If you've never tried a Pineapple Cheese Casserole, you're in for a big surprise! It's a classic southern side dish that's traditionally served with glazed ham during the holidays. A buttery cracker crust tops sweet pineapple and sharp cheddar cheese for a surprisingly tasty treat!
What is Pineapple Casserole?
Now, don't start rolling your eyes at this unusual southern dish. Pineapple Cheese Casserole is an old-fashioned recipe that sounds strange, but after one bite, you'll be hooked!
The sweet and tangy flavor of pineapple blends with creamy cheddar and buttery cracker crumbs to create a casserole that's hard to beat. It's so popular in the south, cans of pineapple chunks actually sell out during the holidays because folks love it so much!
This casserole is a beloved side at our family gatherings, and was introduced by my sister-in-law, Marsha. I like to serve it with Brown Sugar Spiral Ham and Skillet Green Bean Casserole. It's an amazing side dish for holidays, weeknight dinners, or any day in between.
Pineapple Cheese Casserole is easy to make, and you'll love that it only requires 6 simple ingredients.
- 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
- butter - combine with cracker crumbs for the perfect crunch
Start by draining the pineapple chunks and placing them in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Reserve the juice.
Whisk 1 cup of the juice with sugar in a pot on the stove. Heat on medium until sugar melts. Add cornstarch and water to thicken. Pour juice over pineapple chunks in dish.
Grate the cheese by hand and sprinkle shredded cheese over pineapple. Place buttery round Ritz crackers in a plastic bag and pound with the back of a spoon until crumbly. Mix with butter and sprinkle crumbs over casserole.
I like to sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the cracker crumbs and bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. The cheese creates a crunchy topping along with the crackers that makes a yummy crust!
Yes, you can use fresh pineapple, but you need to add 1 cup of water unless the fresh pineapple comes in a container with its own juice.
Absolutely! Pineapple cheese casserole is 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.
Yes, you can freeze pineapple 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!
- 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 more juice keeps 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.
Holiday Side Dishes
Pineapple Cheese Casserole is the perfect side dish at Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving. It goes great with turkey or ham, and pairs well with these additional holiday favorites.
- Lemon Butter Asparagus
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Homestyle Mac and Cheese
- Cranberry Pecan Salad
- Southern Deviled Eggs
- Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts