This mac and cheese with ham and broccoli is a real crowd-pleaser. It’s creamy and cheesy with a great smokiness from the ham, and with the broccoli added in it’s a complete comfort food meal, ready in minutes!
I love when I have ham left over from a large meal but when I don’t I find myself buying ham many times over to make this and a few other key meals that stay on rotation.
A cheesy dish that’s a crowd pleaser–this Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese is sure to delight people of all ages!
Is there anything more nostalgic than Mac and Cheese? As a child, it was a staple food in our house, as I’m sure it was for many of my readers, and many children growing up today! And it’s because it’s a simple dish that can be made with very few ingredients–and it can feed a lot of people!
My Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese holds all the comforts of a childhood Mac and Cheese, it’s just leveled up a bit to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.
Adding in the flavors of onion, garlic, and smoked paprika really kicks this dish up a notch. And it’s a great way to use up any leftover ham you may have from the holidays or a family get-together.
Adding in broccoli gives it a zip of color and the added benefits of vitamins C and K, as well as a boost of minerals like Calcium, Iron, and Zinc–and you have a fantastic and delicious meal that packs a little nutrition in it as well.
The easiest way to cook the broccoli is to cut and place it in the water over the pasta for the last couple of minutes, it saves time, energy, and dishes… it’s the best tip for quick meals.
And since I’m such a fan of Mac and Cheese, I have all kinds of variations of this classic dish. It’s so easy to add ingredients and transform your childhood Mac into an adult delight! Try out these variations on a classic:
- Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese: A little pepper jack cheese is the key ingredient to this mac and cheese.
- Avocado Orzo Mac and Cheese: Orzo pasta makes this dish even creamier, and the addition of fresh avocado adds another layer of creamy flavor that works perfectly.
- Seafood Mac and Cheese: Cheese and seafood have been friends for a long time, and they are perfect companions in this elevated take on mac and cheese.
- Creamy Mac and Cheese– get all my tips and watch the video for more help to perfect mac and cheese.
I have loads more where those came from. And if you’re just really short on time take advantage of my Instapot Mac and Cheese recipe. It’s ideal for those that have more tasks in a day, than hours!
Mac and Cheese is one of my favorite dishes because there are so many ways to prepare it, and you really can use whatever you have in the fridge as flavorful additions. Let’s get started!
Prepare your pasta according to the package directions. In the last few minutes of cooking, add in your broccoli to your pasta.
Cook the broccoli in the pasta water for the last 1-2 minutes for small pieces and 3-4 minutes for larger florets.
Drain the pasta with broccoli in a colander when finished cooking. Set aside. Cooking the two in one pot saves time, energy, and dishes and is a stress-free cooking tip you’ll use again and again.
In the same pot on medium heat place 2 tablespoons butter with ham along with onion, garlic, and paprika, and cook for 1 minute while stirring.
Next, add in the chicken bouillon and flour and whisk in the milk slowly developing a creamy sauce. If you add the milk in all at once, it will get lumpy. The goal is to create a smooth and silky sauce.
Add in cheese and stir until smooth.
Finally, add in the pasta and broccoli, and turn off the burner.
Stir to coat the pasta and broccoli in the cheese sauce.
Add salt and black pepper to taste.
That’s it, scoop up and serve!
With a little planning ahead you can have meals ready to heat for the week, use up leftover ham, and create meals to bring to a friend or family member… everyone loves a home-cooked meal.
Check out these other ham recipes, I’m sure you’ll find some new favorites!
Looking for more broccoli recipes:
How do I know when the pasta is done?
Using a slotted spoon, remove the pasta from the boiling water. When pasta is finished, the middle should not have a white ring or spot in it or appear opaque. To confirm this, cut the pasta in half. The color of the pasta should be consistent. When eaten, it should have some bite without being crunchy or too mushy.
Can I use another kind of cheese?
Yes! Swiss is a great option but so is pepper jack for a little spice, or gouda for a really creamy experience.
What’s the best way to reheat this dish?
You can reheat this on the stove, microwave, or in the oven. Top it with more cheese and reheat it in the oven. To do this, preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the macaroni and cheese in a dish that can go in the oven. For each cup of mac and cheese, add 1 tablespoon of milk, and thoroughly combine. The dish should be covered with aluminum foil and heated through for 20-30 minutes.
Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb pasta elbows or rotini or favorite pasta shape
- 1 lb ham diced
- 1 lb broccoli florets sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced/paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika if you don't prefer a smiley flavor.
- 1-3 teaspoons chicken bouillon or seasoned salt black pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese or swiss cheese
- Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, the broccoli will cook the last few minutes in the same pot, when the pasta is almost done cooking.
- (Cook broccoli in the pasta water for the last 1-2 minutes for small pieces and larger florets 3-4 minutes) cook to desired tenderness)
- Drain the pasta with broccoli in a colander when finished cooking to the desired doneness.
- In the pot, place 2 tablespoons butter with ham along with onion, garlic, and paprika, and cook for 1 minute while stirring. (brown the ham longer for more flavor)
- add in the chicken bouillon and flour and whisk in the milk slowly developing a creamy sauce.
- Add in cheese and stir until smooth.
- Add in the past and broccoli, and turn off the burner.
- Stir to coat the pasta and broccoli in the cheese sauce.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste.