My tummy-tempting ham casserole recipe lets smoky ham mingle with curly ribbons of pasta and a decadent, cheesy cream sauce. All your dinner favorites come together at their very best!
If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you know I’m a fan of quick and easy casserole recipes, whether it’s classics like sweet potato casserole and corn pudding or a dawn quick-bake like my breakfast casserole.
Enter my new obsession: succulent ham, homemade cream sauce, and perfectly cooked noodles all whipped up in less than an hour!
Ham is basically bacon, and bacon is always the right answer! This casserole has all the ingredients needed to make that ham flavor really sing.
- Salty, sweet, crunchy — all the flavor notes!
- Crowd-pleasing, guaranteed
- Stores like a dream
- Make homemade sauce in a snap!
How To Make Ham Casserole Recipe
To make this recipe, start by preheating your oven and prepping your casserole baking dish. You’ll cook your noodles first, so they aren’t hard and awful in the casserole, and while they’re cooking, heat a skillet and saute your celery and garlic.
Once the celery and garlic are translucent, add your butter and melt, then sprinkle on the flour and combine. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, then return to the heat and cook until it starts to thicken.
Turn your heat down and add in your Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, cheese, and peas. Stir in your pasta and ham, then pour into your prepared dish and sprinkle the top with more cheese.
Bake until heated through and bubbly!
I know what you’re thinking — wouldn’t it be so much easier to get a canned cream of chicken or mushroom soup for the cream base instead of making it?
But making a homemade cream sauce is so much easier than you’d believe! Trust me — read on!
From pasta to cheese to everything in between, I’ve got tips for you!
Pasta options: I love egg noodles in this dish mainly because the pasta ribbons just make me happy! If you need to substitute for some reason, I’d suggest using fettuccine or linguine, or any “ribbon” shaped noodle that you also might use in a traditional beef and noodles recipe.
- You can also go healthier by swapping the pasta for grain like brown rice!
Butter: You’ll notice I saute the veggies in oil, then add butter when it’s time to make the sauce. Unlike butter, the vegetable oil has a high smoke point and lets me cook the aromatics long enough – and high enough – to extract all the flavor without worrying about it burning.
Italian Seasoning: I love the complexity that just a few shakes of this seasoning can bring to a dish! The earthy qualities of the oregano, the brightness of the thyme, and the licorice flavor of the basil turn this into so much more than your average cream-of-whatever soup base.
Cheese: Every great casserole needs a generous amount of cheese, and I like to mix some into the sauce, plus save some to get brown and bubbly on top of the casserole. My favorite cheese for this recipe is an extra sharp cheddar, but you can substitute a plain Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or even a pepper jack with awesome (and equally cheesy!) results.
- Using pepper jack is another little spin I put on other ham pasta casserole recipes. Jack cheese has a lovely, creamy texture, especially when it’s melted, and the peppers bring a subtle heat that adds that little “something special” to the dish.
Milk: The key to making your homemade cream sauce is, you guessed it, milk! I use whole milk to get a really rich flavor, but you can use any type — skim or 1% for less fat, or even heavy cream to go really decadent!
Pea haters – Peas are optional. Feel free to omit them, if you want. You can actually substitute some chopped broccoli (either blanched or frozen-then-thawed) as a nice, nutritious pop of color.
Tools to Make
The tools to make this recipe are no different from any other casserole, even while you’re making your own cream sauce!
- A casserole dish
- Pot and skillet
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
This recipe will last up to four days in the fridge after it’s cooked. Any longer and all that dairy will start to separate, ruining the flavor and making the safety questionable.
Can You Freeze This?
One of the many things I love about casseroles is they often freeze well, and this casserole is no exception! You can double the bang-for-your-buck by enjoying half for dinner, then freezing the other half for a quick meal that just needs thawing and reheating.
The frozen casserole will last in your freezer for up to 2-3 months! To thaw, let it sit in the fridge overnight, or you can just pop the frozen casserole straight into a 350 preheated oven and bake for an hour.
Make Ahead Tips
My favorite way to speed up this process is to make the casserole right up to the point of baking, then wrap it and store it in the fridge overnight. You can then just pop it in the oven and bake for dinner without having to worry about cooking!
What are the best ways to serve a ham casserole? The fun thing about this dish is that it can be both a main and aside. Pair it alongside my honey lime chicken enchiladas for a deliciously decadent play on Taco Tuesday, or let the casserole be the star with a side of everyone’s favorite ham salad.
The possibilities and flavors are endless!
What fun shake-ups can we do with this recipe? Read on!
- Shave in some potatoes to get hashbrown casserole!
- Swap the ham for the chicken to get my favorite chicken noodle casserole
- Want to have snacks for dinner? Sprinkle in some of your favorite chips for Dorito casserole
- Go South of the Border by adding in some spice with chile relleno casserole
- Swap the peas for a seasonal favorite with my sweet corn casserole
Looking for more casserole recipes to make your life easier? Here are my faves!
- Bisquick Breakfast Casserole – This easy, cheesy casserole is ready to start your morning right!
- Chicken Tamale Casserole – Thick, delicious sweet corn pudding transforms dinner from bland to fantastic!
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole – This classic casserole gets revamped with crispy breadcrumbs and KAPOW flavor
- Cabbage Roll Casserole – An Eastern European dish gets the casserole makeover!
- Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole – Tots for breakfast? A dream come true!
- 12 ounces dried egg noodles
- 1 1/2 pounds ham cut into 1/2 cubes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded divided
- 1 cup frozen petites peas thawed and drained
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cook egg noodles in salted water according to package instructions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a high sided large skillet, table oil and saute onion, celery and garlic, over medium heat, until soft, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the butter to the skillet and melt. When the butter begins to bubble, sprinkle the flour over the top and whisk over medium heat until evenly combined. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and slowly whisk in milk. Return to medium heat and cook until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Reduce heat to low and stir in Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, 1 ½ cups Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, and thawed peas.
- Add drain pasta and ham to the skillet and combine well. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining 1 ½ cup cheese. Bake in the preheated oven until heat through and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.
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