This breakfast casserole is loaded with potatoes, ham, cheese, and freshly chopped veggies. It’s perfect for serving at brunch, breakfast for dinner, and holidays. It’s also a great dish to make ahead of time for busy weekdays. Simply slice, heat, and eat!
This cheesy classic breakfast casserole is made with simple ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store. The base of the casserole is a layer of hashbrown potatoes which is topped with eggs that are beaten with half-and-half making them light and fluffy, followed by a layer of tasty ham, bell peppers, and onions. And to top the egg bake, there is the final layer of glorious cheese.
Let’s look at how to make this classic breakfast treat.
Ingredients for Breakfast Casserole
For this recipe, you need the following:
- half and half
- bell peppers
- Cheddar cheese
- Monterey jack cheese
- white cheddar cheese
- 9 x 13 casserole dish
- large mixing bowl
- cheese grater, if using blocks of cheese
- strainer (for the hashbrowns, if using boxed)
After the great pandemic of 2020 (and beyond), it can be difficult at times to find the exact ingredients called for in recipes. This recipe is no exception. But don’t worry – it’s a pretty flexible recipe and you can make substitutions, if necessary.
Hash browns – You’ll need approximately 20 ounces of refrigerated hash browns for this recipe. If you cannot find them at the store, you can substitute ⅔ of a (30 ounce) bag of frozen hash browns. Be sure to thaw them first and then drain any excess moisture. If you shop at Costco or are able to find boxed hash browns in the center aisle of the grocery store, pick up 2 (4.5 ounces) boxes. Rehydrate the potatoes. Just before adding them to the baking dish, place them in a strainer and drain them.
Bell Peppers – You can use all green bell pepper, all red bell pepper, all yellow bell pepper – or any combination that you prefer. You can also add chopped jalapenos, if you’d like to spice it up! If you don’t like to cut up vegetables, look for pre-diced peppers in the refrigerator section of the produce aisle.
Ham – If you don’t consume pork products, you can cook turkey sausage and use it instead. Simply “scramble” / brown sausage as you cook it on the stovetop. Drain any grease. Use up to 2 cups of the turkey sausage. You can do the same with breakfast sausage or even Italian sausage if you simply want to change the flavor profile of the dish and have a sausage breakfast casserole.
Onion – White onions or Vidalia onions work best in this dish. However, if you have an allergy to any of the veggies in the allium family, just omit them. Just like pre-chopped bell peppers, if you don’t want to cut onions, look for them already prepared for you in the refrigerator section of the produce department.
Cheese – This is one area where you can really change things up. You’ll need a total of 2 cups of cheese and you can create your own blend of your favorite cheeses, use only one variety, or use the ingredients as listed in the recipe. You can use pre-shredded cheese or buy a block and use freshly shredded cheese. Cheeses that work well in this dish are sharp Cheddar cheese, mild Cheddar cheese, and Pepper Jack cheese. Other tasty cheese options include Swiss cheese and mozzarella cheese.
How To Make this Cheesy Breakfast Casserole
Start by gathering all of the ingredients. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to make a dish and you are missing an ingredient. Having all of your ingredients in place has a fancy French term – mise en place. You can simply think of it as being prepared (if you were a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, you know this is important).
[If you are using boxed hash browns, rehydrate them first. This will add 15 minutes to your prep time.]
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by lightly spraying it with nonstick cooking spray. Set the pan aside.
Next, rinse off the produce and pat dry. Dice (cut into small pieces) the bell peppers and onions. Set the veggies aside for now.
Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and salt in a large bowl until the egg mixture is one beautifully blended color. Set the egg mixture aside for now.
Tip: I highly recommend that you crack the eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl before adding them to the large bowl. It’s a great way of catching small pieces of eggshell or preventing a rotten egg from contaminating the rest of the egg mixture.
Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with a layer of the (uncooked) hash browns.
Pour the egg mixture over the layer of potatoes. Sprinkle the top of the eggs with ham (or sausage), bell peppers, and onion.
Bake the casserole for 30 – 45 minutes. Once it has baked for 30 minutes, check the casserole. You want to bake it until the eggs have set. If the eggs are still runny or jiggly, continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes and then re-check.
Once the eggs have set, layer the cheese on top and set the oven to BROIL on LOW. Keep an eye on it and broil until the cheese melts. Once it is bubbly, remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.
What are some good sides to go along with a breakfast casserole?What to serve with this casserole?
Sour cream, chopped green onions, diced tomatoes, and hot sauce are great accompaniments for this dish. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Can I make this breakfast casserole ahead of time?
Yes. You have two options: prepare the ingredients and place the prepped items in the refrigerator ready to be assembled and baked, or bake the casserole and refrigerate it once it has cooled. To reheat, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover the top of the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Can you freeze breakfast casserole?
Absolutely. Once the casserole has cooled completely, cut it into individual portions. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and place in an air-tight container (think Ziplock freezer bags). Remove any excess air and seal the bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.
When ready to use, remove from the freezer and allow it to thaw out overnight in the refrigerator. Microwave in 30-second intervals until the desired temperature. (It normally takes about 1 minute in my microwave.)
Why is my casserole watery and how can I thicken it?
If the casserole is watery, it is underbaked. You don’t want to thicken it – you need to bake it longer so that the eggs firm up.
Cheesy Breakfast Casserole
- 9×13 baking dish
- 20 ounces hash brown potatoes
- 12 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 ounces ham chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese shredded
- ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- ½ cup white Cheddar cheese shredded
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by lightly spraying it with nonstick cooking spray. Set the pan aside.
- Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and salt in a large bowl until the egg mixture is one beautifully blended color. Set aside.
- Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with a layer of the (uncooked) hash browns.
- Pour the egg mixture over the layer of potatoes. Sprinkle the top of the eggs with ham (or sausage), bell peppers, and onion.
- Bake the casserole for 30 – 45 minutes. Once it has baked for 30 minutes, check the casserole. You want to bake it until the eggs have set. If the eggs are still runny or jiggly, continue to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes and then re-check.
- Once the eggs have set, layer the cheese on top and set the oven to BROIL on LOW. Keep an eye on it and broil until the cheese melts. Once it is bubbly, remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Be sure to come back and tell us how your Cheesy Breakfast Casserole turned out!