Why Frozen Green Beans Are A Better Choice For Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole was invented back in 1955 by Campbell Soup employee Dorcas Reilly, and since then it's become a staple in households across America. According to Campbell's, it was originally called "Green Bean Bake," and the recipe underwent nine phases of experimentation before being put on the Cream of Mushroom Soup label. Along with different combinations of ingredients and seasonings, Dorcas tried boxed, canned, and freshly cooked green beans, before ultimately landing on frozen green beans in her final two experiments in 1959 and 1960.

Many variations of the recipe now exist, but there's a good reason Campbell's decided on frozen green beans back in the day. As EatingWell explains, frozen green beans hold their shape far better than canned ones do. They don't have any added sodium, and they're also cooked a lot less. As a result, they come out of the oven with the perfect balance of flavor and texture. If you find your green bean casserole is turning out salty and mushy, those canned green beans might be to blame.

How to make green bean casserole with frozen green beans

Despite conventional wisdom that says fresh veggies are always best, in this case, frozen wins. (Scientists say frozen veg is just as nutritious as fresh too.) Usually, when using frozen vegetables, you'd have to wait for your ingredients to thaw, but there's not even any defrosting required for this recipe. EatingWell specifically recommends using French-cut green beans and adding them into your recipe directly from the bag. 

If you don't have any frozen French-cut green beans on hand, you can substitute them for fresh ones, but instead of cooking them all the way through, you'll stop when they are tender but still crisp. Then, in order to keep them from overcooking from residual heat, blanch them in chilled or ice-cold water. This helps to prevent the green beans from becoming mushy when you take your casserole out of the oven. Remember, the green beans technically get cooked twice, so unless you're going for a softer texture, it's best to slightly undercook them, or better yet, add them in frozen.