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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!

overhead image of ham and cheese strata in a casserole dish with a serving spoon

If you find yourself with a houseful of guests this holiday season, ham & cheese 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.

ham and cheese strata in a casserole dish after baking

What is Strata?

Strata is a type of egg breakfast casserole that’s layered with eggs, bread, and cheese. Breakfast casseroles can be made without bread, but strata almost always includes it. In today’s recipe, we’ll add ham, peppers, and tomatoes 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.

2 images of bread on a cutting board and cubed bread in a casserole dish

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.

2 images of chopped vegetables and meat in a casserole dish and pouring egg mixture on top of ingredients in a casserole dish

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. (Cube/chop it just like you would when making these ham & cheese scones.)
  • 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.
strata ingredients in a casserole dish before pouring in the egg mixture

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.

ham and cheese strata in a casserole dish with a serving spoon scooping a serving

More Breakfast Recipes For a Crowd

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overhead image of ham and cheese strata in a casserole dish with a serving spoon

Overnight Ham & Cheese Strata

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 8 hours, 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 9 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 1012 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Prepare this delicious overnight ham & cheese strata recipe the night before so you can relax and enjoy breakfast with hardly any work!


  • 810 cups (1214 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


  1. Generously grease a 9×13 inch (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.


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

Keywords: overnight strata, ham and cheese strata

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. 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!

    1. 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.

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. Oh Sally! I’m sorry to bother you in Easter morning! Happy Easter! But I prepped this strata last night to bring to my family meal today, and I just realized I forgot to whisk the milk into the egg mixture! I just poured it over the top but I don’t think it’s going to work, I could literally cry. Should I just leave it at home at this point!?

    1. I don’t think that would be an issue, but definitely don’t forget that step if you try to make it again in the future!

  7. This looks incredible!
    Do you think the temp and baking time would be different for high altitude?  

    1. I’m not the best person to ask as I have zero experience baking at higher altitudes. Here is a handy chart that readers have found helpful in the past:

  8. I made this for Christmas brunch last year and it was a hit! I want to make it again this year. To make this vegetarian, could substitute ham for more veggies? Do you think asparagus and spinach would work with everything else? Thanks!

  9. This looks amazing! Would a loaf of Italian bread work instead of a baguette? 

  10. This is a very nice strata with appropriate spicing. I halved it and was a little off with my proportions. I would add an extra egg next time since we live at high altitude and it needed more moisture. This was not the fault of the recipe as I should have remembered to add additional liquid. I used leftover garlic flavored bread. Thanks for an easy recipe. My daughter called it savory French toast!

  11. Tested this out and my only comment is that 10 cups of diced bread may be a bit much. I don’t think some of the bread was soaked in the egg mixture. I would change the recipe to 6-10 cups of bread and only have bread on the bottom of the pan. That was my mistake for not thinking of that before cooking. I would try this again but with less bread. The spices worked as well.

  12. I just made it today. Huge hit! I used the farm-style, shredded Colby/Mozzarella cheese. Instead of chopped tomatoes, I put in a can (15 oz?) of chopped tomatoes with their juice since someone said the recipe could be a bit dry. It was perfect!

  13. Made this recipe a couple times and I love it. Always handy when we got too much bread that is getting stale.

  14. Hi Sally,
    I want to make this for Christmas morning but it needs to be gluten free. Can I just use regular gluten free bread or do you have another suggestion? All other ingredients will be fine.

    1. I’ve made this with gluten free bread before– it works like a charm!

  15. Just OK. Baked in center of oven @375 as directed, loosely covered with foil after 30 minutes.
    Checked @ 50 minutes and it was overcooked. Bottom was past crisp, more tough. Otherwise, the texture was good, not too dry. I added an extra egg, and about a cup of chopped fresh spinach with the veggies.
    Flavor was bland even with the exact seasoning suggested. Perhaps seasoning the bread chunks or adding a can of tomatoes as someone else did would help. Disappointing result because this combination should have been tasty. Had to get out the salsa to make it better.

    1. Hi Rebecca! We recommend only refrigerating before baking 12-16 hours. After that it may get mushy.