Classic Pineapple Casserole: A Southern Delight

Classic Pineapple Casserole: A Southern Delight

Pineapple casserole is a classic dish that has been cherished by families in the American South for generations. This unique combination of sweet and savory flavors is often served as a side dish during holiday gatherings, potlucks, or Sunday dinners. While it may sound unusual to some, those who have tasted this delightful casserole know its irresistible appeal. Let’s dive into the history, ingredients, and preparation of this Southern favorite.

History of Pineapple Casserole

The exact origins of pineapple casserole are somewhat mysterious, but it’s widely believed to have its roots in Southern cuisine. Pineapples were considered a luxury item in the 19th and early 20th centuries due to their exotic origin and limited availability. As a result, incorporating pineapple into a casserole was seen as a special treat for special occasions.

Over the years, the recipe has evolved and been passed down through generations, with each family adding its own twist to the dish. Despite its humble beginnings, pineapple casserole has stood the test of time and remains a beloved Southern classic.


The ingredients for pineapple casserole are simple and straightforward, yet they come together to create a dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 can (20 oz) of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained crushed pineapple, sugar, and flour. Stir until well mixed.
  3. Add Cheese: Gently fold in the shredded cheddar cheese until evenly distributed throughout the pineapple mixture.
  4. Transfer to Baking Dish: Pour the pineapple and cheese mixture into the greased baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  5. Prepare Topping: In a separate bowl, mix the crushed Ritz crackers with melted butter until well combined. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the pineapple mixture in the baking dish.
  6. Bake: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the casserole is bubbly around the edges.
  7. Serve: Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This casserole can be served warm as a side dish alongside ham, turkey, or any other main course.


While the classic pineapple casserole recipe is delicious as is, there are plenty of variations you can try to make it your own. Some people like to add chopped pecans or ham for an extra layer of flavor and texture. Others prefer to use different types of cheese or even add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to the topping for a hint of spice.

Serving Suggestions

Pairing with Main Courses

Classic pineapple casserole pairs wonderfully with a variety of main courses. It’s a popular side dish for holiday feasts, often accompanying baked ham, roasted turkey, or even grilled chicken. The sweet and savory flavors of the casserole complement the richness of these main dishes, creating a well-balanced meal.

Breakfast or Brunch Option

Believe it or not, pineapple casserole can also be a delightful addition to a brunch spread. Its sweet notes make it a unique alternative to traditional breakfast casseroles. Serve it alongside scrambled eggs, bacon, or even as a topping for pancakes or waffles for a sweet and savory twist.

Make It a Dessert

If you have a sweet tooth, you can easily transform this casserole into a decadent dessert. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top. The creamy cheese, sweet pineapple, and buttery cracker topping create a dessert that’s both comforting and indulgent.

Tips for Success

Drain Pineapple Well

It’s important to drain the crushed pineapple thoroughly before mixing it with the other ingredients. Excess liquid can make the casserole too watery, affecting its texture and flavor. Use a fine-mesh sieve or a cheesecloth to squeeze out as much juice as possible.

Cheese Choice

While cheddar cheese is the classic choice for pineapple casserole, you can experiment with different types of cheese to suit your taste. Sharp cheddar adds a bold flavor, while mild cheddar offers a more subtle taste. You can also try using Monterey Jack, Gruyère, or even cream cheese for a different twist.

Topping Texture

The topping is a crucial element of this casserole, providing a crunchy contrast to the soft pineapple mixture. Make sure to mix the crushed Ritz crackers with melted butter until they are well coated. This will help the topping brown evenly and achieve a crispy texture.

Storage and Reheating

Leftover pineapple casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, place it in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 15-20 minutes, or until warmed through. You can also microwave individual servings for a quick and easy meal.

Final Thoughts

Classic pineapple casserole is more than just a side dish; it’s a nostalgic reminder of Southern traditions and family gatherings. Its versatility allows it to be enjoyed in various settings, from holiday feasts to brunches and desserts. With simple ingredients and easy preparation, this timeless recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household as well. So gather your ingredients and give this Southern classic a try—you won’t be disappointed!

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