This delicious scalloped potatoes and ham recipe is the ultimate comfort food! Thinly sliced spuds are layered with a creamy sauce, meat, and melty cheese. Bake the casserole dish until hot and bubbly.
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Are you looking to feed hungry guests during the holidays, or want to make a comforting side dish for your loved ones? If so, try savory ham and scalloped potatoes. To make it more decadent than the traditional version, I use my potatoes au gratin recipe, leveled up with extra protein! The combination of tender spuds, salty pork, creamy bechamel sauce, and cheddar cheese is guaranteed to be a hit.
I use buttery Yukon gold potatoes as the base, then build layers of flavor into the casserole. Making a cheesy sauce using a classic roux for thickening only takes a few minutes. This dish is a great way to use any leftover ham! If you’ve got a busy schedule, the dish can be assembled the day before and baked when ready to serve.
Yukon gold potatoes are my top choice to use for scalloped potatoes. They hold their shape well and have a creamy and buttery taste. The skin is very thin. However, I like peeling them so the layers meld together better. If you enjoy a starchier texture, other types of potatoes can be used, like white potatoes or Russets.
Dice up some ham steak to add extra protein and savory flavor. You can use leftover ham or purchase slices from the grocery store. I use 8-ounce pieces, about ½ inch thick. Dice them into cubes to add to the casserole. You’ll need about 1 ½ cups of the cut ham. Thinly sliced deli ham or Canadian bacon also works well.
Prepare the potatoes
To ensure the potatoes tenderize quickly in the oven, thinly slice them—target 1/8-inch thick pieces. After peeling, use a sharp chef’s knife or mandoline to slice the potatoes. Yukon golds tend not to brown when exposed to air as quickly as russets, so you can leave them on the cutting board as you prepare the sauce. Cover with plastic wrap if you are using a starchier potato.
Make the cream sauce
To add richness to the scalloped potatoes, make a quick bechamel sauce. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Saute the chopped onions until translucent. Add flour, and whisk to create a roux—the fat and flour help to thicken the sauce.
Add whole milk, constantly stirring until a velvety consistency is achieved, just a few minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper to flavor the sauce. Stir in grated sharp cheddar cheese for dimension.
Assemble the casserole
While the oven heats up, assemble the casserole. Lightly grease an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. A 9 by 9-inch is a good alternative. Add half of the sliced potatoes, overlapping to create a thick base. Sprinkle on half of the diced ham, then spread on half of the cream sauce.
Add half of the grated cheddar cheese on top. Repeat the layering process once more. From this point, bake immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Bake the scalloped potatoes
Preheat the oven to 400ºF ( 200ºC). Cover with aluminum foil before baking. This traps the steam generated from the cooked potatoes to tenderize them faster. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until hot and bubbly and the cheese turn golden brown on the surface.
The process takes about 20 to 25 minutes. Removing the cover helps to evaporate the moisture, allowing the cheese to brown. Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving so the layers stick together. Garnish with sliced chives right before serving.
- Saute 1 tablespoon of minced garlic with the onions for extra allium flavor.
- Add fresh or dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, or Italian seasonings to the sauce.
- Switch up the ham with crispy bacon or turkey.
- Substitute the cheddar with smoked gouda, mozzarella, gruyere, swiss, Colby, pepper jack, Monterey Jack, or a mixture.
- Slow cooker ham
- Pan-seared ribeye steaks
- Roasted chicken or Roast Turkey
- Prime Rib
- Green Bean Casserole
Frequently asked questions
Scalloped potatoes are typically 1/4-inch, thickened with cream and milk, and no cheese. Au gratin uses 1/8-inch thick pieces, layers on a bechamel sauce, and cheese.
It’s easy to make a larger batch. Use a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, and double the recipe. Increase the time as needed, covering again with foil after browning the cheese if the potatoes are not yet tender.
The potatoes in the center should pierce easily with a knife or the tines of a fork. The middle takes longer to cook than the edges. Let the casserole rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow for carryover cooking of the spuds.
Can you slice potatoes ahead of time for scalloped potatoes?
Yukon gold potatoes contain a higher amount of sugar and less starch. They don’t brown as quickly when exposed to oxygen due to the enzyme activity of polyphenol oxidase. However, if not used within an hour, submerge the potatoes in a bowl of cold water, cover them, add refrigerate. This reduces exposure to the air, and the cold temperature slows down enzyme activity. Store for up to 24 hours before draining, drying, and assembling the casserole.
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 8 ounces cooked ham steak, ½" dice, 1.5 cups
- 2 teaspoons sliced chives
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position. Heat to 400ºF (200ºC).
- Prepare the Potatoes – Scrub, rinse, and dry the potatoes. Peel and slice into ⅛ inch thick pieces.
- Make the Cream Sauce – Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, and saute until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add flour, whisk to combine, stir and cook for 2 minutes.Gradually whisk in milk and cook until thickened over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese, and stir to combine.
- Assemble the Casserole – Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square casserole dish. Layer half of the potatoes in overlapping rows in the dish. Sprinkle half of the ham over the potatoes. Spread half of the cheese sauce on top. Sprinkle ½ cup cheddar over the sauce.Layer the remaining potatoes, followed by ham and cheese sauce. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheddar cheese.
- Bake – Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the potatoes are tender and the cheese is browned and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.
- To Serve – Transfer the casserole to cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Garnish potatoes with chives.
- Make Ahead: The casserole can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 24 hours in advance.
- Storing: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Cover and microwave on high setting in 30-second increments until hot.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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