Everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving food that they look forward to each year. I’m pretty sure squash casserole is my husband’s favorite, which is why I prioritized this recipe. There are so many things I wanted to experiment with and post before Thursday, but they will have to wait until next year I suppose. It took me several attempts to get this one right, but I’m excited to share what I learned along the way. I finally reached the consistency I was going for today, and I’m pretty pumped about the end result! This yellow squash casserole is wonderfully cheesy, rich, creamy, loaded with fresh squash and topped with golden buttery crackers and parmesan. Sure, it may not be the healthiest side dish you will ever eat, but it is Thanksgiving food at its finest, and it is absolutely delicious!
Lessons Learned Along The Way
The first couple versions of this squash casserole came out more “soupy” than I would have liked. The flavor was still there, but I wanted the casserole to be far less runny.
How to Avoid a “Soupy” Casserole
- Cook the squash on the stovetop before baking. For years I made squash casserole with raw squash and a longer baking time. If you are in a pinch for time, you can get by with this, but the casserole will be far more delicious and a lot less runny if you pre-cook the squash and allow some of the moisture to evaporate.
- Mix some breadcrumbs/Ritz crackers or lightly beaten eggs, or both into your filling. This will help to soak up some of the liquid from the squash and keep everything bound together nicely. I used to only use crackers on top, but mixing some into the filling goes a long way for reaching the right consistency.
The size of your squash is important for multiple reasons. Smaller squash almost always yield better flavor, but they are also a lot easier to eat in a casserole. I like to cut the squash into 1/4 inch rounds because it looks nice, and ideally you want these to be bite sized. Try to avoid larger squash for this recipe if you can. Small to medium sized squash are perfect. Be sure to cut any larger pieces in half or quarters even. They will cook faster and make for a better casserole consistency. Remember, bite sized is what we are going for!
Yay For Thanksgiving!!
I’m so excited for all the food this week! What food do you look forward to the most at Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. I lean towards a really great stuffing with turkey gravy or my Nana’s Baked Macaroni. I’m also a HUGE fan of open faced turkey sandwiches smothered in gravy and black pepper served up on a slice of good old fashioned white bread. Omg. I can hardly wait. This is what I eat basically the entire week after Thanksgiving. My family also always made a great turkey soup with orzo after Thanksgiving. Did I mention I’m excited to eat on Thursday? The weather is supposed to be great, so we are planning to have a small outdoor meal with family.
I know the holiday season is going to look a lot different for many families this year, but I hope you are able to make the most of it. I hope you have space and time to relax and be, and I hope you are still able to connect in some way with the people you love the most. At the very least, I hope we can all eat really, really well. We definitely deserve it. And let’s remember to give back to those who might not have a full meal at their table this year. It is no secret that these are some really hard times for so many wonderful people.
If you are in the Asheville area, check out this great resource detailing volunteer opportunities this Thanksgiving. If you know someone in need, send them here to find food for Thanksgiving in Western, NC. or consider donating to Manna Foodbank here.
Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving Week everybody!Print
This yellow squash casserole is perfection! It is wonderfully cheesy, rich, creamy, loaded with fresh squash, topped with buttery crackers and parmesan and baked to golden perfection. The best.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, small diced
- 3 pounds small to medium yellow squash, cut into 1/4 inch rounds then further cut in half or quarters if needed for bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
- 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, freshly grated, divided
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 sleeves Ritz crackers (about 45 crackers), crushed, divided
- Heat butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven (preferable) or large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until softened.
- Add the squash, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and cook for 6 to 8 minutes over medium to medium high heat until squash is partly cooked and beginning to brown slightly.
- Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Add the grated Gruyère, 1 cup of the parmesan, mayonnaise, eggs, and 1/2 sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers to the Dutch oven. (If you used a skillet, you will likely need to transfer everything to a large mixing bowl at this point).
- Stir to combine and scoop this filling into your 9 x 13 inch baking dish being sure to leave some of the liquid behind (at least 1/3 cup).
- Add the remaining sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers back to your Dutch oven or mixing bowl to soak up the remaining juices and stir in remaining 1/2 cup of grated parmesan.
- Top your casserole with the cracker/parmesan mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes until squash is cooked through and the top is nice and golden!
- This squash casserole has a decent kick to it. Feel free to cut back on the red pepper flakes or leave them out all together if you don’t love spicy food.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Sids
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American