Holiday Ham and Potato Casserole


This layered ham and potato casserole recipe will let you serve an amazing holiday meal to a crowd using only 1 pound of ham, which is one way to go if the budget is a little tight. Or, if you do end up serving a whole ham, this recipe is perfect for the leftovers.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Rest Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
1 9x13-inch casserole

Sometimes we use a small amount of meat in a recipe because that's what gives us the perfect ratio in relation to the other ingredients. Other times we only use a small amount of meat because we don't have a large amount of money, but either way, our guests shouldn't know which was our primary motivation. With that in mind, I'm very happy to be sharing this Holiday Ham and Potato Casserole, also know as, "how to feed 8 people with one pound of ham, whether you have to or not."

Holiday Ham and Potato Casserole
Holiday Ham and Potato Casserole. Chef John

Even if times are good, and you can afford all the ham you'd ever want, the ratio of meat to potato here is spot on, and more would not make this any better. Of course, if you are flush, you might want to serve the giant, expensive, whole ham on Easter, or other appropriate occasion, and then do this beautiful casserole with the thinly sliced leftovers, but the point is, it works wonderfully either way.

The secret here is making a quick cream sauce before we start layering. For less special situations, we usually just dump cream and/or milk into the dish, but by using this easy sauce, we get a better, more luxurious texture. Just be sure to bake the casserole long enough. The potatoes must be perfectly soft and tender. So check carefully, and if in doubt, don't take it out. If they are properly cooked (and well seasoned), you'll be dining on one of the best ham and potato dishes I know, which is why I really do hope you give this a try soon.


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup diced yellow onion

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 4 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

  • 8 ounces grated sharp white Cheddar cheese

  • 1 pound thinly sliced ham


  1. Gather ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. Heat butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add flour and cook, stirring, just to take off that starchy, raw edge, about 2 minutes.

  4. Pour in heavy cream and whisk to combine. Whisk in milk. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until it just starts to simmer and thicken up.

  5. Add 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and cayenne. Grate in nutmeg.

  6. Turn off heat. Stir in Worcestershire and fresh thyme leaves. Reserve until needed.

  7. Cover the bottom of a deep 10x15-inch casserole dish with about 25% of the reserved sauce.

  8. Add a layer of sliced potatoes, seasoning the tops with some of the remaining salt as desired; ladle over 1/3 of the sauce and sprinkle over 1/3 of the grated Cheddar cheese. Layer in ½ of the sliced ham.

  9. Place another layer of sliced potatoes on top and season with salt. Ladle over ½ of the remaining sauce; repeat layering with Cheddar cheese and ham.

  10. Place last layer of potatoes on top. Ladle over remaining sauce and spread out with a spatula. Sprinkle over remaining Cheddar cheese.

  11. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven until browned, bubbling, and potatoes are very tender, about 1 ½ hours. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

    Holiday Ham and Potato Casserole
    Holiday Ham and Potato Casserole. Chef John

Chef's Notes:

You can use or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme instead of fresh.

Gruyere, or any other melty cheese, will work instead of Cheddar.

The ingredient amounts and cooking time are for a deep 10x15-inch casserole pan. If recipe is scaled down, this can be adapted for a smaller 9x13-inch pan, but will be cooked in less time.

If the top of the casserole is getting too browned before the potatoes are tender, cover with foil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

765 Calories
49g Fat
56g Carbs
27g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 765
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 49g 63%
Saturated Fat 28g 140%
Cholesterol 163mg 54%
Sodium 1329mg 58%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Protein 27g
Potassium 1446mg 31%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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