Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese

Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese is a hearty, family friendly meal that’s bound to impress every time it’s served.

Branded image of Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese.

A staple in the American household, cheesy, creamy, and comforting, Mac and Cheese has been loved for centuries.

As a kid, who didn’t love it when it was served? As an adult, I still love macaroni and cheese.

But with a grown up palate, I’ve started tossing in all sorts of goodies.

Enter this Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese. It’s simple enough for the kids to love and but jazzed up enough to satisfy the grown ups.

Macaroni and cheese with ham on a blue plate.
Cooked Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese with a portion missing.

How to make Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients to make Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese: milk, ham, cream cheese, noodles, evaporated milk, mayonnaise, eggs, butter, cheese, seasonings and spices.

To make your life easier, set the butter and cream cheese out earlier in the day to soften them. Or don’t. 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the skillet on the stove and heat over medium low. Toss in the butter and cream cheese so it can begin to melt.

Get a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, generously salt and the add pasta.

Cook pasta one minute short of the package directions. While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, grate your cheeses.

Occasionally pop over to the skillet and stir and encourage the cream cheese and butter to melt. The cream cheese can be a bit stubborn.

I found using a whisk makes it easier.

The egg and milk seasoned mixture in a pink bowl with a whisk.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Don’t overdo it. We are not making scrambled eggs here. We only want to break the yolk and mix it into the whites.

Stir in the evaporated milk, mayonnaise, and milk into the eggs. It will be clumpy, so don’t worry about that too much. Get it as smooth as you can, and let it go.

Gently whisk in the seasonings and hot sauce if you’re using it.

Don’t worry, the dish isn’t spicy, the hot sauce gives it some depth of flavor.

The cooked creamy base to the cheese sauce.

Pour this creaming mixture into the skillet, combining it with the butter and cream cheese. Stir constantly.

Don’t toss the liquid into the skillet until the last few min of the pasta is boiling. It only takes a few minutes to cook the mixture.

Can I use different pasta shapes in my Mac and Cheese?

The slightly undercooked pasta being added to the creamy sauce base.

Macaroni or elbows are the quintessential vessel for the cheese to pasta ratio, but yes, other kinds of pasta can do the job.

Stick with a smaller pasta like conchiglie (shells), farfalle (bowties), cellentani (corkscrew; and what we used here), and penne. 

Once the pasta is done, at the one-minute shy of being done mark, drain it and immediately add it to the skillet. 

Mix it well into the creamy liquid, making sure the pasta is thoroughly coated. Stir in the ham.

Diced ham being added to the creamy pasta.

Can I add vegetables to macaroni and cheese?

Absolutely!

You can add peas, onion, mushrooms, carrots, corn, okra, diced tomatoes, or zucchini. Let your imagination come up with some yummy options like some nice roasted vegetables.

Broccoli, cauliflower, or bell peppers could be a great addition to this dish.

How NOT to add grated cheese to homemade macaroni and cheese

Grated cheddar cheese added to the ham and pasta mixture.

Now it’s time to add the cheese that you reserved.

For the love of all that is good, do not add all the cheese at once. Talk about a nightmare mess on your hands.

Add the cheese by the handful, and fold it into the pasta.

Don’t just drop a handful of cheese on top and stir either. Use those hand muscles of yours and sprinkle it all around. This will avoid any smaller cheesy clumps.

The top layer of grated cheddar cheese has been added to the skillet mac and cheese.

After you have folded all the cheeses and it has melted, sprinkle the reserved cheddar on top, garnish with your chopped parsley.

Cover this bad boy, toss it in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, uncover it and let it brown for an additional 5 minutes.

Once browned, pull it out, let it rest for 5 minutes before digging into to it. This allows the cheese to hold itself together. Serve and enjoy.

Macaroni and Cheese with ham on a blue plate with the rest in the skillet in the background.
Branded image of skillet ham macaroni and cheese.

Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese

Skillet Ham Macaroni and Cheese is hearty, family friendly meal that's bound to impress everytime its served.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Resting time5 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Macaroni and Cheese with Ham
Servings: 6
Calories: 1030kcal
Author: Ned Adams

Equipment

  • 12-inch cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 10 oz macaroni any pasta
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese grated; divided
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese grated
  • 1 egg large; 2 medium; lightly beaten
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • tsp dry ground mustard
  • tsp onion powder
  • ½ tbsp hot sauce +/-; to taste; can be omitted
  • 3 cups ham diced/cubed
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Over low heat, melt the butter and cream cheese in the skillet.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Cook pasta 1 MINUTE SHORT OF PACKAGE DIRECTIONS.
  • Grate cheeses and set aside.
  • While pasta cooks, lightly beat the egg(s) in a bowl.
  • Add the evaporated milk, mayonnaise, milk to the egg; whisk to combine. It will be clumpy.
  • Gently whisk in the seasonings and hot sauce.
  • Add the creamy mixture to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Once pasta is done, drain and add to the skillet; mix well to combine.
  • Stir in the ham.
  • By the handful, fold in the 3 cups of the cheddar cheese and all of the Jack cheese, stirring well to melt.
  • Once all the cheese has been melted in, sprinkle the reserved cheddar on top.
  • Sprinkle the fresh parsley on top.
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until all the cheese has melted and the dish as begun to brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes; serve and enjoy.

Nutrition

Calories: 1030kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 38g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 236mg | Sodium: 1937mg | Potassium: 678mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1716IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 1054mg | Iron: 2mg

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