The green bean casserole has been a Thanksgiving tradition since the 1950s, but how was it created, and why is it a classic staple on the Thanksgiving table?

We all know the traditional casserole is made with cream of mushroom soup, green beans, and French crunchy fried onions. It is usually made with 5-6 ingredients, such as the mushroom soup, green beans, milk, soy sauce, and ground black pepper, but can vary to fit everyone’s taste.

A woman named Dorcas Reilley that worked for the Campbell’s Soup Company actually coined the idea in 1955 using Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup that had been around since 1934, and was mostly used as a casserole filler. Reilley made the recipe to have something that was quick, and something that used ingredients almost every American had on hand — frozen green beans and a can of Campbell’s cream of Mmushroom soup. According to Campbell’s Soup Company in 2013, about 40% of the soup sold in the US was used to make the famous green bean casserole.

In 2002, Reilley presented the original green bean casserole recipe to the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, the same place that holds Thomas Edison’ light bulb. The green bean casserole wasn’t exclusively made as a Thanksgiving side dish, it was featured in the Associated Press Thanksgiving edition in 1955, but it was implied that it was to be part of the Thanksgiving feast. Then, in 2005, USA Today celebrated the 50th birthday of the green bean casserole.

green bean casserole

GIF courtesy of

I have never been a fan of the green bean casserole — it looks like a giant blob of grossly colored green beans in a bland white soup. That’s not to say that it’s not made on my thanksgiving table, because it is a staple at our holiday dinners. When my family gets together with the rest of our immediate family, that casserole is gone by the end of the night. You brave souls.