This updated twist on the classic Southern-style favorite has the kick of fresh green chiles! Southwestern-inspired Summer Squash Casserole can be made ahead of time, leftovers reheat beautifully and it’s freezer-friendly!
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
If you tend a garden and plant yellow squash, chances are pretty good you’ve got LOTS of yellow squash. Yellow squash is quite prolific–especially in the South. This Summer Squash Casserole with southwestern flair has green chiles, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and buttery cracker topping is a delicious way to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Some would consider messing with an old classic Southern recipe like a yellow squash casserole a sacrilege, but I’m happy to take the heat for doing it, and we love this version!
This yellow squash casserole recipe:
- Is EASY!
- A great way to use an abundance of yellow squash.
- Can be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and baked 1-2 days later.
- Leftovers reheat beautifully in the oven or toaster oven.
- Can be frozen after it is baked.
- Decadent but delicious!
This is a rich dish, but try not to skimp on anything. Use real mayonnaise, cream cheese and definitely the butter crackers on the top.
Let’s make it!
How to Make Summer Squash Casserole:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this yellow squash casserole recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:
- Oil and Butter? Yes! By combining the two, you get the flavor of butter but the oil’s searing and higher-temperature cooking ability. When cooking with butter, I always use unsalted butter to better control the salt level in the dish.
- Yellow / Summer Squash: Use small to medium-sized yellow squash if possible so you do not have to remove the seedy center. If you’re inundated with zucchini or pattypan squash, by all means, use it.
- Green Chiles: Almost any green chile will work–hot or mild–including canned diced green chilies if you prefer the ease and convenience.
- Scallions: Also called green onions. I like to use them in this dish because they cook quickly and only add a delicate onion flavor to the delicately flavored yellow squash.
- Mayonnaise: If you live in the South, then you know about Duke’s! It’s our favorite and what I used here.
- Cream Cheese: Neufchatel cheese will lighten up the casserole slightly.
- Parmesan Cheese: Even though it’s not “Southwestern,” it works in this yellow squash casserole recipe because it’s a dry cheese. With the creaminess of the mayonnaise and cream cheese, a melty style of cheese is overkill. Parmesan cheese also adds a lot of flavor without having to use a lot.
- Butter Crackers: Any cracker with a buttery flavor, such as Ritz or Townhouse, will work.
- Gather and prep all the ingredients. Slice the yellow squash.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8-inch or 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set it aside.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the sliced yellow squash and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until it softens.
- Add the green chiles and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes, then add the scallions and garlic. Cook briefly to wilt the scallions. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Take the vegetables off the heat and let cool slightly.
- Mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, eggs and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese together.
- Pour half of the mayonnaise, egg and cheese combination into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, then spoon in the squash combination. No need to drain off any residual liquid.
- Pour the remaining mayonnaise, egg, and cheese combination over the top, gently working it into the squash combination so it’s evenly distributed. (Note: It looks like it will be super soupy but stay with me!)
- Top the summer squash casserole with the remaining Parmesan cheese and crushed crackers to cover the top.
- Give the crackers a quick, light spray with cooking spray.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the yellow squash casserole is set and the top is light toasty golden brown!
- Summer Squash Casserole with green chiles! An updated twist on a classic! Let’s eat!
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- I use a chef’s knife to slice the yellow squash, but a hand-held mandoline slicer will make the process go very quickly. Just be careful as that blade is super sharp!
- Southern-style yellow squash casserole recipes often call for boiling the squash. Yellow squash has a delicate flavor that is easily boiled away. Instead, as demonstrated, I saute the yellow squash in a butter and oil combination with scallions, garlic, and green chiles, which ups the flavor factor.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Summer squash does not need to be peeled before being cooked. The bright yellow skin contributes color and nutrients. Like zucchini, the skin is thin enough so it cooks easily and becomes tender. It also helps to hold the squash together after it’s cooked.
You don’t need to remove the seeds from summer squash unless you have problems with seeds in general. The entire squash, including the seeds, is edible.
Yes, I prefer to freeze it after it’s baked and to freeze it in pieces. Although summer squash has a fair amount of water, it does okay when reheated in a conventional oven. Bake, cool completely, then cut into pieces. Place in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator, then place the pieces in a baking dish and reheat in the oven. Any liquid will evaporate during the reheating process.
- Chili-Glazed Meatloaf
- Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri
- Maryland-Style Crab Cakes
- Baked Catfish Pecan Meuniere with Spicy Sauteed Greens
- Or any simple grilled or roasted entree!
- Serve as a vegetarian entree and add a green vegetable, green salad or fresh tomato salad on the side!
More yellow squash recipes you’ll love!
- Zucchini Yellow Squash and Quinoa Casserole
- Yellow Squash and Tomato Gratin with Two Cheeses
- Southwestern Summer Squash Corn and Poblano Casserole
- Black Bean and Yellow Squash Enchilada Casserole
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Summer Squash Casserole
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- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 5 medium yellow squash - 1 3/4 to 2 pounds, sliced
- 2 fresh green chiles - such as jalapeno, serrano or Anaheim, hot or mild, chopped
- 1 bunch medium-sized scallions - white and light green part only, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 4 ounces cream cheese - softened
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese - divided
- 10-12 butter crackers such as Ritz - (or as needed to cover the top of the casserole), crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8-inch or 7 x 11-inch baking dish (approximately 2-quart) with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan.
- Add the yellow squash and cook 4-5 minutes or until the squash begins to soften.
- Add the chiles and cook another 3-4 minutes. Stir in scallions and garlic and cook briefly just to wilt the scallions. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Blend mayonnaise, cream cheese and eggs together with a whisk until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Pour half the mayonnaise mixture over the bottom of the prepared dish.
- Transfer squash mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- Pour the remaining egg mixture over the squash and gently move the squash around so it gets evenly distributed.
- Top with remaining Parmesan cheese followed by crushed crackers. Lightly spray crackers with cooking spray.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbling and cracker topping is lightly browned.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.