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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 mins
COOK: 30 mins
TOTAL: 45 mins


  • 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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48 thoughts on “Mac and Cheese with Ham”

  1. Made this for New Years Day with the last nice fat bit of Christmas ham . My family and I loved it. It was so simple to make according to your directions too. I was really low on milk so I added sour cream and some of the pasta water instead. Also I didn’t have white cheddar so I used more yellow sharp cheddar and also some mozzarella and parmesan I had around. The panko was so nice and fluffy crunchy:-). I love simple stuff like this. It was delicious! Thank you, Christin. Happy New Year!

    1. Sue McIntyre

      I am going to add some prepared horseradish sauce for a little kick. My mom used to make this and added horseradish sauce. I just don’t remember how much! Should be interesting.

  2. I used xtra sharp cheddar, a 4 year aged sharp cheddar and a Gouda, total of 5 cups of cheese. Also added a little garlic powder, regular breadcrumbs instead of Panko and dusted a few w/ cayenne pepper! It was amazing! My husband usually does the cooking in the house and he loved it!
    I also like to do mini loaf pans (6) instead of a big 9×13 size!

  3. Instead of panko. I used leftover crushed cheezits or other crackers, crushed and mixed with butter. It’s also time to use up any left over cheese. I had a small piece of cheddar and 1/4 tub of feta. Any leftover cheese will work. I hate throwing things away. Even boil up leftover boxes of pasta that have been languishing in the cup boards. We buy elbows for pasta salad, penne for baked pasta, even broken up spaghetti noodles will do. It’s a shame to throw away good food, we might as well use it up. A baked mac&cheese is a good way to use up thawed frozen veggies too. No one minds veggies mixed into lots of cheese.

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Thanks for all the great tips for cleaning out the fridge and cupboards Denise! I usually make omelets to use up my leftovers, but next time I’m going to make mac and cheese. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I just made some mac and cheese last night — it had been forever! This looks so creamy and cheesy, and that topping looks perfect!

  5. Debra Rosenow

    Just made this tonight and it was awesome! I added a few things just to try. I chopped and fried up 2 onions, I added a tsp. of ground mustard and a few dashes of hot sauce for the hubby….I also did not have white cheddar but used mozzarella instead. I almost forgot, I doubled the panko because I love crunchy!
    Thanks for the awesome recipe…its a keeper!

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Thanks Debra! I love the additions that you made. Especially the fried onions ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and I love that you added ham to yours. It looks delicious especially with that crumb topping! Mmmm so so good!

  7. annie@ciaochowbambina

    Wow this looks yummy. Plus the addition of ham and Panko have my name written all over it! Nice recipe!

  8. Ashley | The Recipe Rebel

    Kid-friendly = Ashley-friendly. lol. I LOVE mac and cheese. And ham. Pinning!

  9. There’s something so comforting about mac and cheese, I can’t get enough of the stuff. Love the addition of the ham, it’s the perfect touch to this!

  10. Jess @ On Sugar Mountain

    Mac and cheese for dinner? Count me in! This looks like the perfect weeknight meal for sure. ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Sarah@wholeandheavenlyoven

    Mac ‘n’ cheese is totally my biggest weakness. I just love this fun twist, Christin! Stunning photos too!

  12. Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen

    Love this version of Mac & Cheese. We love ham, so adding it to one of our comfort foods is such a great idea!

  13. Renee@Two in the Kitchen

    Mac and Cheese IS the ultimate comfort food!! It is always extra special when it doesn’t come out of a blue box!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This looks fantastic!

  14. Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking

    When I come over will you feed me mac and cheese and krispy kreme bread pudding until I burst?!!? pretty, pretty please! Oh, and those sweet potato cinnamon rolls. Thank you! As a trade off, I’ll feed your son if he goes to school in Atlanta. Fair?

  15. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    I love the twist of adding ham to this mac ‘n cheese! And that crumb topping looks delicious, Christin! Sounds like this would make a perfect main dish or side dish!

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