The Inventor of Green Bean Casserole Has Died, but Her Legacy Lives On

Her green bean casserole recipe will live on in our hearts—and on our Thanksgiving tables.

Dorcas Reilly feature

Dorcas Reilly isn’t a household name. But if you’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States, chances are good you’ve tasted her most well-known creation. Reilly came up with the recipe for green bean casserole, and though she passed away on Oct. 15, her legacy will live on for years to come.

When Did Dorcas Reilly Invent the Green Bean Casserole?

Reilly worked for the Campbell’s Soup kitchen, which led her to think outside the box with the company’s products. One day in 1955, Reilly mixed Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup with green beans, and green bean casserole was born. (The name didn’t catch on immediately, though—Reilly originally named her creation “Green Bean Bake,” CNN reports.)

Campbell’s Soup has called the casserole “the mother of all comfort foods.” Her legacy will live on in a special way, too. The company submitted Dorcas’ recipe to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002!

Reilly is survived by a host of family members, including her husband, son, daughter, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. But those without a personal connection can still celebrate Reilly’s life for years to come, too, thanks to her genius invention.

Find the origin story for all sorts of classic Thanksgiving foods.

What’s in the Original Green Bean Casserole?

You can recreate Reilly’s invention, because The Philadelphia Inquirer has an image of Reilly’s original green bean casserole recipe card. The recipe is fairly simple, calling for the cream of mushroom soup and green beans, plus water, celery salt, soy sauce, pepper, French’s fried onions and Worcestershire sauce.

Reilly’s original recipe card suggests serving the dish alongside sliced ham, although these days, it’s more often served alongside a Thanksgiving turkey. Once you’ve mastered the original green bean casserole, step up your game and learn how to cook green beans 4 different ways.

Green Bean Casserole: A Thanksgiving Icon
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Meghan De Maria
Meghan is an entertainment and lifestyle writer with a soft spot for nostalgic snack foods. Whether it's a new Pop-Tarts flavor or a new menu item at Taco Bell, there's nothing she won't try in the name of research... or just in the name of a junk food craving.