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13 great casseroles to make at the holidays

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a slice of cake on a table: Sweet Squash-Pecan Casserole © Photo: Karl Gustafson Sweet Squash-Pecan Casserole

A casserole is more than the sum of its parts. A casserole is peak comfort, a tried-and-true, feel-good dish that contains all of the world’s best things. Creamy bases, crunchy toppings, and generally reheatable accoutrements make a casserole an object of convenience—but also worthy of deep affection and, yeah, love. Tons of it. Of course, as we descend into the mayhem that is the holiday season, chances are that if you close your eyes and spin around, you’ll hit a casserole. But casseroles are not to be relegated to the Thanksgiving table. Yes, casseroles can carry you through a maddening holiday dinner, but they can also become the centerpiece of a mouthwatering brunch or serve as a quick weeknight meal if you have post-holiday cooking fatigue. A casserole is whatever you need it to be, which is why we’ve rounded up our favorite holiday mains, sides, and brunchy crowd-pleasers. All you need is a Pyrex dish and a craving for sweet, sweet coziness.

Ritz-and-Gravy Squash Casserole

Illustration of casserole © Illustration: Libby McGuire Illustration of casserole

This Ritz-and Gravy Squash Casserole is packed with warm gravy and crunchy crackers, making it the perfect savory counterpart to sugary holiday sides like sweet potato casserole and cranberries. It’s the culinary equivalent of lying on a sofa under a blanket. Get the recipe here.

Cheesy Hash Elegante

a tray of food on a table: Graphic of casserole ingredients in a dish © Graphic: Natalie Peeples Graphic of casserole ingredients in a dish

Ultra-rich, ultra-creamy, and ultra-cheesy, this nontraditional Cheesy Hash Elegante is the perfect textural mash-up. The cheese offers a smooth, tangy binder, while sautéed and baked corn flake crumbles give the dish a brown buttery finish. Get the recipe here.

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

a bowl of food on a plate: Shepherd's pie ingredients in small dishes © Photo: Stacey Ballis Shepherd's pie ingredients in small dishes

This leftover-friendly casserole is essentially a layered Turkey Shepherd’s Pie: a whole Thanksgiving meal in a format you can put in a bowl and eat in front of the TV. The various strata of carbs, condiments, and turkey are as perfectly balanced in this dish as they were on your Turkey Day plate. It’s salty and sweet and savory and tart and creamy and umami all in one fabulous dish. Get the recipe here.

Wake and Bake French Toast Casserole

a plate of food on a table: Illustration of breakfast casserole © Illustration: Emma Mckhann Illustration of breakfast casserole

Drag holiday guests out of bed with this special-occasion French Toast Casserole. A caramel sauce and cinnamon- and vanilla-laced custard soak into soft slices of French bread overnight, making for an easy morning bake. The whole things takes about 10 minutes to prep, and the dish packs a major wow factor—holiday or no holiday. Get the recipe here.

Italian Rice Ball Casserole

a close up of a plate of food © Graphic: Allison Corr

This Italian Rice Ball Casserole, inspired by the legendary fried rice balls at Joe’s of Avenue U in Gravesend, Brooklyn, has a whole lot of heart and a whole lot of rice. It’s stuffed with carbs and Pecorino and topped with fresh ricotta, delivering all of the flavor of the borough with way less prep time than you might expect. Mangia bene! Get the recipe here.

Elotes Casserole

a piece of cake on a plate © Photo: Stacey Ballis

Think corn pudding plus classic elotes toppings. This Elotes Casserole recipe uses canned corn to make it both easy and quick to pull together while being totally unhampered by the short sweet corn season. A perfect side dish for holiday dinners and chill weeknights alike, it can be served warm or at room temperature. Plus, you can make the base up to three days ahead, reheat, and garnish right before serving. Get the recipe here.

Green Bean Casserole

© Graphic: Libby McGuire

Green Bean Casserole is a highly divisive classic. Still, in most states it’s pretty much a legal requirement when it comes to setting your Thanksgiving table, and it’s the pride and joy of culinary grannies everywhere. In this version—which owes all due credit to both Grandma Phyllis and the instructions on a can of French’s crispy fried onions—you’ll note that the recipe calls for a can of water chestnuts, which add the perfect amount of crunch to the overall dish. Trust us, it works. Get the recipe here.

Burrito Bisquick Bake

a piece of cake sitting on top of a wooden table: Casserole next to Bisquick box © Photo: Jimmy Hasse Casserole next to Bisquick box

Picture this: a deconstructed burrito, a refried-beans-and-Bisquick crust, and tons of ground beef, salsa, and cheese. Bake it all up in a cast-iron skillet for the easiest weeknight casserole you’ll ever eat. Burrito Bisquick Bake takes all of 10 minutes to pull together and costs less than $10 total. Get the recipe here.

Sweet Squash-Pecan Casserole

a plate of food with a fork: Plated casserole © Photo: Karl Gustafson Plated casserole

Start with the gourd of your choosing (opt for canned pumpkin if you’re short on time), then throw it in with heaps of vanilla, pecans, brown sugar, and butter. Put it all together and you’ve got Sweet Squash-Pecan Casserole, a deceptively simple, undeniably show-stopping Thanksgiving side that’ll tempt even the most gourd-averse dinner guests. Get the recipe here.

SPAM Tater Tot Casserole

a close up of a bowl: Can of SPAM © Image: rubberball (Getty Images) Can of SPAM

Allow us to present the perfect Sunday morning brunch casserole using two American classics: SPAM and Tater Tots. It’s easy, filling, satisfying, and positively oozing with cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for an hour, and you’ve got a crowd-pleasing casserole to feed your screaming holiday masses. Or just yourself. Get the recipe here.

Cheeseburger Grits Casserole

a plate of food with a fork: Cheeseburger grits casserole © Photo: Stacey Ballis Cheeseburger grits casserole

Meet your new favorite brunch dish. By placing pre-cooked burgers and classic burger toppings between two layers of cheese grits, you get the best of all worlds in this Cheeseburger Grits Casserole. All the fun and flavor of a cheeseburger in an easy make-ahead entree. The grits mean you can serve it for any meal of the day. Get the recipe here.

Flying Jacob Swedish Casserole

a plate of food with rice © Photo: Jerard Fagerberg

The Flying Jacob is creamy and inviting, with the sweetness of the bananas pairing unexpectedly well with Italian-spiced chicken and smoky bacon fat. It comes out of the oven an incandescent orange, not unlike a skillet of Kraft Mac & Cheese—and likewise, a bellyful could sustain you through a long winter. The flavors might sound like an unusual combination, but go ahead and follow our lead on this one. Get the recipe here.

Amy Klobuchar’s Taconite Tater Tot Hot Dish

a plastic container filled with food © Photo: Aimee Levitt

Like any good Minnesotan, Senator Amy Klobuchar has several hotdish recipes—but this is the one that won the Minnesota Congressional Hotdish Competition back in 2011. The tater tots give it a bit of a crunch, and the pepperjack cheese gives it a bit of a kick. There’s no pretense that this is anything other than a giant carb bomb, and that is totally okay. Get the recipe here.


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