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The Captivating Origins of Green Bean Casserole: Unveiling Its True Inventor

Uncovering the Fascinating History of Green Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude and family gatherings, is synonymous with indulging in a sumptuous feast. While the roasted turkey often takes center stage, it’s the delightful ensemble of side dishes that truly elevates the holiday experience. From mouthwatering stuffing to creamy mashed potatoes and tangy cranberry sauce, each dish adds its own unique flavor to the festivities. Among these beloved Thanksgiving side dishes, one with a fascinating history stands out: green bean casserole.

The Classic Thanksgiving Side Dish

Green bean casserole, a beloved classic, has earned its place on countless Thanksgiving tables across America. Traditionally made with string beans, cream of mushroom soup and topped with crispy fried onions, this dish has become synonymous with the holiday season. Despite its popularity, however, a recent Harris Poll found that green bean casserole is considered the least favorite Thanksgiving side dish by a quarter of respondents (via It’s a Southern Thing).

The genius behind the recipe

Contrary to popular belief, the inventor of the iconic green bean casserole is not a beloved family member, but rather a talented former Campbell’s employee. Dorcas Reilly, a test kitchen supervisor at Campbell’s in the 1950s, is credited with creating the recipe that would become a Thanksgiving staple (via Mental Floss). As one of the first full-time members of the company’s home economics department, Reilly was tasked with developing recipes that would appear on the back of Campbell’s soup cans.

The birth of a classic

Reilly’s original recipe, originally called “Green Bean Bake,” was a simple combination of six ingredients. This iconic dish made its debut on the labels of Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup cans, where it continues to captivate home cooks today. In fact, Campbell’s reports that the online version of Reilly’s recipe was viewed an astounding 4 million times on Thanksgiving Day alone. Ingredients for this timeless creation include fresh green beans, cream of mushroom soup, soy sauce, milk, black pepper and fried onions.

A recipe for immortality

The enduring legacy of Dorcas Reilly’s Green Bean Casserole recipe is further solidified by its induction into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. Preserving the original recipe card, this prestigious institution pays tribute to Reilly’s culinary ingenuity and the enduring appeal of her creation.

The evolution of a classic

While green bean casserole has maintained its traditional roots, it has also undergone various adaptations and reinterpretations over the years. Many home cooks have added their own personal touches, experimenting with different ingredients and techniques to put a unique spin on this beloved dish. From incorporating bacon or cheese to using fresh herbs and spices, the possibilities for customization are endless, allowing each family to create their own signature version of this Thanksgiving classic.

A symbol of tradition and togetherness

Green bean casserole has become more than a side dish. It has become a symbol of tradition, nostalgia and togetherness. Its presence on the Thanksgiving table evokes memories of celebrations past and serves as a reminder of the importance of family and shared experiences. Despite its polarizing reputation, green bean casserole continues to hold a special place in the hearts and stomachs of many, bridging generations and bringing comfort and familiarity to the holiday season.
The story behind the creation of green bean casserole is a testament to the power of simple yet innovative recipes. Dorcas Reilly’s ingenuity and collaboration with Campbell’s Soup Company have given us a timeless dish that has stood the test of time. Whether it’s loved or loathed, green bean casserole remains an integral part of the Thanksgiving tradition, reminding us of the joy of gathering around the table and savoring the flavors of the season.


Who is credited with the invention of green bean casserole?

Dorcas Reilly, a former Campbell’s employee, is credited with inventing Green Bean Casserole. She developed the recipe while working as a test kitchen supervisor in the 1950s.

How did Dorcas Reilly come up with the idea for green bean casserole?

Dorcas Reilly was in charge of creating recipes for Campbell’s soup cans. She combined ingredients like green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions to create the iconic dish we know today.

What are the key ingredients in green bean casserole?

The main ingredients in Green Bean Casserole are fresh green beans, cream of mushroom soup, soy sauce, milk, black pepper and fried onions. These ingredients come together to create a creamy and flavorful dish.

Is green bean casserole a favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Yes, green bean casserole is a favorite Thanksgiving side dish. While it may not be everyone’s favorite, it has become a staple on many Thanksgiving tables across the United States.

Can green bean casserole be customized with additional ingredients?

Yes, green bean casserole can be customized to suit individual tastes. Many home cooks add their own twist to the recipe by incorporating ingredients like bacon, cheese, or fresh herbs, allowing for personalization and creativity in the dish.

Where can I find Dorcas Reilly’s original recipe for Green Bean Casserole?

Dorcas Reilly’s original recipe for Green Bean Casserole can be found on the labels of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup cans. In addition, a preserved version of her recipe card is housed at the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.

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