Overnight Ham & Cheese Strata

Prep this delicious overnight ham & cheese strata the night before so there's little work in the morning! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How did we make it here? Less than a week to go until the big Christmas day. I made 5 dozen peppermint mocha cookies over the weekend in addition to candy cane fudge and cinnamon sugar candied nuts. Ironically, I also hung out with my dentist. (She’s my good friend and loves to bake too!)

While cookies and candies and all the sugars (!!) have been on our minds this month, I’m switching the gears and asking the grand question: what’s everyone making for Christmas brunch?

Prep this delicious overnight ham & cheese strata the night before so there's little work in the morning! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

We’ll be with my side of the family this year and with that comes a whole lot of Christmas brunch tradition. We always start off with this dark chocolate raspberry coffee cake to snack on with coffee, then move on to omelets, fried potatoes and onions, fruit salad, and Grandma’s pecan rolls (that recipe’s in my first cookbook!).

This year, there will be 13 of us so we’re doing things on a slightly larger scale. We’re adding my overnight cinnamon rolls to the brunch line-up (thinking of making the maple version though… thoughts?) and 2 batches of today’s overnight ham and cheese strata. Probably nixing the omelets altogether because this strata is low maintenance and takes about 5 minutes to prep.

More time for family. And PRESENTS! And Christmas dogs.

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When I mention low maintenance, I’m not messing around. All you do is put everything into a casserole dish, throw it into the fridge overnight, and bake in the morning. There is no pre-cooking anything. You can buy bread and pre-cooked ham from the store. Or use leftover ham if you’ve got it in the fridge. Not a fan of tomatoes? Leave them out. Want more peppers? Add more in. Low maintenance and LOW KEY.

First, what’s a strata you ask? It’s a layered breakfast casserole with eggs, bread, and cheese. But we’ll add meat and veggies and spices to make it extra fabulous. Strata dishes require a rest to let the eggs soak into the bread, usually an hour or overnight.

This dish is so low maintenance, that it literally needs a nap.

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Here’s What We’re Layering:

  • Bread, any kind. I recommend a super crispy baguette from the store. Let it sit out overnight. Stale bread is the best for breakfast casseroles.
  • Green peppers and tomatoes because green and red! Festive veggies.
  • Cooked ham. Lots of it.
  • Cheese, any kind. I recommend gouda and mozzarella. That’s what I used in both test batches and Kevin raved about it. He never raves about anything that doesn’t include peanut butter or chicken wings, so this is a major win.
  • Eggs and milk. 9 eggs and 2 cups of milk. I recommend whole milk but guess what? I made batch #2 with 1% milk and it was great!
  • Spices! We’ll whisk them in with the eggs and milk. 1 teaspoon each: salt, smoked paprika, and ground mustard.

I know, ground mustard?!?! Trust me on this one. The flavor is incredible with the ham and cheese. Your strata will not taste like mustard. You know how you usually add some sort of mustard to deviled eggs? Same thing goes here. Ground mustard is a common ingredient in strata.

Also scallions and fresh ground black pepper for flavor! Are you a fan of spice? A dash of hot sauce is dynamite.

Prep this delicious overnight ham & cheese strata the night before so there's little work in the morning! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Besides the ease of preparation, something has to be said about this strata’s texture! The bread and eggs create this incredibly chewy, soft, crisp-on-the-edges base. (The edges are definitely the BEST part, by the way.) There’s also plenty of warm melted cheese, an element of savory fresh from tomatoes and peppers, plus lots of wonderfully salty ham. Needless to say, we’ve been madly thankful for all the test batch leftovers lately.

Prep this delicious overnight ham and cheese strata the night before so there's little work in the morning! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Add this wildly simple casserole to your Christmas brunch!

Overnight Ham & Cheese Strata

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups cubed bread (I recommend big chunks of a crispy baguette)1
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (or any color)
  • 2 cups cooked and cubed ham
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I use a mix of gouda and mozzarella)
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus more for topping
  • 2 Tablespoons green onion

Directions:

  1. Generously grease a 9x13 (or similar size) casserole dish or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Layer in the bread, then the peppers, tomatoes, and ham. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.
  3. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, ground mustard, smoked paprika, and pepper together. Pour evenly over other ingredients in the casserole dish. Top with scallions and a little more pepper, if desired.
  4. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight (up to 12-16 hours).
  5. Remove casserole from the refrigerator and allow to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
  7. Bake casserole, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Loosely cover with aluminum foil for the remaining 20-30 minutes. Casserole is done with browned on the sides and puffy in the center. Mine usually takes about 55 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  9. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave.

Freezing: Prepare through step 3, then cover the casserole with plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature, then continue with step 5.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Make sure the bread chunks are a little stale. Let the bread sit out overnight.

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See more savory breakfast recipe ideas.

And all my sweet rolls if you need cinnamon roll inspiration! (There’s a lot.)

Prep this delicious overnight ham and cheese strata the night before so there's little work in the morning! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

44 comments

  1. baked cinnamon raisin french toast and sausage/hash brown breakfast casserole are classics for my christmas day brunch. but we’re also having a christmas eve brunch this year, and strata sounds perfect! i bet a gruyere and parm combo would also be good in here (:

  2. This sounds amazing! I absolutely loved your Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole, even though I used whole wheat french bread and skim milk! Thank you for your amazing recipes and for inspiring me with all that you do on this blog.

  3. Switching it up this year and doing maple cinnamon rolls, overnight oats with nuts and berries, and a fruit tray!   I will use this strata recipe another time, sounds delish and I love everything low maintenance! Merry christmas sally!!

  4. Wow, great idea! I’ll keep this in mind for New Years Day – that’s when we will be with my family. I will definitely be bringing all the cookies I have been making lately – got more to work on in the next days… Have a happy (and hopefully mostly stress-free) time until Christmas, Sally!

  5. I love strata!  I make it often for Sunday brunch or for brinner.  Growing up on Christmas morning we used to always have pancakes, we call them skinny pancakes because they were thin, but not as thin as a crepe.  Now I usually spend christmas with my husband’s family and they’re all about the cinnamon rolls, I’m not complaining =)

  6. Omg, Sally! Thank you so much for the inspiration because I’m so making this for my gang this week!

  7. Hi Sally! This recipe sounds amazing! I made your peppermint mocha cookies this year and they were FAB.

    I did notice a small typo in the recipe. On step #5, it says to remove casserole from oven and allow to come to room temperature, and then step #6 is to preheat oven?? I assume that you mean to remove from the fridge instead of the oven? 😛

  8. Looks like the perfect cozy winter morning dish!! Sometimes I just really crave something savory to start the day; this looks delicious!

  9. Oh man Sally now I’m torn! I was planning your easy make ahead breakfast casserole for Christmas morning but now this looks great too! Honestly that breakfast casserole is a staple in our house, it’s just so convient and delicious! Oh decisions, decisions

  10. We make a similar recipe for Christmas breakfast, but it doesn’t have the peppers or tomatoes. It is our standard Christmas breakfast and we serve it with a breakfast bundt cake called butter rich coffee cake. I just may have to try your version for those in the family who like tomatoes and peppers.

  11. Breakfast on Christmas morning is the main food event in my house! We love to make overnight casseroles because they are so easy and they can just heat up while we open our presents. Love that yours is overflowing with deliciousness. And the crispy part is totally the best!

  12. I love the irony of you hanging out with your dentist at the most sugary time of year 😉 Can’t wait to try this strata with gluten free bread! Thanks Sally!

  13. perfect Christmas breakfast, Sally!
    BTW I made your PB chocolate saltine toffee yesterday, and somehow rationalized having it for breakfast today. It’s SO GOOD!

  14. I haven’t had strata before but this version looks soo amazing. I can totally get up earlier in the morning before work to enjoy this. Can’t wait to give this a try!

  15. I will unfortunately be spending Christmas alone this year, so I probably won’t do a normal brunch like we often do with family. I might have to make something like this though in a little tiny batch for just me. Though to be honest, I’m more likely to make one of your make-ahead breakfast casseroles with whatever veggies I have laying around. I think it’s a texture thing (a big factor for me and my food enjoyment) but I just have never been a fan of bread in my casseroles. Stuffing, french toast casseroles, things like this… I’ve just never been able to get behind them. Luckily, your make-ahead breakfast casserole, helpfully linked underneath this recipe, is so delish that I know I’ll still have a happy, albeit solo, Christmas brunch.

    • I can’t get enough of that breakfast casserole. Just a little bit of bread is enough in that one where this one has a giant bread “base” underneath. I hope you have a very merry Christmas, relax, enjoy your “me time” 🙂

  16. Can’t believe either how close we are to Christmas – I haven’t started baking for the Day yet, still haven’t picked up a turkey (oops?), and all the presents I bought still lay unwrapped in my closet. So much to do, so little time. I made a strata like this once before (with cheddar cheese & mozzarella; I found it in my Williams-Sonoma cookbook), but it actually didn’t call for ground mustard. It’s really not that weird though, my grandma’s classic macaroni & cheese recipe calls for it, so why not strata? 🙂

    • Ahhh yes, ground mustard is excellent in homemade mac and cheese too!! My mom’s “famous” recipe calls for it as well. I should share that recipe on my blog sometime.

  17. Another “Sally” recipe for my holiday menu. I am all for make ahead. I am also making your cinnamon rolls. What yeast do you use for those – instant or active? I can’t tell.
    PS = hoping to find your cookbook under the tree! 🙂
    Happy holidays

    • Hi Mary! I typically use an instant yeast. I like Red Star Yeast Platinum, which is an instant variety.
      Happy holidays to you too!

  18. Yum! I just found my Christmas brunch recipe – this is perfect for everyone. Comfort food! Another winner, Sally! Merry Christmas! PS I am also sugared out from SO. MANY. COOKIES. 🙂

  19. I’ve been trying to edge my way in to being allowed to bring something to my family’s Christmas brunch for ages. I wasn’t very domestic when I was younger (mainly because my mom is a control freak about the kitchen and didn’t want her admittedly-klutzy daughter in there breaking anything), and our brunch is hosted by the side of the family with two trained-in-Italy chefs, so it’s tough getting my foot in the door there. They don’t usually have anything with ham, but they do have eggs in all forms and bacon, sausage and pork roll. This may not be the best dish for Christmas brunch. BUT, I bet the guests at my LAN party over New Years’ will appreciate it (ten guys and two girls? My buddy Shelby and I are definitely going to be put in charge of the food –which is fine because we love to cook and we’re both good at it). If I don’t comment before then, I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  20. We usually have breakfast pizza for Christmas brunch (a tradition passed down from my side of the family) but I always get so frustrated because the eggs run off the crust every time! Think I may go for something different this year, and this just might be the ticket!

  21. I saw this on your snapchat the other day and have been keeping an eye out for the recipe! I don’t see any floating strata 🙂

  22. Thank you for solving my current breakfast potluck conundrum! This looks SO good, and love the convenience of putting it together the night before!

  23. Hey! I’m planning on making this, but have two questions. Can I sub the ham for chicken sausage and what is a good replacement for the ground mustard? I can’t find it anywhere! Would it be terrible if I left it out? Thank you! I love all your recipes!

    • You can leave out the ground mustard but you’ll lose some flavor! It’s usually in the spice aisle. 🙂

      You can sub in chicken sausage, same amount. Make sure it’s precooked.

  24. I made this for breakfast on Boxing Day with a few minor changes. I only managed about 8 cups of bread (7 of crunchy baguette, 1 of chopped bagel), so I reduced the eggs to 6 and the milk to 400 mL. I kept everything else pretty much the same (swiss and cheddar for the cheese). The 55 minute baking time worked perfectly for me! Thanks Sally! It was super yummy. 🙂

  25. Perfect food to have after a day/night of indulgences! Brunch with a heart.

  26. This turned out great for Christmas breakfast! I made this and the giant cinnamon rolls and it was a great combination— sweet and savory! Ground Mustard was a new one for me and I’m excited to throw it into a few other things because it added such great flavor!

  27. Thank you for another AMAZING recipe Sally!! I made this for Christmas morning and it was a hit with people going back for seconds and thirds. I cannot wait to make it again!

  28. I made this for Christmas morning and my husband and I loved it! I ended up using bacon and 1 cup of peppers since after 4 trips to the store preparing for holiday meals I managed to forget the ham and tomato. Thanks so much for the great recipes! I’m always looking on your site because I always have success!

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