This low-carb crustless ham and cheese quiche makes a fantastic breakfast or brunch. The recipe is perfect for sharing with the family or for weekly meal prep. I’ll show you how using the right ratio of dairy-to-eggs creates a creamy custard filling.
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Are you looking for a low-carb and keto-friendly meal to start your day? This delicious crustless ham and cheese quiche is a simple and easy dish to whip up. You still get the smooth and creamy custard, but without the dense, buttery shell. Although, if you are craving the flaky crust, then give my classic quiche a try.
Inspiration for this recipe came from a Denver-style omelet, where cubes of ham, cheddar cheese, and green onions make each bite burst with flavor. Just chop, sprinkle, and pour! Let the oven do the hard work, creating a puffy souffle-like texture. Plus, this recipe is perfect for meal prep. Just reheat and enjoy a quick meal.
Make the custard filling
To create a similar tender and smooth texture as traditional custard filling, I use equal amounts of heavy cream and whole milk. The higher amount of milkfat prevents the egg proteins from binding so tightly together as they heat up and thicken. Not using all cream prevents the filling from tasting too rich.
You can use half-and-half as a substitute, but it will be slightly lower in fat level. The absence of a flour crust requires more whole eggs to be used for a slightly firmer texture and sliceable structure. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, then whisk the egg mixture together until combined.
I prefer ham steak, cut into small ¼-inch cubes. This size prevents the pieces from being too heavy and sinking to the bottom of the pan. It gives lovely little bursts of savory flavor. You can also use slices of Canadian bacon or deli meat. I also like to use leftover ham when I make a large roast in my slow cooker. It’s an easy way to transform the pieces into a beautiful new dish.
Sharp cheddar is the way to go. This type of cheese has a nice tangy, aged flavor that adds a nice dimension to the egg custard. The shreds melt down to infuse all the ingredients together. Other options are Swiss, low-moisture mozzarella, gruyere often used in quiche lorraine, or a mixture of varieties.
Layer the ingredients
Use a greased 9-inch pie plate for easy release. The custard will puff up slightly but not enough to run over the edge, which means you can fill it near the top of a more shallow pie dish. To ensure that each slice gets even amounts of ingredients, layer them in the following order.
Half of the cheese goes down first, then green onions, ham, and pepper. Then more onions and cheese are sandwiched on top. Pour the egg mixture in slowly so gravity can disperse it between the crevices and the bottom. Use a fork to move the ingredients around a bit to make sure the liquid settles.
Baking the quiche
To create a delicate souffle-like texture, bake at a moderate 350-degrees. This temperature prevents the edges from cooking too quickly and becoming rubbery while the center is still raw. The process takes about 30 to 35 minutes for the eggs to coagulate, creating a smooth and solidified slice.
I find that about 190 to 195-degrees in the center of the custard is the perfect endpoint. Even though it’s tempting to dig right in, let the quiche cool on a wire rack for about 5 to 10 minutes to allow for carryover cooking.
Serve this with
Add milk-fat for a smoother and tender texture
You could skip adding cream or milk altogether. However, you’ll end up with a rubbery and dry quiche texture. Whole eggs start to curdle and pack together to create curds around 144ºF (62ºC), just like scrambled eggs. This process happens quickly, and any residual heat can turn soft curds into bouncy bites. Adding in milkfat from dairy products creates a buffer, preventing the egg proteins from bonding too tightly together and squeezing out moisture for a dry consistency.
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Crustless Ham and Cheese Quiche
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, packed
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions, or chives
- 1 ½ cup diced ham steak, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- ½ cup red bell pepper, ¼-inch dice
- 5 large eggs
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat to 350°F (177°C).
- Grease a 9-inch pie dish with baking spray or brush with olive oil.
- Evenly sprinkle half of the cheese and green onions into the dish. Top with all of the ham and red bell pepper, followed by the remaining green onion, then cheese.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, whole milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pie dish, allowing it to settle around the ingredients and the bottom. Use a fork to move the ingredients to help the custard settle. Sprinkle the surface with black pepper.
- Bake the quiche on top of a sheet pan in the middle of the oven until the surface is lightly golden brown, the center is just set, and the edges slightly puffy, about 30 to 35 minutes. The temperature should be about 190 to 195ºF (88 to 91ºC) in the center and about 195 to 200ºF (91 to 93ºC) on the edges.
- Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Slice or cool completely, cover, and refrigerate to serve the next day.
- Storing: Store pieces in an airtight container for up to 7 days. To freeze, Individually wrap the slices, then store them in a resealable bag for up to 30 days.
- Reheating: Reheat individual slices in the microwave in 15 to 30 seconds intervals on high power until warmed through.
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