Ham and Cheese Strata

We all have recipes in our files that we fall back on time and time again, don’t we? The ones that we know will always come out perfect and everyone requests over and over again. This ham and cheese strata is one of my old reliables.

This strata is essentially a breakfast casserole, but it’s so much more. I could, without much effort, even think of this as a savory bread pudding. Its layers of bread, cheese, ham, and mushrooms combine with the eggs and milk overnight into a glorious dish best enjoyed on a lazy weekend morning. It’s also the perfect centerpiece for a brunch. Everything, including the strata, can be prepared the night before providing you a delicious breakfast or brunch with very little to do in the morning. Serve the strata with some mixed fresh fruit, buttery croissants and nice, strong coffee alongside. Take it all out on the deck with some friends or just your sweetheart and the Sunday paper and simply relax. This old reliable recipe is good for any time of the year and often makes an appearance in our home on Christmas morning.

8 slices sandwich bread
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz. baked ham, chopped
4 oz. canned sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup chopped parsley (or 2 tblsp. dried)
2 1/4 cups milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. paprika
Dash of pepper

Preparing bread for Ham and Cheese Strata

Trim the crusts from five slices of bread, reserving crusts. Cut in half diagonally. Set aside.

Buttered baking dish for Ham and Cheese Strata

Generously butter a 9-inch square baking dish.

Tear the remaining three slices of bread into pieces and place them in the baking dish along with the reserved crusts. Over the bread, layer the cheese, ham, mushrooms and parsley. To make the recipe really easy, I use packaged grated cheese, an 8-ounce package of chopped baked ham and canned mushrooms. If you want to hand grate the cheese, cook up some ham and use fresh mushrooms please do so! However, I’ve found that difference in taste is miniscule.

Ham and Cheese Strata topped with bread triangles

Arrange the bread triangles in two rows over the layers.

Eggs and milk mixture for Ham and Cheese Strata

Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread. Try to make sure that each bread triangle gets nicely saturated with milk. Cover the baking dish and chill for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ham and Cheese Strata

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Ham and Cheese Strata
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Great breakfast for mornings when you have overnight guests or for the holidays. Make it up the evening before, pop it in the fridge, and cook the next morning.
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 slices sandwich bread
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 oz. baked ham, chopped
  • 4 oz. canned sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley (or 2 tblsp. dried)
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • Dash of pepper
Instructions
  1. Trim the crusts from five slices of bread, reserving crusts. Cut in half diagonally. Set aside.
  2. Generously butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Tear the remaining three slices of bread into pieces and place them in the baking dish along with the reserved crusts.
  3. Over the bread, layer the cheese, ham, mushrooms and parsley. Arrange the bread triangles in two rows over the layers.
  4. Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover and chill at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
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Comments

  1. Happier Than A Pig in Mud says

    I’ve never made one of these! Might make a smaller one the next time my Ma comes over for breakfast! Lovin’ your polka dot baking dish:@)

  2. says

    Looks like you’ve taken one of my least favorite breakfast dishes and made it wonderful!!! So often this is blah, bland and bleech. Yours looks incredible. So, I may actually try it again… BTW – I wrote the post today on your chicken salad just don’t know when it’ll be published. It was amazing!!!!!!! Thanks :-) Kate

  3. says

    Yummy and simple. This will be our breakfast day after Thanksgiving. That’s pretty much the only day I “make” breakfast but I make a huge one, this will be the highlight. Thanks!

    • says

      I think you’ll really like it, Teri. Plus it’s easy to do! Just make it up the night before, leave it in the fridge and bake it the next morning.

    • says

      Suzanne – Hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s so easy to put it together on a Friday or Saturday night and just pop it in the oven the next morning.

  4. says

    Putting it on the list. I think Jayden is really going to enjoy this! He’s big on breakfast casseroles and is a major cheese maniac.

    The oven dish is so cute! Love the little white dots.

  5. says

    This is the perfect dish to serve during holidays with the leftover ham and bread from dinner. Such a great idea and a lot of good things wrapped up in this strata. Luv this…saving to recipe file. Wish I had a pan of this right now!

    • says

      Cristina – That’s a great idea. Use your leftover ham and bread as the basis for this strata! The recipe is very versatile, too. If you don’t want mushrooms, leave them out. Broccoli might make an interesting addition. Just be sure to keep the cheese!

  6. says

    breakfast pies, stratas, quiche … a lot of good egg dishes I am seeing, makes me hungry seeing all these – love the bread on top… toasty addition to what I am used to making

  7. says

    I once saw a recipe for a bread and butter pudding but with ham and cheese – this was many years ago and I lost the recipe. Am sure glad I found this – it looks better and I’ll make sure not to lose it this time!

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