This Pineapple Casserole is a delectable classic Southern side dish that's most often served around the holidays. It's a surprising combination of flavors that form a delicious mash-up of sweet and salty. It's certain to make a stellar accompaniment to a glazed holiday ham.
This casserole is one that can be met with skepticism by those who haven't had it before. I totally understand, pairing cheese and pineapple isn't one that you would think works but, it does in a most delicious way. Pairing the saltiness of cheese with the sweetness of a fruit works incredibly well. It's a similar concept to pairing cheddar cheese with apples like in this recipe for apple cheddar pie from Sally's Baking Addiction. While pineapple casserole is most often served as a side dish, it's very cobbler-like and could be enjoyed as a dessert, too.
Tips for Making Southern Pineapple Casserole
While this dish isn't difficult to make, there are a few things of note.
- This dish is often made using only pineapple chunks. My recipe reflects my own preference of using a combination of pineapple tidbits and crushed pineapple. I prefer the size of the tidbits over larger chunks, and find that including crushed pineapple lends a pleasing texture overall.
- This dish can be made with mild, medium or sharp cheddar cheese. Sharp cheddar holds up the best when combined with the bold flavor of pineapple.
- This dish can be assembled in advance, covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature, then top with the buttered crackers just before baking.
- You can use fresh pineapple in the same amount as the tidbits, if preferred.
Other Pineapple Side Dishes to Enjoy
Chunks of pineapple add a hint of sweetness to a carrot-raisin salad and as an appetizer it pairs beautifully with cheese in this recipe for pineapple cheeseball. As a main dish, slow cooker pineapple barbecue chicken is delightful served with rice to soak up every ounce of the sweet sauce.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 7 Tbsp butter 6 Tbsp melted, 1 Tbsp to butter dish
- 2 20 oz cans pineapple tidbits drained, reserve ⅓ cup juice
- 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple well drained
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese divided
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp
- 1 sleeve round buttery crackers i.e. Ritz crushed
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with 1 Tbsp butter. Set aside.
- Add pineapple tidbits, crushed pineapple and sugar to a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl mix together reserved juice, flour and 1 cup cheese. Add to pineapple, mixing until fully combined.
- Pour evenly into baking dish. Sprinkle reserved 1 cup cheese on top.
- In a separate bowl, toss together melted butter with crushed crackers until fully moistened. Sprinkle over cheese.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes until bubbly and golden.
- Let stand 5 minutes then serve.