Yellow squash casserole is a tasty way to use summer’s bounty. Sliced fresh summer squash is baked with ground beef, tomatoes and buttery cracker crust.
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Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of yellow squash per se, I would urge you to try this squash casserole recipe anyway. It might just make a convert out of you … it did me.
I think the reason I’ve never liked summer squash in the past is I’ve never had it prepared quite like my mother-in-law prepares it. Her Southern squash casserole recipe is loaded with other tasty ingredients – such as hamburger meat, cream of mushroom soup and crispy, butter crackers – all of which add extra flavor.
How to Pick the Best Summer Squash for this Recipe
This casserole is a great and tasty way to use up an abundance from your summer garden. Likewise, yellow squash is in abundance at the markets during the summer months. You’ll need at least eight yellow squash for this recipe, depending on size. Here’s what to look for when selecting the best ones.
- Squash should be between 4- to-7 inches in length.
- It should feel firm to the touch, but not heavy.
- Look for firm, brightly colored skin free of any large blemishes, gashes or signs of rot.
- Yellow squash can ripen very quickly. It’s best to wait and purchase them when you know you will be able to use them within the next day or two.
Blanching the Squash
Blanching is the process of scalding vegetables by boiling them or steaming them for a short amount time. This preserves the bright color and softens the vegetables just a bit. I throw in a little salt to the water to add some flavor to the squash.
Simply bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil (I added one tablespoon of regular table salt to the pot). While the water is coming to a boil, slice your squash into rounds. Once the water is boiling, add the squash and set a timer for three minutes. Immediately drain the squash and run it under a bit of cold water to stop the cooking. Likewise, you can also steam the squash for 5-7 minutes.
Using Frozen Squash
Frozen squash an be used in this casserole. You don’t even have to thaw it! Skip the blanching step, as the squash will soften on its own as it thaws. You may need to add extra salt.
Assembling the Yellow Squash Casserole
Start by browning one pound of hamburger meat in a large skillet. Add one small chopped onion to the skillet and cook until the hamburger is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Drain the grease from the skillet. Pour the burger into a large mixing bowl.
Add one 10-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup and one 10-ounce can of Rotel tomatoes. I chose mild Rotel tomatoes since my kids would be eating the casserole. If you like a little heat, feel free to go for medium or mild tomatoes.
Also add one up of shredded cheddar cheese and two large, lightly beaten eggs. Mix these together until combined. Add the cooked and drained squash to the bowl. Stir again until the squash is thoroughly incorporated. Pour the squash mixture into one large 9 x 13 x 2-inch casserole dish or two 8 x 8 x 2-inch casserole dishes.
Crush about 24 butter flavored crackers such as Ritz. Easiest way for me to do this is to place the crackers in a large zippered plastic bag and roll a rolling pin over the top until they are all broken up. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the top of the casserole.
Bake the summer squash casserole for 20-30 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F. The casserole should be bubbling and the cracker crust topping should be golden brown. The casserole will be piping hot after you remove it from the oven, so I do recommend letting it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Can squash casserole be made ahead of time?
Yellow squash casserole can be assembled up to 24 hours in advance. Simply cover it and store it I the fridge until ready to bake. I suggest leaving the crackers off until you’re ready to put it in the oven. Liquid from the squash can cause the crackers to get soggy.
Can squash casserole be frozen?
Unbaked yellow squash casserole can be frozen for up to three months. My recommendation is to place the casserole in a disposable metal casserole dish so you’re not tying up any of your good dishes. Leave off the crackers, as freezing and thawing can affect the texture. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and place it on a level surface in the freezer until its frozen solid.
No need to thaw before baking. Simply add the cracker topping and bake from frozen. Add about 15 minutes to the cooking time if cooking from frozen.
Squash Casserole Pairs Well With:
Yellow Squash Casserole
- 8-10 small yellow squash sliced
- 1 pound hamburger meat
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 10 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 24 butter flavored crackers crushed
- Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Add the squash, return the water to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately drain the squash and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside to drain.
- Brown the hamburger meat in a large skillet. Add the diced onion and cook until the hamburger is not longer pink and the onion is tender. Place the burger in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the cream of mushroom soup, the diced tomatoes with green chilies, the shredded cheddar cheese and the two beaten eggs. Stir until everything is combined.
- Add the squash to the bowl. Gently stir until the squash is evenly incorporated throughout the mixture.
- Place the squash mixture in one large 9 x 12 x 2-inch casserole dish or two 8 x 8 x 2-inch casserole dishes. At this point, the squash can be covered with aluminum foil and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours or frozen.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Sprinkle the crushed crackers over the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until the casserole is bubbling and the cracker crust is golden brown. If using frozen squash, you may need to allow the casserole to bake for and extra 10-15 minutes. Allow casserole to rest for 10 minutes before serving.