The Dreamiest Creamiest, Cheesiest Casserole of My Childhood 🤩
Baked ham has been the center of my family’s special occasion meals for as long as I can remember (this Citrus & Maple Glazed Ham is our treasured recipe). While I always liked the baked ham dinner itself just fine, I loveloveloved it for the cheesy ham and potato casserole Mom made with the leftovers.
This creamy, buttery, cheesy, naturally smoky-sweet ham and potatoes casserole is 100% pure comfort. We share a lot of comfort foods here on PWWB, but this dish is one I’ve loved my entire life – it easily ranks in my top 5 dinners! (I even requested it for my birthday this year! 😄🥳)
This ham and potato casserole recipe is made entirely from scratch – no canned soup or packaged potatoes involved. You toss buttery-tender Yukon Gold potatoes & diced smoky-sweet ham (either leftovers or store-bought!) in a simple, creamy mornay sauce with shredded cheddar. Everything melds together in the oven until it’s gooey & perfect.
We call it a ham and potatoes casserole, but mom always made this recipe in a cast iron skillet for minimal fuss & cleanup. If you want to bake it in a casserole dish go for it – either way, this is easy, from-scratch cooking, mostly hands-off, & the ultimate comforting meal.
Ham and Potato Casserole Recipe Highlights
You’ll love my family’s ham and cheese potato casserole recipe! It’s…
COMFORT FOOD HEAVEN. Tender potatoes & savory-sweet ham marry in a homemade cheese sauce & bake until bubbling, melty, & completely irresistible. Comfort food doesn’t get better than that! 🙌🏼
TOTALLY HOMEMADE. Mom’s ham and potato casserole recipe is made entirely from scratch! No canned cream of chicken soup or boxed au gratin potatoes involved – just a simple cheese sauce & tender Yukon Golds with ham dinner leftovers.
NO FUSS COOKING. Prepare this cheesy ham and potato casserole in a skillet for easy clean-up, then simply pop it in the oven. Minimal prep required & it’s mostly hands-off cooking!
So satisfying, so comforting, so classic! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Mom’s Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
This potato and ham casserole recipe uses simple, from-scratch ingredients that are likely already in your kitchen.
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
- Ham – My family often made this dish with leftover baked ham from our holiday dinners, but you can also easily use store-bought boneless ham steaks instead. Both are fantastic options! Ham steaks (often located near deli meat & bacon in the grocery store) are an especially easy way to make this recipe whenever a comfort food craving strikes. Dice the ham into bite-sized cubes & you’re good to go!
- Potatoes – We love Yukon Gold potatoes. Compared to standard russet potatoes, they have insanely tender & buttery texture. They also have thin & tender skin so you don’t have to fuss with peeling them! Dice them into small, bite-sized pieces so they cook quickly in the casserole.
- Onion – Sautéing yellow onion with potatoes easily adds more flavor to the casserole.
- Homemade cheese sauce – Skip the creamy canned soup & make a simple mornay sauce instead! Butter & flour build a roux while half & half, sour cream, & shredded cheddar make it nice & creamy. For an extra boost of flavor, stir in a little ham or chicken base!
- Cheddar – Shredded cheddar adds an extra layer of cheesiness on top of the assembled potato and ham casserole! It melts into gooey goodness in the oven – so good!
How to Make a Homemade Ham and Potato Casserole
Despite being a completely homemade ham and potato casserole, this recipe is super quick & easy to make. Once the potatoes & ham are good to go, you’ll whip up a quick & simple cheese sauce & toss everything together – from there, the oven does all the work!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Par-cook the potatoes. Season & cook the potatoes in butter until they start to soften, then toss in the diced ham. Tip! ⇢ The small dice of the potatoes help them cook quickly, eliminating the need to parboil them. It only takes a few minutes in a skillet on the stovetop!
Prepare the cheese sauce. Skip the canned soup & make a from-scratch cheese sauce instead – it takes less than 5 minutes! How to do it ⇢ Build a roux with butter & flour, allowing it to brown, then add half & half & whisk vigorously to eliminate any lumps. Stir in sour cream & ham or chicken base & cook until the sauce starts to thicken. Finish by folding in shredded cheddar cheese. That’s it!
Assemble the potato and ham casserole. Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes & ham in the skillet, then finish it off with a sprinkling of more cheddar on top. Why a skillet? ⇢ Assembling the ham and potato casserole in a skillet keeps things streamlined & simple for minimal cleanup. If you prefer to make more of a traditional casserole, feel free to transfer everything to a 2-quart baking dish.
Bake! Bake the skillet until the cheese melts & the whole potato and ham casserole is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Pro Tip! ⇢ For extra golden-brown & bubbly results, finish the potatoes and ham casserole under the broiler. It only needs a few minutes, so keep an eye on it!
Make-Ahead Potato and Ham Casserole
One of the big perks of any casserole is the ability to assemble it ahead of time & bake it later. This cheesy ham and potato casserole is no exception!
To prepare a make-ahead ham and potato casserole, assemble the skillet or baking dish with the cooked potatoes, smoked ham, & cheese sauce, then allow it to cool. Cover it with aluminum foil & store in the fridge for up to 3 days. When dinner rolls around, simply pop it in the oven – easy! Tip! ⇢ You’ll need to add 10-15 minutes to the baking time since the make-ahead potato and ham casserole will be chilled through.
There are few greater sights than a bubbling, cheesy ham and potato casserole straight out of the oven! As eager as you may be to dig in, let the hot potato and ham casserole rest for at least 5 minutes. This allows all the creamy cheesiness to settle & meld together.
Slice up some green onions while you wait & sprinkle them on top for a colorful finish!
What to Serve with Ham and Potato Casserole
One of our favorite sides to make with this dish is some simple roasted asparagus. It’s an easy way to add some extra veggies to your meal since it roasts pretty quickly while the potato and ham casserole finishes resting. Hands-off side dishes for the win! 🙌🏼
Mom’s Simple Roasted Asparagus ⇢ Place trimmed asparagus spears on a baking sheet & season with olive oil, salt, pepper, & garlic powder. Place the tray in the oven when the ham and potato casserole is at the 25-minute mark, then let the asparagus roast for 10 minutes. This allows both components to be ready at the same time!
To balance the richness of a ham and cheese casserole, here are a few other fresh side dish ideas…
- Make a simple green salad with our tangy All-Purpose Vinaigrette. For a slightly sweeter option, go for this simple Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Try a heartier salad like this Spring Vegetable Salad, Autumn Caesar with Squash Croutons, or Kale Salad with Apples. These options require a bit more prep, but they create a full-on feast for Sunday supper or dinner with friends!
- Grilled vegetables are easy to make on a nice day & their smokiness is a natural complement to the ham in the casserole.
- For a delicious brunch, top each serving of your ham and potato casserole with a perfectly poached egg.
I can’t wait for you to try this Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole! It is one of my absolute favorite recipes from my childhood & it means a lot to share it with you all. I hope you love it as much as my family does!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
More Recipes Like This:
Classic Comfort Food Recipes
Throughout my childhood, nearly all of the special occasion meals at our house centered around a baked ham. I loved ham dinner – not necessarily for the dinner itself, but for the epic Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole that my mom made to use up the leftovers in the following days. It’s one of my top 5 favorite comfort foods of all time, & I’m so excited to share her recipe with you!
You’ll love Mom’s recipe because it’s completely homemade (no shortcut ingredients like canned soup or boxed potatoes happening here!), but still pretty low-fuss. A few tips to keep in mind as you get started…
- Potatoes: Yukon gold potatoes have the best tender texture & buttery flavor. They hold their shape better than a standard Russet potato, which makes them ideal for a casserole recipe like this one.
- Ham: This recipe is a great way to use up your holiday ham dinner leftovers, but you can also make it using store-bought boneless ham steaks, which are readily available year-round in most conventional grocery stores (look near deli meat & bacon).
- Cheese: We love using a good cheddar cheese since its sharp flavor cuts through the creaminess of the sauce. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand – smoked gouda is another favorite at our house!
- Skillet: Prep everything in an oven-safe skillet & there’s no need for a second baking dish!
The result is creamy, cheesy, & comforting to the max – we hope you love it just as much as we do! ♡ Happy cooking!
- 1 pound leftover baked ham or boneless ham steak, diced into ½-inch cubes
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (approx. 4 extra large potatoes), washed & diced into ½-inch cubes
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 teaspoons ham base or chicken base
- 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated & divided (approx. 1 heaping cup)
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- for serving, as desired: thinly sliced green onions
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Before you get started cooking, read this recipe start to finish & prep the ingredients you need – dice the ham & veggies, measure the liquid ingredients, grate the cheese, etc. The potatoes & cheese sauce both come together very quickly once you start cooking – it’s helpful to have everything prepped & ready to go before you begin.
- Soften the potatoes: In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the diced onion, seasoning with ½ teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes to the cooked onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened but not cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the diced ham, then remove from the heat & set aside.
- Prepare the cheese sauce: Meanwhile, as the potatoes soften, prepare the cheese sauce. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to a medium saucepan over medium-hight heat. Once melted, add in the flour, whisking vigorously to eliminate any lumps in the roux. Cook the roux for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Slowly add the half & half into the pot, whisking constantly to eliminate any lumps in the roux. Stir in the sour cream & ham or chicken base, & season with up to ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper as desired. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened to the point that it coats the back of a spoon (nappe). Stir in ½ of the grated cheese. Once melted, remove from the heat. Adjust seasonings to taste & set aside.
- Assemble & bake: Pour the cheese sauce over the softened potatoes & ham, stirring to combine well. (Alternatively, if you do not have an oven-safe skillet, you can transfer the potato mixture to a 2.5-quart baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, such as an 8×8 or 11×7 inch baking dish, or a 9-inch round.) Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over top. Transfer to the oven & bake for 30 minutes, or until the ham and potato casserole is bubbling & the cheese appears well-melted. If desired, broil the ham and cheese casserole on the center rack for about 3-5 minutes, keeping a close eye on it as it broiled to make sure it doesn’t burn, until it’s as bubbly & golden brown as you like.
- Serve: Carefully remove the cheesy ham and potato casserole from the oven. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions & serve. Enjoy!
- Simple side dish ⇢ Simple Roasted Asparagus: While a cheesy ham and potato casserole is an all-in-one meal, if you’d like to serve your casserole alongside some extra veggies, this simple roasted asparagus is a great option! Trim, wash, & dry 1 pound of asparagus spears. Place on a small sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil, then season with a little salt, ground black pepper, & garlic powder. Roll to coat well. Transfer to the oven when the casserole is at its 25-minute mark, & roast the asparagus for 10 minutes. By the time the ham and potato casserole is rested & ready to serve, the asparagus will be ready to pull from the oven.
- Make-Ahead & Storage Instructions:
- Make-Ahead Ham and Potato Casserole: This ham and potato casserole can be assembled up to 3 days in advance & baked off just before serving. To make ahead of time, complete Steps 4 of Recipe Directions, above. Cool completely, then cover & store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bake as directed in Steps 1 & 4, above, adding an extra 10-15 minutes to baking time as needed, until the casserole is heated through the center & bubbling around the edges.
- Storage & Reheating: Leftover ham and potato casserole will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Keywords: Easter brunch recipe, leftover ham recipe, homemade ham and potatoes casserole, cheesy ham & potatoes casserole recipe, breakfast casserole recipe
Recipe and Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.