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Ham and Cheese Casserole

This creamy and hearty Ham and Cheese Casserole is so simple to make. It’s a tasty and filling dinner recipe that is sure to be a new family favorite!

THE PERFECT DINNER CASSEROLE

This Ham and Cheese Casserole is the perfect comfort food dish! It’s easy to make and just requires a few simple ingredients. It’s an ideal recipe to have on hand when you need a quick dinner solution or if you’re looking for something hearty to serve your family. I feel like this is one of those meals that might feel slightly fancy because of the different cheeses but it’s so simple to make and really tastes so amazing with all the flavors. Plus, It’s a great way to use leftover ham!

A baking dish full of homemade Ham and Cheese Casserole.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What’s the secret to getting a smooth sauce?

With this easy casserole, a smooth sauce happens because we use the reserved pasta water. It helps keep it all blend together and prevents lumps.

How do I avoid clumpy cheese in my sauce?

I recommend freshly shredding your gouda if possible. This will help cut down on the risk of it clumping together like you would get from pre-shredded gouda. Pre shredded gouda has some starches in it that prevent it from sticking together in the packaging. However, if all you can find is the pre-shredded stuff, you can still use it!

I can’t find Boursin cheese, what else can I use?

You can use another soft cheese as an alternative. I would use a cream cheese or even goat cheese. Look for garlic and herb flavors. If you use cream cheese, make sure it is softened slightly before using in this recipe.

What kind of ham should I buy if I don’t have leftover ham?

You could buy a large ham steak. Or you can buy a small boneless ham. Sometimes you will find these in the refrigerated section of your grocery store near the lunch meats or bacon which is where mine keeps it). Sometimes they may be close to the meat section.

What to serve with this?

This casserole is a delicious and hearty dish that goes well with several sides. To bring out the flavors in the casserole, try serving it alongside a salad. For another side, try serving a fresh loaf of crusty Italian bread. The warm and hearty taste of the bread will go perfectly with this savory casserole. Or just pick up a bag of steamed veggies (like broccoli or carrots) for a fast side dish!

How to store and reheat leftovers?

Leftovers are delicious! Store them in an air-tight container in your fridge for up to four days. When reheating, give the pasta some life again by adding a dash of milk or cream before microwaving.

A serving spoon holding some Ham and Cheese Casserole over the dish waiting to serve it on a plate.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • rotini pasta – you can use any similarly shaped pasta like corkscrew or penne.
  • pasta water– save the water once you drain the cooked pasta. This helps to thicken sauces because the pasta releases starch into the water as it cooks.
  • panko breadcrumbs – you can use regular breadcrumbs or even finely crushed crackers.
  • grated parmesan cheese – if you don’t like parmesan cheese, just use a cheese you do enjoy like mozzarella or leave it out.
  • white onion – you could also substitute for a shallot for a lighter onion flavor with a hint of garlic taste.
  • Dijon mustard – this does not give a strong mustard taste, it’s very light but if you don’t like mustard, just leave it out.
  • Boursin cheese – I used the garlic and fine herbs flavor. You can usually find this in the specialty cheese case at your grocery store. It is round in shape.
  • diced ham – this is a great recipe for leftover ham. You could also use bacon.
  • freshly shredded gouda cheese – If you’ve never used gouda cheese before, it is very mild in flavor. It really is a fantastic, smooth cheese. So if you aren’t a fan of strong cheese flavors, this one is for you. Cheddar works great here too. Monterey Jack and gruyere are good options as well.
  • heavy cream – heavy cream works best in this recipe. You could use milk but try to make sure it is a full fat milk.
Diced ham, rotini pasta, butter, panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper, onion, flour, dijon mustard, Boursin cheese, gouda cheese, heavy cream, and parsley.

HOW TO MAKE HAM AND CHEESE CASSEROLE

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Prepare the pasta according to package directions until pasta is al dente. Before draining the pasta after cooking, set aside one cup of the pasta water. Then drain pasta and set it aside (you’ll need the pot for later). Prepare the panko topping. Melt 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Then stir in the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and a pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Set the topping aside. 

collage of two photos: cooked rotini in water in a pot and a clear bowl with panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese with a fork.

In the same pot you used to cook the pasta, melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions and cook until they become soft and translucent (it should take about 2 minutes). Sprinkle 3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour over the onions and stir until a thick paste forms. Add the dijon mustard and reserved pasta water to the pot, continuing to stir until the mixture becomes smooth (this could take a few minutes). You may find this easiest if using a whisk. 

collage of three photos: flour, onions, and butter in a pot, thickened flour mixture in pot and pasta water and dijon mustard added to the pot.

Add in the Boursin cheese and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to break up the cheese and to help it melt. Once it has started to melt, add in the diced ham, gouda cheese and heavy cream to the pot. Cook the mixture over low to medium heat until all the ingredients are melted and combined well.  Remove the pot from the heat and add in the cooked pasta. Stir until pasta is evenly coated with the sauce mixture. Transfer the pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the panko topping (that you set aside earlier) evenly on top.

a collage of three photos: Boursin cheese, salt and pepper, being added to the cheese and onion sauce; diced ham and gouda added to sauce; and pasta with sauce added to a baking dish.

Place the casserole dish on the middle oven rack in the oven and bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes (or until the topping turns golden brown). Top the casserole with a bit of chopped parsley (optional). Allow the casserole to cool for 5 minutes before serving. 

A serving utensil holding a spoonful of Ham and Cheese Casserole.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

A bite of ham and cheese casserole over the baking dish of it.

Ham and Cheese Casserole

An easy weeknight meal that is creamy, cheesy, and so tasty.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ham and Cheese Casserole
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 946kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rotini pasta (reserve 1 cup of the pasta water after cooking and before draining)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup pasta water )
  • 5.2 ounce block Boursin cheese (I used the garlic and fine herbs flavor)
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 3 cups freshly shredded gouda cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley, for garnishing (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Prepare the pasta according to package directions until pasta is al dente. Before draining the pasta after cooking, set aside one cup of the pasta water. Then drain pasta and set it aside (you’ll need the pot for later).
  • Prepare the panko topping. Melt 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Then stir in the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and a pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Set the topping aside.
  • In the same pot you used to cook the pasta, melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions and cook until they become soft and translucent (it should take about 2 minutes).
  • Sprinkle 3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour over the onions and stir until a thick paste forms.
  • Add the dijon mustard and reserved pasta water to the pot, continuing to stir until the mixture becomes smooth (this could take a few minutes). You may find this easiest if using a whisk.
  • Add in the Boursin cheese and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to break up the cheese and to help it melt.
  • Once it has started to melt, add in the diced ham, gouda cheese and heavy cream to the pot. Cook the mixture over low to medium heat until all the ingredients are melted and combined well.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and add in the cooked pasta. Stir until pasta is evenly coated with the sauce mixture.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the panko topping (that you set aside earlier) evenly on top.
  • Place the casserole dish on the middle oven rack in the oven and bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes (or until the topping turns golden brown).
  • Top the casserole with a bit of chopped parsley (optional). Allow the casserole to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • Don’t let the different cheese options steer you away from this recipe, I have other ideas you can use instead in the ingredient listing. 
  • This is a great recipe to use up leftover ham. 
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. 

Nutrition

Calories: 946kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 63g | Saturated Fat: 39g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 223mg | Sodium: 1393mg | Potassium: 349mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1838IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 756mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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