How To Avoid Mushy Green Beans For Your Green Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving isn't too far away. And while pitching pennies at the grocery store amidst the rising cost of food has become commonplace for many Americans, making the most of those traditional recipes and all the specific ingredients included matters a little more this year. Not only did the cost of the traditional holiday meal reach an all-time high last November, but turkey prices are already soaring, with an increase of almost $4 per pound in 2022, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Cost aside, when planning your yearly holiday meal, the literal buffet of options at your fingertips for Thanksgiving side dishes can feel overwhelming for even the savviest of home chefs. Most people go with the classic American feast of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole. But even the most predictable recipes have an overwhelming number of variations.

Green bean casserole alone has a host of diversity around cook times, as well as whether you're using canned beans or fresh. Just take one look at Reddit, and the suggestions for this staple side dish are all over the place. But if you're into the fresh version of this classic side, here's how to ensure this American casserole makes it to your dinner table with firm beans in all their steaming glory.

One chef shares his expertise for preparing an evenly-cooked green bean casserole

Mashed linked up with chef Mike Anderson from Restoration Hotel's The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits in Charleston, SC to uncover the best tips for securing perfectly cooked green beans in the staple side dish. If you've been following French's Green Bean Casserole throughout your life, you may be disappointed to find that Anderson recommends fresh beans over canned. "Fresh green beans will have a more firm texture, which is what you want in a casserole. Canned green beans are already soft and will fall completely apart," Anderson says.

When it comes to fresh beans, Anderson recommends steaming the beans for "5-6" minutes before adding them to the casserole for baking. "Par-cooking is a green bean casserole's best friend," Anderson says. 

Still, if you insist on using the canned version, Anderson recommends "heating the mushroom sauce" before adding it to the dish to reduce the overall cook time. Lastly, he adds a secret ingredient to green bean casserole: cayenne pepper.