The Top Tip You Need To Make Green Bean Casserole In Advance

There are certain things that an average American expects during the holiday season — family get-togethers, shopping for gifts, tons of extra cooking, and more than a few parties. And not nearly enough time for all of it. While a time of year for wonder and joy, there is always a lot to do and, in an effort to not let stress take away the magic, people clamor for ways to maximize their precious time. When it comes to holiday cooking, this often comes in the form of making things ahead and heating them up on the day you sit down to feast.

Thanksgiving, for example, is all about food. There is a slew of dishes that all need to be served at the same time, preferably hot. That's not easy when you have one oven as most people do, so planning is essential. Not to mention the counter space needed to assemble a 20-pound turkey plus a plethora of side dishes. 

Food & Wine suggests that plenty of holiday staples can be made hours or even days ahead of time including stuffing, gravy, and desserts so that you can focus on the bird on the day of. And you may think that everybody's favorite side dish, the green bean casserole, is at its best prepped and baked just as everyone sits down to eat, but fortunately, you can get amazing results by putting this baby together ahead of time, as long as you leave one ingredient out until the end.

Hold the onions, for now

Americans have been enamored with green bean casserole on their holiday tables since the 1950s when Dorcas Reilly, an employee at Campbell's test kitchen, combined six simple ingredients into a casserole, per Smithsonian. The original recipe (and the one that millions still make today) consists of cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper, green beans, and canned fried onions. The first five ingredients are combined and placed in a baking dish and then topped with the onions before being baked for 25 minutes. Voila, you've got a classic. 

However, there are now a number of homemade versions utilizing things like fresh mushrooms, cream, and crispy shallots. Southern Living advises those that are wishing to save time assembling the whole casserole to store the dish in the refrigerator ahead of time, minus the onion topping. Once it's ready to go into the oven, top the dish with your crispy onions and bake. 

While Southern Living does not suggest freezing ahead of time due to the potential increase in moisture, Food Network says it's perfectly fine to assemble the dish (except the onion topping), let it come to room temperature, and then freeze it for up to two weeks. Similarly, the onions are added during baking time. This way you'll still get the warm, fragrant, mouth-watering side dish you've always loved, only with a little less stress on your shoulders.