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This Lighter Ham & Cheese Breakfast Casserole is an (egg) crackingly ooey-gooey-cheesy-meaty way to start the day. By using reduced fat and lighter ingredients I’ve created a prep-ahead breakfast that’s a tasty, protein filled way to keep you full right up until lunch.
They do say you should “Go to work on an egg” (casserole) folks! And I can’t agree more. There is rarely a breakfast in my life that doesn’t involve an egg in one way or another, whether thats my Poached Eggs with Asparagus and Prosciutto, on Sesame Bagels or simple Eggy Bread.
You should note that this is very much not a casserole in the British sense but in the American sense. The American sense seems to be pretty much anything you can bake in a casserole type dish so don’t worry Brits, this isn’t a weird oven baked stew!
This Lighter Ham and Cheese Breakfast ‘Casserole’ is really a savoury bread and butter pudding. Without the butter but with ham and cheese. You get the picture.
For a similar flavoured dish which is ready for a quick snack in minutes, try my Mozzarella in Carrozza. Its still mozzarella, ham, bread and egg but just in a different combination.
Make it a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
I’ve included this recipe in my Prep-Ahead Brunch Feast.
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Brunch Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my brunch related recipes.
Ham & Cheese Breakfast Casserole Ingredients
This recipe calls for Large British eggs. The wonderful Charlotte over at Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen has prepared the most useful blog post all about different egg sizes in the UK, the difference size makes to recipes, and even how to compare Canadian, Australian and US egg sizes with British sizes. Have a look at the post if you need any guidance about using different eggs.
I am extremely picky about my ham and I beg you to be too. I hate the fake, reformed ‘ham’, the overly wet plastic-y stuff and don’t even start me on ‘wafer thin’ ham! Turkey ham doesn’t exist in my world!
I always head to a butcher or the deli counter of a supermarket and eye up whats on offer. You can always ask to taste! Saying that, as the ham in this recipe is finely chopped, and preference is always personal, you can get away with using whatever ham you like. Just make sure its fairly lean.
As for the bread, Danish bread is widely available in the supermarkets. I have no idea if its authentically Danish or not but its super light and lower calorie than regular white sliced bread. Of course you can use regular bread instead but you may wish to up to up the amount of eggs and milk as it will likely absorb more liquid. You don’t want to end up with dry casserole y’all!
As with the vast majority of my recipes, I absolutely condone substituting ingredients with what you already have or prefer. The ham could become cooked bacon, chicken or left out entirely.
I’ve included reduced fat cheddar and light mozzarella in the recipe but you could use whatever cheese you prefer. Obviously using full fat cheese will make the finished casserole less ‘light’. I would recommend making sure that at least one cheese used is good and melty like mozzarella.
Make it Vegetarian
Only the ham in my Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole is an issue for veggies. So turn it into a “Mushroom and Cheese Breakfast Casserole” or even a “Fakon and Cheese Breakfast Casserole”. Just use whatever protein you prefer or simply leave out the ham element entirely.
Make it Vegan
I love to talk about the substitutions that you can make to my recipes to make them vegan friendly. Most of the time that’s quite easy to do but this Ham and Cheese Casserole recipe really does hinge on the eggs. You can sub the cheese, sub the ham and use milk free bread but at the end of the day, I think you might just have to skip this one. Sorry!
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from nuts.
Gluten Free: Substitute the Danish Bread for a light gluten free bread to make the Ham and Cheese Bake suitable.
Dairy Free: To avoid dairy, use dairy free cheeses and substitute the skimmed milk for a dairy free alternative.
Egg Free: Egg allergies will unfortunately be as difficult to accommodate as vegans for this recipe. Sorry again.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Light Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Very little equipment is needed to make this easy dish.
To see more of my recommended equipment items for new bakers, have a look at my post featuring all the essential equipment you might need.
It is also perfect inspiration for gifts for a budding baker in your life!
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
Get Ahead Making Ham & Cheese Breakfast Casserole
I’m not great at eating the moment that I wake up. But I do have to eat breakfast to keep my migraines in check so I usually eat just after I get to the office. And so I bake this casserole on a Sunday evening to reheat in portions throughout the week.
If you don’t want to make and bake, you could freeze the recipe after adding the egg mixture to the bread. Simply thaw and bake.
Equally, this is a great recipe to bake then slice into portions and freeze. Just grab a portion out of the freezer the night before and reheat in the microwave in the morning.
This is a great recipe to use up stale bread but you’re unlikely to have any great amount of leftovers if I’m honest. If you do, just portion up and freeze as described above.
You can also use this recipe to use up leftover home baked ham like my Ginger Beer Baked Ham. Just slice the leftovers as thin as possible!
Tips for making Lighter Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
I don’t usually bother pre-preparing ingredients, I tend to measure and add as I go along. But when creating dishes with layers, as I am a forgetful idiot, I tend to condone the additional washing up created. I recommend you follow the steps in my recipe as written and pre-prep before layering!
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out? Would you like to see more “casserole” type dishes? If so, just let me know!
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Lighter Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
- 180 g White Danish Bread – Each slice is roughly 25g
- 200 g Sliced Ham
- 125 g Light Mozzarella
- 100 g 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar
- 4 Eggs
- 400 ml Skimmed Milk
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Cube 180g White Danish Bread – 16 or so chunks per slice and set aside.
- Cut 200g Sliced Ham into small pieces – maybe 1/2cm squared-ish. Set aside.
- Shred 125g Light Mozzarella into small pieces. Set aside.
- Grate 100g 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar – I went fine grated but coarse would also work. Set aside.
- Line a 25x25cm baking dish.
- Add half of the bread cubes to the dish and spread into an even layer.
- Scatter over half of the ham.
- Add all of the mozzarella in one layer then about one third of the grated cheddar.
- Continue to layer the remaining bread and then ham.
- Whisk 4 Eggs, 400ml Skimmed Milk and 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes together then slowly pour the mix over the dish.
- If you have time at this point, leave the dish aside for a little while to let the milk/egg mix soak right into the bread. If not, no real harm.
- Preheat the oven to 180c or equivalent.
- Top with remaining grated cheddar and bake for 50 minutes.
- Serve straight away or leave to cool entirely and refrigerate overnight. Slice into portions and reheat for a couple of minutes per portion in the microwave.