Slow cooker green bean casserole is so easy to make from scratch – without any canned soup! This comfort food classic recipe uses fresh green beans, has a creamy, bacon-filled sauce, is topped with crispy fried onions and is made right in the crockpot. This dish serves a crowd and comes out perfect every time.
Green Bean Casserole in the Crockpot
There are some tried and true classics that are so good, that it almost feels like it’s against the law not to have them. This slow cooker green bean casserole is one of them!
Classic green bean casserole usually has a cream of mushroom soup base. I personally don’t like mushrooms…or canned, jiggy soups, so we’re making it nice and creamy with heavy cream and broth instead of condensed soup.
You’ll crisp up some bacon and then use the leftover bacon grease to make a roux which thickens the sauce and adds great flavor.
The crispy, salty, smoky bacon and herbs help to cut through the richness, and the tender green beans and crispy onions give us the layers of textures and big flavor we’ve all come to expect.
This green bean casserole doesn’t disappoint!
Why we love slow cooked Green Bean Casserole
Easy – Making crockpot green bean casserole means there’s no need to watch over the stove and frees up oven space.
Bacon and crispy onions – I mean, need I say more? The salty, smoky, crispy bits of bacon and the crunchy onion topping adds another element that brings this recipe up about ten notches.
Stays warm – Once it’s done cooking, being able to keep it warm until you’re ready to serve, is super helpful. Timing everything to make sure everything is hot when it gets to the table can be tricky!
Healthier – Not using canned soup eliminates so much of the sodium and processed ingredients used in other recipes.
Budget-friendly – This no-fuss recipe uses your everyday ingredients, easily found at your local grocery store if you don’t have them already. It’s a humble dish but always a favorite.
Equipment you’ll need
- Slow Cooker – This has been my slow cooker of choice for years. Read my full review here.
- Tongs – You can easily handle and toss the green beans with tongs. I’ve been using them for more & more things.
- Veggie Chopper – Easily dice the onion without tears.
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Bacon – You’ll need about 6 strips cut into small pieces. Don’t buy the precooked stuff because we need the leftover grease from frying it. I buy nitrate free, thick cut bacon. If you don’t want to add bacon, you can leave it out (but you’ll miss out on a ton of flavor).
- Diced Yellow Onion & Minced Garlic – These aromatics get sautéed in the bacon grease and become the flavor base of the entire dish.
- All-Purpose Flour – Helps to thicken the sauce. If gluten is a concern for you, you can use an alternative 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose instead.
- Chicken Broth – Homemade or store-bought broth will work. Since there’s added salt in this recipe along with bacon and fried onions which contain salt, feel free to use a low sodium broth.
- Heavy Cream – The higher the fat content, the creamier and richer the sauce will be. You can substitute for whole milk if preferred, however, it won’t result in exactly the same consistency.
- Salt, Black Pepper, & Dried Thyme – Just a bit of added seasoning to enhance the taste.
- Green Beans – Use fresh, washed, and trimmed green beans. I took a shortcut and bought a 2 lb bag of already trimmed green beans from the produce department.
- Fried Onions – Adds a yummy crunchy element inside and on top of the crockpot green bean casserole recipe. If you have leftovers, they’re great on salads, burgers, sandwiches, and more.
How to make Crockpot Green Bean Casserole
- STEP ONE: Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sauté the onion in bacon grease. Once it’s translucent, add the garlic in and cook until fragrant. This happens quickly in about a minute, so keep your eye on it.
- STEP TWO: Whisk in the flour for about 1 minute, until fully cooked. You’ll notice it turning lightly golden and becoming pasty. This is the roux that forms the base of the sauce and will help to thicken it up.
- STEP THREE: Whisk in the chicken broth and bring it to a boil, whisking constantly. Don’t be afraid to deglaze the bottom of the skillet while you’re at it! Then, reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the heavy cream.
- STEP FOUR: To the creamy mixture, toss in the bacon, salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Stir everything and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Remove from the heat.
- STEP FIVE: Now we turn our attention to the slow cooker. Grab your beans (already washed and trimmed I hope!) and add them to the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour the creamy sauce overtop and stir to make sure all the beans are evenly coated and spread out.
- STEP SIX: Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 5-6, stirring occasionally. Once the cooking time is up, stir in ¾ cup of the fried onions to the green bean mixture and top with the remaining fried onions for a crunchy finish. Leave the lid off and keep it on the warm setting until you’re ready to serve.
How to serve them
A classic side deserves a spot on your holiday menu with other traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas recipes. Slow cooker sweet potato casserole, 5-ingredient turkey stuffing casserole, traditional herb stuffing, and classic cranberry sauce are a few constants at our table.
I will say that as much as I enjoy slow cooker green bean casserole on special occasions along with slow cooker turkey breast, it really is simple comfort food that can be made any night of the week, just like crockpot broccoli casserole.
Classic meatloaf with brown gravy can always use a good creamy side dish, don’t you think?!
- Trim your green beans. Yes, it’s a little time-consuming, but worth it. They not only look prettier and more even, but it’s not pleasant eating those tips.
- Use fresh green beans. I prefer the texture of fresh beans in this recipe. They’re not mushy! Frozen green beans will work too if that’s what you have. Thaw them first and drain extra liquid.
- Easily double the recipe if you’re using a large slow cooker. Cook a little while longer.
- Be sure to keep some of those crispy onions for the topping at the end. If not, they’ll all end up soggy!
- Swap the fried onions for Panko breadcrumbs if that’s what you have on hand.
- If you like mushrooms, you can dice and saute some fresh mushrooms with the onions.
How to store leftovers
Whatever doesn’t get eaten, store in an airtight container. Heat them up again the next day or use them to fill these easy veggie pot pie cupcakes. A twist on the original recipe and so much fun to eat!
How long will green bean casserole last in the fridge?
Up to 5 days.
How to reheat
If you have a really big portion to reheat, you can use either the slow cooker or a skillet on the stovetop. If it’s just a single serving, a quick zap in the microwave is all you need.
Can I freeze them?
Technically yes, but it’s not highly recommended. Once thawed, the texture just won’t be the same and the onions will be all kinds of soggy.
Can I use canned green beans?
Some people love the convenience of canned beans. No need to wash, trim, or cut them! So yes, you can, but you’ll need to adjust cooking time so you don’t end up with mush. The dish will be done in 1-2 hours.
If you can help it, I am always a cheerleader for fresh beans just because I like the texture of them a bit better, but you do you.
Can I bake it?
Yes, if you don’t have time to wait on the slow cooker, you can prepare as directed and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350° F in a 9×13 dish.
How long can I keep beans warm in the crockpot?
Keep them warm and ready to serve for up to 3 hours. Keep an eye on them every once in a while so that the edges don’t start to burn.
Need more slow cooker ideas? Try these:
Click here for my entire collection of slow cooker recipes.
Looking for more green bean sides? Try these:
Originally published November 24, 2014