Dorcas Reilly, inventor of the green bean casserole, has died at age 92

Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that green bean casserole is a staple at Thanksgiving dinners in the US. If you were curious as to how the dish was invented, wonder no more. We not only know when it was invented, but who created it in the first place. Her name was Dorcas Reilly, and she has just passed away at the age of 92.

green bean casserole

Reilly was a graduate of Drexel University’s home economics department and worked in the test kitchens of the Campbell’s company in the 1950s. Her team was tasked with making an easy side dish that used two commonplace products, canned green beans and Campbell’s iconic cream of mushroom soup. Campbell’s added the casserole recipe to the label of its cream of mushroom soup can in the 1960s, which fueled the dish’s popularity. 

While the casserole really took off in midwestern states, it appears on tables across the country and many families wouldn’t consider it a proper holiday meal without the dish, which is traditionally topped with crispy canned onions. The casserole is forever associated with Campbell’s – the company has reported that 40 percent of its cream of mushroom soup is bought specifically to make the casserole. While many food writers and chefs have tried to put a gourmet spin on the dish, a lot of people prefer the traditional version for nostalgia’s sake (and, perhaps, because it is so easy to make). 

Photo of Green bean casserole from Serious Eats by Campbell Soup Company

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