Why Your Green Bean Casserole Is Too Watery And How To Fix It

One of the most popular Thanksgiving sides, the green bean casserole was the product of mid-century ingenuity and has since evolved into more complex, gourmet iterations of the iconic classic. What was once merely an amalgam of canned green beans, canned soup, and canned fried onions, the green bean casserole is now so much more. However, there is more to a perfect green bean casserole than simply tossing all the canned ingredients in a skillet and sticking it in the oven. Read ahead for some tips on making sure that your green bean casserole is the star of the dinner party this Thanksgiving.

Smithsonian notes that the original recipe consisted of only milk, soy sauce, black pepper, green beans, crunchy fried onions, and Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. It was invented by a woman named Dorcas Reilly, who worked as a Campbell's test kitchen supervisor in New Jersey. She was responsible for developing a recipe that would appeal to a regular home cook with access to basic ingredients like Campbell's soups and green beans. In post-war America, easy and affordable recipes were ideal, which made green bean casserole a quick favorite. The recipe's popularity increased exponentially when it was posted on a mushroom soup can, and the rest is history, per The New York Times. If your casserole ever comes out watery, there are ways to save the dish.

Add more thickener or cook it longer on the stove

Former director of the Campbell's Consumer Test Kitchens Jane Freiman revealed to NPR that green bean casserole is included in Thanksgiving celebrations in 30 million homes. She also noted that the dish significantly boosts traffic on their site each year. "It's a universally loved American tradition," Freiman said. Nowadays, more "gourmet" versions are being made, often with fresh mushrooms, fresh herbs, and some mixture of stock, broth, cream, or milk in place of canned soup.

It's important to master consistency and texture when making a green bean casserole, and one element of that is the sauce that coats the green beans. While it's sometimes still just straight-up canned soup, it's important that the final product has a reduced, thickened sauce, rather than anything watery or soup. As EatingWell notes, if your casserole does seem watery, feel free to use flour, cornstarch, or another thickener in order to thicken the sauce. You can either sprinkle the thickener over the vegetables during the cooking process or make a slurry and stir it into the sauce. It's also good to note that sometimes the dish may simply need a bit more time cooking — just remember to save the onion topping for the very end.