Home » Recipes » Breakfast Recipes » Ham and Cheese Strata

Ham and Cheese Strata

This Ham and Cheese Strata contains layers of ham, cheese, and mushrooms, along with bread, eggs, and milk, for the perfect weekend or special occasion breakfast.

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.

A serving of strata on a white plate.

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. 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 brunch. Everything, including the strata, can be prepared the night before, making for a delicious breakfast or brunch with very little to finish 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.

🛒 Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for ham and cheese strata.

This post contains affiliate links. Lana’s Cooking is reader-supported and earns a tiny commission at no extra cost to you when you shop from our links.

  • Sandwich Bread: Choose a sturdy sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm Hearty White Bread, or other white bread that will stand up to soaking in the egg mixture. Sourdough or French breads also work well. If you’d like to make your own, try my Easy Homemade Bread Recipe.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: I prefer a good extra sharp cheddar cheese for its bold flavor. Feel free to experiment with other cheeses such as Gruyère or Swiss cheese.
  • Baked Ham: This is a great recipe for using up leftover baked ham. Both Smithfield and HoneyBaked are fantastic hams. I often purchase Smithfield’s diced ham when I want to make a recipe but don’t have leftover ham on hand. You can also use cooked bacon or sausage as alternatives.
  • Canned Sliced Mushrooms: Be sure to drain the mushrooms well so you don’t have excess moisture in the finished dish. 
  • Milk: I recommend whole milk because of its slightly higher fat content, and for the rich flavor it adds to the savory custard. 

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

❓ What is Strata?

“Strata” is from the word stratum and simply means layers. A strata is a recipe in which the ingredients are layered in the baking dish. Stratas are typically breakfast or brunch recipes and consist of a protein such as ham that is layered with bread and cheese, sometimes vegetables, and a milk and egg mixture (a savory custard, if you will) is poured over. The dish is left to set overnight and baked the next day.

🥄 How I Make Ham and Cheese Strata

  1. Trim the crusts from five slices of bread (reserve the crusts). Cut the slices in half diagonally and set them aside.
  2. Generously butter a 9-inch square baking dish or small casserole dish. Tear the remaining three slices of bread into pieces and place the pieces in the baking dish along with the reserved crusts.
  1. Over the bread, make one layer each of cheese, ham, mushrooms, and parsley.
  2. Arrange the bread triangles in two rows over the layers.
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  2. Slowly pour the egg and milk mixture evenly over the bread. Try to make sure that each bread triangle gets nicely saturated with milk.
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and chill for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Baked strata in a pan.
STEP 8-9.
  1. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes until golden brown on top and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  2. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

❗ Troubleshooting Tips

  • If the strata seems to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil to prevent to slow the top browning.
  • Be sure to give the dish adequate time (at least 8 hours) before baking to allow the bread to fully absorb the milk and egg mixture.

🔀 Recipe Variations

  • Add diced bell peppers, onions, spinach, or any of your favorite veggies between the layers.
  • Substitute mozzarella cheese and cooked Italian sausage for a Mediterranean style strata.
A serving of strata on a spatula.

🍽️ How I Serve Ham and Cheese Strata

I serve it hot from the oven with a fresh fruit salad on the side for breakfast or brunch. Leftovers make a fantastic lunch paired with a green salad dressed with a classic vinaigrette. For dinner, serve with a side of home fries and a slice of coconut cake for dessert.

🍚 How I Store the Leftovers

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply place individual portions in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

❓ Questions About Ham and Cheese Strata

Can I use fresh mushrooms instead of canned?

Yes, fresh mushrooms may be used instead of canned. You’d need about 4 ounces of fresh mushrooms. Slice thinly and saute them in a little butter before adding.

Can I freeze this recipe?

While you can freeze the unbaked strata, the texture will change upon thawing. It’s best enjoyed fresh or refrigerated for a few days.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox.

Save Recipe
A serving of strata on a white plate.

Ham and Cheese Strata

This Ham and Cheese Strata contains layers of ham, cheese, and mushrooms, along with bread, eggs, and milk, for the perfect weekend or special occasion breakfast.
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It Text It
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 387kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 8 slices sandwich bread
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 8 ounces baked ham chopped
  • 4 ounces canned sliced mushrooms drained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons dried
  • 2 ¼ cups milk
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • teaspoon paprika
  • Dash of black pepper

Instructions

  • Trim the crusts from five slices of bread (reserve the crusts). Cut the slices in half diagonally and set them aside.
  • Generously butter a 9-inch square baking dish or small casserole dish. Tear the remaining three slices of bread into pieces and place the pieces in the baking dish along with the reserved crusts.
  • Over the bread, make one layer each of cheese, ham, mushrooms, and parsley.
  • Arrange the bread triangles in two rows over the layers.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Slowly pour the egg and milk mixture evenly over the bread. Try to make sure that each bread triangle gets nicely saturated with milk.
  • Cover the dish with aluminum foil and chill for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes until golden brown on top and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply place individual portions in the microwave or oven until warmed through.
  • While you can freeze the unbaked strata, the texture will change upon thawing. It’s best enjoyed fresh or refrigerated for a few days.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 387kcal | Carbohydrates 24g | Protein 26g | Fat 21g | Saturated Fat 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat 2g | Monounsaturated Fat 5g | Trans Fat 0.02g | Cholesterol 178mg | Sodium 1444mg | Potassium 285mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 8g | Vitamin A 898IU | Vitamin C 3mg | Calcium 472mg | Iron 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

Share on Facebook Pin Recipe
Tried this recipe? Pin it for Later!Follow @LanasCookingBlog or tag #LanasCooking!

— This post was originally published on October 1, 2010. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

This ham and cheese strata contains layers of ham, cheese and mushrooms with bread, eggs and milk for a fabulous weekend or special occasion breakfast. https://www.lanascooking.com/ham-and-cheese-strata/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




31 Comments

  1. can you serve this cold?

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Julie – this recipe is meant to be served warm.

  2. This says to cover it and chill for the 3 hours but do you bake it covered?

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Lauren, thanks for asking. You remove the cover before baking.

  3. Thanks, Sophia! I’ll look into the breakfast casserole contest.

  4. Fight the Fat Foodie says:

    I love making strata. Yours looks wonderful!

    1. That’s a great low-fat strata! I’ll be sure to try it soon.

  5. Oh, how evil! This looks so good.

  6. sensiblecooking says:

    Looks like this is going to be my reliable go to dish as well.

  7. Sandie {A Bloggable Life} says:

    Not only do I love your polka dotted casserole dish, I love your first photo too. That is one hearty, photogenic strata! Looking forward to the weekend so I can give it a whirl :)

    1. Thanks, Sandie. I like that dish, too. Found it at HomeGoods for $7.99!

  8. lindaraxa says:

    Sounds divine. I particularly like the way you have arranged the bread slices on top.

  9. This sounds so good. Whenever I have people over on the weekends, I’m always looking for a good brunch dish. This sounds perfect!

  10. 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!

  11. This looks like it should make an appearance on my Christmas morning too. The sliced bread on top makes it look so pretty!

  12. 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

  13. 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!

    1. 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!

  14. Barbara @Modern Comfort Food says:

    Breakfast strata (I think of it as “anytime” strata) is one of the best and most useful dishes to have in one’s repertoire. And you’ve created a delicious looking one here. Well done, Lana!

    1. Thank you, Barbara. This particular strata is one of our family’s all-time favorites. Just as good for a spring brunch as on a cold winter morning.

      1. Barbara @moderncomfortfood says:

        And good for dinner too!

  15. 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.

    1. I hope the J-man enjoys this breakfast strata. He’d probably enjoy helping you do the layering of the ingredients, too.

  16. Exactly what I have been looking for! Something new, different, and delicious for breakfast! Or lunch! Or dinner! Wow, love this!

    1. 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.

  17. 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!

    1. 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.

  18. kateiscooking 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

    1. Kate – I promise you this one is anything but blah, bland or bleech. Hope you enjoy it!

  19. 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:@)

  20. Easy Salad Recipe Sherry says:

    This looks delicious.