Potato casserole, a dish beloved for its comforting warmth and delightful flavors, is a versatile and satisfying meal that can easily be adapted to suit various tastes and dietary preferences.

With its creamy texture and golden crust, it’s a perfect centerpiece for both casual family dinners and special gatherings.

Potato Casserole with Ham or Without

Ham and Potato Casserole or…?

That’s the question today. We’re talking versatility!

The addition of ham turns this casserole into a hearty, one-dish meal, but it can easily be made vegetarian with a few simple substitutions.

I still make it both ways. Now that I’m on a plant-based diet, I can still eat meat, just not as often.

Above all, without ham, it becomes even more versatile because you can serve it as a main dish or side dish and with or without any protein — your wishes, your choice!

Potato Casserole Recipe

Preparation & Cooking Time: Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6-8


  • Potatoes: 2 pounds (about 900 grams), peeled and thinly sliced
  • Heavy cream: 1 cup (240 ml)
  • Milk: 1 cup (240 ml)
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Butter: 3 tablespoons (42 grams), plus extra for greasing
  • All-purpose flour: 2 tablespoons (30 grams)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: 8 ounces (225 grams)
  • Cooked ham (optional): 8 ounces (225 grams), diced
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon (5 grams)
  • Ground black pepper: ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams)
  • Fresh thyme or parsley: 2 tablespoons, chopped
  • Bread crumbs: ¼ cup (60 grams) for topping


  1. Preheat Oven & Prepare Dish: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Layer Potatoes: Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in the prepared dish, overlapping slightly.
  3. Next, Make the Cream Sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic, cooking until softened. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk and cream, cooking until the sauce thickens. Add half of the cheese, stirring until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Assemble Casserole: Pour half of the cream sauce over the potatoes. If using, sprinkle half of the diced ham. Repeat layers with remaining potatoes, ham, and cream sauce.
  5. Bake: Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
  6. Rest & Serve: Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving.

After that, enjoy!

Tips for Perfection

  • Potato Thickness: Slice potatoes uniformly to ensure even cooking.
  • Sauce Consistency: Keep the cream sauce on the thicker side to avoid a runny casserole.
  • Cheese Variety: Experiment with different types of cheese for varied flavors.

Optional Ingredients

  • Bacon: A crispy, savory alternative to ham.
  • Green Onions: For a fresh, zesty flavor.
  • Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms can provide a meaty texture.
  • Broccoli: Adds a healthy, crunchy element.

The Versatility of Potato Casserole

Potato casserole is a remarkably versatile dish, one that can be adapted to suit an array of tastes and occasions.

Its adaptability lies not only in the choice of ingredients but also in its ability to complement a variety of main courses.

As I have said, at its heart, the potato casserole is a canvas for your culinary creativity.

  • Vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, or spinach can be added for a nutritious twist!
  • Additionally different types of cheese such as Gruyère or Parmesan offer new flavor dimensions.
  • For those who enjoy a bit of heat, incorporating spices like paprika or cayenne pepper can transform the dish into a zestier version.

The casserole’s texture can also be played with:

  • a crunchy topping made from breadcrumbs or crushed crackers provides a delightful contrast to the creamy softness of the potatoes.
  • for a lighter version substitutes like sweet potatoes or a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes can be used.

The dish’s flexibility extends to various dietary preferences as well; it can easily be made gluten-free or vegan with simple ingredient swaps.

For example, whether it’s a cozy winter dinner, a summer potluck, or a festive holiday meal, the potato casserole can be dressed up or down to fit the occasion.

In short, this is just one of the reasons this dish is a beloved staple in kitchens around the world.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a side of steamed green beans, a crisp salad, or some crusty bread.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: Approximately 350-400
  • Protein: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fat: 18g

Storage & Reheating

  • Storing: Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through.

Origin of the Potato Casserole

Certainly, the potato casserole has its roots in European cuisine, particularly in countries like Germany and Ireland where potatoes are a staple.

Over time, it has evolved with regional variations and personal touches, becoming a beloved comfort food across the world.

Enjoy your delicious and heartwarming potato casserole!

In conclusion, whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with your own twists, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

P.S. Leftovers also make a great addition to your morning meal!

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