How to make a Mexican-style ham and cheese breakfast casserole that has all the flavors of a Torta de Jamón or ham and cheese sandwich. Not only is this great for feeding a crowd for a big holiday brunch, but it also uses up leftover ham you may have from previous get-togethers. Simple and EASY!
an easy breakfast casserole using leftover ham
Around the holidays—whether that means Christmas or Easter—a big, beautiful baked ham always takes center stage. But what to do with all the leftovers the next day?
This breakfast casserole is what!
It is my little secret when it comes to holiday entertaining—take one thing from a big family dinner and save it for another get-together later in season.
I’m collaborating with the Partnership for Food Safety Education to bring you all the details on how to safely handle and store leftover ham and give you simple actions you can take to prevent food borne illness (or food poisoning) at home.
how long can you keep leftover ham in the refrigerator?
Safe food handling is very important to your health and the health of your loved ones.
It’s good to know a few simple food safety steps so you can feel confident when cooking at home.
Here’s how you can safely handle cooked ham to save money and enjoy the leftovers in several delicious ways:
- Leftover ham should be refrigerated within 2 hours of preparation and should be eaten or frozen within 3-4 days.
- Once the ham is cooled to room temperature, slice it off the bone (if there is one), place the meat in a resealable plastic bag, and refrigerate.
- Place the bone in a separate bag and refrigerate if you plan to use it within 1-2 days to make soup. Put in the freezer if using later.
- I like to divide the meat into 1 pound bags and label each bag. For example, “Ham. 1 pound”.
- If I plan to use the ham within the next 3-4 days, I keep it in the fridge. If not, I store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Learn about more actions you can take to reduce the risk of food poisoning in your kitchen at The Story of Your Dinner webpage. The PFSE has also made many The Story of Dinner resources—including safe recipes—available in Spanish.
what’s in a torta de jamon?
A Torta de Jamón is a classic Mexican sandwich made with ham, cheese, thinly sliced onion, Mexican crema, refried beans, and pickled jalapeños.
This indulgent breakfast casserole packs as many of those flavors as made sense in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Ham, cheese, the crema, onion, and jalapenos all found their way into this hearty breakfast casserole.
tips for making this easy breakfast casserole recipe
Egg casseroles aren’t difficult to put together but for the fluffiest, most flavorful dish, it’s best to make it over a couple of days.
DAY 1: Cube the brioche rolls and leave them out on the counter to dry overnight.
DAY 2: Combine the bread, ham, cheese, onions, and jalapenos in a large bowl.
Whisk the egg, milk, crema, salt, and pepper together in a separate large bowl.
Transfer the bread mixture into a casserole dish and pour the egg mixture over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
DAY 3: The next morning, remove the casserole from the refrigerator while you heat the oven.
Bake the breakfast casserole.
It doesn’t need to be covered with foil, but if it looks like it’s getting too brown on top you can cover with a piece of foil towards the end of baking.
Now that you’ve got the basic idea, play around with it!
As long as you keep the ratio of eggs, milk, and bread the same you can mix up the other ingredients to give it different flavors.
- Switch up the cheese. I used queso Oaxaca because that is what’s most traditionally used to make a Torta de Jamón. But you could substitute the same amount of pepper jack or cheddar cheese, or a combination of both.
- Add other veggies. I kept it pretty simple here, sticking with the basic ingredients in our favorite Mexican ham sandwich. Other ideas might be swapping the white onion for green onions or using bell peppers if you don’t want the spice of pickled jalapeños.
be ready on christmas morning!
Golden, toasty—and even better—ready to put in the oven and bake while the presents get ripped open! This breakfast casserole is like the gift you give yourself on Christmas morning. If you make it, let me know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so that I can see!
Torta de Jamón Breakfast Casserole
This is one of those recipes that isn't hard but requires some advanced planning. It's best made over a few days. The first day leave your bread out to get stale a little bit. The next day mix together and let sit in the fridge overnight, then bake the next morning for best results.
This recipe was developed using the safe recipe style guide at SafeRecipeGuide.org.
- 16.9 ounce Brioche slider rolls (about 12 slider rolls)
- 1 pound precooked ham, cubed (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 12 ounces Oaxaca cheese, cubed (about 2 1/4 cups)
- 1 cup sliced pickled jalapeños
- 1 white onion, gently rub onion under cold running water, then chop
- 6 large eggs
- 2 2/3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups Mexican crema
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Wash hands with soap and water.
Dry out the bread. Cube the slider rolls into 1-inch squares and lay out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Leave out at room temperature to dry overnight. You can skip this step by toasting the bread cubes in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes or until the edges are crispy.
Prep the pan. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
Combine dry ingredients. Combine cubed bread, ham, pickled jalapenos, onions, and cheese in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Combine wet ingredients. Combine eggs, milk, crema, salt, and pepper in a separate large bowl. Pour over bread mixture. Press down to submerge everything in the egg mixture.
Wash hands with soap and water after handling the eggs.
Refrigerate overnight. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.
Bake. Remove casserole from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature while the oven is heating. Heat oven to 375°F. Bake uncovered 55-65 minutes or until it is set in the middle and golden brown or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F on food thermometer.
Cut and enjoy! Cut into squares and serve immediately.
This is an awesome way to use leftover ham or use store-bought cooked ham.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
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