Overnight Ham & Cheese Strata

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, 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 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 10-12
  • 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!


  • 10 cups 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 (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


  1. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    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!!

    1. Deeeeelish! What a nice mix of dishes for Christmas morning.

  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. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    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. Tori//Gringalicious.com says:

    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? 😛

    1. Hey Alex! Yes, I just fixed that. It should be remove from the refrigerator. 😉

  8. Michelle @ Brown Butter and Biscuits says:

    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. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    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. Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture says:

    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!

    1. Lol I know! She LOVES to bake cookies. Makes me feel better 😉

  13. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

    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. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    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.

    1. 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? 🙂

    1. 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.

      1. Yes, please do! I’d be interested to see how my family recipe compares to yours 🙂

  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

    1. 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!

    1. Have a wonderful holiday too, Liz! And oh my gosh your Christmas brunch sounds like it will be AMAZINGGGGGG.

  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!

    1. I’ve had that issue with breakfast pizza before too. 🙁 I’ll stick to casseroles!

  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 🙂

    1. Omg the floating problem. I think the picture I chose isn’t as floaty as others!!!

  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. Yum! This looks delicious!

  24. 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.

  25. 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. 🙂

    1. So happy you made it work and enjoyed it!!

  26. Elinor aka Beachhutcook says:

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

    1. Brunch with a heart….love that! 🙂

  27. 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!

    1. That is a great combination!! And yes, sround mustard is good in so many things!

  28. 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!

    1. I’m so happy you made it and that it was a hit!! We had it over the holidays too. A new favorite!

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

      (Sorry, I am just seeing this comment now. I didn’t work this holiday weekend!)

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