This classic Southern side dish gets added flavor from panko breadcrumbs and cheese. Make the squash & onions in an oven-safe skillet on the stovetop, add cheese and panko, and finish in the oven for a comforting, delicious summer side.
So much of the Southern food I grew up loving is super simple. My grandparents, like all country farmers, grew a ton of summer squash, or “yella squash” as they called it. Delicate in flavor and bountiful on the vine, gardeners that grow this and its cousin zucchini know they’re going to face overflowing baskets and countertops come harvest time. Having a few great summer squash recipes on hand is a must, and this super simple, homestyle side dish is a great one!
Choosing the Best Summer Squash
Choose summer squash that are not too big and that have a consistent color. Colors that are too dark mean the vegetable was out in the sun for too long, which can make it taste a little bland.
Imperfections, though, are not a huge deal. Some scarring can just happen, and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be bad. Local is best, but choose the best you can find.
Tips for Making Skillet Squash & Onions
Here are some common questions about making this recipe with quick and easy answers!
Do I have to peel the squash? No, you don’t have to peel this squash! The skin is super thin, plus it’s really pretty.
Why is my dish watery? Squash have so much water in them! We’re going to cook the squash and onions on the stovetop before we finish this cheesy goodness in the oven. Cooking longer on the stovetop will cook out more of that water.
I have a lot of zucchini. Can I use zucchini instead of summer squash in this dish? Absolutely! They are interchangeable in this dish. You could even use a mix of both!
My slices are not all the same size. Will that affect the dish? Maybe. If you use a knife and slice them approximately the same size, no. Try to get the slices about the same thickness. If you can, use a mandoline to get them exactly the same size.
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Skillet Squash & Onions?
This is one of those beautiful Southern dishes that just doesn’t need a lot of stuff. The best tip I can tell you is to get great looking squash and a delicious cheese you love. That will make all the difference! Here are a few other tips on picking the best ingredients for this dish.
Squash: this is the star, so choose the freshest you can find!
Cheese: A blend is best so you can get the sharpness of cheddar with the melting power of Monterrey jack or mozzarella. I like to grate my own, but you could also get a pre-grated blend from the store.
Olive oil: You can use your favorite cooking oil here, but a classic EVOO is great.
Onions: These are classic, but you can leave them out if you prefer.
Panko: To make this dish gluten free, you can use the GF panko breadcrumbs. We can’t tell a difference!
Garlic powder: Punch up that garlic flavor!
Fresh parsley: This is optional, but it does add a little flavor and a lot of visual appeal.
Making Ahead and Storing
This recipe is best when served right after making. However, you can store your leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until heated through.
Love this Recipe? Try These Other Vegetarian Sides!
Skillet Squash and Onions
- Oven safe skillet
- 4 cups sliced summer squash
- 1/2 cup sliced white or yellow onion
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In an oven safe skillet (i.e. cast iron), add the olive oil. Place over medium heat on the stovetop. Allow the oil to become completely hot and shimmering.
- Add the onions, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and saute until they are translucent and light brown.
- Add the squash, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, and saute. Cook the squash down, allowing some of the water to cook out. This should take 10-15 minutes. The centers of the squash rounds should become translucent, and the rounds should be completely flexible but not falling apart.
- Turn off the stovetop burner. Add the butter by dotting it all around the skillet, stirring it into the squash and onion mixture.
- Top the mixture with cheese.
- Mix the panko with a small amount of olive oil, about a teaspoon. Spread this mixture over the cheese.
- Cook at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the breadcrumbs are browned. Serve immediately.