Herby Ham & Gruyère Breakfast Casserole

November 24, 2020
6 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • makes One 9- x 13-inch casserole dish
Author Notes

Whenever the weather starts to get colder, I always think about the holidays and all the delicious, seasonal foods that come with them. Each holiday is special, but for me, the winter holidays are the best. I love being surrounded by my family—especially when we all get to cook and eat together. I can immediately picture juicy ham, gooey cheese, and some type of delicious carb.

My family always celebrates the holidays with a big baked ham and (of course) there are always lots of leftovers. This got me thinking: What’s the best way to use up all that leftover ham? (Besides the typical ham and cheese sandwich.) A breakfast-y (or brunch-y!) ham casserole.

Most casseroles tend to be very cheese-heavy and sometimes a little too rich for my taste. Usually I can only have a couple of bites, so I wanted to make a casserole that I could eat in its entirety (or, you know, share with my family).

I like to use cubes of brioche in mine because it adds flavor and texture to the dish without being overwhelming. My go-to bread is St Pierre’s Sliced Brioche Loaf because it's incredibly soft, fluffy, and just-the-right amount buttery. However, casseroles are best made with day-old bread or stale bread, so I toast my St Pierre brioche cubes in the oven so that you can feel the texture of the bread throughout the casserole; toasting also ensures they soak up the egg-milk mixture nicely.

If you love ham, cheese, and bread—but you still want to get your vegetables in (this one’s got lots of broccoli)—this is a breakfast casserole you’re going to want to make throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Catherine Yoo

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with St Pierre, and was developed using their Sliced Brioche Loaf. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 St Pierre Sliced Brioche Loaf (about 1 pound), cut into large cubes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 medium shallots (about 6 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only
  • 12 ounces smoked boneless ham, diced
  • 12 ounces broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato (about 7 ounces), diced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 5 ounces creamy Gouda, grated and divided
  • 5 ounces Gruyère, grated and divided
  1. Place the oven racks on the top 1/3 and 2/3 of the oven, and preheat to 300°F. Spread the brioche cubes amongst two sheet trays and toast for 10 minutes.
  2. Once the bread is out, move the top oven rack to the middle and increase the oven temperature to 350°F.
  3. In a large nonstick pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and thyme, and sauté until the edges turn brown, about 2 minutes. Mix in the ham and sauté for another 2 minutes. Then add the broccoli and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Set this mixture aside and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and spices. Set aside 1/2 cup of Gouda and 1/2 cup of Gruyère to top the casserole before baking. Once the egg-milk mixture is combined, add the tomato, parsley, cheeses, sautéed vegetables, and toasted brioche cubes into the large bowl. Lightly toss everything together.
  5. Spray non-stick oil on the casserole dish and pour the mixture into your greased casserole dish. Top the casserole with the reserved cheese and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Catherine Yoo
    Catherine Yoo
  • NXL
  • Shelley Frisch
    Shelley Frisch
  • Kathy

7 Reviews

NXL December 25, 2023
Didn't realize that this recipe was an ad for the bread or I probably would never have tried it. That said, the tomatoes and broccoli add a freshness that most breakfast casseroles lack. May be no need for ham? Any good quality country bread will work at half the cost. Took a good hour for prep, but I'm okay with that if music and wine are flowing!
Shelley F. April 18, 2023
Estimated prep time is absolutely ridiculous! It couldn't be done in 15 minutes even if you mise-en-placed all the ingredients in advance. Also, it is unclear if this is an overnight casserole - based on Ms. Yoo's comment that it can be placed in the refrigerator and baked later after the bread has soaked up the custard ingredients. I would have appreciated re-heat instructions if it is baked the day before.
Kathy April 18, 2023
I would not do this as an overnight deal. The texture is just right when baking right away and I believe you would lose that by leaving the bread soaking. The "custard" may separate as well. Would love to hear from someone who tried the overnight trick.
Kathy April 17, 2023
I like egg casseroles and this is the tastiest I've tried! The Gouda and Gruyere cheeses, plus finally using enough shallots to be effective, make the difference. You need a *really big* mixing bowl and a deep 9x13 pan. My only complaint is a common one for me - don't tell me the prep time is only 15 min. when you must cut up and toast a loaf of bread, dice ham and tomatoes, cut up broccoli, slice shallots, grate cheese, cut up a CUP of parsley, and whisk 10 eggs and milk together! The prep time is usually underestimated by at least half in recipes. This recipe is worth the time :)
Mery S. April 23, 2022
I bake and cook a lot and this looks delicious. I wanna make this for my friends for our staycation coming up. I wanna make it the night before we go away and bake it at our AirBNB. I assume this can be make ahead as I have make outher egg dishes ahead. Can you please confirm as I will not have a chance to test it out before we go. Thank you.
PS love your site. I wish I could buy some of the products you feature in Canada.
Catherine Y. April 24, 2022
Hi Mery,

Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, this dish can be made ahead, kept in the fridge, and then baked in the oven at a later time! Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I had fun developing it!

Catherine Y. April 24, 2022
Also, Lori, who has kindly and accurately mentioned in the questions part of this recipe, brings up a great point; “Just make sure your bread is good and dry. If the bread isn't fairly dry, you can end up with a mushy casserole, since you want it to sit overnight to soak up the custard.”