This zucchini casserole is sauteed squash tossed in a creamy sauce with plenty of cheese, all topped off with cracker crumbs and baked to perfection. An easy and simple make ahead side dish!
When I’m looking to add a vegetable side to a meal, I often turn to classic casseroles such as scalloped corn, broccoli casserole, or this cheesy zucchini version. This is a great way to use up all the squash from your summer garden!
My family enjoys zucchini at least once a week – it’s inexpensive, readily available year round, and also happens to be delicious. This zucchini casserole is an all time favorite, and it’s quick enough for a busy weeknight, but elegant enough to earn a place on your holiday table.
How do you make zucchini casserole?
Cook sliced zucchini in butter with onions until the vegetables are tender. While the squash is cooking, it’s time to make the creamy sauce. This homemade sauce is a blend of milk and cream that’s seasoned with plenty of herbs and spices. The cooked zucchini is tossed in the creamy sauce along with plenty of shredded cheddar cheese. The finishing touch is a layer of buttered cracker crumbs and more shredded cheese. Add a sprinkling of fresh parsley and you’ll be ready to eat.
Tips for the perfect casserole
- You can toss the cooked squash in the sauce and cheese, then cover and refrigerate the casserole for up to 6 hours. Add the cracker crumbs and final layer of cheese right before you put the casserole in the oven.
- I typically use Ritz crackers for the topping, but any variety of buttery crackers will work just fine.
- Skip the bags of pre-shredded cheese at the grocery store, and grate your own cheese instead. The prepared shredded cheese at the grocery store is often coated in preservatives and anti caking agents, and does not melt well.
- This dish will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat the leftovers in a covered dish in the oven, or reheat individual servings in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Zucchini casserole flavor variations
While I love this casserole as-is, you can absolutely add other ingredients to customize it to your tastes.
- Protein: Make this a meal by adding cooked and crumbled sausage or bacon, or diced grilled chicken breast.
- Veggies: Feel free to add other vegetables to your casserole such as bell peppers, mushrooms or other varieties of summer squash.
- Cheese: Swap out the cheddar for Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheeses.
- Topping: Not a fan of crackers? Try panko breadcrumbs, french fried onions or even crushed potato chips.
- Herbs: I use parsley because I always have it on hand, but other great options include basil, chives or dill.
Do you peel zucchini?
I recommend leaving the peels on your squash for this casserole, as the peel is what will keep the slices of squash intact during the cooking process. In general, the peels of zucchini are thin and edible, so there’s no need to remove them. The peel also adds a nice color to the dish!
This zucchini casserole is great for summer entertaining, but is also a great addition in the cooler weather months. That combination of rich creamy zucchini and crunchy crackers just can’t be beat.
MORE GREAT SIDE DISH RECIPES
Zucchini Casserole Video
- 6 tablespoons butter divided use
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 pounds zucchini cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided use
- 1 1/4 cups buttery crackers crushed
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- cooking spray
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add the zucchini and onion to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the squash mixture from the pan and place in a large bowl. Cover to keep warm.
- Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
- Melt 2 more tablespoons of butter in the pan. Add the flour and whisk to combine.
- Cook the flour mixture for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Whisk in the milk and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cream, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the sauce for an additional 2 minutes or until just thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Pour the sauce into the bowl with the zucchini and onions. Add 1 1/2 cups of cheese and stir to combine.
- Pour the squash and cheese mixture into the prepared dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining cup of shredded cheese over the top of the casserole.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour the butter into the crushed crackers and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the crackers over the layer of shredded cheese in the casserole.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese has melted and crackers are golden brown.
- Sprinkle with parsley. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.