Breakfast Strata is a filling baked casserole dish loaded with bread, eggs, ham, cheese, and vegetables that will keep you going until lunchtime.
This protein-rich and carb-loaded meal is simple to prepare and can even be prepared the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is pop it in the oven. It’s hearty, meaty, and cheesy — a holiday brunch comfort food that can be enjoyed all year!
Making breakfast for your family can be a chore. Aside from the mad rush to get your kids ready for school and yourself ready for work, you must also decide what to make to satisfy everyone without wasting too much time in the kitchen. If this dilemma sounds familiar, this delectable breakfast Strata is just what you need! It’s quick and easy to make, packed with breakfast essentials, and oh so tasty — it’ll surely be the newest addition to your breakfast rotation.
What Exactly Is a Strata?
A stratum is a traditional American breakfast or brunch dish of eggs, cheese, and bread layered in a casserole, hence the name. However, vegetables and meats are frequently added to make the dish more substantial. The bread is baked until firm and custard-like after it has absorbed the egg mixture.
Why You’ll Love This Breakfast Strata
This recipe is simple and straightforward. It will only take 10 minutes to put everything together, after which you will simply place the egg and ham casserole in the fridge before transferring it to the oven. The total time is over an hour, but you will only work for a few minutes.
It is possible to prepare ahead of time. This breakfast strata can be assembled in the baking pan the night before and refrigerated overnight. All that remains to be done in the morning is to bake it! You’ll have an hour to complete your morning tasks before returning to enjoy a delicious breakfast!
Perfect with leftovers and day-old bread. Throw out tough, dry bread that has been sitting on your counter for days. This breakfast casserole is the ideal way to put them to use. You can also use any leftover ham from a holiday dinner and rummage through your refrigerator for those half-forgotten vegetable cut-offs.
A recipe that can be altered. Feel free to use whatever bread, meat, cheese, and vegetables you have on hand or prefer. I’ve added some suggestions to the ingredient notes below.
Healthy and kid-friendly. This ham and egg breakfast recipe is also an excellent way to sneak vegetables into your children’s breakfast without them noticing. Simply chop them into small pieces and top them with more cheese.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- You will need the following ingredients to make this easy make ahead Breakfast Strata (full measurements in the recipe card below):
- Bread – For this recipe, I prefer crusty and chewy bread, such as French bread, because it absorbs the milky egg mixture without disintegrating. This will result in a chewier, fluffier Strata. Excellent choices include baguette, brioche, sourdough, challah, ciabatta, and boule. However, you can use any type of plain bread.
- For this recipe, I used red bell pepper and green onions. Other vegetables that can be used include broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, onions, scallions, mushrooms, asparagus, basil, tomatoes, kale, and parsley. Pre-cook any vegetables with a high water content, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, kale, and spinach, or the strata will be too soggy.
- You can use ham or bacon for the meat (this is a great recipe to use up any leftover ham!). You can also use chicken or turkey shreds for a lighter option. Leave out the meat entirely for a vegetarian option.
- To achieve the perfect gooey texture, use Parmesan cheese or any other melty cheese. Cheddar, gouda, Gruyere, Fontina, Havarti, and Monterey Jack are all good options. Crumbled goat or feta cheese can also be used.
- Eggs – I used 10 large eggs in this recipe; if you use smaller eggs, adjust the number accordingly. Fifteen small eggs should be equivalent if using small eggs.
- Milk is combined with the egg to create a creamier, custard-like texture. I prefer whole milk because it has a thicker consistency. As an alternative, you can use half-and-half.
- Dijon mustard – gives the dish a robust, zesty flavor with a hint of flavor! If you don’t have this, you can substitute plain or ground mustard or leave it out entirely.
- a pinch of garlic powder
- pepper and salt
How to Make the Best Breakfast Strata
- Place the bottom layer of bread on top. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole pan with oil or butter and evenly distribute the chopped bread in the pan.
- Mix in the vegetables, meat, and cheese. Distribute the bell peppers, ham, and cheese evenly across the bread.
- Prepare the egg mixture. Combine the eggs, milk, mustard, green onions, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until everything is well combined.
- A layer of egg custard Pours the egg custard mixture evenly over the bread. Gently press down with a spatula to ensure that all of the bread pieces are soaked in the egg custard.
- Rest. Wrap the casserole dish in plastic wrap and set aside for at least 20 minutes. For an easy make-ahead breakfast, place it in the fridge overnight until ready to bake.
- Bake. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the egg mixture is completely set (or a knife inserted near the center comes out clean).
- The version for meat lovers. If you want more meat, add your favorite meats like sausages, pork, and beef. Whatever you choose, cook it before assembling it in the strata.
- A less heavy option. Replace the whole milk with low-fat milk, the meats with turkey or chicken bits, and the bread with a multi-grain loaf for a lighter breakfast.
- Make it hot. Simply add jalapenos or Serrano peppers if your family enjoys spicy foods. To add some heat, add some chili or paprika powder.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Make any necessary adjustments to the milky egg mixture. Depending on how dry and crumbly the bread is, you may need to add more milk to the egg mixture. To get the best results, make sure they’re moist and evenly soaked before putting them in the oven.
- It’s time to unwind. It may be preferable to leave the strata casserole to soak in the liquids overnight, especially if the bread is dry and crumbly. You can, however, do it on the same day. But, again, the soaking time may vary depending on the bread, so make any necessary adjustments.
- Check for completion. Insert a knife into the center of the Strata to see if it is fully cooked. If it comes out clean, the dish is ready to serve. If you overcook it, it will become dry and tough.