Molly Yeh’s Hammy Breakfast Hotdish

published Dec 23, 2021
Hammy Breakfast Hotdish Recipe

Molly Yeh's hammy breakfast hotdish is cheesy, creamy, and topped with tater tots.

Serves8 to 10

Prep20 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes

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ham casserole hot dish
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

When I reached out to Molly Yeh to see if she might have a recipe to share for our Holiday Breakfast Casserole Challenge, I must admit that I was hoping for a hotdish. I’m from the Midwest, but grew up far enough south (southern Missouri, to be exact) that my childhood didn’t include tater tot-topped casseroles. What a shame, right? The combo of veggies and meat tossed in a creamy sauce, then crowned with a layer of golden, crispy tots is 100% comfort food.

Considering all of this, you can imagine my surprise and delight when Molly suggested this recipe for the challenge. Hotdish is typically served at dinner, but tater tots are basically mini hash browns, so making it breakfast-y isn’t much of a stretch. This take on the dish has some serious upgrades: Instead of canned condensed soup you make your own custardy filling, there are leeks in the filling, and some chopped cream cheese adds velvety richness. The recipe calls for ham steak, but this would also be a great vehicle for leftover holiday ham and whatever veggies you have in the fridge. The only non-negotiable? The tots. Take your time arranging them in concentric circles (so satisfying!), then watch everyone’s faces light up when the casserole makes its way to the table.

Hammy Breakfast Hotdish Recipe

Molly Yeh's hammy breakfast hotdish is cheesy, creamy, and topped with tater tots.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 3

    medium leeks (to get 2 loosely packed cups 1/2-inch-wide leek strips)

  • 12 ounces

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

  • 1

    large clove garlic

  • 1/2 bunch

    asparagus (8 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas

  • 6 to 7 ounces

    sharp white cheddar cheese

  • 8

    large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups

    heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 4 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 22 to 28 ounces

    frozen potato tots

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped fresh dill or chopped fresh chives, and hot sauce, for serving


  1. Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Finely chop 1 medium yellow onion (1 1/2 cups) and place in a medium bowl. Halve the white and light green parts of 3 medium leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips until you have 2 cups. Rinse well, drain, and add to the bowl of onion.

  3. Dice 12 ounces ham steak (about 2 1/2 cups). Mince 1 large garlic clove. Trim and cut 1/2 bunch asparagus crosswise into 1-inch pieces (2 cups).

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 3- to 4-quart braiser over medium-high heat until shimmering (or cook in a large frying pan and bake in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish). Add the ham and cook until golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

  5. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, and leeks to the pan. Season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until translucent and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. (You want the veggies to be cooked three-quarters of the way, because they will continue to cook in the oven.)

  6. Add the asparagus and garlic and sauté until just tender, about 4 minutes. (There shouldn't be too much color on the vegetables.)

  7. Add 1 cup frozen peas. Stir to combine, then remove from the heat. Let cool slightly while you make the custard filling. (If using a 9x13-inch baking dish, transfer to the dish and spread into an even layer.) Meanwhile, grate 6 to 7 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 3/4 cups).

  8. Place 8 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over the veggie and ham mixture. (The vegetables should be visible and not swimming in the eggy mixture. That way the potato tots don't sink!)

  9. Cut 4 ounces cream cheese into 12 pieces and scatter over the vegetable-and-egg mixture. Sprinkle evenly with the cheddar.

  10. Arrange 22 to 28 ounces frozen potato tots side-by-side in a uniform pattern on top of the custard filling. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. (If you have remaining tots, bake them off and snack on them later!)

  11. Bake until the potato tots are golden-brown and the egg mixture is set, 40 to 55 minutes. (A thin knife inserted into the center should come out clean.) Meanwhile, finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons fresh dill or fresh chives.

  12. Sprinkle with the dill or chives, and a few splashes of hot sauce before serving.

Recipe Notes

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