Southern Squash Casserole is a favorite at every potluck gathering. With grated Cheddar cheese, crumbled Ritz crackers, and fresh summer squash, this squash casserole is a great way to use those summer vegetables!
Squash Casserole with Ritz crackers is ubiquitous on the Southern table in the summertime, probably because nearly everyone who has a garden grows squash and one plant produces about a million yellow squash. And don’t even get me started on zucchini!
If you’ve been to a church potluck or a classic meat-and-three diner anywhere in the South, chances are you happened upon some version of this easy squash casserole.
It’s made like most classic Southern dishes, with good, simple ingredients that your grandmother could get ahold of—nothing fancy!—and it’s meant to offer love in a bowl.
Can You Mix Yellow Squash and Zucchini?
My family’s version of Southern squash casserole uses only yellow squash, but you can absolutely substitute zucchini squash for all or some in this recipe.
Check out this post on the Difference Between Zucchini and Yellow Squash.
You may also like…
Summer Vegetable Gratin – a healthy and delicious way to use your summer bounty
- 9-inch square baking dish – Ok, so you don’t actually NEED this, you can bake the casserole in any old dish. But I LOVE this one in the pretty red!
- Lodge 12-inch cast iron skillet – I would argue that you absolutely NEED this skillet if you don’t already have it. I use mine for just about everything. A good and well-used cast-iron skillet is virtually non-stick and is priceless in the kitchen.
Ingredients for Southern Squash Casserole
Want the printable recipe? Just scroll down!
- About 3 lbs. of yellow squash or a mixture of yellow squash and zucchini
- Vidalia onion – regular onion works fine if you don’t have sweet onion
- Diced pimentos
- Evaporated milk – this is what all the old cookbooks call for so this is what I use.
- Cheddar cheese – this cheesy squash casserole would not be the same without the grated Cheddar!
- Ritz crackers – I am a brand snob for some things, and Ritz crackers is one!
How to Make Squash Casserole
You’ll need to cook and drain the squash before putting it in the dish because squash contains a lot of moisture. It takes just a few minutes to cook though, so don’t think you’ll be spending hours in the kitchen. Then you just mix everything together in a large bowl, sprinkle the cheese and cracker crumbs on top, and bake for about 45 minutes. Super easy!
Please see the printable recipe card below for exact measurements.
Step 1. Preheat your oven to 350° and butter a 2-quart baking dish.
Step 2. In a large skillet, melt butter and cook the onion about 5 minutes. Add the squash and enough water to barely cover and bring to a boil.
Step 3. Turn the squash and onion down to a simmer and cook just until tender and the liquid has evaporated. This should take about 10 minutes.
Step 4. Drain the squash and onion mixture in a colander for about 5 minutes.
Pro Tip: Using a paper towel, gently mash the squash and onion mixture in the colander so additional juice will drain out.
Step 5. Place squash and onion in a large mixing bowl and add butter, eggs, milk, pimentos, some of the cracker crumbs, grated cheese, and salt and pepper. Mix well and scoop into prepared dish.
Pro Tip: If you immediately see a lot of juice accumulate when you put the squash in the bowl, put it back in the colander and drain again, then back in the bowl. I usually do this a couple of times.
Step 6. In a separate bowl or large zipper bag, mix the remaining cracker crumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle grated cheese over the squash and then more cracker crumbs over the cheese.
Step 7. Bake for about 45 minutes, until top is golden brown.
More Tips and Storage Notes
- I can’t emphasize enough to be sure you drain as much juice as you can after cooking the squash and onion in the skillet. Otherwise the casserole may end up soupy.
- You can make this squash casserole a day ahead if you want and just add the topping and bake it before serving. It’s also great as leftovers but the topping won’t be as crispy.
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
How to Freeze Southern Squash Casserole
- Make the casserole completely but do not add the Ritz cracker crumb topping. Place in a freezer container (I LOVE these containers) or wrap your dish tightly with tin foil and freeze.
- When ready to serve, thaw the casserole overnight in the refrigerator. Add the cracker topping and bake as directed.
Serving Suggestions with Yellow Squash Casserole
You can never go wrong with Fried Chicken or Country Fried Steak when serving this Southern squash casserole. I would add some Butterbeans or Southern Style Green Beans and either Cornbread or Homemade Biscuits.
Don’t forget to add Pear Salad on the side — that’s an old Southern favorite!
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Southern Squash Casserole
- 1 cup chopped Vidalia onion
- 2-3 lbs. squash sliced (you want about 2 1/2 cups cooked squash/onion mixture, so usually about 4-5 cups sliced uncooked squash)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons diced pimentos
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
- 2 cups buttery cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons butter divided (2 for skillet, the other 4 melted/divided)
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 2-quart baking dish (I use a 9×9-inch square dish).
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter, then cook the onion 5 minutes. Add the squash and enough water to barely cover and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook just until squash is tender and liquid has evaporated.
- Drain the squash and onion mixture in a colander and then gently mash in the colander (using a paper towel) so additional juice will drain out. Place squash and onion in a large mixing bowl. If you immediately see a lot of juice accumulate then put it back in the colander and drain again, then back in the bowl. I usually do this a couple of times.
- Once the squash is adequately drained, add 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, evaporated milk, pimentos, 3/4 cup of cracker crumbs, 1 cup grated cheese, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl or large zipper bag, mix the remaining cracker crumbs with the last 2 tablespoons melted butter.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese over the squash and then the cracker crumbs over the cheese.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, until top is golden brown.
Freezer Option for Make Ahead Squash Casserole
- Make the recipe completely except for adding the topping and baking. Place in an airtight freezer container or just wrap your dish well with foil and freeze.
- When ready to use, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Then add the cracker topping and bake as directed.
Update Notes: This post was originally published July 12, 2016, and on July 24, 2019, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.
More Southern Favorites You’ll ❤️:
Looking for more Southern dishes you can take somewhere? Check out this list or Recipes for Potlucks from Deep South Dish.