Healthy and Gluten-Free Squash Casserole | Southern Delight

“Southern Summer Squash Casserole Recipe,” it’s time to up your game for a food fiesta in the South. Nothing screams Southern comfort like a well-made squash casserole straight out of the oven. With its creamy filling and buttery topping, this Southern-style squash casserole is an all-time favorite side dish that truly satisfies your taste buds.

This casserole is great when you want to add some variety to your menu, especially during summer months when squash is abundant. This Southern staple features layers of sliced summer squash, onions, and cheddar cheese, covered with a crispy butter cracker topping. That combination makes it irresistible to any Southerner and anyone who appreciates good home-cooked food.

I first tasted this irresistibly delicious Southern Squash Casserole at a family potluck dinner where my cousin Paula Deen brought it. We all agreed that she had added her special touch in making it heavenly delicious. Since then, I’ve been preparing and perfecting this casserole recipe — adding my spin with a few more ingredients — and now, I’m here to share this recipe with you.

Whether you’re planning a family dinner, barbecue party or is looking to liven up your weeknight meal repertoire, this easy-to-follow recipe is sure to impress. So without further ado, let’s get started with whipping up this all-star Southern Summer Squash Casserole Recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Summer Squash Casserole
Southern Summer Squash Casserole

This southern-style summer squash casserole is a dish that will have you coming back for seconds and licking your plate clean. Here are just a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe.

First of all, this casserole is loaded with savory flavor. Made with yellow squash, butter, onion, and bacon, it combines some of the most delicious ingredients in southern cuisine. The addition of sour cream and cream cheese gives the dish a luxurious richness that will make your taste buds dance with delight.

Another great thing about this recipe is how easy and versatile it is. You can make substitutions or variations based on what ingredients you have on hand or to suit your personal preferences. It can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free crackers instead of regular ones.

This summer squash casserole also makes for a great side dish to serve at family barbecues, potlucks or even during the holidays. It’s the perfect complement to grilled meats such as chicken and pork. Plus, because it’s a casserole, it’s easy to prepare in advance and can be reheated whenever you need it.

Not convinced yet? Well, here’s the real clincher: This recipe is one of Paula Deen’s favorites! The queen of southern cooking knows a thing or two about making delicious food and this casserole is no exception. If Paula Deen loves it, then you know it has to be good!

In conclusion, there are countless reasons why you’ll fall in love with this southern summer squash casserole recipe. From its deliciously savory flavors to its versatility in preparation and serving, this casserole is guaranteed to be a hit at any gathering or dinner table.

Ingredient List

 Hearty and delicious summer squash casserole, just like grandma made it!
Hearty and delicious summer squash casserole, just like grandma made it!

Here’s a Southern Summer Squash Casserole recipe that will have your taste buds tingling with pleasure! The ingredients for this recipe are southern favorites and are probably found in your pantry or easily available at any grocery store.


  • 2 pounds yellow squash, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 1 can (10 ounces) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 sleeve (about 4 ounces) crackers, crushed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided

Let’s get cooking!

The Recipe How-To

 Perfect side dish for your next summer BBQ.
Perfect side dish for your next summer BBQ.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Before we start, let’s make sure that our oven is ready by preheating it. This will ensure that our “Southern Summer Squash Casserole” is baked evenly and has a crispy crust.

Prepare the squash mixture. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add 1 chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent. Add 2 pounds of sliced yellow squash and 1 sliced medium onion. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the squash becomes tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the cheese mixture to the squash. In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup of cream cheese, and 1 can of cream of mushroom soup. Once it is mixed thoroughly, stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese to the mixture.

Combine the squash mixture with the cheese mixture. Let’s combine our cooked squash with the cheese mixture we just made in step three. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated.

Layer the Squash Casserole Mixture with Crackers in a baking dish. Get your casserole dish ready and grease it with some butter. Then, layer half of the “Squash Mixture” to cover the bottom of the dish. Top the layers with a generous amount of crumbled crackers (about 25 saltine crackers) then repeat step four by adding another layer on top of this cracker layer using up all remaining “Squash Mixture.” Finally again layer-up some cracker crumbs on top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until Browned and Bubbly, and enjoy this delicious “Southern Summer Squash Casserole Recipe!

Substitutions and Variations

 Melt-in-your-mouth cheesy goodness with a crunchy breadcrumb topping.
Melt-in-your-mouth cheesy goodness with a crunchy breadcrumb topping.

Now, don’t worry if you don’t quite have all the ingredients listed. There are plenty of substitutions and variations to make this recipe work for you. Here are a few suggestions:

– Instead of yellow squash, try using zucchini or crookneck squash for a different texture and flavor.

– For a more savory, hearty casserole, add some cooked bacon or ground beef to the recipe.

– If you’re looking to make this dish gluten-free, simply swap out the crackers for gluten-free breadcrumbs or omit them altogether.

– You could also use cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom soup for a different taste profile.

– Want to make this casserole even cheesier? Add some shredded cheddar cheese to the mix or sprinkle it on top before baking.

These are just a few ideas to get your creativity flowing. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavors to make this southern squash casserole uniquely yours.

Serving and Pairing

 Fresh summer squash and herbs make this casserole a standout dish.
Fresh summer squash and herbs make this casserole a standout dish.

When it comes to serving this scrumptious Southern Summer Squash Casserole, I recommend placing a generous portion on a plate alongside other Southern classics like baked chicken, cornbread, and collard greens for an authentic experience.

For pairing, a chilled glass of sweet tea or unsweetened ice tea is a must-have accompaniment. If you prefer something stronger, go for some ice-cold lemonade or even a glass of white wine.

If you want to elevate this dish even more, consider topping it with some crispy bacon bits or chopped fresh herbs like parsley or thyme. And if you’re feeling a little adventurous, try adding some diced jalapenos or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to give the dish a spicy kick.

Regardless of how you choose to serve and pair this delicious yellow squash casserole recipe, I promise it will be the talk of the table and leave your taste buds begging for more.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Classic southern flavors packed into one tasty casserole.
Classic southern flavors packed into one tasty casserole.

As a chef, I know that time is often of the essence when it comes to preparing meals. That’s why I highly recommend making this Southern Summer Squash Casserole in advance, as it stores and reheats wonderfully. This dish can be made up to two days ahead of time, and storing it in the refrigerator can actually allow the flavors to meld together even more.

To store the casserole, simply let it cool completely at room temperature before covering it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Be sure to label the container with the date and contents so you remember when it was made.

To reheat, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove the plastic wrap or aluminum foil from the casserole, then cover it lightly with foil to prevent over-browning. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.

For individual servings, you can also reheat in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. If needed, add a splash of milk or cream to help loosen up thicker parts.

This casserole is perfect for meal prep since it reheats so well. You can even double or triple the recipe to have extra portions throughout the week or for feeding larger crowds. No need to stress about busy weeknights anymore – this Southern Summer Squash Casserole has you covered!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Satisfy your comfort food cravings with this easy-to-make casserole.
Satisfy your comfort food cravings with this easy-to-make casserole.

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to put them together and cook up a Southern Summer Squash Casserole that’ll knock everyone’s socks off! But before you start, here are some tips to ensure perfect results every time.

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to get creative with your ingredients. If you’re missing an ingredient or want to substitute something, go ahead and do it! Just remember to keep the overall flavor profile in mind. For example, if you’re out of sour cream, try using plain Greek yogurt instead. It’ll give the dish a similar tang and creaminess.

Another important tip is to slice the squash thinly and uniformly so that they cook evenly. You can use a food processor or mandoline slicer to achieve even slices. Additionally, try using a mix of yellow squash and zucchini for a colorful dish.

When cooking the onions, make sure to cook them until they’re translucent and fragrant, but not browned or burnt. This will help bring out their natural sweetness without overpowering the other flavors in the casserole.

As for the seasonings, don’t be shy with the garlic powder and black pepper. They add a nice kick of flavor to the dish. However, be careful not to overdo it with the salt since some of the other ingredients like cheese and bacon may already have added sodium.

To prevent the casserole from becoming too watery or runny, place a layer of crackers or breadcrumbs on top before baking. This will absorb any excess moisture during cooking and give the casserole a nice crispy texture on top.

Finally, be patient when baking this dish. It’s best to bake it low and slow at 350°F for around 45-50 minutes until it’s golden brown and bubbly on top. Letting it rest for 10-15 minutes after removing from oven will also help set the casserole and create a more cohesive dish.

By following these tips, you can guarantee a delicious and crowd-pleasing Southern Summer Squash Casserole every time.


As with any recipe, there may be questions or concerns that arise during the cooking process. I have compiled a list of common questions and answers to help you get the best results for this Southern Summer Squash Casserole recipe. Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions and their solutions.

How do you make Paula Deen’s squash casserole?

To bring out a depth of flavor in this southern-style dish, begin by warming a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add a dollop of butter to the pan and let it melt until it begins to sizzle. Slide some thinly-sliced onion into the skillet and stir until they become golden brown and caramelized, which should take about 5 minutes. Once the onions are done, remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.

Moving on to the next step, grab a large mixing bowl to combine the sautéed onions with some diced squash, a generous dollop of sour cream, and some sharp cheddar cheese. To really make the flavors dance, add a dash of Paula Deen’s House Seasoning to the mix. Give everything a thorough stir to make sure the seasonings and ingredients are evenly dispersed.

Once the mixture is ready, pour it into a generously buttered casserole dish to prepare it for baking. As a final touch, sprinkle a layer of cracker crumbs over the top. These will become crispy and golden in the oven, adding a playful texture to the otherwise creamy and cheesy mixture. Slip the casserole dish into the oven and let it bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cheese has melted into the vegetables.

Why is my squash casserole watery?

To prevent a squash casserole from becoming too watery, it’s crucial to take certain steps. First off, it’s important to add a sufficient amount of salt to the squash and cook it partially beforehand. Afterwards, be sure to drain the excess water from the squash. Additionally, the combination of eggs, sour cream, mayonnaise, and cheese in the casserole not only adds to its flavor but also helps it to thicken and reduces the chances of it becoming watery.

What can I do with too big summer squash?

As a Southern cuisine chef, I’ve come across various ways to cook squash that can leave your taste buds watering for more. One way to add a delicious twist to squash is by frying it into fritters or croquettes. Additionally, you can freeze squash to savor during winter months or slice it into noodles for a healthier twist. For those with little ones, you can even make squash kid-friendly by adding it into dishes they already love. Don’t hesitate to diversify your squash recipe repertoire and experiment with various flavor combinations to find your perfect dish.

Are you supposed to peel summer squash before cooking?

Before consuming, it’s advisable to clean the squash and remove the ends. Remember, the peel is not only edible but also not too strong in flavor. Feel free to consume the squash either in its raw state or cooked.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, with this Southern-style Summer Squash Casserole, you’ll have a delicious and hearty dish that will be perfect for any occasion. The creaminess of the sour cream and cream cheese, the buttery onions and bacon, and the tender but still firm texture of the squash all come together to create a dish that’s sure to impress everyone at your table.

This dish is especially suited for the summer months when squash is in season and readily available. But even during the colder months, this casserole will serve as a hearty side dish for any meal. And don’t forget to experiment with different variations – try throwing in different cheeses or changing up the type of squash you use.

In short, whether you’re from the South or not, this Squash Casserole is a must-try recipe that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. So what are you waiting for? Break out your baking dish and get cooking – I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Southern Summer Squash Casserole

Southern Summer Squash Casserole Recipe

This side dish actually makes a great meal in itself...if you like squash. Goes great with roast.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern US
Calories 46 kcal


  • 8 summer squash, sliced
  • 2 strips thick sliced bacon, cut in 1/2 in pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • breadcrumbs (store bought or homemade)
  • butter
  • sour cream or cream cheese


  • Lightly brown bacon in large (3 qt) saucepan.
  • Stir in onions when bacon is browned and cook over medium heat until clear.
  • Add sliced summer squash and mix with bacon and onion.
  • Allow squash to cook down stirring often.
  • Grease large casserole dish on all sides.
  • When squash is cooked, spoon out enough to cover bottom of casserole dish to about 2 inches with slotted spoon.
  • Put 5 or 6 pats of butter and several dollops of sour cream or cream cheese (sour cream is easier to work with) on top of layer and cover with bread crumbs.
  • repeat process with second layer, but do not put sour cream or cream cheese on top of casserole.
  • Put casserole into 325 degree pre-heated oven uncovered and cook for 1 hour.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 211gCalories: 46kcalCarbohydrates: 7.9gProtein: 2.8gFat: 1.3gSaturated Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 1.4mgSodium: 21.1mgFiber: 2.4gSugar: 4.9g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Low Protein, Oven, Vegetable, Weeknight
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