Pineapple Cheese Casserole

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Have you ever tasted a Pineapple Cheese Casserole? If not, you're in for a special treat! It's a classic southern side dish that's traditionally served with glazed ham or roasted turkey during the holidays.

A buttery cracker crust tops sweet pineapple and savory cheddar cheese for a surprisingly delicious dish that's truly addictive!

a spoonful of pineapple cheese casserole lifted out of a baking dish.
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What is Pineapple Cheese Casserole?

Don't knock this popular southern dish until you've tried it! This old-fashioned recipe sounds strange, but after the first bite, you'll be hooked!

The sweet and tangy flavor blends with creamy cheddar and buttery cracker crumbs to create an unusual combination that's hard to beat. It's so beloved in the south, cans of pineapple chunks have been known to sell out during the holidays in the grocery stores!

This cheesy pineapple casserole recipe is a family favorite at our holiday gatherings. It's the perfect complement to an Easter ham, Thanksgiving turkey, or Christmas beef tenderloin

casserole with a spoon and a fork in front of it.

Why You'll Love It

  • Easy Recipe: assembles in minutes!
  • Basic Ingredients: find everything you need at your local grocery store
  • Budget Friendly: simple recipe that is cost efficient
  • Great Taste: the flavor pairs well with many other dishes
  • Crowd Pleaser: everyone will be begging for more!

Ingredient Notes

Pineapple Cheese Casserole is easy to make, and only requires 6 simple ingredients. See quantities in the recipe card below.

  • pineapple chunks or tidbits - use 2 cans and drain the juice
  • white sugar - mix with juice and pour over pineapple
  • cornstarch - mix with water to thicken pineapple juice
  • sharp cheddar cheese - grate by hand for best results
  • buttery round crackers - use one sleeve and crush for topping
  • melted butter - combine with cracker crumbs for the perfect crunch
ingredients needed for pineapple casserole.

Step by Step Instructions

Drain the chunks and place them in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Reserve the juice. 

Whisk 1 cup of the juice with sugar in a small saucepan on the stove. Heat on medium until sugar melts. Add a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken. Pour juice over pineapple chunks in dish.

pineapple added to casserole.

Grate the cheese by hand and sprinkle shredded cheese over mixture in baking dish. 

cheese added to casserole.

Place buttery round Ritz crackers in a plastic bag or large bowl and pound with the back of a spoon until crumbly. Mix crackers with melted butter and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top of the juicy pineapple chunks.

cracker crumbs added to casserole.

Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the cracker topping and bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. The cheese creates a crunchy topping along with the crushed crackers that makes a yummy crust!

cheese added on top of cracker crumbs in casserole dish.


  • Feel free to use pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple for a different texture. However, chunks work best in this recipe.
  • Try pepper jack cheese or add fresh jalapeño to spice things up a little!
  • Top this easy casserole with french fried onions instead of buttery crackers for a savory bite.

Recipe FAQs

Can you substitute fresh pineapple for canned?

Yes, you can use fresh pineapple, but you need to add ½ cup of water unless the fresh pineapple comes in a container with its own juice.

Is it possible to make this dish ahead of time?

Absolutely! It's easy to make up to 2 days in advance and store in the refrigerator until time to bake. Be sure to add the topping just before baking or it won't be crunchy.

Can you freeze a pineapple cheese casserole?

Yes, you can freeze this casserole, but it will definitely not taste the same once it's thawed. The pineapple will be a little mushy and the cheese might clump together when frozen. I recommend eating the leftovers within a few days which won't be hard to do!

white plate with ham, green beans and pineapple casserole.

What to Serve with Pineapple Cheese Casserole

Some of my favorite things to serve with this southern recipe are Green Bean Casserole without mushroom soup and the Best Squash Casserole you've ever tasted!

In addition to the usual ham, turkey and beef for holiday meals, this cheesy concoction tastes amazing with Dutch Oven Pork Tenderloin and Dutch Oven Chicken and Rice. You'll also love it alongside Loaded Hashbrown Casserole and Fresh Corn Pudding.

Expert Tips

  • Some recipes call for a small amount of juice to be added, but I like using 1 cup of juice and mixing it with cornstarch instead of flour. The cornstarch thickens it without causing lumps and the extra juice prevents the casserole from becoming too dry.
  • You could use pre-shredded cheese, but it contains stabilizers that may cause the cheese to clump. Grating the cheese by hand yields better results.
  • The sharper the cheese, the better. Extra sharp cheddar compliments the sweetness of the pineapple perfectly.

Storage and Freezing

Store leftover pineapple casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350ºF oven until warmed throughout.

Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw casserole in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in at 350ºF oven until bubbly.

Keep in mind that the topping will not be crunchy once it has been refrigerated or frozen. For best results, store without topping and add it before reheating.

More Holiday Side Dishes

Planning a Thanksgiving feast? Be sure to include these additional side dishes on your holiday table!

Recipe Card

pineapple cheese casserole being served with a spoon.

Pineapple Cheese Casserole

Pineapple Cheese Casserole is a classic southern dish that's made with sweet pineapple and sharp cheddar cheese for a surprisingly tasty treat!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Calories: 152kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.


  • 2 (20 oz) cans pineapple chunks in light juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp. water until smooth
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (grated by hand)
  • 1 sleeve buttery round crackers (crushed)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter (melted)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Drain juice from the cans of pineapple into a bowl.
  • Reserve juice and place pineapple chunks in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, mix 1 cup of the pineapple juice with sugar until it melts.
  • Mix cornstarch with water and add to the saucepan. Whisk until thickened.
  • Pour juice mixture over pineapple chunks in the baking dish. 
  • Grate cheese by hand and sprinkle 1 cup of it over pineapple.
  • Crush crackers by putting them in a plastic bag and hitting with the back of a spoon. Mix with melted butter and sprinkle over casserole.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the cracker crumbs.
  • Bake casserole at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. 


  • Pre-shredded cheese can be used, but it contains stabilizers that may cause the cheese to stick together. Grating the cheese by hand yields better results.
  • The sharper the cheese, the better. Extra sharp cheddar compliments the sweetness of the pineapple perfectly.
  • Pineapple casserole can be frozen, but the texture will change and the cheese may clump. Eating the leftovers within 3 days is a better option. 


Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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  1. 5 stars
    Over the years, I have had various recipes for Pineapple Casserole, but this is the best!!! Simple, delicious ingredients, very easy and fabulous! Thanks, Debi!!

  2. 5 stars
    My favorite casserole. I always tried to get Marsha to bring this for special occasions. What’s not to love?

    1. Yes! Pineapple Cheese Casserole is right up there with Mac and Cheese as we 'have to have it'!!!!!

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