Ham & Cheese Breakfast Bake aka My Favorite Breakfast Casserole

I wish I had a better photo of this casserole.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll try to get a shot of the casserole before it has been devoured.  This sounds easier than it is.  Once the casserole comes out of the oven, the clock is ticking before my family consumes it.  Sometimes I think it will be too much for us to eat, but it never is.

Let me be clear.  This isn’t the only breakfast casserole I make and it isn’t the healthiest breakfast casserole I make, but it is the most popular.  A little like a quiche and a little like souffle, this make-ahead breakfast holds some mysterious appeal that makes one powerless to resist.  Is it the saltiness?  the cheesiness?  the butter?  Who knows.  Still, because of the power that this casserole holds, I try to save it for a holiday breakfast or a brunch party.  Both give me an excuse to splurge.

The original recipe came to me from my sister-in-law, Michelle who got it from a friend.  I have modified it slightly, but the basic deliciousness comes straight from her.

And like so many of the most classic and most delicious combinations, this casserole is deceptively simple.

Ham & Cheese Casserole
Adapted from a recipe from Michelle Sheire

  • 7 thick slices of french bread, crusts on, cut into rough 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound ham cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium onion, chopped and sauteed until translucent in some butter
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon powdered or dijon mustard

Really, this is so easy.

Slice up your bread, grate your cheese, slice up your ham into cubes and saute your chopped onion.

Mix together all of the ingredients until everything kind of melds together, but not so much that the bread falls apart.  Put it in a casserole dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, bake uncovered in a 350 degree F oven for one hour.

That’s it!  Enjoy.

 

9 Comments

  1. I can see why this is your favorite!

    Reply
  2. We’re not mustard fans – any other suggestions to add that extra layer of flavor? Thanks! Can’t wait to make this one.

    Reply
    • Hi Darcy,

      You could easily leave it out. The original recipe from my sister-in-law doesn’t contain mustard. That’s one of my changes, but I can honestly say that it is fantastic without it as well. You could also try any other spice that you love. If you change it up, let me know how it turns out! — Heather

      Reply
  3. Just wondering, do you think it would be possible to make this in advance and keep in the freezer for some time (1 week or longer)?

    Reply
    • Hmmmm. I would imagine that if you let it sit overnight and then put it in the freezer, you could keep it for up to a month. You would need to then either defrost it overnight in the fridge before baking or add quite a lot of additional time to the baking. The former would probably be better. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. — H

      Reply
  4. Don’t change the photo! I love it (and the recipe)!

    Reply
  5. Do you happen to know of a recipe using bread like this for french toast? Not whole pieces like most recipes, but cubes or chunks of bread similar to this recipe.

    Reply
    • I’ve never made a french toast casserole, but I have eaten this one from Paula Deen and it was delicious. You could certainly substitute large bread cubes for the slices of toast and mix everything up in a bowl. I’m sure that would be yummy! If you try it, let me know.

      Reply
  6. Made it last night and will cook for dinner, using left over Christmas ham. Yummy.

    Reply

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