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Cheesy Ham and Rice comes together quickly in a skillet, then bakes in a casserole until the cheesy topping is melted. This is a meal the entire family will love!
Make this easy meal with ham leftovers
This Cheesy Ham & Rice is a perfect way to enjoy a second meal using leftovers from a holiday ham served at Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter. It can also be made with any other kind of cooked ham – such as a ham steak, or even a cooked smoked shoulder.
It’s also super easy to prepare. You’ll simmer the rice in a skillet along with a variety of chopped vegetables and seasonings – so the rice absorbs a ton of flavor as it cooks. Then bite-sized pieces of ham and cheese are stirred in.
To finish, you’ll pour the ham and rice into a casserole dish – then top it with more cheese. After a quick bake in the oven to melt the cheese on top, you are ready to serve your family an absolutely delicious meal!
Why you’ll love Cheesy Ham & Rice
- It’s a delicious way to use up leftover ham after the holidays.
- This family-friendly meal is quick and super easy to prepare.
- It’s a versatile recipe – feel free to swap in other vegetables you might have on hand or to suit your family’s tastes.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Ham – The star of the show is cooked ham – and this recipe is an ideal option for using up leftover ham after the holidays. During other times of the year, buy a fully-cooked ham steak (sold in single slices in the refrigerated section of the supermarket) and cut it up into bite-sized pieces.
- Rice – We suggest using basmati or jasmine rice for the best flavor and a light texture. However, long grain white rice can be used. Avoid using brown rice since that takes much longer to cook and will cause the vegetables to overcook.
- Vegetables – We included a variety of vegetables in our dish including sweet onion (such as Vidalia), scallions, red bell pepper and fresh garlic.
- Herbs and Spices – This dish is simply seasoned with white pepper and fresh thyme. No salt is needed since the ham provides enough salty flavor.
- Butter – We typically cook with unsalted butter
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- White Wine – Used to deglaze the pan and add a little bit of flavor. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol, use broth instead.
- Liquids – The rice cooks in a combination of vegetable broth and heavy cream. If you want to make a homemade vegetable broth, see our recipe here. Canned stock or carton is also fine to use.
- Cheese – Sharp white cheddar cheeses gets stirred into the rice and ham mixture, while more cheddar and Parmesan cheese is sprinkled over the top.
You can also substitute cooked, smoked shoulder in place of the ham in this recipe. The smoked shoulder will add a smoky, saltier flavor to the finished dish – but it’s very delicious!
Special Tools Needed
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Cheese grater
- Wooden spoon
- Large skillet or oven-safe Dutch oven
- 9X9-inch oven-safe casserole dish (See Tips & Tricks below – this recipe can be made all in one pot, without a casserole dish if you prefer.)
How do I make Cheesy Ham & Rice ?
- Melt butter and oil in the skillet, and add rice and sauté until the rice starts to get translucent.
- Add bell pepper, scallion bottoms, and sweet onion. Sauté until the vegetables start to soften a bit.
- Add garlic, fresh thyme, and white pepper. Sauté a little more.
- De-glaze the pan with white wine.
- Add stock and heavy cream, bring to a boil, then cover and turn burner to low.
- Simmer mixture until rice is cooked and tender.
- Stir in ham and one cup of the shredded cheddar cheese.
- Pour mixture into a casserole dish, then top with the remaining cheddar and the Parmesan cheese.
- Place the casserole (or pot) under the broiler to melt the cheese and lightly brown the top.
- Top with scallion tops and serve.
Tips & Tricks
- If you have an oven-proof skillet, this entire dish can be cooked on the stove top, then placed under the broiler to melt the cheese.
- If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, cook on the stove top in a medium pot or Dutch oven then transfer to a casserole dish (as we did in our photos), top with the cheese, and broil until the top is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Ham and Rice Skillet ahead of time? This is best served freshly-made, however, you can chop and measure the ingredients ahead of time.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Reheat individual portions in the microwave.
- Can I freeze? Rice tends to get mushy after being frozen and thawed, so we do not recommend freezing this dish.
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2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked Basmati or Jasmine rice
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 small bunch of scallions, sliced (tops and bottoms separated)
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or half that of dried
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups leftover ham, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a heavy oven-proof skillet, or medium pot or Dutch oven, melt butter in oil over medium high heat and add rice.
- Cook rice, stirring often for three minutes.
- Add onion, bell pepper and scallion bottoms and stir and cook three more minutes.
- Add garlic, thyme and white pepper and cook one minute.
- Add wine and cook one minute to deglaze.
- Add stock and cream and heat to boiling. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook about 12 minutes or until rice is tender. If the liquid has absorbed and the rice is not yet tender, add a little more stock, cream or water.
- Remove from heat and stir in the ham and one cup of the cheddar cheese.
- If using an oven proof skillet, top with the remaining cheddar and the Parmesan and broil for a few minutes to brown. If using a casserole dish, pour mixture into casserole dish, cover with remaining cheddar cheese and Parmesan and brown.
- Top with scallion tops and serve.
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