Summer is here! That means vegetable gardens are overflowing with summer veggies, and local farmers' markets are bursting with squash, zucchini, and so many more delightful goodies!
It's the perfect time of year for a classic southern-style summer squash casserole. Cook up all those colorful veggies in a squash bake that's oozing with cheese and topped with a delightful buttery cracker finish. All you need for our tasty squash casserole recipe are plenty of vegetables, lots of cheese, and a cast iron casserole dish!
Makes 6 servings
*2 lbs of yellow squash is roughly 4 small yellow squash or 6 cups of yellow squash. We know that no single squash ever weighs the same or is ever even the same size, so you have to judge their sizes by feel or weigh them out on scales beforehand. You can never have too much, though, in our yellow squash casserole recipes!
Our deliciously cheesy recipe is quick and easy to prepare. It's full of summery vegetables, and this squash casserole with sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, and so many more excellent additions, is sure to charm the entire family.
While the recipe above should be enough to get your squash into the casserole dish, we've prepared a quick FAQ section below to answer the most common queries chefs might have when cooking squash casseroles.
We recommend gently frying the squash in a skillet with the melted butter and the rest of your vegetables. Still, we do recognize that other chefs prefer cooking squash in a variety of different ways.
It's essential to partially cook your squash before baking it in the oven, as you need it to be soft enough to cook through with the rest of the casserole. Importantly your squash can't be too soft though, or it all just turns to mush and that's not what you're looking for!
As well as frying, you can also boil the squash before mixing it into the casserole, or you could even oven bake it separately, then add it into the mix.
We love frying the squash simply because of all the extra flavoring you get from frying all the vegetables and butter together!
Nope! While yellow squash is the most traditional vegetable that's used in southern-style squash casseroles, you can use any other summer squash you might have grown in the garden or found at the shops or market too!
A popular alternative is zucchinis, the tasty green squash that's bountiful in summer. You prepare the zucchini and your other vegetables in precisely the same way as we suggest in the recipe. The only difference; it's green rather than yellow. And it tastes like zucchini too, of course.
You might find that your sauce isn't quite as thick as you like it, in which case, there's an easy fix to thicken up your casserole. Take a mixing bowl and whisk together water and cornstarch in equal parts. Keep whisking until no lumps are remaining in the bowl.
When it's no longer lumpy, you can slowly pour in the cornstarch to mix with your casserole. You're best doing this towards the end of the baking period, so you can better judge how much thicker you need it to be. More cornstarch will produce a thicker sauce.
If your squash is super watery, it can also lead to a thin casserole when you take it out of the oven. To avoid this, you need to cook out as much of the water content as you can when you're initially frying the squash in the prep stage of the recipe.
Yes. Traditionally, squash casseroles are baked as a side dish, which is why our recipe is designed for 6 servings. Of course, you don't have to stick to this rule, because squash casseroles can make for tasty meals on their own accord.
If you don't want to cook this as a side dish, you'll need to either up the quantity you're baking or cut down on how many people you are serving.
Most chefs serve their squash casseroles as a side dish and accompaniment to other dishes, and it's particularly well paired with certain types of meat.
This is a super creamy and super cheesy side dish (and super delicious!), so it goes really well with roasted meats. It's great for barbecues as well, especially in the summer sunshine. Cook up a huge batch of casserole and serve it on the side with all your favorite grilled meats fresh from the coals.
You can even add meat to the squash recipe itself. One popular variation that includes meat in the casserole itself is a ground beef and squash combination. At the same time, another timeless southern favorite adds in roasted chicken strips to the dish.
Any classic squash casserole with cheese should be using Cheddar cheese! At least, that's the traditional way.
But don't worry, we'll look the other way if you want to try adding in a different type of cheese. The recipe can go really well with other medium-strength cheeses that have a similar texture as cheddar. Monterrey Jack or Colby Cheese (or both) always make for a great change to Cheddar.
One of the great things about squash casseroles is that they freeze really well. As long as you haven't added the crackers already. Crackers do not freeze so well.
You can cook up large batches in one go and then portion them off into individual freezer bags. When you unfreeze them at a later date, you can simply add the crackers ontop once everything has thawed. Stick the casserole back in the oven or in the microwave to cook it through and serve piping hot
You can also easily prepare your squash casseroles well in advance of the meal. That's just perfect if you're having a large summer gathering or garden party and have lots of dishes to think about!
You can prep everything and prepare the casserole in the baking dish, then leave it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it. When you're good to go, sprinkle on the crackers and whack it all in the oven.
Squash casserole is best served fresh and hot. That's when it has the most flavor. But if you have leftovers, then you can keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Leave the casserole much longer and it starts to lose its flavor and could turn for the worse.
Transfer your leftovers to a suitable container, cover it up, and store it in the fridge. When you're ready to reheat the casserole, you can either put it in the microwave or bake it gently in the oven at a lower temperature.
Our delicious southern squash casserole has the cheesiest of fillings and the most savory of breadcrumb toppings. Everyone you serve this easy squash casserole will be asking for seconds and begging for your secret!