Cheesy Denver Breakfast Casserole

published Oct 18, 2022
Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipe

An easy-assembly, crowd-feeding breakfast casserole loaded with the works: cheddar cheese, diced ham, bell pepper, shredded potatoes, and eggs.

Serves8 to 10

Prep20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes

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Aqua colored plate with one serving of easy breakfast casserole, with a side of red grapes, orange, strawberry. Coffee and orange juice in top right, fork and napkin in bottom left
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

A breakfast casserole is one of the easiest ways to incorporate all the elements of a full diner-style egg breakfast, in one pan. Loaded with diced ham, bell peppers, and cheese, all held together by a soft egg custard, this recipe is inspired by the classic Denver omelet. And to keep things easy, I like to use ingredients that don’t need to be pre-cooked, like frozen hash browns. They bring some heartiness to the table and will satisfy those who believe that no egg breakfast is complete without some kind of potato (myself included).

What’s the Difference Between a Breakfast Casserole and Egg Frittata? 

Breakfast casseroles and egg frittatas both have an egg base that holds the remaining ingredients together.

  • Egg frittatas start on the stovetop and finish in the oven in a frying pan. The filling usually consists of meats, veggies, and cheeses.
  • Breakfast casseroles are baked in a casserole dish and often contain potatoes or bread in addition to meats, vegetables, and cheese.
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich; Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Other Breakfast Casserole Mix-in Possibilities

Some of the ingredients in this breakfast casserole can substituted for similar ingredients — just make sure to use the same amount.

  • Scallions: Sauté 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion or 2 large diced shallots until tender.
  • Cheese: Any kind of shreddable cheese will work. Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, and Swiss are great alternatives.
  • Meat: If using breakfast meat like sausage or bacon, cook it first. Crumble or chop it into bite-sized pieces, too.
  • Milk: Half-and-half can be used for a richer custard.

Does Breakfast Casserole Freeze Well?

Yes, breakfast casseroles freeze well. I prefer to bake them completely, cool, then freeze rather than freezing an unbaked casserole. You can also freeze smaller portions of the baked casserole and only pull out the amount you’ll be eating as needed.

Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipe

An easy-assembly, crowd-feeding breakfast casserole loaded with the works: cheddar cheese, diced ham, bell pepper, shredded potatoes, and eggs.

Prep time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook time 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 12 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese

  • 12 ounces

    boneless ham steak, or 2 1/2 cups diced, cooked ham

  • 1

    medium bell pepper, any color

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • 1 (16-ounce) package

    frozen shredded potatoes (do not thaw)

  • 12

    large eggs

  • 2 cups

    whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  2. Grate 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 3 cups). Place 2 cups in a large bowl.

  3. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of cheese as you complete it: Dice 12 ounces ham steak (about 2 1/2 cups). Thinly slice 4 medium scallions (about 2/3 cup). Cut 1 medium bell pepper into small dice (about 1 cup). Toss to combine.

  4. Add 1 (16-ounce) package frozen shredded potatoes to the bowl, breaking up any clumps with your hands as you go. (If the potatoes are frozen into one block, wrap it in a thick kitchen towel and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet to break them up.) Toss with your hands to combine. Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer.

  5. Place 12 large eggs, 2 cups whole milk, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in the same bowl (no need to wash) and whisk until combined. Pour evenly over the potato mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

  6. Bake until the top is light golden-brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The casserole can be assembled without the top layer of cheese, covered, and refrigerated overnight. Let sit at room temperature while the oven is heating. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining cheese before baking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.