Serves a Crowd

Southern Squash Casserole Without Cheese

August 31, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by HMMessinger
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This is the most basic version of a dish that is found all over the Southeast in meat 'n threes. It varies widely, but always contains squash, onions, and crackers; sometimes you'll find cheese, mayo, breadcrumbs, pimentos, or bell peppers mixed in, too. My grandmother wrote this recipe and it has been served at our restaurant for decades. —HMMessinger

What You'll Need
  • kosher salt
  • 3 pounds summer squash
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onions
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cracker crumbs
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt per quart. Chop squash into 1-inch pieces and boil until tender, but not mushy, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a pan and sautée onions until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Drain squash well and rinse under cold water. Set on a dish towel to dry. Preheat oven to 450° F and butter a 9- by 11-inch baking dish.
  4. Whisk together milk, eggs, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar if you are using poor quality (or out of season) squash.
  5. Layer squash and buttered onions in a baking dish and pour milk mixture over it. Top with cracker crumbs (I am partial to cheese crackers, but Ritz crackers are the traditional choice), and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons butter over top.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until custard is set. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shel
  • Molly
  • Traci Autzen
    Traci Autzen
  • kenyabates
Food stylist, photographer, writer, and butter enthusiast. Living in Nashville, Tenn.

4 Reviews

kenyabates August 4, 2020
This was really delicious. I’d never had squash casserole so I didn’t know what to expect but it really exceeded my expectations. This will be in the rotation.
Shel September 16, 2015
Glorious- we make it with half and half and a sprinkle of cheddar under saltine crackers. Prettier with mostly yellow squash and a green zucchini and half red onion for color.
Molly September 15, 2015
I also have memories of this from my grandmother. Her recipe used evaporated milk, and she always sprinkled some shredded cheddar cheese on top with the bread crumbs. Making this tonight and thinking of her! Thanks for the nostalgia.
Traci A. September 13, 2015
My grandmother made a version of this with only yellow squash and lots of black pepper. By giving the squash a quick mash after draining, it had the consistency of a soufflé. Good memories...