This creamy and cheesy Squash Casserole is a classic side dish recipe that’s so easy to make! Loaded with yellow squash and the delightful crunch of Ritz crackers, it’s the perfect side to serve with weeknight dinners, at BBQs, or at your Thanksgiving table. A real Southern favorite!
Cheesy Yellow Squash Casserole
I am always on a year-round hunt for new and delicious seasonal side dishes. At any given BBQ or potluck, I will regularly pass up mains to eat a whole plate of sides. My plate will consist of Potato Salad, Southern Pecan Bread, Southwest Quinoa Salad, and lately, a generous serving of this squash casserole.
A good casserole recipe is just the best. Is it a meal? Is it a side dish? In my house, it’s both! This squash casserole recipe is a perfect example of a versatile dish that doubles as a side and a main. In my books, that’s the definition of the best of both worlds.
This cheesy summer squash casserole is a staple of Southern cuisine. It packs all the classic ingredients into one dish: tender summer squash, sour cream, melty cheese, and Ritz crackers (of course). It’s a real time saver on busy weeknights, easy to customize, and just all around comfort food.
What You’ll Need:
Here’s an overview of everything you’ll need to make this Southern favorite. Please refer to the recipe card for full amounts and deets!
- Butter: Salted or unsalted, you’ll need butter for sauteing the veggies for the casserole, as well as mixing into the buttery cracker topping.
- Yellow Squash: This recipe calls for about 5 medium squash, sliced into rounds. You can use any combination of yellow or green summer squash, see below.
- Onion: Yellow onion bulks up the dish and adds bucket loads of flavor!
- Herbs and Spices: I season my casserole with a combo of minced garlic, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper and dried thyme.
- Eggs: A pair of eggs bring some welcome structure to the casserole so that it sets up nicely when baking.
- Sour Cream: For that delicious creaminess and tang. Is it even a Southern casserole without it?
- Cheese: I stick with classic, freshly grated cheddar and parmesan cheese. Other types of cheeses will also melt nicely in this recipe, good options are Colby or Monterey Jack, shredded mozzarella, or Gruyere cheese.
- Ritz Crackers: You’ll need about two sleeves of these buttery beauties for the squash casserole filling, and for the crunchy topping. Definitely try to get your hands on the real deal, or a generic version if you can. However, another salty cracker will also work, if need be.
Can I Use Another Kind of Squash?
Definitely. This casserole is especially great in the summer months when squash is in season, and you can use yellow squash, zucchini, or any combination of the two. Zucchini will not be as sweet as yellow squash in this recipe, but it will still be delicious! I also love to adapt this recipe into a butternut squash casserole in the fall.
How to Make Squash Casserole
While your oven is preheating to 350°F, you can pull together this summer squash casserole in just a few easy steps:
Sauté the Veggies: In a large skillet, sauté the onions with butter until softened, then add in the squash rounds. Once the squash is cooked tender, in go the garlic and seasonings. After another minute or two, take the pan off the heat and drain the liquid (if any).
Prepare the Filling: Whisk the eggs, sour cream, and both cheeses together in a bowl. Next, stir in the squash and onions, followed by about a cup of the crushed Ritz crackers. Pour the filling into a baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Make the Topping: In a new bowl, combine the rest of your crushed crackers with melted butter. Mix in some parmesan cheese, and then spread the cracker topping over the squash mixture in the pan.
Bake: Bake the casserole until the top is gloriously golden and the filling is bubbly, then serve while it’s still warm and melty!
Can I Make Squash Casserole Ahead of Time?
Absolutely! I am all about a recipe you can make ahead for BBQs, entertaining, or potluck dinners. It just so happens that this squash casserole is perfect to prep up to a day in advance, and then pop into the oven when you’re ready to serve it.
Making this casserole ahead is super easy. Simply prep the ingredients and assemble the casserole per the recipe, cover, and refrigerate until it’s time to bake. I recommend taking your squash casserole out of the fridge 20 minutes before it goes into the oven, to take the chill off. Then just add a few extra minutes to the baking time, making sure the casserole is warmed throughout.
Tips for Success
This squash casserole is one of those recipes that’s almost impossible to fail, but here are a few pointers to really nail it:
- Use Freshly Grated Cheese: I’m all for a shortcut in most cases, but I highly recommend grating your cheeses fresh for this casserole! The pre-shredded and pre-grated cheese that comes in bags from the store tends to have a waxy texture (to keep it from clumping) that just won’t melt as nicely.
- Weigh the Squash: This recipe calls for 3 pounds of yellow squash, roughly 5 medium sized specimens. If you can, it’s easiest to weigh your squash with a kitchen scale to be sure you end up with the correct amount. Since squash sizes vary a lot, it’s sometimes tricky to go by the number of squash alone.
- Bulk It Up as a Main: Turn a vegetable side into a main by bulking up this casserole with your choice of protein. Add shredded rotisserie chicken into the squash filling for an easy meal all in one. See the next section for more serving ideas!
I’ll say it once more: this easy casserole is a great summer recipe when yellow squash is in season. I love to make and serve this with summer salads, BBQ, burgers, and just about anything I can put on the grill.
Here are some of my favorite summertime dishes to serve it with:
Honestly, squash casserole is pure comfort food that can absolutely be enjoyed anytime of year. It works perfectly as a hearty vegetarian main dish on meatless Monday. Or, enjoy it as a classic holiday side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas, alongside green beans, mashed potatoes and bread.
How to Store and Reheat Extras
Store your casserole leftovers airtight in the fridge for up to three days. You can wrap the whole dish or transfer it to a lidded container. Reheat servings in the oven, in an oven-safe dish at 350ºF until warmed through. The microwave can also speed things up a bit, just heat the casserole in increments until it’s warm again.
Does This Casserole Freeze Well?
Due to zucchini being a watery vegetable, and this being a dairy-heavy casserole, I wouldn’t recommend it for freezing. Squash casserole leftovers will freeze for up to 3 months as a last resort, but the texture simply won’t be the same.
If you are dying to freeze it, wrap the casserole airtight in plastic wrap and foil. Thaw it in the fridge and sprinkle on more Ritz cracker topping when you’re ready to reheat it.
More Southern Crowd-Pleasers to Try
- Southern Pecan Bread
- Creamy Cheesy Cornbread
- Southern Tea Cakes
- Southern Style Cornbread Dressing
- The BEST Skillet Biscuits
This Squash Casserole is a classic side dish recipe that’s so easy to make! Creamy, cheesy, and loaded with yellow squash, this is the perfect side to serve with weeknight dinners or at your Thanksgiving table! A Southern favorite!
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 pounds yellow squash (about 5 medium), sliced into 1/4- inch rounds
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 sleeves Ritz crackers, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 2- quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the squash and cook until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally. Add in the minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, cayenne, and thyme and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and drain any liquid.
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream, cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese until combined.
- Add the squash into the sour cream mixture and stir to combine. Mix in 1 cup of the crushed Ritz crackers.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large bowl. Stir the remaining Ritz crumbs and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese into the melted butter to combine. Spread this on top of the squash mixture.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbly. Serve warm.
Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 268
- Sugar: 1.2 g
- Sodium: 899 mg
- Fat: 20.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 12 g
- Protein: 9.3 g
- Cholesterol: 66.2 mg
Keywords: thanksgiving side dish, yellow squash casserole, zucchini and squash casserole
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