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How to Make Southern Pineapple Casserole (Easy Recipe)

This Southern Pineapple Casserole recipe combines the sweetness of pineapple with sharp cheddar cheese and buttery Ritz crackers to create a classic dish that your whole family will love.

Casserole dish filled with casserole.

Pineapple Cheese Casserole

The combination of pineapple flavor and salty cheese may sound unusual, especially in a casserole, but no worries! This Southern classic is incredibly tasty with both sweet and savory flavors.

It’s usually served as a side at holiday gatherings, as a side dish at Thanksgiving dinner, and potluck gatherings. But with its easy to find ingredients, you can enjoy this casserole recipe any time of year. 

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make this Casserole:

This sweet Southern pineapple casserole uses simple ingredients and has some substitutions options. Scroll to the recipe card near the end of the page to see the full recipe.

  • Pineapple: We use 1 (20 ounce) can of pineapple chunks and 1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple. Both varieties of pineapple should be well drained. Pineapple tidbits are a good substitute for pineapple chunks if you’d rather have smaller pieces.
  • Sugar: You’ll need ⅔ cup of granulated sugar to sweeten this Southern dish.
  • Flour: We use ½ cup of all-purpose flour to help absorb extra moisture and thicken this casserole.
  • Cheese: You’ll need 2 cups (8 ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese to give this pineapple casserole it’s salty, savory flavor. We used a triple cheddar blend, but sharp or mild cheddar cheese work well.
  • Ritz Crackers and Butter: We mix 2 cups of crushed crackers and ¼ cup of unsalted butter to give this dish it’s crunchy, golden brown topping.

How to Make Pineapple Casserole:

See the recipe card below for the ingredient amounts and full instructions.

This pineapple dish comes together in about 10 minutes and the rest of time it’s baking in the oven.

  1. Before starting the recipe, pour the pineapple through a mesh sieve to drain off the pineapple juice.
  2. While the pineapple drains, preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×9-inch dish or 2-quart casserole dish.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour.
  4. Add the pineapple and cheese, and stir to combine. Transfer the pineapple mixture to the prepared casserole dish.
Flour and sugar in a glass bowl.
Pineapple and cheese stirred with flour and sugar.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the buttery crackers and melted butter. Add the crushed cracker mixture on top of the casserole filling and bake for 35-40 minutes. If the crackers begin to brown too quickly, cover the dish with a foil tent.
  2. Let the casserole cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Pineapple, cheese and sugar mixture in a casserole dish.
Cracker mixture on top of pineapple casserole filling.

Classic Pineapple Casserole Tips:

  • Use canned or fresh pineapple: You can use either canned pineapple tidbits, crushed pineapple, canned pineapple chunks, or fresh pineapple chunks for the casserole. If using canned pineapple, drain the juice before adding it to the recipe.
  • Cheese selection: Choose a cheese that complements the flavors of the pineapple, such as cheddar or Gruyere.
  • Adjust sweetness: The sweetness of the casserole can be adjusted to your preference. If the pineapple is already very sweet, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.
  • Let it rest: Once the casserole is out of the oven, allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the flavors to settle and makes it easier to cut and serve.

Casserole Variations:

  • Add complementary ingredients: To enhance the flavors of this easy casserole, consider adding ingredients like ham, breadcrumbs, or crushed crackers on top. These additions can provide a contrasting texture and additional flavors.
  • Experiment with spices: While pineapple casseroles often have a sweet profile, you can experiment with spices to add depth of flavor. Try a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to complement the sweetness of the pineapple.
  • Consider texture: Pineapple casseroles can have different textures depending on personal preference. If you like a chunkier texture, use larger pineapple chunks. For a smoother consistency, use smaller pineapple pieces or crushed pineapple.
Close up view of pineapple cheese casserole with crackers.

Storage:

Refrigerator: Store leftover casserole in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Freezer: This casserole freezes well before or after it’s baked. To freeze baked pineapple casserole, let it cool completely. 

Remove the buttery cracker crumbs then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.

To freeze unbaked casserole, assemble but don’t add the cracker topping. Wrap the casserole tightly with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Thawing and Reheating: Thaw sweet pineapple casserole in refrigerator before baking. Reheat individual servings in the microwave until warmed through.

Can you make pineapple casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can! Assemble the casserole but leave off the crackers. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Add the buttery cracker mixture just before baking. The longer this casserole sits in the fridge, the more liquid will be released by the pineapples, so it’s best to bake it as soon as it’s assembled.

Can you use fresh pineapple instead of canned?

Yes, you can use fresh pineapple instead of canned in a pineapple casserole. Fresh pineapple is sweeter and juicier than canned, so it will provide more flavor and texture to the classic southern dish. 

Since fresh pineapple is sweeter than canned, you’ll likely need to reduce the amount of sugar used. Otherwise, the casserole will be too sweet.

Top down view of a fruit casserole topped with crushed crackers.

Can you use crushed pineapple instead of pineapple chunks?

Sure! If you want to use two cans of crushed pineapple, that works! Just be aware that the casserole will have less bulk and less texture since all the pineapple is the crushed variety.

Can you use a different type of sweetener instead of sugar?

Yes, you can use a different type of sweetener instead of sugar in a pineapple casserole. For example, you could use coconut sugar or cane sugar, both of which would give the casserole a slightly different flavor when compared to traditional granulated sugar. 

Be aware that if you are using an alternative sweetener, it may affect the texture and consistency of your casserole so adjusting the amount may be necessary.

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Close up view of a spoon scooping fruit casserole.

How to Make Southern Pineapple Casserole (Easy Recipe)

4.5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings

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Ingredients

  • 20 ounce(s) crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 20 ounce(s) pineapple chunks, well drained
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups crushed Ritz crackers, about 40 crackers
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

Instructions
 

  • Before starting the recipe, pour the pineapple through a mesh sieve to drain off the pineapple juice.
    20 ounce(s) crushed pineapple
    20 ounce(s) pineapple chunks
  • While the pineapple drains, preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×9-inch dish or 2-quart casserole dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Stir in the pineapple and cheese.
    ⅔ cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup flour
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. In a small bowl, combine the buttery crackers and melted butter.
    2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
    ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • Add the cracker mixture and bake for 35-40 minutes. If the crackers start to brown too quickly, cover the dish with a foil tent.
  • Let the casserole cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Scroll up and see the post for tips, storage recommendations, and FAQs.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of ½ cup of casserole. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
*You’ll need 40 ounces of canned pineapple in total.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 213mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 358IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating




MMMaria

Thursday 22nd of June 2023

In recipe it says 20 ounces but notes say to use 20 ounces chucks and 20 ounces crushed, making it 40 ounces...which one will it be? Thanks.

MMMaria

Friday 23rd of June 2023

@John, Thank you so much for clarifying! This dish sounds amazing - like nothing my family has ever made - I can't wait to make this unique dish for them.

John

Friday 23rd of June 2023

Good Morning Maria, it's 40 ounces total. In the notes, Kim was explaining you can use any combination (crushed, chunk, or fresh) of pineapple you wish. She also explained how using different varieties would change the texture of the dish. I can see how this could be confusing. Thank you for asking and have a lovely day :)