Summer Squash Casserole

4.58 from 38 votes
1 hour
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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!

Southwestern Summer Squash Casserole on cooling rack with blue striped towel with a piece removed.

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!

Southwestern Summer Squash Casserole in white baking dish with squash exposed.

How to Make Summer Squash Casserole:

Recipe Ingredients:

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.

Ingredients for Southwestern Summer Squash Casserole in glass bowls.

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.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • 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.
Mayonaisse, egg, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese combination in glass bowl.
  • 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.
Yellow squash in white baking dish before mayonnaise and egg mixture is added.
  • 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!)
Squash casserole in white baking dish before cracker topping is added.
  • 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!
Freshly baked Southwestern Summer Squash Casserole.

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.
Summer Squash Casserole with a piece removed and squash on serving fork.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you need to peel summer squash before cooking it?

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.

Should you remove the seeds from summer squash?

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.

Can you freeze a yellow squash casserole?

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.

Southwestern Summer Squash Casserole in white baking dish with serving fork.

Serve with:

More yellow squash recipes you’ll love!

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Southwestern Summer Squash Casserole in white baking dish with squash exposed.

Summer Squash Casserole

4.58 from 38 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
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!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Side Dishes – Vegetables
Cuisine Southwestern / Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 431 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD:  Can be assembled 1-2 days ahead of time.  Refrigerate until needed.  Let sit at room temperature while the oven is preheating then bake as directed.  You may need to add additional baking time.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Baked leftovers can be frozen in small portions.  Reheat at 350 degrees in an oven or toaster oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 522mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 982IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

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Recipe Rating




25 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Summer squash was always one of my go-to recipes that got lots of compliments, but once I tried Carol’s recipe I never went back to my old version. This is so so good! Every recipe Carol puts on her site is above and beyond just an ordinary recipe. She has a magic touch and is so creative in her cooking. When I make any of her recipes I never worry if they will turn out good – I have all the confidence in the world it will be even better than I imagined…and she never lets me down. Another winner (as always) Carol!!

    1. Hi, Cherylynn, Wow, thanks so very much!! You really made my day!! I do try hard and want everyone to be successful with my recipes. Food/groceries are expensive so I don’t want anyone wasting hard-earned money and not being able to eat something. Thanks again so very much!!

  2. Am I able to substitute green squash? I have a plethora of it from my garden right now and looking for delicious ways to use it up? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Janell, Thanks so much for your question. I take it you’re talking about zucchini? Yes, I don’t see why not; zucchini is mild like yellow squash. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

      1. Yes, I’m referring to zucchini! My garden is being very generous in providing our family with tons of zucchini. I’m always looking for yummy ways to use them. Thanks for the great recipes!!!

    1. Hi, Kristina, Thanks so much for your question! You could freeze before or after but I think you’ll get a better result if you freeze after baking. Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

    2. 5 stars
      I just made this recipe yesterday. Really well balanced, the quiche-like layer adds nice texture and taste.

      To avoid having too much liquid, I put the cooked squash mixture in a colander and strained it.

      1. Thanks so much and glad you enjoyed! There certainly can be a ton of liquid in squash–it’s surprising sometimes. Great solution!

    1. Hi, Jen, Thanks so much for your question. I think you absolutely can. I would remove the stem end and thinly slice just as the recipe directs. I would tip the patty pan on its side to slice. Thanks again!

  3. I made this and since the recipe called for salt but didn’t say in the directions when to add it, I put it and the pepper in the squash mixture before I added the cheese mixture. I’m sure it will be fine. I’m serving it to company as a new recipe using my garden grown squash!

    1. Hi, Bennie, Thanks so very much! I’ve had this recipe up for six years now and NO ONE ever mentioned it. Thanks so much for catching that and I’ve adjusted the recipe. Hope you and your guests enjoyed and so awesome you’re making it with your own homegrown squash.

  4. 5 stars
    I had some early white pattypan squash i needed to use up and found this recipe. I usually follow recioes to the tee the first time, but i didnt have peppers or parmesan. Instead i used mozzerella and chedder and a half can of rotel. I had reservations after i added the rotel, but it was for naught bc this casserrole turned out AMAZING!!!!!!

      1. Carol,
        I made this casserole and it was absolutely awesome!! I did not have any Ritz crackers so i put crushed plain pork rinds ( that i seasoned a little) on top and made it keto friendly!!

      2. Hi, Sherry, Thanks so much! I love your idea to make this low-carb and keto-friendly! So glad you enjoyed and please stay in touch! Thanks again!