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Mac and Cheese with Ham

Mac and Cheese with Ham is a creamy, cheesy, comforting meal. The addition of diced ham turns mac and cheese into a hearty main dish meal. It really is one of the BEST Mac and Cheese Recipes!

Mac and Cheese with Ham in baking dish.


This is a pretty basic mac and cheese recipe that begins with a bechamel sauce made with butter, flour, and milk. I added both sharp yellow cheddar cheese and white cheddar for a total of 3 cups of cheese.

The cheese along with 1 pound of cooked pasta, (I used the traditional elbow but any shape will do), and diced ham are added to the bechemel. I also like to add a small amount of nutmeg for flavor.

Mac and Cheese in an oval baking dish.

Baked In The Oven

The whole mixture is poured into a casserole dish, topped with buttered Panko crumbs and baked until hot. If you like, you can add a little cayenne pepper or diced jalapenos to spice it up.

How To Serve

Mac and Cheese with Ham is creamy and filling. Perfect comfort food for any time of year. Add a simple salad and you have a super easy, kid-friendly meal.


Best eaten shortly after it is made but leftovers will keep for 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If leftovers are a little dry, add a splash of milk or half-and-half before reheating.

More Mac and Cheese Recipes

Spoon scooping up Mac and Cheese with Ham.


Mac and Cheese with Ham

A creamy cheesy macaroni and cheese with diced ham and a buttery panko crumb topping.
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 30 minutes
TOTAL: 45 minutes


  • 1 pound elbow pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded yellow sharp cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar
  • 8 ounces ham, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs or homemade bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Melt butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk in a slow, steady stream whisking to keep from lumping.
  • Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture is thick and bubbly. Whisk frequently during this time.
  • Season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Reserve 3/4 cup of cheese and place remaining cheese in pot and stir until melted.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cooked pasta and ham. Transfer to a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.
  • Combine panko crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.


Calories: 731kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: leftover ham, pasta

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Originally posted Ovetover 26, 2014.

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55 thoughts on “Mac and Cheese with Ham”

  1. Was looking for a new recipe, as the one one I make from scratch requires eggs, and one of my son’s is not a fan. I just made this, used some leftover ham. It was REALLY good ! Thank you !

  2. This is a very tasty recipe to use up leftover ham! I followed the recipe all the way except cut the salt from 1 teaspoon to just over 1/2 teaspoon as the cheeses have plenty of sodium too. I was a little nervous about the 4 cups of milk but after baking for 30 minutes it came out of the oven perfect! Not dried out and not soupy either; just perfect! I will definitely add this recipe to our rotation! Very nice flavor!

  3. The absolutely best Mac and cheese I have ever made. Family loves it and I take it to all get-togethers requiring a dish and its a big hit.

  4. I had written a three-star review last year saying this mac and cheese was “good but not great.” I ended up making it again, quite by accident since I didn’t realize I had already tried it, and this time we thought it was excellent and worth keeping the recipe. I can’t explain why — maybe it was the way I cooked the ham this year (in root beer), or maybe it was the larger size of the ham chunks. In any case, I’m changing my review to five stars!

  5. Kim C Longley

    reminds me of my Mom’s from the 70s which is the last time I ate it since she passed away. Thank you so much!

  6. Lois Teer-Lowery

    I have made this Mac and cheese many times, and it is by far the best I’ve had. I don’t change anything in the recipe other than stick it under the broiler for 3 minutes to get that delicious crispy top.

  7. The addition of leftover ham was a great idea, the milk thickened up well and the topping was tasty, but we thought it was a bit tasteless — good but not great.

  8. Angela smith

    Just fixed this just used velveta, American and cheddar. Some butter, milk pepper and only salted my water. Used 2 cups of noodles and about 8 ounces of ham. Cooked for about 30 min in oven this is how I fix my Mac and cheese anytime I fix it minus the velveta. I have to make the Mac and cheese for any get together with family.

  9. Great recipe – I want to make it ahead and freeze it, how long do you think I should cook it from frozen?

  10. Most recipes is 1/4th of flour and 2 cups of milk…is 4 cups correct?? I just don’t wait to be too milky

    1. I thought the same but 4 cups of milk is perfect! Baking at 375F for 30 minutes and the milk disappears and it comes out not dry and not at all milky! Perfect!

  11. It looks perfect. I want to add some heavy cream to it though because it gives a great flavor but at which point would it be best for me to incorporate it into the recipe? Help thanksgiving is next week!

  12. This sounds so good. I am eating boxed Mac n cheese with cubed ham. Would cubed ham work for this recipe? And if so would it be the same amount of ham as the diced ham called for? Also I don’t have a 9×13 pan. I have a large circular baking dish. Would that work?

  13. Brett Howlett

    Loved the recipe. But as a I’m not a great cook….more specific measurements would he awesome. I did a lot of googling…but what is a 1/2 stick of butter? How much dry pasta makes a 1 pound of pasta? I did find the info…but it would have been much easier if it was in her recipe.

    1. Wow. You really don’t cook. Half a stick of butter is just that. You take a stick of butter and cut it in half. As for the macaroni, the box (or bag) is clearly marked with the weight. You go by the dry, uncooked weight.

      1. Not all of us are able to buy butter in sticks…is one stick equal to 1/8 Or 1/4 of a pound?

      2. Our butter is packaged in 1-lb. packages. No sticks here. This must be a USA measurement. The sarcasm is not appreciated.

        1. I live in Canada too and have been buying butter that is 4 sticks in one box for many years. Look for the boxes of butter instead of the foil wrapped one pound piece. There are 4 sticks in each box for one pound so one stick is 1/4 pound and half a stick is 4 tablespoons as each stick is 8 tablespoons. 🙂

    2. For future reference if you look at the stick of butter there should be markings on one side that give you different measurements for butter also.
      Keep cooking!

    3. 1/2 a stick of butter probably means 4 tablespoons (one full stick of butter would be 8 tablespoons). Assuming of course that this person is in the US and uses butter that is packaged 4 sticks to a pound. I just made this as it is written and it turned out great

  14. Darlene Ryno

    I made this with homemade penne noodles from my Philips Noodle Maker Machine using mostly semolina flour. Also panko and butter crumb topping and extra diced jalapenos. It was amazing with the homemade noodles.

  15. Jacqueline Giordano

    I used medium shell pasta, a smoked ham steak, a little bit of smoked gouda and added smoked paprika. Sooo good! That smoky flavor made it perfect for the holidays. I had made it for my 6 year old and I myself usually don’t like mac and cheese, but it was perfect! Kids and adults alike enjoyed it. Great recipe!

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