Ham and Cheese Quinoa Bites

I’m in love with quinoa lately, making these lovely patties over and over again and revisiting some of our favorite quinoa salads.

But these ham, cheese and broccoli bites? Um, I kind of, sort of ate them for five days in a row and forgot any other quinoa recipe existed. In fact, I hid them in the back of the refrigerator behind the blue cheese (which my husband abhors) so I could sneak them at my leisure. I didn’t even feel bad about it either. Every taste was divine.

They are tasty. And completely addictive. And I don’t know about you, but there’s worse things to be craving than quinoa (don’t worry, my dark chocolate addiction is severely intact still). My kids’ grubby and adorable little fingers snatched these up as quick as can be and they all requested them in their school lunch the next day. Most of the time that would be a major win…children requesting healthy lunch fare. But in this case, I was hard pressed not to convince them to go with the ol’ standby (PB&J) so I could, well, you know, eat them myself. I know. Mothers are supposed to be selfless. Work in progress when it comes to cheesy quinoa bites. Go ahead. Make them and you’ll see what I mean.

Ham and Cheese Quinoa Bites

What To ServeTender Grilled Salmon or Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon
Vegetable Saute with Simple Cream Sauce or fresh, cut up veggies
Cranberry-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip or Hot Chorizo and Cheese Dip with crackers or chips

One Year Ago: Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies {Egg-Free}
Two Years Ago: Hearty Beef Stew {Slow Cooker}
Three Years Ago: The Best Chicken Fajitas

Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Quinoa Bites

Yield: Makes 2-3 dozen mini bites

Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Quinoa Bites

Note: I like lightly steamed broccoli here versus raw. I throw my broccoli florets into a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 3-4 minutes. If you don't have broccoli, try subbing in zucchini, carrots or a myriad of other veggies. Good quality ham is key here - I really like the Hormel Natural Choice ham or leftover baked ham. While this recipe is written for a mini muffin tin, you could just as easily use a standard size muffin tin, increasing the baking time until they are heated through. If you are cooking your quinoa in water, you will probably want to increase the salt in the recipe a bit.


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa, chilled or at room temperature (I prefer to cook quinoa in low-sodium chicken broth for added flavor)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces deli ham, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1-2 cups finely chopped steamed broccoli (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients except the cheese until combined. Stir in the cheese until well-distributed. Lightly grease a mini muffin cup tin. Scoop the quinoa mixture into the tin, filling the cups all the way to the top and lightly pressing to pack the mixture a bit. I found it helpful to use my cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoon size) to scoop the mixture into the tin.
  3. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden on top. Remove from the tin and repeat with the remaining mixture (you can scoop it into the warm tin and bake again). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

88 Responses to Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Quinoa Bites

  1. Kira says:

    We have made these for quite some time now, but thought i would add my notes. We love these. I made 12 regular muffins. I put the mixture in liners sprayed with Pam. Baked 32 minutes. After cooling for a few minutes, they came out very easily. I did not press the mixture into the liners tightly. We thought this was a great main dish and served asparagus along side.

  2. Monica says:

    I cooked my quinoa with half water and half beef broth. I used two cups of drained zucchini and some bacon instead of the broccoli and ham. I got 48 mini cups and had to bake them about 25 minutes before they were nice and crispy on the outside. Great recipe!

  3. Brie says:

    We make these ALL the time!!! Definitely one of our all time favs

  4. Ag says:

    These are absolutely amazing. I make them weekly, and my 3 year old loves to take them for lunch in his thermos. I have been omitting the cheese, because he doesn’t like cheese, and adding more broccoli, and they come out just as tasty.

  5. Melody Upham says:

    Oh how I wish I hadn’t found these. I’m not a fan of quinoa, but my husband loves it and thought I’d make these as a treat for him. My mistake was in trying one. Now I know why you hide them. Well done! Just FYI for anyone interested…I’m a diabetic so I always figure out the nutritional info. This made 40 bites in a mini muffin pan (each cups holds 2Tbs) and for each ‘bite’, it is 58 calories, 3 fat, 3.6 carbs and 3.9 protein.

  6. Shallan says:

    These are so good! The only thing is that when I make them in regular size cupcake tins, sometimes they don’t stick together and fall apart when I remove them from the pan. I’m assuming the mini cupcake size ones hold together better.

  7. Anna says:

    Hey! Recently found your site and it’s been a welcomed change to my household’s student budget foods! All your recipes seem to be made out of ingredients that people actually have in their fridge. Cookbook recipes normally include super weird ingredients, like lemon flavoured vinegar or something equally ununsable.. Yours are magnificently down to earth 🙂 Thank you!

    One suggestion: could you make up some picnic dishes (that don’t require cutlery to eat)?? It’s summer here in Finland and we like to make the most of it by eating outside as much as possible, but I’m already out of ideas 😀

    Regards from the Artic Circle!

  8. Dray says:

    I love these! So good. I didn’t have ham, so I used pancetta instead and it worked really well too.

  9. Emily says:

    Another great recipe! And my 15 month old LOVED them, which made me very happy since he is getting good protein from the quinoa and eating broccoli. Love your recipes.

  10. Kaitlyn says:

    I made these for the first time this week and was a little skeptical. I didn’t think that they could stand as a main dish so I also made skillet macaroni and cheese (I know it’s a bit weird of a combination). My husband was so excited when he heard I was making mac and cheese, but took one look at the Quinoa bites before I baked them and didn’t want anything else to do with them.

    When we actually started eating dinner, we both went for the quinoa bites and forgot about the mac and cheese. They smell great and taste yummy. But, I don’t think they’re a dinner dish. They are great for breakfast. Ham, eggs, and cheese. They smell like breakfast. I even substituted cauliflower in for the broccoli just because I was out of broccoli. Cauliflower acts a lot like potatoes, which goes great with breakfast too. My recommendation is use cauliflower instead of broccoli and make these for breakfast!

  11. Melissa C says:

    Made these last night…and have been popping the leftover ones in my mouth all day to keep me going…pretty tasty…a hit in my home 🙂 thanks!
    PS I substituted chopped up ham steak instead of deli ham…still delicious!

  12. Lori Sams says:

    Do you think these would work without the cheese? I don’t eat dairy. Just wondering if the texture would be the same.

  13. Theresa says:

    I used this recipe and made it in a casserole dish instead of a mini muffin pan. It was still completely delicious, and that cut down on a lot of my prep time. I didn’t make any modifications other than the baking dish, and everyone in my family loved it!

  14. Amanda says:

    Hi Mel- Making these for my daughters birthday party Saturday, for a morning brunch. I wanted to know if you had ever made your quinoa and froze it to use later? I’ve made these already and if I was making them for my family I’d just give it a go, but since I’m making them for a crowd I don’t want to screw it up! So I have quinoa from the freezer that is already prepared. Do you have any feedback for using frozen?? As in don’t do it! or yes it’s ok?!

    • Mel says:

      Amanda – I haven’t frozen quinoa before so I can’t give a definitive answer but if it were me, I’d totally use it – thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or until completely defrosted and if by some chance there is excess liquid (may not be), drain before using. Good luck!

  15. malinda jackson says:

    Was searching for a quinoa recipe I could make for lunches at work and found this.. making both these bites and the black bean and corn quinoa salad tonight.. thanks for the ideas!

  16. Jenn says:

    Made tonight to go with dinner. I really liked them as did the guests I served them to.

  17. Lien says:

    I’m making this with turkey and dumping it into a casserole dish! So much easier!

  18. Lisa says:

    These were really good! I have been scared of quinoa after trying to make it once and it turning out not great at all. I’ve been looking for a healthy alternative to my mom’s broccoli cheese casserole, and this hit all the flavor notes! I made them in a standard size muffin tin, and I thought they came out ever so slightly dry. Next time I am going to add about 1/2 cup chicken broth and maybe 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream to the mixture before baking it to help it stick together and hopefully be moist and creamy inside.

  19. Janine Skipper says:

    I made these for my family and they inhaled them! They were absolutely delicious, thank you for an amazing recipe 🙂

  20. Candace says:

    Is it imperative that teh quinoa rest to room temperature?

  21. Karen says:

    These are delicious. I made mine w 2 medium grated zucchini instead of broccoli, 1.5 c cheddar and 2 egg whites. You could even bake in a casserole dish as a side! I’m looking forward to trying variations – great for my kid’s lunch boxes, too! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Sherri says:

    I made these tonight and cooked the quinoa in chicken broth. Made half with ham and half with leftover pulled pork from the smoker. The kids (3, 5, 14) ate them up and there were no leftovers. A little bummed, I wanted to share them with friends at work. Served with cottage cheese and salad and clementines. Thanks! I made your summer garden soup last night and brought the leftovers to work today. Everyone loved it and asked for the recipe.

  23. Daniela says:

    Made these for dinner and they were delish! I used a regular sized muffin pan and cooked for about 30 mins in oven. They are definitely easier to pop out when they are Luke warm. I served with mashed potatoes, and a nice light arugula salad. Can’t wait to take my leftovers to work! Your recipes are awesome 🙂

  24. Shandra Madsen says:

    Hi Melanie,

    Can I just say I love these quinoa bites. I’m kind of addicted to adding knew flavors and textures to them. My latest favorite is a southwestern twist with an avocado dressing on top. SO delicious! Here is a link if you want another version of these awesome bites. Thanks for the recipe!


  25. Lien says:

    We love ours with a big salad! I also like to add a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard, onion powder, and granulated garlic to the recipe.

  26. Lien4424 says:

    When making quinoa, I always give them a quick toast in a dry skillet, then rinse them before cooking. It gives it such a nice flavor.

  27. Krissy says:

    Mel, these are awesome, my family loves them! Thanks for sharing

  28. Hilarie says:

    Do you serve anything with the bites, like a meat, vegetable, toast, etc.? It doesn’t seem like just the bites would be enough for a full meal.

  29. Terry Bridges says:

    I, too, subbed. I didn’t have the exact ingredients. I added green onions because I love them. These were so delicious! Added plus, I didn’t have to fry them like you have to do with Quinoa Patties! Don’t get me wrong, I adore the patties but they can be a hassle to make. These are perfect! I just took another batch out of the oven so I have to get back to eating. Toodles!

  30. fmandds says:

    Great recipe! I adapted it completely though, well subbed. I used 1 1/2 cups shredded bbq chicken, 2 cups of corn on the cobs(well just the kernels that I sliced off) and about 1/2 cups of cilantro chopped. Oh and I used 2 cups of cheddar & Monterey jack cheese. I needed to “mask” the 4th of July leftovers from those who refuse to eat reheated meat. They never even knew!

  31. jen says:

    Just made these using leftover quinoa, left out the ham since I didn’t have any on hand, and used a mix of sharp cheddar and Colby-jack for the cheeses. Fabulous! Mine didn’t brown, despite cooking an extra 8 minutes, but that’s probably just my funky oven. I sprayed my nonstick mini muffin pan and they popped out with just a quick butter-knife pry around the edge. They were delicious fresh from the oven and reheated quickly in the microwave they were just as good. I froze a handful too and am sure they’ll be great.

    I’m super lazy about washing muffin pans, so next time I think I’ll just make these in a baking dish (9×9 or so), bake a bit longer and cut into little squares. And I can imagine lots of delicious variations: sausage and kale, spinach and feta… mmmmm. Thanks for another great recipe!

  32. Kim says:

    Oh my word. Who would have guessed such a simple combo would be so amazingly delicious?? LOVE them! You could do this with any kind of leftover grain. Rice, wild rice, barley, wheat berries. All sound good.

  33. Katrina says:

    Well we devoured these little golden gems tonight! I even made a double batch by accident because I had cooked to much Quinoa boy am I glad I did! There was plenty for dinner and the kids begged to pack these in there lunch. The only bummer is now I won’t have any for my lunch. LoL I used bacon instead of ham only because that is what we had on hand. Our family rated this 12 thumbs out of 12!

  34. Erin says:

    Mmmmm,, just made these for lunch to use up leftover ham, and they were delicious. Hubby, toddler, and preschooler gobbled them up.

  35. Angie says:

    These were delicious! My only problem is, I couldn’t get them from sticking to the pan. I tried spraying the pan with olive oil, wiping oil onto pan with paper towel and even tried muffin liners, which turned out the worst! How do you get them to look good popping them out of the muffin tins???

    • Mel says:

      Hi Angie – I have a nonstick mini muffin tin and I spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Those are my only real tips! I find they are easier to get out cleanly if I don’t let them sit too long after they bake.

  36. Katie says:

    Yum! How far in advance can I make these? I need to serve them Thursday evening for a dinner/brunch. You say they can be served at room temp, but I’m thinking they’d need to be refrigerated after they had cooled? Can’t wait to try them!

    • Mel says:

      Katie – you could probably make them a day ahead of time but I’ll be honest, they taste best fresh (we eat them as leftovers but nothing compares to right out of the oven).

  37. sara says:

    Hi Mel, I made these a few weeks ago (in a regular size muffin tin) and really liked them. Thanks! I posted on my blog today with a link back here! Thanks for making me try quinoa again – this is the perfect use for it!

  38. Jane says:

    Thanks for bailing me out on Meatless Monday once again. These Quinoa Bites were just the ticket (however, my hus isn’t as awesome as yours because he didn’t eat all of his, but alas…). They are very adaptable as I used spinach and grated carrot and being MM, obviously no ham, but divine just the same – the girls and I devoured them!

  39. The Resplendent | Quinoa Bites Galore! says:

    […] Bites 4. Peanut Butter & Nutella Quinoa Bites (because we gotta get some dessert in there) 5. Cheesy Ham & Broccoli Quinoa Bites Enjoy! The […]

  40. Rachel says:

    These are a total hit! Easy to make, not too fussy, but full of flavor. Thank you for sharing this excellent recipe.

  41. colleen says:

    These are easy, tasty, and a perfect way to serve quinoa to my toddlers. Thanks for a great recipe!

  42. Jen G says:

    Tasty, but deserves a tweak or two to really shine. At 20 minutes in the oven, they were starting to crisp but still weren’t golden on top. Lightly greasing the tins yielded bites that stuck to the pan a bit too much. Had to wait until they cooled almost to room temp to safely remove them intact. One cup of quinoa yielded three cups cooked. Used water to cook the quinoa, but didn’t need any additional salt in the recipe. The kids felt it was a pretty decent substitute for homemade Mac and cheese, which they often find too rich.

  43. Meleah says:

    These were delicious!! I left the ham out completely (did not have any), and they were so yummy! I did have to bake them longer- maybe 22 minutes. Perfect! Thanks for sharing!!

  44. Kristin says:

    Keep the quinoa recipes coming! There is a lack of good quinoa recipes out there for such a healthy staple food like this.

  45. Abby says:

    This was my first time using quinoa and I made these with cooked quinoa from flakes…I’m guessing that was my problem? They didn’t hold together but they still tasted good. I’m looking forward to trying them with the actual quinoa “pearls” (or whatever they’re called…:D) to get them to hold better and to see how that affects the texture.

  46. Jennifer G. says:

    These were amazing. Three of us ate the whole batch! I think I might add an additional egg white next time as a binder. It’s easier to get them out of the muffin tin if they sit for a few minutes. Already looking forward to making them again and mixing up the flavors a bit.

  47. Sue says:

    Greetings from sunny Charlotte, NC. I’ve never tried quinoa, but WOW! these were great. Very easy and addictive. Can’t wait to try it in other recipes. Thanks for your inspiring recipes!!

  48. Mary says:

    Awesome! Made these the day I saw your post and my two kids (4 and 7) have been taking them for lunch this week to school! They love them, as do I.

  49. Deb says:

    These were delicious! I was able to get 40 mini muffins out of it and I used an ice cream scoop to fill the tins so it was less messy. Mine also required about 22-25 mins of cooking to get them golden brown – they did need to cook all the way through so they didn’t fall apart when you unmolded them. Thanks for the great recipe!

  50. Samantha S says:

    This was sooooo delicious. I love all your quinoa recipes, I can’t believe how different each one tastes. Really Mel, I have never bought a cookbook, but if you put one out I would buy it full price!

  51. Chiquita says:

    While cooking what looks to be a wonderfully delicious recipe. I mistakenly used couscous instead of quinoa!!! I don’t know how I could have made such a huge mistake!! After wondering for a few minutes why my “muffins” were not browning i realize a made the mistake. Still delicious just not a defined shape. 🙂 better luck next time

  52. I adore quinoa! I’m finally posting my simple but quite tasty quinoa pilaf later this week and next week plan to post some quinoa cakes with poached eggs that were absolutely delicious. The recipe for the quinoa cakes are quite similar to your ham and broccoli bites, so I know in advance how delicious these are going to be when I make them which will be soon! Hey, did you know that 2013 has been designated as “The Year of Quinoa” by the United Nations?

  53. oooh… i made something similar last month. i made this creamy sauce to go with it, totally delish. I like the idea of using quinoa (i used brown rice) and making them in the smaller cups

  54. Sarah says:

    I’m just gonna go ahead and say it – these are crack. HUGE hit with the family. Thank you, Mel!!

  55. Heather says:

    YES- cookbook please! It would replace all those other cookbooks I keep even though I only use 3-4 recipes out of them…. I would use all of yours!

  56. Rebecca says:

    I used chicken instead of ham, and cooked quinoa in chicken boullion. These are WONDERFUL! I will be making them again

  57. Jaka says:

    These were fantastic! Even better, my 3 & 5 year old helped make them, and then actually ate them. Everyone eating the same thing here is close to miraculous. Thank you for all the great recipes.

  58. Tami says:

    I love quinoa and I will be trying these soon for sure. That picture of them in the spoons is really cool.

  59. Caroline says:

    My kids loved your last quinoa recipe so I can’t wait to try this one!

  60. Val says:

    These look yummy! I’ll definitely be trying them! I’m also going to try Quinoa Spinach Mac and Cheese from Maria’s blog Two Peas and their Pod (www.twopeasandtheirpod.com) . You both have awesome blogs!

  61. Alicia says:

    These look heavenly! Can’t wait to try them!

  62. Risa says:

    These are great!
    My husband is vegetarian so I swapped the ham for textured vegetable protein (and added some some chopped green onion). Will definitely make these again 🙂

  63. Wanda says:

    I made these the day they were posted on IGE and loved them! You have great taste as always!

  64. Mel says:

    Andrea – good question – anywhere between 1 and 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa will equal 3 cups.

  65. Andrea says:

    Mel – how much dry quinoa equals 3 cups cooked?

  66. Mel says:

    Pauline – yes, I think these would freeze excellently.

  67. Dana says:

    I concur on the cookbook! Also, these look amazing. And the above bacon idea makes me want to head to the store immediately! Thanks for another one, Mel!! Love your guts!!

  68. I love quinoa but never make it that much, partly because I don’t have enough yummy recipes to try. So glad I found this one, it looks so good and something even my kiddo would eat!

  69. Stef says:

    There’s quinoa waiting in the pantry for me to try it for the first time… This might be the recipe that kicks me into gear.

  70. Rachel R. says:

    looks delish! thanks, quinoa is a staple in our house.

  71. Hananananah says:

    Ooooooooh! Those look fabulous. I’m a bit ham averse, so I’m going to try bacon. I can’t imagine that would be anything but divine. Can’t wait to try ’em!

  72. Patrick says:

    Those sound like they’d work for a cocktail party. Thanks.

  73. Pauline says:

    Mel, do you think these would freeze well? Also, for anyone who loves whole grains, have you tried farro? I like it even better than wheatberries (which I love). I just made the best recipe: Farro with Pistachios and Herbs (www.delish.com). You could add craisins if you want to sweeten it up. Farro can be hard to find……I bought mine at Central Market in Texas, but have found them in bulk health-food stores, or on-line. If you like a really chewy whole-grain full of nutrients (one step after wheatberries), give it a try.

  74. Erin says:

    Perfect! I was needed a good recipe for the ginormous bag of quinoa I bought….and for all the ham leftovers in our fridge. Once again, you saved the day. Love your blog!!

  75. StephenC says:

    This is so up my alley the alley should be named for me.

  76. I love quinoa, and this is such a creative way to use it! They look and sound absolutely amazing. And I’m going to go ahead and agree that you should look into publishing a cookbook!

  77. kandi v says:

    Oh yum! We love quinoa and am excited to try this recipe. I am always looking for new lunch items for the kiddos. Thanks Mel!

  78. Teresa says:

    I agree with Dessert for Two Mel… You need to publish a cookbook!

  79. Amanda E says:

    Can’t wait to try these! Sounds like a winner to me 🙂

  80. Mel, you seriously need a cookbook. As soon as you publish a cookbook, I’ll just go ahead and throw away all of my other cookbooks. You make the most creative and delicious recipes! These quinoa bites will be made this weekend!

  81. Renee says:

    I think I have only had quinoa once. I keep seeing all these recipes online though that make me want to give it another try. These look pretty tasty!! Thanks Mel.

  82. Kim in MD says:

    I have recently fallen in love with quinoa, too! I have been searching for different recipes using it, and these little bites look perfectly delicious! I have everything I need on hand to make this recipe, so I am going to make it tonight!

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