Savory Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding

If you’re feeding a crowd on Christmas or New Year’s morning, try Savory Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding.  It’s so tasty having a bunch of ham & cheese sandwiches baked together in an egg-based custard and can be made the day ahead.  This recipe wins all the way around!

Using a nice Black Forest ham from the deli, grated Gruyère cheese and thick sourdough or Italian bread slices,  a baked dish that can serve a group is created.  Topped with a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar, raspberry jam and arugula, this breakfast or brunch dish is sure to please.

Begin by buttering 4 slices of bread and spreading Dijon mustard on the other 4 slices.  Top the Dijon with ruffled ham and grated cheese (lots of options will work…check out the recipe for ideas) and then place the buttered piece of bread on top of the cheese.

Cut the sandwiches into pieces as shown above.  Fit the pieces of sandwich into a baking dish or a cast-iron pan.  Make sure that the pieces are snug.

Whisk the milk, eggs, salt and pepper and slowly pour it over the sandwiches, trying to wet every slice of bread.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight preferably.

Bake the dish in a hot oven for 35-45 minutes.  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, add some arugula to the top and dollop raspberry jam over the dish.  Don’t skip the jam…it makes this incredibly delicious!

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Savory Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes plus chill time 1 hour


  • 8 large Sourdough or Italian bread slices, day-old recommended, pre-sliced or cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 3-4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 slices deli Black Forest ham, about 8 ounces
  • 1 & 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère, Swiss, Emmental, Jarlsberg or old, white Cheddar, divided
  • 2 & 1/2 cups milk, preferably whole milk
  • 5 large eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Serving:

  • Icing/Confectioners’ sugar
  • Raspberry Jam
  • Arugula, optional


Grease a shallow baking dish, approximately 2.5 quarts, such as a roughly 9×13-inch oval baker. A 9×13-inch rectangle may be too big. A 10-inch top diameter cast-iron skillet would work well or alternately a 9-inch cake tin. You want the bread pieces to be very tightly together in the pan.

If your bread is fresh, lay out the slices ahead and let them stand on the counter for a couple of hours to dry out or alternately, place on a baking sheet and pop into a 325°F for 3-5 minutes, then let cool.

Lay bread slices out. Spread 1/2 of the slices with Dijon mustard and the other 1/2 of the slices with soft butter.

Working with the slices with the mustard, top with about 4 slices of ham, ruffling them up a bit, rather than laying flat. Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Top with the buttered slice of bread, with the un-buttered side up (like you’re making a sandwich). Repeat with the remaining slices.

Cut the “sandwiches” into small pieces (see Step-by-Step photos above this recipe to see how I cut my slices). Place the sandwich pieces into your prepared dish, nestling them up very close to each other and with the pointed ends or crust side up. Set aside.

In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the sandwiches, being sure to pour a bit over each bit of bread. Sprinkle top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the dish and bake until golden and the egg mixture is set, about 35-40 minutes. Remove and let cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with icing/confectioners’ sugar. Top with a dollop of jam and arugula.

Chef’s Notes:

This bread pudding is drier than some bread puddings. As written, about 1/2 of the bread is soft and creamy and the top half is toasted and crispy. It complements the “sandwich” aspect of this dish nicely.  That said, you can certainly add more egg/milk mixture if you prefer a wetter/softer bread pudding. Simply make more of the mixture using the basic formula of 1 egg for each 1/2 cup of milk. In all cases though, the top part of the bread should be above the level of the liquid.

If your bread slices are smaller than the ones shown here, simply make more of the “sandwiches”. If slicing the bread yourself, slice into no more than 1/2-inch slices. You don’t want the bread slices too thick.

Recipe from Seasons & Suppers


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