Cheesy Shells and Ham

Cheesy Shells and Ham is a quick and easy dinner that doesn’t come from a box! This is a great way to use up leftover ham, but you can also grab a ham steak from the grocery store!

How much do we love an easy dinner that also uses up the leftovers?? Also be sure and check out our original Stove Top Mac & Cheese that we used as the base of this recipe!

Macaroni and cheese with ham in a white bowl

Easy, 15 Minute Dinner Recipe!

I mean, we know you need them. The last year or so we’ve been taking all the help that we can get. Ordering food has become more the norm than it used to be, at least at our house. So dinner recipes like this Cheesy Shells and Ham come in handy when you just need a homemade, quick meal!

Is There Real Cheese In This Macaroni and Cheese Recipe?

Yep. Nothing boxed here, and also just FYI, this macaroni and cheese recipe is the closest that you’re going to get in flavor to that blue box. Just letting you know if your kids are as obsessed with that stuff as mine are, they’re going to love this recipe!

Shells with cheese and diced ham and peas

Boil the shells, drain and then set aside. Add cream to the pot that you cooked the pasta in a bring to a simmer. Stir in grated cheddar cheese, grated parmesan cheese and a few seasonings.

Next add the cooked pasta back to the pot, along with diced ham and defrosted frozen peas. You can also use canned peas but stir gently, as they are a little more delicate in nature.

Cheesy shells and ham in a bowl with spoons

What If I Don’t Have Leftover Ham?

No problem! Just head to the store and grab a ham steak (usually found in the butcher department) or go over to the deli counter and ask for ham that’s sliced about 1/4 inch thick. They can slice meat however thick or thin as you like, just ask!

There’s also some ideas below for other ingredients to make this Cheesy Shells and Ham but we just love the sweet flavor that ham brings to this pasta dish.

On that note, when choosing ham for this mac and cheese recipe, opt for a boiled ham or Virginia ham instead of a honey or maple ham.

Ham is sweet enough on it’s own and we don’t need the extra sweetness in this cheesy pasta recipe!

Cheesy Shells and Ham in a white bowl with peas

What Other Ingredients Can I Add To This Mac & Cheese Recipe?

If ham isn’t your thing, or you have other ingredients to use up in the fridge, sky’s the limit! Anything you’d like with macaroni and cheese is acceptable, but here’s a few ideas!

  • Canned Tuna Fish
  • Diced Chicken or Turkey
  • Crumbled Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Broccoli
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Caramelized Onions
Pasta with cheese sauce and diced ham in a bowl with a spoon

This Cheesy Shells and Ham recipe is definitely a great way to use up most any leftovers! One of my favorite “recipes” from growing up is tuna with mac & cheese and peas. You can guess how my mom made that one, there was a box involved.

And we loved it. And still do.

Looking For More Leftover Ham Recipes?

Pasta with cheese sauce and diced ham in a bowl with a spoon

Cheesy Shells and Ham

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x

Cheesy Shells and Ham is a delicious way to use up leftover ham! No leftovers? No worries! Grab a ham steak or some thick sliced deli ham from the store!



  • 1 Recipe Stove Top Mac & Cheese
  • 1 pound leftover ham or a ham steak, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or canned peas (optional, if frozen defrost before adding to the macaroni & cheese)


  1. Follow the instructions for the Stove Top Mac & Cheese. Once completed, stir in the diced ham and defrosted peas if using.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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