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A classic Southern Squash Casserole is the perfect way to enjoy the bounty from your summer garden! The cheesy filling is topped with a buttery crumb topping for the ultimate family-friendly side dish recipe. Pair it with crispy fried chicken, grilled hamburgers, a pineapple glazed ham, pork bbq, or a Thanksgiving turkey!

Overhead shot of hands serving a summer squash casserole from a white dish

You’re going to love the taste of these vegetables!

How to Make Southern Squash Casserole | 1-Minute Video

What is a Squash Casserole?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll probably get a different answer every time! A squash casserole is something that just about every seasoned home cook has prepared at least once, and there are about a zillion different ways to do so.

In the South, you’ll find that a squash casserole normally includes:

  • cooked yellow squash, often combined with onions and red bell peppers (or pimientos);
  • cheddar cheese;
  • a creamy base (typically either sour cream or mayonnaise, but I prefer a combination of both);
  • and a buttery crumb topping (Ritz crackers are the key).

A winning combination!

Overhead image of hands holding a white dish of yellow squash casserole

How many cups are in a yellow squash?

This cheesy squash casserole recipe calls for 2 pounds of yellow squash. That is equivalent to about 4 small yellow squash, which equals about 6 cups of sliced squash. Yellow squash can obviously grow to a wide range of sizes; however, so I always recommend weighing or measuring your squash before assembling the casserole.

It’s also important to make sure that you slice your squash into even rounds. I like to use a mandoline slicer for this task, because it’s FAST. Just be careful that you don’t get your fingertip in that mandoline (been there, done that)!

Do you peel yellow squash before cooking?

No, you do not need to peel the squash before cooking. The skin on a summer squash is not too tough, and it softens even more when cooked.

Adding sliced summer squash to a cast iron skillet.

How do you cook squash?

Once the vegetables are evenly sliced, you’ll need to cook the squash before baking the casserole. Some folks like to boil the squash first; however, I find that it’s easier to sauté the squash with the onion and the bell pepper in one big skillet.

This only takes about 10 minutes, and it ensures that your vegetables are tender in the finished dish. Plus, it adds an extra layer of flavor, thanks to the butter, salt and pepper that you add with this step!

And since many of our summer gardens include a bounty of zucchini (in addition to yellow squash), I’ll go ahead and anticipate another question that you might be asking right now:

Is yellow squash like zucchini?

Yes! They are not the same vegetable; however, they are similar and can be used interchangeably in this recipe. Feel free to substitute zucchini for all of the yellow squash called for, or use a combination of the two vegetables to total 6 sliced cups. Your Southern Squash Casserole will be delicious — no matter which type of squash you have on hand!

Whisking together cheese with mayonnaise and other ingredients for a squash casserole

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to make the squash casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Butter: I prefer salted butter, which adds flavor to the dish, helps to sauté the vegetables, and combines with the Ritz cracker topping to help it turn crisp and golden brown.
  • Yellow squash: you’ll need a total of about 6 cups sliced, or about 2 lbs. Feel free to substitute with zucchini if that’s what you have.
  • Onion and red bell pepper: additional veggies that bulk up the casserole and add flavor, texture, and color to the dish.
  • Salt and pepper: enhance the other flavors in the casserole.
  • Eggs: a couple of large eggs give the casserole structure and help it set so that the filling isn’t too watery.
  • Cheddar cheese: every Southern casserole needs cheese! You can substitute with other good melting cheeses, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, mozzarella and Gruyere.
  • Sour cream and mayonnaise: the base of the casserole’s creamy filling.
  • Ritz crackers: combined with melted butter, the crushed crackers add buttery flavor and a crunchy texture to the dish.
Sprinkling buttered ritz crackers on top of a casserole

How to Make Squash Casserole

This yellow summer squash casserole always wins rave reviews, and is a great way to use up a lot of squash!

  1. Sauté squash, onion and bell pepper in butter in a large skillet. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Whisk together eggs, cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in a large bowl.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the squash mixture.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a greased 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle buttery cracker crumbs over top.
  6. Bake in a 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is set and the topping is golden brown.
Close overhead image of a spoon in a dish of southern squash casserole.

What to Serve with Squash Casserole

This versatile side dish pairs nicely with just about any of your favorite entrees. Here are some meals that go with the fabulous yellow squash casserole:

Side shot of yellow squash casserole in a dish with ritz crackers on top

Storage

Leftover squash casserole will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days; however, I find that it starts to get a bit soggy and watery, so this is not ideal. The squash casserole can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Can you make summer squash casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the casserole in advance, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours until ready to bake. Let the dish sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before it goes in the oven. If the inside of the casserole is still cold, you will likely need to extend the baking time by a few minutes.

Overhead image of hands holding summer squash casserole

Recipe Variations

  • Use zucchini instead of yellow squash, or try a combination of the two.
  • Swap out the cheddar and use other good melting cheeses, such as Colby, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Gruyere. A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese would also be good.
  • Add fresh herbs, if available. Parsley, thyme, oregano, basil and chives would all be great!
  • Instead of crushed Ritz crackers, combine dry stuffing mix with melted butter for a flavorful topping. Other good options included crushed Corn Flakes cereal or seasoned panko breadcrumbs.
  • Cooking just for two? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in a 1-quart dish.
Overhead image of a white square dish full of the best squash casserole recipe

Tips for the Best Squash Casserole Recipe

  • Use a handheld mandoline slicer to cut the squash. This makes the process really fast, and it also ensures that all of the squash rounds are an equal width and cook in the same amount of time.
  • Grate the cheese by hand, rather than using a bag of pre-shredded cheese. The blocks of cheese that you grate at home tend to melt smoother into the dish.
  • Weigh or measure your squash so that you’re sure to use the correct amount. Yellow squash can vary greatly in size, so you might need anywhere from 4 smaller squash to 2 bigger squash. I prefer small squash, if available, because they are typically more flavorful, tender, and have smaller seeds.
  • I use salted butter in this dish. If you prefer unsalted butter, you might like to add a little bit more salt to the cracker topping and to the filling.
  • You do not need to drain off any liquid from the vegetables with a colander. Just stir everything together!
Overhead shot of hands serving southern squash casserole from a white dish

More Yellow Squash Recipes to Try

Long square featured side shot of southern squash casserole in a white dish

Southern Squash Casserole

4.96 from 42 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 249.1 kcal
A classic Southern Squash Casserole is the perfect way to enjoy the bounty from your summer garden! The cheesy filling is topped with a buttery crumb topping for the ultimate family-friendly side dish recipe!

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add squash, onion, and bell pepper to the skillet, cooking and stirring for about 10 minutes (or until vegetables are tender). Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise.
  • Stir the egg mixture into the squash mixture.
  • Transfer the squash mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • In a separate bowl, combine crushed crackers with remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle buttered cracker crumbs over top of casserole.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until casserole is set and topping is golden brown.

Video

Notes

  • Use a handheld mandoline slicer to cut the squash. This makes the process really fast, and it also ensures that all of the squash rounds are an equal width and cook in the same amount of time.
  • Grate the cheese by hand, rather than using a bag of pre-shredded cheese. The blocks of cheese that you grate at home tend to melt smoother into the dish.
  • Weigh or measure your squash so that you’re sure to use the correct amount. Yellow squash can vary greatly in size, so you might need anywhere from 4 smaller squash to 2 bigger squash. I prefer small squash, if available, because they are typically more flavorful, tender, and have smaller seeds.
  • Use zucchini instead of yellow squash, or try a combination of the two.
  • Swap out the cheddar and use other good melting cheeses, such as Colby, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack or Gruyere.
  • Add fresh herbs, if available. Parsley, thyme, oregano, basil and chives would all be great!
  • Instead of Ritz crackers, combine dry stuffing mix with melted butter for a flavorful topping. Other good options included crushed Corn Flakes cereal or seasoned breadcrumbs.
  • Cooking just for two? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in a 1-quart dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the casseroleCalories: 249.1kcalCarbohydrates: 14.5gProtein: 10gFat: 18.1gSaturated Fat: 8.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 4.8gCholesterol: 98.6mgSodium: 502.2mgPotassium: 70.2mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 5.2g
Keyword: squash casserole, squash casserole recipe, summer squash casserole, yellow squash casserole
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in June, 2018. The photos were updated in June, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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