Please your crowd this holiday season with a side dish of cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham! It’s made with layers of thinly sliced tender potatoes and diced ham in a rich creamy white sauce topped with cheese, then baked until bubbly and golden!
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This year, I’m making a filling and satisfying easy scalloped potatoes and ham. Which is a version of cheesy scalloped potatoes with the bonus of using up leftover bits of sweet, smoky, and salty ham!
No need to get fancy, all you need is a comfort dish made with love which is always enough to satisfy any crowd!
Why This Recipe Works
- Simple. There are a few things I require when making side dishes. They need to be easy, require no fancy ingredients, and make enough to serve a crowd. Scalloped potatoes and ham does just that.
- Side or main. With the addition of the meat, you can just as easily serve this as the main dish. Use up crockpot spiral ham or easy baked ham you made the night before and use the leftovers to make an easy dinner the next day. All you’d need is a side salad or some veggies to complete it!
- Can be made ahead. Make it the night before either fully cooked or uncooked. Either way, pop it in the oven before you’re ready to serve!
- An anytime dish! From Easter to Christmas, or Monday to Sunday, this scalloped potatoes recipe is always a hit.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Potatoes: This type of potato recipe is pretty flexible so go ahead and use what you have. Russets, Yukon golds, or even red potatoes would work.
- Cheddar cheese: I like to use a good sharp cheddar to cut through the creaminess. Freshly grated is best, whenever possible as it melts so much better and also tastes fresher.
- Diced ham: If you’re not using leftover ham, pick up a small one from the store and use the rest for this ham and bean soup for a delicious meal pairing.
- For the roux: Learning how to make a roux isn’t difficult but there are some tips and tricks to know that will be useful for this recipe and many others if you’re interested in learning more. For this one, you’ll need butter, onions, garlic, and flour.
- Milk: The addition of the milk turns the roux into a thick creamy sauce. It’s very similar to a bechamel sauce but we’re adding cheese to this one! Use whatever milk you have on hand. Half and half cream will also work.
There are a few ways to swap ingredients to make them your own. For example, if you’d rather use bacon instead of ham you can. You can also swap the cheddar for Swiss cheese, Gruyere, Colby Jack, Parmesan, or whatever cheese you prefer. Slice your onions in rings and you have a version of potatoes au gratin!
For a little shake-up, use sweet potatoes and make something similar to savory scalloped sweet potatoes.
How to Make Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
- Slice potatoes into rounds. Make them about 1/8 of an inch thick. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping as needed. Top evenly with 1/2 of the ham and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Make the white cheese sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, start with a roux. Cook onions in butter, then add the garlic. Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper and continue cooking. Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly whisk in the milk until smooth.
- Add sauce layer. Bring the sauce mixture to a light simmer and add 1/2 cup of cheese. Stir until thickened then season to taste. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the potatoes and ham. Use the rest of the potatoes and ham to layer on top. Then cover with the remaining sauce.
- Bake. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and continue baking uncovered for another 15 minutes until the cheese has a chance to melt and the potatoes become fork-tender. Allow it to cool and settle for 10 minutes before serving.
Make it Ahead of Time
Make it up to 24 hours in advance right up until the point of putting it in the oven. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it the next day.
You can also bake it completely for about 50 minutes and once it cools completely, refrigerate it overnight then bring it to room temperature about 30 minutes before, then pop it in the oven to heat through until hot and bubbly!
If your cheesy potatoes and ham is the main dish, you could serve it with a sprinkling of fresh thyme or fresh parsley and a side of green beans or roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
If it’s a side, it can replace any potato side dish. Serve it with your oven roasted turkey over the holidays or baked BBQ chicken throughout the week.
- Even slices. Use a mandoline to ensure thin even slices. This helps to make sure some of the rounds are not overcooked or undercooked, but they’re all evenly cooked. It’s also just easier than slicing one by one with a knife.
- Double the recipe. Easily make twice as much of this easy casserole! Just make sure you’re using a large enough dish.
- Don’t skip the rest time. Straight out of the oven, it’s creamy, saucy, and hot. Give it a chance to settle and firm up a bit, that way it’s not falling off your serving spoon.
- Leftovers. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Ok, so we cheated a bit. We’ve given you a bit of scalloped and a bit of au gratin. Although very similar, scalloped potatoes are traditionally made without cheese, and au gratin potatoes are made with.
I couldn’t resist adding cheese to mine, but you’re more than welcome to leave it out.
No, you don’t. There is a method of soaking potatoes in ice water to draw out as much starch as possible when trying to crisp up the potatoes, such as when making homemade french fries. We’re not doing that, so no need to soak them.
More Easy Holiday Dishes
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
- 2 pounds potatoes , thinly sliced into 1/8" rounds (about 4 cups), divided
- 1 ½ cups diced ham , divided
- 1 teaspoon salt , plus a pinch for the potato slices
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper , plus a pinch for the potato slices
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese , divided (plus more, if desired)
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 8×8-inch or 7×10-inch pan.
- Line 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom of the pan. Spread 3/4 cup ham over the top. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter and onions until the onions are softened. Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Whisk in flour, remaining salt, and remaining pepper. Cook another minute. Reduce heat to medium low.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to a light simmer and add 1/2 cup cheese. Stir until thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour 1/2 the sauce over the potatoes. Line the remaining potatoes over the top. Spread the remaining 3/4 cup ham over the potatoes. Cover with the remaining sauce.
- Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top and bake 15 more minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle fresh parsley. Serve warm.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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