DETROIT (WXYZ) - Admit it: For years, you've bought that can of yummy, crunchy fried onions and used the recipe on the back to make your green bean casserole. This year, why not serve something more exciting?
Here's the thing. Everyone loves green bean casserole. It always seems to be the first item to be finished around the Thanksgiving table – especially the crunchy part.
Traditionally, green bean casserole really is simple. You have green beans, cream of mushroom soup and the fried onions from the can. For most of us, all three items come from a can.
Our five ideas take the ease of the traditional recipe and add one or two things to make your Thanksgiving guests think you're some sort of master chef.
5 ways to make green bean casserole more exciting
1) Add More Crunch – If the fried onions are the part your guests always seem to scrape off the top, let's add more crunchy goodness. Brace yourself. We're adding potato chips. We recommend crunching them up in the bag and mixing them with your fried onions. Just sprinkle that mixture over the top. No need to mix them in with the green beans. Skeptical? Rachel Ray has a recipe that uses just potato chips without the onions.
2) Fresh Green Beans – There's absolutely no reason to make your own crunchy onions or cream of mushroom soup, BUT using fresh green beans will make all of the difference. Don't cut those green beans too small. Your guests will realize you went with the fresh instead of frozen or canned.
3) Bacon Makes it Better – Really. Add bacon. Cook it first and then mix it in. You can add in a little garlic to help balance it out and your guests will really notice that you've taken green bean casserole to the next level. If you think cooking bacon is too much effort, you can even stick with the spirit of canned items and sprinkle in some bacon bits instead. We're serious. Hormel (who makes those) even has a green bean casserole recipe using bacon bits .
4) Shallots – Wait. Don't skip past this one because you've never cooked with shallots. Working with shallots is easy. It's like working with a cross between an onion and a bulb of garlic. It's easy. Buy just a few shallots, slice them thinly and pan fry them quickly in some olive oil. Add those to your traditional (back of the can) recipe and your guests will again be wowed. Seriously. Nothing adds sophistication like shallots.
5) Substitute Funyuns – You know what Funyuns are, right? They're the snack food that comes in that yellow and green bag… And they're actually made from corn. Unlike the traditional can of fried onions, Funyuns are also gluten free. We even found a green bean casserole recipe that uses them on Celiac.com .