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Southern Pineapple Casserole (+Video)

Pineapple Casserole is a classic and unique southern side dish. Pineapple, crackers and cheese (yes, cheese!) combine to make the tastiest side dish that is a must-make during the holidays!

A UNIQUE SOUTHERN SIDE DISH

Pineapple Casserole is a classic southern side dish at a lot of holiday meals. Pineapple, crackers and cheese combine to make the tastiest side to ham! If you’ve never eaten this particular dish of Southern Pineapple Casserole before, then chances are, you probably aren’t from the South but I promise it will convert you! It can be used as a side dish or even a dessert.

side angle photo of a baked dish of pineapple casserole.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What is Southern Pineapple cCasserole?

If you’ve never heard of pineapple casserole before, you will probably think it is the weirdest combination of ingredients you ever heard of. It’s a traditional Southern dish made with pineapple, cheese, Ritz crackers and in my recipe, we use pineapple Jell-O!

What do you eat with pineapple casserole?

Generally this is eaten as a side dish with ham. It is a sweet dish so you’d think it was dessert but it is served as a side dish. I find most people tend to eat it on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

Can pineapple casserole be made ahead of time?

You can actually prepare this and bake it before you need it then cover and refrigerate. Then just reheat (either in the oven or microwave.) I wouldn’t do it more than a day in advance.

How do I store leftovers?

Leftovers should be covered and refrigerated and will last up to 3 days. This can also be frozen. Cover well to protect against freezer burn and it can stay frozen up to 3 months.

a large silver spoon scooping up some pineapple casserole out of the baking dish.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • sugar – I’ve never tried this with a sugar substitute but I’m sure it could work.
  • pineapple Jell-O – Jell-O brand actually calls it “island pineapple” Walmart has their own Great Value brand of pineapple gelatin. If you can’t find pineapple, you could always go with lemon but pineapple is going to obviously give you the most pineapple flavor.
  • corn starch – this is going to help thicken the mixture.
  • pineapple tidbits or chunks (in 100% juice) – it needs to be in juice not heavy syrup because you’ll need the juice for the topping.
  • sharp cheddar cheese – this is the weird ingredient that throws people off. You do not actually taste the cheese as a separate ingredient. It just cuts the overall sweetness and adds a depth of flavor.
  • Ritz crackers – It is traditionally made with Ritz crackers but I’m sure you could make it with club crackers if you prefer those.
  • salted butter – if you only have unsalted butter, add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the melted butter. Again, we want a touch of saltiness to cut through the overall sweetness of the recipe (although it won’t be salty at all.)
  • reserved pineapple juice – this is used in the topping which is why you have to purchase pineapple tidbits in juice not heavy syrup.
Ritz crackers, pineapple gelatin, shredded cheddar cheese, sugar cornstarch, water, pineapple tidbits.

HOW TO MAKE PINEAPPLE CASSEROLE:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 8×8-inch baking (2-quart) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium pot over medium heat, whisk together water, sugar, 3 Tablespoons of pineapple Jell-O, and 3 Tablespoons corn starch until thoroughly combined and you get all the lumps out. 

Turn heat up to high and let mixture to come to a boil and thicken. Continue to whisk. Once thickened take off heat. Drain pineapple tidbits thoroughly, setting aside 1/2 cup of the juice. Add drained tidbits to the pot and stir.

collage of two photos: water, sugar, cornstarch and pineapple jell-o in a sauce pot; pineapple tidbits added to the pot.

While pineapple mixture is cooling, begin making topping. In a large Ziploc bag, finely crush Ritz crackers. Add crackers, melted butter and 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice into a medium bowl and stir until combined. It will seem wet.

collage of two photos: finely crushed Ritz crackers in a Ziploc bag; crushed crackers, melted butter and pineapple juice in a clear bowl.

Add shredded cheese to cooled pineapple mixture and pour into baking dish. Drop and gently spread Ritz cracker topping over pineapple mixture.

collage of two photos: pineapple gelatin mixture in a baking dish; raise cracker topping sprinkled on top of pineapple mixture.

Bake in oven for about 30-35 minutes (until topping is golden brown.)

fully baked pineapple casserole in a glass baking dish.

Allow it to cool for several minutes before serving. It is meant to be served warm.

a serving of pineapple casserole on a small round white plate.

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Originally published: March 2013
Photos updated and republished: November 2023

Southern Pineapple Casserole

Southern Pineapple Casserole (+Video)

Southern Pineapple Casserole is a classic southern side dish. Pineapple, crackers and cheese sound like a weird combination but it tastes amazing!
4.92 from 45 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons pineapple Jell-O
  • 3 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 20 ounce can pineapple tidbits or chunks (in 100% juice) (not in heavy syrup)
  • 1 ½ sleeves (45) Ritz crackers (crushed)
  • ½ stick salted butter (1/4 cup), melted
  • ½ cup reserved pineapple juice
  • 1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium pot over medium heat, whisk together 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 3 Tablespoons pineapple Jell-O and 3 Tablespoons corn starch until thoroughly combined and you get all the lumps out.
  • Turn heat up to high and let mixture to come to a boil and thicken. Continue to whisk. Once thickened, take off heat.
  • Drain 20 ounce can pineapple tidbits or chunks (in 100% juice) thoroughly, setting aside 1/2 cup of the juice. Add drained pineapple to pot and stir.
  • In a large Ziploc bag, finely crush 1 1/2 sleeves (45) Ritz crackers.
    finely crushed Ritz crackers in a Ziplock bag.
  • Add crushed crackers, 1/2 stick salted butter (1/4 cup), melted and 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice into a medium bowl and stir until combined.
  • Add 1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese to cooled pineapple mixture in pan.
  • Then pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
  • Spread Ritz cracker topping over pineapple mixture.
    ritz cracker mixture evenly spread over top of the pineapple mixture.
  • Bake in oven for about 30-35 minutes (until topping is golden brown.)
    side angle photo of a baked dish of pineapple casserole.

Video

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • It MUST be pineapple in 100% juice NOT heavy syrup. 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 120mg | Sugar: 33g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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68 Comments

  1. Been making this every Thanksgiving for years. The recipe I have is called Pineapple Greenbriar. Not sure where I got the recipe but I am sure it came out of some newspaper. Mine does not include the jello.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a family favorite! The Country Cook recipes are known as “my girl’s recipes” in our house. Everything I’ve ever tried has been a winner! I just made the “retro” salmon patties, Doritos taco salad and of course, who could forget THE ziti, that replaced my own recipe I had used for over 20 years. Brandie, you da bomb!