Overnight ham & cheese strata feeds a crowd. Loaded with everything we love about breakfast, it’s an easy make-ahead brunch recipe. Prepare this breakfast strata the night before so there’s little work in the morning!
If you find yourself with a houseful of guests this holiday season, strata is for you. It’s low maintenance, takes about 5 minutes to prep, and everyone loves it– giving you more time for family and what matters most this season.
What is Strata?
Strata is 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.
Strata is The Perfect Brunch for Entertaining
When you have guests to feed and want something easy yet impressive and delicious, ham & cheese strata is your answer. It’s perfect for entertaining and here’s why:
- Makes a big casserole. This brunch recipe easily serves 10-12 people. If you’re looking for a smaller but equally delicious breakfast option, this hash brown breakfast skillet serves 4. You could even swap out the bacon in that recipe with ham if desired.
- Low maintenance & make-ahead. All you do is put everything into a casserole dish, throw it into the fridge overnight, and bake in the morning– only a few minutes of prep time!
- 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.
- Totally customizable. Not a fan of tomatoes? Leave them out. Want more peppers? Add more in. Use any veggies of your choice, about 1 cup chopped.
- One dish meal. Serve with fresh fruit or a side of bacon.
Low maintenance and LOW KEY.
Ingredients in Ham & Cheese Strata
This breakfast casserole has it all going on– it’s cheesy, meaty, perfectly spiced, with welcomed brightness thanks to fresh veggies. Let’s dive in:
- Bread: Use any kind of bread. I recommend a super crispy baguette from the store. Let it sit out overnight. Stale bread is the best for breakfast casseroles.
- Festive Veggies: Green peppers and tomatoes because green and red! (If you aren’t making this for Christmas brunch– even if you are– feel free to use whatever non-red/green veggies you most enjoy.)
- Ham: We use lots of cooked ham.
- Cheese: Use any kind of cheese. I recommend gouda and mozzarella.
- Eggs & Milk: It’s a big dish so we need lots of eggs and milk– 9 eggs + 2 cups of milk.
- Spices: We use 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.
- Extras: Try adding scallions and fresh ground black pepper for flavor! Are you a fan of spice? A dash of hot sauce is dynamite.
What is The Texture Like?
Besides the ease of preparation, we have to discuss 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, there’s something everyone will love.
More Breakfast Recipes For a Crowd
- Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole
- Blueberry French Toast Casserole
- Biscuit Breakfast Casserole
- Breakfast Casserole
- Berries & Cream French Toast Casserole
- Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole
Prepare this delicious overnight ham & cheese strata recipe the night before so you can relax and enjoy breakfast with hardly any work!
- 8–10 cups (12–14 ounces weight) cubed bread (I recommend big chunks of a crispy baguette)*
- 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
- Generously grease a 9×13 inch (or similar size) casserole dish or spray with nonstick spray.
- Layer in the bread, then the peppers, tomatoes, and ham. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.
- 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.
- Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight (up to 12-16 hours).
- Remove casserole from the refrigerator and allow to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
- 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.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave.
- Freezing Instructions: 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.
- Bread: Make sure the bread chunks are a little stale. Let the bread sit out overnight.
Keywords: overnight strata, ham and cheese strata