Since the 1950s, Green Bean Casserole has been a classic side dish devoured by millions of Americans every holiday season. And this year, it’s celebrating its 65th birthday! Sheila Miller, who manages our Campbell Test Kitchen, serves up 10 things you didn’t know about this iconic side dish.
1. Green Bean Casserole was created by a Campbell Soup Company employee, Dorcas Reilly, at our Camden, New Jersey headquarters in 1955. She was one of the first full-time members of Campbell’s Home Economics department—now known as the Campbell Test Kitchen, where I work. Fun fact: Dorcas was my manager at Campbell back when I first joined the company out of college in the late 1980s, and even attended my wedding in 2001!
Dorcas Reilly, on the set of live TV commercials that were filmed in the late 1940s atop the original Campbell’s plant in Camden, NJ
2. The original name was “Green Bean Bake.”
3. Our Green Bean Casserole recipe is viewed 4 million times each Thanksgiving Day.
4. To this day, the recipe calls for only six ingredients: canned or fresh green beans, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, soy sauce, black pepper, milk, and French-fried onions.
Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup label from 1955
5. Green Bean Casseroles are served at 20 million Thanksgiving dinners every year.
6. But it wasn’t always meant as a holiday dish! I find it interesting that the recipe was originally developed as an everyday side dish, and it didn’t take off as a Thanksgiving favorite until the 1960s when Campbell’s put the recipe on the Cream of Mushroom soup can label.
7. 50% of our Cream of Mushroom soup sales occur November through January during a typical year.
8. A lot of different ingredients were tested in Dorcas’ original recipe, like Worcestershire sauce, celery salt and ham, but they have since been removed. Of course, it can still be customized to please many different taste preferences, like Bacon & Cheddar Green Bean Casserole. The same recipe can also be applied to almost any vegetable—broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts are great twists on this classic!
9. For years, there were precise guidelines around the food styling of Green Bean Casserole and how it was photographed. The French-fried onions had to appear only around the edges of the casserole, not in the center. That’s changed in the past decade, so feel free to sprinkle them all over!
10. Dorcas’ original recipe card for “Green Bean Bake” now belongs to the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. That’s the same building where Thomas Edison’s light bulb is on display!
The original recipe card for green bean casserole
Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? Campbell’s makes it easy to plan your holiday meal from classics to creative twists on tried and true favorites.
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