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Scalloped Potatoes and Ham is a classic Southern dish that requires just 10 minutes of prep and only a handful of simple ingredients. Thinly-sliced potatoes cook in a rich and creamy garlic sauce with leftover ham and plenty of sharp cheddar cheese. Serve the cheesy scalloped potatoes for an easy dinner alongside a simple green salad, collard greens, or flaky buttermilk biscuits!

Overhead shot of hands serving scalloped potatoes.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

I was born and raised in Virginia, which means that a classic Southern ham is a staple on our Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas tables. Whether we’re enjoying a casual brunch with relatives or a more formal dinner later in the day, I can guarantee that the smoky meat will be involved. And you know what that means? My mom’s leftover cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham to follow!

What are Scalloped Potatoes?

Whenever I think of leftover ham, I immediately imagine my mom’s scalloped potatoes. Without fail, this was the dish that she prepared for us after Christmas and Easter to enjoy the leftovers from the holiday meal.

This dish comes from the French “gratin,” which is a culinary technique in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg, or butter. In North America, Potatoes gratiné is often referred to as scalloped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, or au gratin potatoes. These terms are used interchangeably, to describe similar dishes that include layers of potatoes that are baked with a cream sauce.

We stir in flavorful cooked ham and finished with sharp cheddar cheese on top, creating a more satisfying main dish casserole. With a salad or green vegetable on the side, it’s an easy meal that’s cozy, warm, and incredibly decadent!

Hands holding a dish of cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a dish of scalloped potatoes and ham. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Salted butter: adds flavor and richness to the cream sauce.
  • Heavy cream: the base of the sauce. You can use whole milk or half-and-half instead, but I find the heavy cream yields the best mouthfeel and thick texture. Heavy cream is also less likely to curdle or separate when cooked.
  • Garlic: infuses the cream sauce and potatoes with flavor as they simmer together in the pot.
  • Salt: to enhance the other flavors in the dish and give the potatoes a more complex flavor.
  • Yukon Gold or russet potatoes: peeled and thinly sliced to about ⅛-inch thick.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: for that rich, flavorful, cheesy topping.
  • Ham: use leftover ham from a previous meal, or buy diced, smoked ham from the meat department at your local grocery store.
Adding peeled sliced potatoes to a Dutch oven

The Potatoes

Yukon Gold potatoes or russet potatoes both work well in this recipe. Russet potatoes have the most starch, and therefore yield the creamiest sauce. By contrast, Yukon Gold (shown here) hold their shape the best and have a nice buttery texture, but the sauce will be slightly thinner.

You will need to peel the potatoes, and thinly-slice them to about ⅛-inch thick. I like to use a mandoline slicer to make this task quick and easy, but a sharp knife will also do the trick. Just make sure that you keep all of the slices a uniform thickness so that they cook in the same amount of time.

Adding leftover ham to a Dutch oven

The Cheese

I love the classic combination of a sharp cheddar cheese paired with smoky ham, but you can substitute with just about any good melting cheese that you like. Gruyere cheese, Gouda, and Swiss cheese are great options as well, or try a combination of cheddar and Gruyere or Swiss. A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese or feta cheese would be another great way to incorporate even more flavor in the dish.

Sprinkling cheese on top of casserole

How to Make Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

I first discovered this technique for cooking the potatoes with the butter, cream, and garlic on the stovetop from a Southern Living recipe. The potato slices are tender and infused with all of the great flavor before they even go into the baking dish, and the cream reduces and thickens as it simmers. Plus, the recipe is so easy! There’s no need to make a roux with flour or to spend any extra time carefully layering the potatoes in the dish.

  1. Cook the peeled, sliced potatoes in the butter, cream, garlic, and salt until tender.
  2. Stir in the ham.
  3. Transfer to a baking dish, and sprinkle cheese over top.
  4. Bake the potatoes in a 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden brown.
  5. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving, then garnish with fresh parsley, chives, or other herbs, if desired.
Dish of scalloped potatoes straight from the oven with parsley garnish

What to Serve with Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

While scalloped potatoes are often served as a side dish, the addition of ham makes them a perfect main dish casserole. Here are a few great sides that go well with the cheesy potatoes and ham:

Overhead shot of hands holding a fork to eat cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham

Preparation and Storage Tips

This is a great dish to prepare in advance. You can assemble the scalloped potatoes a day or two in advance (but don’t bake), allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature, and then cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes, and then bake according to recipe instructions.

Leftover scalloped potatoes will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

To reheat scalloped potatoes, allow the dish to come to room temperature. Bake in a 325°F oven just until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). You can cover the dish loosely with foil to prevent excessive browning, if necessary.

I do not recommend freezing the scalloped potatoes, since the texture of the potatoes will be mushy when thawed and the cream sauce may “break” or separate.

Square side shot of a bowl of scalloped potatoes on a dinner table

Recipe Variations

  • Try different types of cheese in lieu of the cheddar. For instance, Gruyere, Gouda, and Swiss are also great, too.
  • Add herbs, such as fresh thyme, to the cream mixture.
  • A dash of grated nutmeg is a classic addition to a cream sauce, or spice it up with cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or just a bit of ground black pepper.
  • Two pounds of scalloped potatoes with ham will serve about 4-6 people as a main dish. To feed a larger family, double all of the ingredients (for example, use 4 pounds of potatoes and a pound of ham, etc.) and bake the potatoes in a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.
Hands holding a pan of cheesy scalloped potatoes with ham on a wooden board

Tips for the Best Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

  • Slice the potatoes to about ⅛-inch thick, keeping them all uniform so that they cook in the same amount of time. A hand-held mandolin slicer makes this task very quick and easy, but a sharp knife will also work!
  • Use leftover baked ham from a previous meal, or purchase a package of diced ham from the grocery store. I do not recommend using thinly sliced deli ham.
  • Yukon Gold potatoes or russet potatoes work best for these scalloped potatoes, since they are high in starch and therefore yield a creamy sauce.
  • I recommend heavy cream for the best texture, and because it’s less likely to curdle or separate when heated. Whole milk or half-and-half will also work, but they may have a grainier, less decadent texture in the sauce.
  • All of the ingredients in these scalloped potatoes are naturally gluten-free — just double-check the brands of ham, cheese, and butter that you’re using to make sure that there’s no sneaky gluten in there.
Hands serving scalloped potatoes from a cast iron dish

More Leftover Ham Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of hands serving scalloped potatoes.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

5 from 40 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 servings
Calories 576 kcal
These cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham are a classic Southern dish with only 10 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) salted butter
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups (about 8 ounces) cooked, diced ham
  • Optional garnish: fresh chopped chives, green onions, or parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease an 11 x 7-inch baking dish; set aside.
  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in cream, garlic, and salt. Add peeled, sliced potatoes.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer (uncovered) for about 15 minutes (or until potatoes are tender). Gently stir the potatoes periodically as they cook.
  • Add the ham to the potato mixture.
  • Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Bake (uncovered) for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Slice the potatoes to about ⅛-inch thick, keeping them all uniform so that they cook in the same amount of time. A hand-held mandolin slicer makes this task very quick and easy, but a sharp knife will also work!
  • Use leftover baked ham from a previous meal, or purchase a package of diced ham from the grocery store. I do not recommend using thinly sliced deli ham.
  • Yukon Gold potatoes or russet potatoes work best for these scalloped potatoes, since they are high in starch and therefore yield a creamy sauce.
  • I recommend heavy cream for the best texture, and because it’s less likely to curdle or separate when heated. Whole milk or half-and-half will also work, but they may have a grainier, less decadent texture in the sauce.
  • All of the ingredients in these scalloped potatoes are naturally gluten-free — just double-check the brands of ham, cheese, and butter that you’re using to make sure that there’s no sneaky gluten in there.
  • Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 576kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 16gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 27gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 169mgSodium: 1104mgPotassium: 721mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1594IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 210mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: cheesy scalloped potatoes, leftover ham, Scalloped Potatoes, scalloped potatoes and ham
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in April, 2017. The photos were updated in December, 2021.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was huge hit in my family and I loved the twist of simmering the potatoes in the milk! Super easy and quick for a last minute meal plan. I added a cup of frozen peas before I placed it in the oven and some Italian bread crumbs on top for a bit of crunch. We will definitely be making this again!!