Why Southerners Serve Pineapple Casserole At Christmas

Learn why Southerners make this popular dish.

Pineapple Casserole in a square casserole pan
Photo: Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle,Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Serving pineapple casserole on a Southern holiday is not an unlikely tradition. Southerners make all sorts of sweet oddities like congealed cranberry molds and citrusy ambrosia salads. Nevertheless, some have come to the opinion that pineapple casserole should be reserved only for Easter to go with baked ham and pastel eggs. However, there's a reason that interest and Internet searches around classic pineapple casserole recipes seriously spike right around the holiday season: Southerners are secretly making it for Christmas, too.

Many people sadly keep their inclusion of pineapple casserole on their holiday menus a secret, be it out of shame or fear of embarrassment. Still, it's become quite the regular on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables.

So, you may ask yourself, "What is the appeal of pineapple casserole?" Firstly, it's delicious. (If you've never tried it, read this.) The combination of sweet pineapple, Cheddar cheese, and buttery crackers forms a perfectly balanced bite. Secondly, there is never a need to worry about what's in season. Classic pineapple casserole calls for canned fruit, of course. Also, all ingredients can be on hand for any last-minute dessert needs. Lastly, it adds the right sweetness to offset the insanely rich, savory, salty dishes that make up a Southern feast. Many even scoop up a bite alongside the turkey, ham, or beef. You've never known such culinary heaven.

If you've been scared to slide that baking dish onto the sideboard—despite being your favorite holiday side dish—now's the time to forget your shame and own the truth that this is a delicious dessert for any time of the year.

Pineapple casserole is unique. There is no more hiding it away, so try our reader-loved, retro-inspired Pineapple Casserole recipe.

This holiday season, there are no rules. Serve what you want.

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