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This simple, make-ahead breakfast strata recipe is layered with bread, ham, sautéed spinach, and onions, then soaked overnight in a creamy egg custard and baked in the morning. It’s perfect for holidays and special occasions!

For the holidays, make ahead breakfast recipes are a lifesaver! French toast casserole, crescent roll breakfast casserole or crockpot breakfast casserole are a few to try.

Dishing out the best breakfast strata.
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Best Breakfast Bake

I love a good breakfast casserole! Whether it’s sweet like a croissant breakfast casserole or savory like a breakfast hashbrown casserole, they are one of my favorite easy breakfast ideas that are great for serving crowds.

This breakfast strata recipe is an overnight breakfast casserole that I’ll be preparing on Christmas Eve and serving for Christmas breakfast this year.

Layered with cubes of custard-soaked bread, ham, melty cheese, spinach, and onions, baked until fluffy inside and crispy and golden on top, it’s an instant hit!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Make ahead. Prep your breakfast strata at night, bake it in the morning, and breakfast is served!
  • Easy to make. It’s a hearty, filling, and low-fuss way to serve a crowd.
  • Great for using leftover bread! Once the bread is soaked overnight and then baked, it’s got a great chewy texture and it’s never soggy!

Strata Recipe Ingredients

Strata ingredients on the counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Cubed bread: You’ll need about 8 cups. Sourdough or baguette are both great choices as they’re a sturdier crustier bread.
  • Diced ham: If you have leftover ham from dinner, use it up.
  • Spinach, onion, garlic: You’ll need salted butter to sauté this trio of flavors.
  • Cheese: I like to use both Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, but you can use just Gruyere if you prefer. Either way, I recommend grating your fresh cheese at home.
  • For the custard: Large eggs, half-and-half (or whole milk), ground mustard, salt, and pepper. You can also add some nutmeg if you’d like.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Meat: Swap the ham for bacon, sausage, or diced chicken. Again, a great use of leftovers!
  • Veggies: Mushrooms, asparagus, roasted red pepper, bell peppers, or swap the spinach for kale.
  • Cheese: Use cheddar, fontina, or a combination of cheeses. Swiss is rather sharp so if you do use it, I’d combine it with a milder cheese.
  • Extra seasoning: Ramp up the egg mixture with added seasoning. Use whatever seasoning you enjoy. Thyme and paprika are great options, but use what you’ve got!

How to Make Breakfast Strata

Showing how to make strata in a 4 step collage.
  • Sauté the spinach. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in melted butter until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and spinach and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Layer the strata. Add half of the bread to the bottom of a prepared 9×13 baking dish and top that with ham and 1/2 of the spinach mixture. Repeat with another layer of bread, ham, and spinach mixture.
  • Soak with custard. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, salt, pepper, and optional nutmeg. Pour the egg custard evenly over the top of the breakfast strata. Cover it tightly and chill for at least 1 hour. Overnight is even better!
  • Bake. Bring the strata to room temperature as oven preheats. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Then, loosely cover it with foil so the top doesn’t burn, and let the breakfast strata bake for another 30-35 minutes until it’s puffed up, set, and golden on top!

Expert Tips

  • Length of chill time. The purpose of this is to allow the bread to absorb all of that delicious egg mixture and fresh or soft bread won’t need as long. Whereas, stale, or crustier bread could do with the overnight soak.
  • Not just for breakfast. You can certainly enjoy this strata recipe any time of day! Sure it’s a hit at breakfast, but a savory dish like this goes over big at dinner too. In this case, start it in the morning and allow it to soak during the day.
  • Sit before serving. Allow the breakfast strata to cool a bit once it is out of the oven so it can set even more and hold together when sliced.
Slice of breakfast strata in a white baking dish.

Recipe FAQs

How far ahead can you make strata?

I’d say up to 12 hours, but no more. Again, this depends on the type of bread you choose to use. At a certain point, it’ll start to get soggy, so keep that in mind!

Is strata like quiche?

Yes and no. They both use a similar custard and have a ratio of liquid to eggs. You can also use many of the same ingredients in the strata as you would a quiche like ham and spinach.

The main difference is a strata is layered with bread cubes that need to be soaked. At the same time, a quiche uses the egg mixture as a filling baked in a crust.

What type of bread can I use to make egg strata?

I love the thick chewy texture of sourdough bread or baguette bread, so those are always my top picks. You can use any bread you want! Whole wheat, rye, gluten-free, day-old regular sliced white bread, Texas toast, etc.

I would stay away from something like pumpernickel or any bread that has a strong overpowering flavor.

Serving Suggestions

This egg strata recipe is hearty and filling so you don’t need much else to fill you up but something like a Hawaiian fruit salad or berry fruit salad would be a nice, refreshing addition to your meal!

A basket of freshly baked scones would also be welcome, especially for a brunch crowd!

If you’re having breakfast strata for dinner, all you’d need is a simple tossed salad on the side and dinner is served.

Breakfast strata on a white plate.

More make-ahead breakfast recipes include overnight cinnamon rolls, cinnamon roll casserole and classic quiche lorraine!

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Dishing out the best breakfast strata.

Breakfast Strata Recipe

5 from 8 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Breakfast strata is layered with bread, ham, sautéed spinach, and onions, then soaked overnight in a creamy egg custard and baked in the morning. It's perfect for special occasions!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 10

Video

Ingredients 

  • 8 cups (12-ounce loaf) cubed bread (sourdough or baguette)
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen spinach , thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup grated gruyere
  • ½ cups grated parmesan cheese , or Gruyere
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half , or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg , optional

Instructions

  • Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently 5 minutes, or translucent. Stir in garlic and spinach. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more.
  • Working in batches, arrange half of the bread in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the ham and 1/2 spinach mixture. Repeat with remaining bread, ham, and spinach mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
  • In a large bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, if using, until combined. Pour evenly over the top. Cover tightly and chill at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the strata from the fridge and let sit while the oven heats. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Loosely cover with foil, and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until puffed, set, and golden brown all over top. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Fresh spinach: Swap frozen for 3 cups, packed, fresh spinach.
Storage: Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Make sure it has completely cooled before you place the lid on it.
Freeze: Prepare casserole up until chilling. Cover with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature, and bake.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 816kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 1606mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 659IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 498mg | Iron: 8mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American

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