Casseroles always come to mind when we’re searching for easy homemade meals. One-pot casseroles, like this ham and noodle casserole, come together in a flash and require little hands-on time. And you probably already have most of what you need to make it in your kitchen. The ingredients are simple on their own, but together, they create a comforting dish that bakes away as you go about your evening.
This creamy casserole is our go-to choice when we have leftover ham in the fridge. The ham lends the perfect saltiness to the rich cheese sauce, and a crispy bread crumb topping provides a delicate textural contrast. But bread crumbs aren’t the only source of texture. There’s a secret ingredient in here that takes the dish to the next level. Poppy seeds, often used in baked goods, are fantastic in savory dishes! These tiny seeds boast a slightly sweet flavor that balances out the richness of the creamy sauce. They also add a delightfully crunchy pop to every bite!
Ingredients for Ham and Noodle Casserole
- Ham: Use up leftover grilled ham steak or a glazed ham from a holiday ham dinner. If you don’t have leftovers, any ham from the deli counter works.
- Egg noodles: This type of pasta is typical in comfort food recipes like casseroles and beef stroganoff. You won’t need the whole package for this recipe, but there are plenty of recipes with egg noodles to help you polish off the bag.
- Condensed cream of celery soup: This pantry staple is convenient and gives the dish its creamy texture and rich flavor. If you’re concerned about sodium, skip the store-bought can. You can make homemade cream of chicken soup and add finely diced celery to give it the cream of celery treatment.
- Cheddar cheese: This sharp cheese melts into the casserole, adding to the dish’s creamy consistency.
- Seasonings: Finely chopped onions, oregano and basil create the savory backbone for this ham and noodle casserole. The poppy seeds give the casserole a sweet, nutty finish.
- Bread crumbs: Buttery bread crumbs are the perfect crunchy topping for a creamy casserole. You can also use a substitute for bread crumbs like crushed crackers or pretzels.
Step 1: Prepare the noodles
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain.
Step 2: Prepare the ham mixture
In a small bowl, mix together the ham, cheddar cheese, soup, milk, onion, 1 teaspoon of the butter, poppy seeds, dried oregano, salt and dried basil. Add the drained noodles, and stir to combine.
Step 3: Layer the ham and noodle casserole
Coat a 1-1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Add the ham mixture to the baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the remaining butter. Sprinkle over the ham mixture.
Step 4: Bake the ham and noodle casserole
Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through.
- Use another condensed soup: Swap in another condensed soup, such as cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup.
- Change up the cheese: Give the dish a unique flavor with melting cheeses like Swiss or mozzarella.
- Incorporate vegetables: Add a package of frozen mixed veggies to the mix, or use chopped fresh vegetables like broccoli or asparagus.
- Ramp up the creamy vibes: Cream of celery soup gives this casserole a good level of creaminess. Make the dish even richer by adding sour cream or softened cream cheese.
How to Store Ham and Noodle Casserole
Store leftover ham and noodle casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. If you used leftover ham, keep in mind that most leftovers only keep for four days total. That timeline starts from the day the ham was cooked, not the day the casserole was made.
You can also freeze ham and noodle casserole for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat ham and noodle casserole, transfer the leftovers to a microwave-safe dish. Microwave, covered, on high until heated through. Add broth or milk as needed to restore the dish to its original creaminess.
Ham and Noodle Casserole Tips
Do you have to cook egg noodles before baking ham and noodle casserole?
Yes, you need to cook the egg noodles before they go into the casserole. There’s not enough liquid in ham and noodle casserole to cook the egg noodles while the casserole bakes. It’s important to cook the egg noodles according to the package directions, as well. Be careful not to overcook them, or they will become mushy.