Cheesy Southern Yellow Squash Casserole takes the lowly squash to new levels with this simple to make recipe. It doesn’t have any eggs, sour cream or mayonnaise often found in squash casseroles. Rather, it’s flavored with just onions, bacon and cheese.
I first made this delicious casserole years ago. It was one of my mother’s favorite recipes. Since that time, the only thing that I now do differently is to top it with a mixture of crushed Ritz crackers and Cheddar cheese, dotted with some butter.
Ingredients for Cheesy Southern Yellow Squash Casserole
I used the following ingredients in this awesome casserole: Yellow squash, Kosher salt, bacon, onions, Cheddar cheese, Ritz crackers, freshly ground black pepper and unsalted butter.
About Yellow Squash
Yellow squash is sometimes referred to as summer squash. It’s generally harvested when it is still young with a very tender rind that is edible. Because of the rind’s tenderness, you should not peel the squash. Generally the squash is cut into rounds before it is cooked.
Yellow squash and zucchini are related, but are not the same. The main differences between the two are the color and the shape. Yellow squash as its name implies is yellow while zucchini is green. In terms of shape, yellow squash has a fat bottom and that tapers towards the neck. Sometimes the neck curves. Zucchini on the other hand is straight. Given that the differences are mainly cosmetic, one can use yellow squash and zucchini interchangeably in many recipes.
Yellow squash provides numerous health benefits. It is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium. It is also rich in manganese which helps boost bone strength and enhances the body’s ability to process fats and carbohydrates.
Preparing the Yellow Squash for the Casserole
I started by slicing the squash into ¼-inch rounds. Then, I cooked it in boiling salted water just until tender. That took about 5 minutes.
As an aside, Susan taught me that if you put a wooden spoon into a pan in which you are boiling something, the water won’t boil over. I’m not sure why this works – probably something to do with heat transfer or some other scientific explanation. Whatever the reason, it really works!
Anyway, once the squash was tender, I drained it in a wire mesh colander. After the squash cooled a bit, I pressed it with paper towels to squeeze out as much water as possible.
Preparing the Bacon and Topping for the Cheesy Southern Yellow Squash Casserole
While the squash was cooking, I placed the Ritz crackers into a Ziploc bag and crushed them with a rolling pin. Then, I added some shredded cheese and mixed the two together.
While the squash was draining, I cooked the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it was browned and crisp. When the bacon was done, I transferred it to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Then, I crumbled the bacon.
Finishing the Cheesy Southern Yellow Squash Casserole
I poured the bacon grease out of the skillet, and added back 1 tablespoon. Then, I sautéed the onions in the bacon grease for about 5 minutes until they softened. Once the onions had softened, I turned off the heat. Next, I added the cooked squash, shredded cheese, crumbled bacon and pepper to the onions.
I stirred to combine all of the ingredients. I tasted the mixture to see if it needed any more salt. It was perfect for my taste! However, you should taste it and make any corrections to the salt and/or pepper at this point.
Then, I transferred the cheesy squash to a 2 ½-quart casserole dish that I had sprayed with nonstick vegetable spray. I sprinkled on the Ritz/Cheese mixture and dotted the top with some butter.
I baked the Cheesy Southern Yellow Squash Casserole in a preheated 350° F oven for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the casserole was bubbly and the top was a crunchy golden brown.
Talk about good! With the perfect blend of squash, onions, cheese and bacon, the Cheesy Southern Yellow Squash Casserole was amazing. The crispy crunchy Ritz/Cheese topping was just the right finishing touch to put this casserole over the top. Also, the leftovers were just as good the next day. Yum!
If you like squash, you should also try the following tasty recipes:
- Easy Make Ahead Zucchini Gratin
- Three Cheese Zucchini Tart
- Creamy Puréed Zucchini Soup
- Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bites
Cheesy Southern Yellow Squash Casserole
- 2 pounds yellow squash cut into ¼-inch rounds (About 8 cups) (See Tip 1)
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 4 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon reserved bacon grease (See Tip 2)
- 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided (See Tip 3)
- 24 Ritz crackers, crushed (See Tip 4)
- 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)
- Additional salt to taste (See Tip 5)
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, or to taste
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Boil squash in water salted with 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt until tender, about 5 minutes. (See Tip 6)
- Drain well in wire mesh colander. When cool, press squash with paper towels to squeeze out as much water as possible. (See Tip 7)
- Combine crushed Ritz crackers with ½ cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Set aside.
- Heat reserved one tablespoon of bacon grease in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. (See Tip 2)
- When onion is tender, add squash, 1 cup of Cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon and pepper to onions; stir to combine. Correct the seasonings.
- Transfer squash mixture to 2 ½ quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick vegetable spray. Sprinkle on Ritz/Cheese mixture; dot with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Bake in preheated 350° F oven for 30 minutes or until squash mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
- Yield: 6 servings. (See Tip 8)
Chula's Expert Tips
- You could also use unpeeled zucchini in this amazing casserole, or half yellow squash and half zucchini. The zucchini will add a nice color to the dish.
- You could use 1 tablespoon of butter as opposed to the bacon grease.
- I used extra sharp Cheddar cheese because that's what the Master Taste Tester likes. You could also use sharp or mild Cheddar cheese.
- One sleeve of Ritz crackers contains 35 crackers. A whole sleeve would be too much. Enjoy the rest of the crackers with your favorite spread!
- I find it unnecessary to add any more salt to the casserole. The cheese and bacon add just enough salt for my taste. However, you should taste the casserole and make sure that it has enough salt for your taste.
- Place a wooden spoon in the water to prevent it from boiling over.
- You want to remove as much water as possible from the squash. Otherwise, the casserole will be soupy.
- This makes great leftovers. Heat in microwave until hot or bake at 350° F for 15 minutes or until hot.