This ham, cheese, and potato casserole is our new definition of decadent comfort food. Layers of cooked ham, thinly sliced potatoes, shallots, and gooey cheese are baked in a rich cream sauce until crispy and golden.
This ham, cheese, and potato casserole combines (almost) all of my favorite vices. Carbs. Cheese. Butter. (I can’t divulge my other favorite vices, although I can tell you they wouldn’t be appropriate in a casserole dish.)
And because a potato gratin with an over-the-top richness that some may describe as, well, a little indecent still wasn’t outrageously indulgent enough I added ham to make it a little easier to consider a plateful of this to be a proper dinner.–David Leite
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Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole FAQs
What kind of potatoes are best for a casserole?
Yukon Golds are a perfect combination of drier, fluffy russet potatoes and wetter, waxy varieties, making them incredibly versatile. This means that they’ll stay in solid slices once baked but they will also be soft and tender, without getting mushy.
I don’t cook ham often. Can I use thick cuts of deli ham for this?
You absolutely can. This casserole is a brilliant way to use up leftover ham but if you don’t feel like cooking up a whole one, you’re still in luck. Six ounces of thick-sliced, honey-baked deli ham is the answer you seek. See? You have no reason NOT to make this!
Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole
- 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature, plus more for the baking dish
- 3 about 4 oz shallots peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 6 ounces ham (either from a glazed ham or thickly sliced honey deli ham) cut into matchsticks or cubes
- 1 garlic clove crushed and peeled
- 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 10 ounces Fontina, Comté, Swiss, or Gruyère cheese
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Melt the butter In a medium skillet set over medium heat, and sauté the shallots until soft and golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Scrape the shallots into a bowl, toss in the ham, and stir to combine.
- Rub the garlic clove over the bottom and sides of a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Let the dish rest for a few minutes and then rub the bottom and sides of the dish with butter.
- Peel the potatoes and slice them crosswise about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. A mandoline or handheld slicer makes short work of this.
- Arrange an overlapping layer of potatoes, like a splayed deck of cards, in the bottom of the gratin dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the ham and shallot mixture over the potatoes and then about 1/3 of the cheese. Continue layering the potatoes, ham and shallot mixture, and cheese, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper and finishing with the cheese. (You should have 3 sets of layers.) Gently press down on the casserole if it’s threatening to rise above the edge of the baking dish.
- Place the dish on the foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the cream all along the sides of the dish being careful not to move the cheese. Stop adding cream when you see it rising alongside the potatoes but isn’t drowning them.
- Slip the casserole, uncovered, in the oven and bake until the cream bubbles happily along the edge of the dish, the top is crisp and golden, and a knife easily pierces all the layers, 60 to 80 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This ham, cheese, and potato casserole was a godsend! I was in the process of freezing the leftover New Year’s Day ham (you can only endure so many ham sandwiches!) when this recipe popped up in my inbox.
As stated in the instructions, a mandolin “cuts” (cooking humor) your prep time and gives you even slices.
I was able to create three perfect layers in my two-quart glass dish. I found using a glass dish was great because it allowed me to see how the cream (I used 1 1/2 cups) covered each layer.
My mother really enjoyed it and she continued to talk about it the following day.
This is a wonderful recipe that reminds us of how versatile a gratin can be. This is a sturdy method and can handle ingredients on hand. Experiment with different cheeses, meats, chorizo, pancetta, etc., just be sure your potatoes are cooked through at the end and, if the cheese is turning too golden, then cover it with foil.
This casserole was tasty and there isn’t any way it couldn’t be with this lineup of ingredients. This could be a great side but lovely as the main dish for a weeknight dinner with plenty of green veggies. Shallots should be added to everything in my opinion!
Prep wasn’t bad, although I couldn’t find the mandoline it’s still a manageable number of potatoes to slice, so that went by quickly. (It helps create good knife skills.)
The children gave it a thumbs up and finished all of the tender stem broccoli on their plate, mopping up the cheese sauce with it. Tons of flavors for such a simple dish.
This ham, cheese, and potato casserole came out creamy and was greatly enjoyed by my whole family. The only problem that I had while trying the recipe was that I think that there should have been more ham and shallots. There wasn’t quite enough of this mixture for the three layers of potatoes.
After an hour in the oven, the potatoes were creamy and the casserole was browned and bubbly. It was very delicious!
This recipe is pretty much the definition of decadent. Gobs of melted cheese, savory ham and shallots, creamy potatoes, and silky heavy cream. It’s one of those dishes you tell yourself to stop eating because of the calories, but you can’t. What’s great is that it doesn’t take many ingredients and, as the headnote suggests, it’s perfect if you happen to have some leftover ham hanging around.
All the time is in the slicing of the potatoes, shredding the cheese, and sautéing the onions. Once that’s done, it comes together quickly. And it can easily work for a weeknight dinner. We were a little light on the cream—it didn’t quite crest the potatoes—but that was okay because there was enough for it to do its job of turning the cheese into a luxurious sauce.
The recipe says to season each layer with salt and pepper. I would go very light on the salt because I found it a little salty (although not too salty). I think the ham and cheese provide some of the saltiness. We used fontina cheese.
While I wouldn’t make this a weekly staple (as I said, it’s very rich!), I would definitely make this again.
I’m somewhat of an anxious potato-gratin maker. I never know if the potato-liquid-baking dish ratio will work out. It’s hard to handle uncertainty sometimes. Now this reliable recipe is going to forever alleviate my anxiety. Oh, and that it makes a delicious casserole is definitely a plus! (Not that I was concerned about the flavor, with fontina, cream, shallots, and ham on the list.)
I love the traditional scalloped potatoes with just cream and cheese, but I wholeheartedly embrace the additions of ham and shallots in this recipe. Their flavors enhance the gratin without getting in the way of other ingredients.
I bought a pint of heavy cream (473 ml, almost 2 cups) and used the entire amount for the gratin. And it made a lot of sauce, which I didn’t mind, but I would recommend using 1 1/2 cups if you prefer your casserole to be on a thicker dryer side.
This ham, cheese, and potato casserole was delicious. One of the best potato casseroles I’ve ever had. The addition of sautéed shallots really took this to another level for me. I used a combination of Gruyère and Gouda.
With my first bite of this, I thought, “Wow. This is really good.” And after a few more bites, I found that I was standing at the stove, adding a bit more to my tasting dish, and then a bit more. Finally, good sense prevailed, and I got myself to walk away.
After all was said and done, I found myself trying to figure out just how often I would allow myself to make this dish. It’s quite rich, as you can imagine when reading the list of ingredients, so this is not something that I will make as often as I would like to, but it sure can be a treat when I want to reward myself with indulgence.
I used Comté for my cheese. Good choice! After you pour the cream into your casserole, let it rest so that the cream can settle in.
Originally published January 25, 2019