A pineapple casserole is a sweet, baked side dish made with pineapple, cheese, and crackers or bread. Made in a casserole dish, this side is often paired with ham or may even be used as a dessert instead. Although there are many small differences in the ingredients and preparation methods of pineapple casserole, the dish is similar across versions.
Chunked or crushed canned pineapple is most often used for pineapple casserole, and some versions use both. The canned fruit is usually drained, but often a portion of the liquid is retained. Lemon juice can also be used instead of pineapple juice or syrup. Sugar, flour, butter, and shredded cheddar cheese are also common ingredients in this dish, and occasionally cinnamon and nutmeg may be added as well. Either crushed crackers or cubed white bread is the final element.
To make pineapple casserole, the casserole dish is usually first greased with butter. Many versions then place the pineapple directly into the dish, but some will mix all the ingredients first and then place the finished mixture in the dish. Still others will heat the pineapples and stir in the sugar — better allowing the sugar to dissolve — before placing the fruit in the casserole.
If the sugar is not dissolved in the fruit, it is mixed with the flour. The cheese is often combined with the sugar-flour mixture, but can be left on its own. The sugar mixture is then sprinkled over the pineapples. Melted butter may be mixed with the crushed crackers, and then the cracker-butter mixture creates the final layer. The crackers may also be sprinkled on top of the dish, then the melted butter poured over the crackers.
Alternatively, the ingredients can be completely mixed prior to being placed in the casserole. In this case, the butter and sugar are often creamed together. Then, the eggs are beaten into the mixture, normally one at a time. Afterward, the pineapple and juice are stirred in. If crushed crackers are used, they are stirred in as well, but bread cubes are folded into the mixture.
Pineapple casserole may also be prepared in several layers. The sugar and pineapple mixture makes the first layer, then the cracker crumbs, butter, and cheese comprise the subsequent layers. The layers are then repeated three or four times before the dish is ready for the oven. Normally, this casserole bakes for about half an hour and is bubbly and golden brown when fully cooked.