million Thanksgiving dinners in the US each year and that 40% of the company’s cream of mushroom soup sales go into a version of the dish.

Variations on the dish include broccoli casserole, using a different creamed soup variety, or using sautéed onions instead of deep-fried ones.

Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom flavored soup variety was created in 1934 and was the first of the company’s soups to be marketed as a sauce as well as a soup. It became so widely used as casserole filler in recipes for the hot dish recipes popular in Minnesota that it was sometimes referred to as “Lutheran binder.” Like other food companies, Campbell’s employed recipe developers to create recipes using their products as part of their marketing strategy.

It was originally marketed as an everyday side dish but became popular for Thanksgiving dinners in the 1960s after Campbell’s placed the recipe on the can’s label. The recipe popularized the combination of the soup with green beans. Campbell’s Soup now estimates that 40 percent of the Cream of Mushroom soup sold in the United States goes into making green bean casserole. As of 2020 Campbell’s estimated it was served in 20 million Thanksgiving dinners in the US each year. Campbell’s in 2020 reported their online version of the recipe is viewed 4 million times each Thanksgiving Day. According to Campbell’s as of 2018, the recipe is the most popular ever developed in their kitchens.

Folklorist Lucy Long in 2007 noted that its inclusion on Thanksgiving dinner tables crosses ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious differences. She also notes it is included in most popular American cookbooks, mentioned in the media regularly, and referred to a “classic”, “traditional”, and “a Thanksgiving standard”. She wrote that the popularity of the dish was related to its categorization as a casserole, which in the US is associated with “communal eating, sharing, and generosity” and that the green bean casserole in particular represents the familiar and also the festive.

The recipe, which hasn’t changed, calls for green beans, mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, ground black pepper, and French fried onions. The beans, soup, milk, and seasonings are mixed together with a portion of the onions and baked, then topped with more onions and baked for another few minutes.

Multiple similar recipes have been developed that “update” or “upgrade” the original recipe to use fresh beans, homemade cream sauce, and fresh mushrooms as the convenience-food based recipes of the 1950s and 1960s have become less fashionable, but according to culinary historian Shapiro, the green bean casserole remains popular for Thanksgiving for reasons of nostalgia. Other recipes have been developed, by Campbell’s and others, that incorporate a variety of ingredients in addition to or in replacement of those in the original.


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  1. thanks Mark, I always find this sort of background on recipes fascinating!

    • I do too, thanks! 🙂

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