Strata

March 27, 2021  ·  Published March 26, 2021

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My favorite Strata recipe! This delicious dish is made with hearty artisan style bread, fresh spinach and bell pepper, flavorful ham, bold cheddar cheese, and a rich egg custard. All together in one! What’s not to love?

Overheat photo of strata casserole in a white rectangular baking dish.

What is a Strata?

A strata is an American brunch casserole dish made up of layered pieces of bread, meat or vegetables, often cheese, and it’s all soaked in an egg and milk mixture. It’s oven baked until cooked through and set, and then cut into squares and served warm.

It’s something like a savory French toast, with mix-ins!

I love this for a change because a lot of breakfast foods are sweet, or coated in something sweet. Like pancakes, pastries, scones, waffles, muffins, and French toast. But it’s great to have a more savory option like this strata.

It’s so convenient that you can make this the night before you want to serve it, pop it in the oven in the morning and have an easy, hot breakfast ready to serve! An overnight casserole that’s great for holidays and weekends.

It also makes a great dinner and leftovers for lunch too. So much deliciousness in every layered bite!

Photo of slice of strata on a single serving plate with a fork to the side. Plate is set over a green cloth.

Strata Recipe Ingredients and Variations

  • Eggs: Be sure to break the yolks when mixing.
  • Milk: Preferably use whole milk for richer flavor.
  • Heavy cream: If you have half and half on hand instead of cream, then use 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 cup half and half.
  • Dijon mustard: This adds a faint background flavor. If you don’t care for mustard you can omit.
  • Red pepper flakes: I like the light spice this adds but you can omit if preferred.
  • Salt and pepper: Season to taste.
  • Butter: Olive oil would work as well.
  • Yellow onion: Red onion can be substituted.
  • Red bell pepper: Another color of bell pepper would work fine if that’s what you have. Red is just the sweetest and adds a nice contrast of color.
  • Spinach: Baby kale is another great option.
  • Ham: 16 oz sausage cooked, or 10 slices bacon cooked would work well too.
  • Fresh parsley: 1 Tbsp dried parsley will work if you don’t have fresh.
  • Italian bread: French bread is great too, or even sourdough. Just be sure to use fairly dense bread (I like La Brea) so it doesn’t take up too much volume and holds together better.
  • Sharp white cheddar: I’ve also like to use Gruyere cheese here.

Photo of ingredients used to make a strata. Includes bread, eggs, onion, cream, cheddar cheese, milk, ham, red pepper flakes, bell pepper, spinach, dijon mustard and butter.

How to Make a Strata

  1. Prepare baking dish: Spray a 13 by 9-inch dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Make custard mixture: In a mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cream, dijon mustard, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Saute veggies in butter: Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until slightly golden brown and tender (only toss occasionally), about 10 minutes.
  4. Wilt spinach: Add in spinach and saute just until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Add ham and parsley: Toss in ham and parsley.
  6. Layer bread, veggies, then cheese in dish: Spread half of the bread evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish. Top evenly with half of the onion mixture. Sprinkle over half of the cheese.
  7. Repeat layering again: Repeat this same layering process with bread, onion mixture and cheese again.
  8. Pour egg mixture over: Whisk egg mixture again then evenly pour over top of the strata.
  9. Press to submerge: Press down with your hands evenly across top to submerge ingredients into the egg mixture.
  10. Chill: Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  11. Heat oven, bake strata: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once preheated remove strata from the fridge and bake in preheated oven until center is set, about 50 to 60 minutes.
  12. Cut and serve: Let rest a few minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Collage of eight photos showing steps to preparing custard and meat and vegetable mixture for a strata.

How to Tell When it is Cooked Through

  • The strata should be puffed in the center and when a toothpick is inserted it should be free of wet and raw egg custard (moisture is fine but it shouldn’t appear uncooked).
  • USDA recommends cooking strata to at least 160 degrees in center for doneness.

How to Store

  • Store leftovers in refrigerator within two hours of baking.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly or store in an airtight container.
  • Cooked strata can be refrigerated 3 to 4 days or frozen up to 3 months.

How to Reheat

  • You can reheat individual portions in the microwave.
  • Larger portions can be reheated in preheated 350 degree oven in an oven safe dish, covered with foil. Cook until warmed through (bake time will vary based on size of portions, approximately 15 – 30 minutes).

Collage of eight photos showing how to layer a strata in a casserole dish.

Helpful Tips

  • Use stale bread that’s preferably 2 or 3 days old. It will absorb liquid better.
  • If the bread has a dry crust (Artisan style) I like to wrap in a plastic bag overnight so it’s easier and less messy to cut.
  • Be sure to press and submerge bread well into egg mixture to help soak through.
  • If you like your strata with a little more moisture increase milk by 1/4 cup.
  • To make it richer you can use 1 cup heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups whole milk.

Close up photo of strata.

More Tasty Egg Recipes to Try

Strata

My favorite Strata recipe! This delicious dish is made with hearty artisan style bread, fresh spinach and bell pepper, flavorful ham and bold cheddar cheese, and everything is soaked in a rich egg custard and oven baked.
Servings: 10
Prep25 minutes
Cook1 hour 5 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped red bell pepper
  • 6 oz. spinach (6 cups packed)
  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 12 oz. hearty Italian bread, or French Bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (8 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups sharp white cheddar

Instructions

  • Spray a 13 by 9-inch dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cream, dijon mustard, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste (I use about 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper). Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion and bell pepper and saute until slightly golden brown and tender (only toss occasionally), about 10 minutes.
  • Add in spinach and saute just until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • Toss in ham and parsley.
  • Spread half of the bread evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish. Top evenly with half of the onion mixture. Sprinkle over half of the cheese.
  • Repeat this same layering process with bread, onion mixture and cheese again.
  • Whisk egg mixture again then evenly pour over top of the strata.
  • Press down with your hands evenly across top to submerge ingredients into the egg mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Once preheated remove strata from the fridge and bake in preheated oven until center is set, about 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Let rest a few minutes before slicing. Serve warm.
Nutrition Facts
Strata
Amount Per Serving
Calories 380 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 209mg70%
Sodium 769mg33%
Potassium 479mg14%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 3002IU60%
Vitamin C 32mg39%
Calcium 222mg22%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.