This baked ham and cheese “sandwich” is essentially a spin-off from a Croque Madame; a wonderful breakfast or bunch menu item consisting of bread, ham, cheese sauce and fried egg.  I’ve removed the fried egg, torn the bread into bite-size chunks, and added a little provolone for some extra cheesy love!

I felt the need to just pour as much cheese sauce as possible onto the bread and ham once it was assembled.  It’s brunch; isn’t that the best time to eat whatever you want and absolutely love every minute of it?!

I’ve made this bad boy about half a dozen times now, and it’s just so easy to turn to when I want to have a hearty brunch.  I’ve even made Mark eat this at dinner with me, and while I don’t think he was overly on board with the idea at first, he surrendered to the cheesy goodness once it was set in front of him.

The best part about this recipe is that it is simple.  Baked ham and cheese is just that:  two main ingredients on top of some bread.  The only hard part that goes into it is making the cheese sauce, but this is really a breeze and takes nearly no time at all to whip up!  Don’t be intimidated by making your own cheese sauce – you’ll feel accomplished after you’re done, and you’ll have it in your back pocket for so many different recipes in the future!  I can’t wait for you to try this out!

[my additional tips!]:

Actual Prep / cook time:  25 minutes

Clean-up difficulty:  2

Overall difficulty to make:  3

Overall satisfaction:  9 

Price range?  This dish is under $5 for two people.

What I would change next time?  Nothing at all.  It’s cheesy, gooey, filling and awesome for brunch of dinner 🙂  Brinner?

For your own version, I recommend:.

  • Adjust spices to your liking IF you think you need to, but the recipe is pretty solid as is.
  • I liked a smoky ham with this, but a sweeter one works just as well!
  • Be very careful when eating – it’s coming directly from the dish out of the oven!

© 2015 : a flavor journal : by sara alvord
baked ham and cheese.
Serves 2
This open-faced baked ham and cheese "sandwich" is bursting with cheese sauce and smoky ham flavors! Great for brunch, dinner, or sharing!
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 2 T butter, melted
  2. 1 T flour
  3. 3/4 c. milk, warm
  4. small pinch nutmeg
  5. pinch mustard powder
  6. 1/3 c. gruyere
  7. 1/3 c. good, grated parmesan
  8. 1/4 tsp. salt
  9. 1/4 tsp. pepper
  10. 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  11. 1/2 loaf fresh french bread, cubed
  12. 1/3-1/2 lb. shaved deli ham
  13. 2 slices provolone (optional)
For sauce
  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour for about 30 seconds, or until completely melted and smooth.
  2. Slowly whisk in warm milk until completely combined. Bring liquid to a very quick boil, then turn down to medium-low heat and let it simmer for about five minutes.
  3. Grate in gruyere and stir until melted completely. Repeat with parmesan (note! using real parmesan and grating it in makes a big difference in flavor - it's worth it!)
  4. Whisk in all spices and let everything combine for about 2-3 minutes. This sauce should be thick, cheesy, and gooey. Always feel free to adjust the spice level to your prefence!
For ham and cheese bake
  1. Turn oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cube french bread into about 1" cubes. Pack the bottom of a small, individual-sized oven-safe dish with these cubes. (Don't overstuff them, but this should fill two small dishes).
  3. Spoon about 1/4 cup of cheese sauce over the bread, then top with the shaved ham (distribute this evenly).
  4. Top the ham with one slice of provolone cheese per dish, and drizzle each with the remaining cheese sauce before popping in the oven for 10 minutes at 425 degrees.
  5. Be careful when eating - but serve hot!
  1. I know I already said this, but the quality of cheeses for this recipe make a big difference!
  2. Always feel free to adjust the spices according to your own personal preferences.
  3. I prefer the smoky ham flavors for this, but you can use any version you please. When my parents and I had this, we used honey ham and it was also delicious!
  4. Be super careful when eating - you'll eat this straight out of the dish from the oven, so set it on another plate and be mindful! We had no problem with this.
a flavor journal.