Old-School Squash Casserole Recipe


This classic casserole is a staple dish found at meat-and-three diners and church covered-dish suppers across the South.

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins

Many think that Southerners prefer their vegetables smothered in butter, cream, and cheese. That especially holds true for yellow squash, which more often than not is at the center of the classic squash casserole. While we love the squash itself, it is the creamy sauce (made from cheese, mayonnaise, and eggs) and crunchy, buttery cracker topping that keeps us coming back for seconds.

Squash casserole is a staple dish found at meat-and-three diners and at church covered-dish suppers. It can stand on its own as a vegetarian main dish, but also pairs well with just about any protein (fried chicken is a traditional partner).

To make the absolute best squash casserole, it's important to get as much liquid out of the squash during the initial cooking process as possible to prevent a watery casserole. When sautéing, stir the squash often to release steam and prevent browning. Don't overcook it, which will cause the casserole to be mushy—remember the squash still has to be baked.

Gently fold the squash into the egg-cheese mixture to avoid mashing and breaking it into small pieces. Straining the squash helps to remove excess water that leaches out of the cooked squash, and it cools the squash before it is added to the casserole.

Old-School Squash Casserole in a green casserole dish
Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman

How to Make Old-School Squash Casserole

While the oven is preheating to 350 degrees F, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Now add squash, onion, and salt, stirring as you cook for about 10 minutes. (When ready, the squash will be just tender and the liquid will have evaporated.) Transfer this mixture to a colander set over a bowl, and drain and discard any remaining liquid.

Next, stir together eggs, sour cream, Swiss and Cheddar cheeses, mayonnaise, thyme, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Fold in the squash mixture. Then spoon it into a lightly greased baking dish.

Microwave the last portion of butter until fully melted. Toss the melted butter together with the crackers and Parmesan cheese until combined. Sprinkle this topping over the casserole and bake it in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Old-School Squash Casserole Ingredients

This savory and satisfying recipe requires only affordable and readily available ingredients. You'll need unsalted butter, yellow squash (about three pounds), a yellow onion, eggs, sour cream, three kinds of cheese (Parmesan, Cheddar, and Swiss), mayonnaise, fresh thyme, and round buttery crackers (like Ritz). You'll also need kosher salt and pepper for seasoning.

Do You Put Eggs in Squash Casserole?

Eggs are primarily used as a binding ingredient in casseroles. This popular recipe calls for two large eggs, lightly beaten. In addition to its binding properties, the eggs in this dish create a decadent, creamy sauce when combined with the cheeses and mayo.

How Do You Keep Squash Casserole from Getting Watery?

Squash is naturally filled with water, and you might find some of that liquid results in a watery dish. To manage this, remove some of the water in the squash before cooking it as part of the pre-preparation.

Sprinkle the cut side of the raw veggies with salt, then place the cut side down onto layers of paper towel for about a half hour. Through this process, the salt draws out the moisture, and the paper towel absorbs it before it can turn your dish watery.

You can also drain the squash after it has cooked to release any extra liquid just before stirring together all the casserole ingredients.

Community Tips

The buttery topping is one of the standout features of this filling dish, but Southern Living community members note many ways to adapt it for equally scrumptious results. "I used Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs instead of crackers and I still had a crunchy, crispy topping," Teresa Crawford says.

Another community member tried a different successful modification. "Instead of two sleeves of crackers, I used one and about half cup of Stove Top stuffing," the member writes. "That gave it some zing!"

Editorial contributions by Alesandra Dubin.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 3 pounds yellow squash, sliced ¼-inch thick (from 5 medium squash)

  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

  • 4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

  • 2 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (about ½ cup)

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 sleeves round buttery crackers (such as Ritz), coarsely crushed

  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shredded (about ¼ cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add squash, onion, and 1 teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring often, until center of squash is just tender and liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a colander set over a bowl. Drain 5 minutes; discard any liquid.

  2. Stir together eggs, sour cream, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses, mayonnaise, thyme, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Gently fold in squash mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch (2-quart) baking dish.

  3. Microwave remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium-size microwavable bowl on HIGH until melted, about 25 seconds. Toss together crackers, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter until combined; sprinkle over casserole. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

    squash casserole on a plate with a casserole dish behind it
    Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Props Stylist: Christina Brockman
Updated by Alesandra Dubin
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