The holiday season is for wholesome, hearty breakfasts. There’s nothing cozier than warming up for the day with a sit-down meal filled with savory aromas, and this sumptuous egg strata recipe checks all of the holiday breakfast boxes. It’s gooey, cheesy, zesty, nutrient-packed, and super simple to make.
When we’re so bustling and busy, it can be difficult to carve out time in the mornings to make and enjoy satisfying breakfasts. During the holidays, things might feel more hectic than ever, but it’s also a time meant for meals with loved ones and comforting foods. When it comes to holiday breakfasts, there’s nothing simpler or more satisfying than a hearty egg strata casserole like this one.
This wholesome holiday recipe is the ideal all-in-one breakfast that you can make quickly or ahead of time, rather than running around the kitchen trying to make platters of toast, pastries, bacon, and eggs — because everyone always winds up wanting their eggs done a different way.
Combining fresh eggs and sourdough bread with leafy greens, savory sausage, melty cheese, and a kick of spice makes for a hearty breakfast that leaves everyone satisfied and fueled up for a family-filled day.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Sourdough Bread – Bread is the defining feature of a strata, and I love the tanginess of sourdough. That said, any kind of bread will do. If you’re making this dish in a hurry, use fresh bread. If using older, stale bread, it will just have to soak a bit longer.
- Gouda – Good, melty cheese is another important aspect of a satisfying egg strata. Shredded Gouda melts beautifully and adds a rich, subtly sweet note to the whole dish. Other cheeses that melt easily like cheddar, Gruyere, Muenster, and Monterey Jack will also work in this recipe — you could even do a blend for extra flavor!
- Hot Italian Sausage – Meat isn’t absolutely necessary in a strata, but the zest and bold smoky flavors of hot Italian sausage add another layer of heartiness and gourmet flair to this dish. Feel free to substitute with another sausage, diced ham, or crumbled bacon.
- Spinach – Adding a sprinkle of veggies is an easy way to get extra early-morning nutrition, and I love how chopped spinach pairs with Gouda in this recipe. Substitute with fresh bell peppers, broccoli, or mushrooms if you’d like!
Breakfast casserole recipe video
Making an egg strata isn’t difficult at all; it’s basically just a baked egg casserole! To see exactly how to make it, step by step, watch the video in the recipe card below.
HOW TO MAKE EGG STRATA
- Brown The Sausage. Remove each sausage from its casing, then brown the meat in a skillet. Break up bigger chunks, drain, and set aside.
- Assemble The Strata. Coat a 9”x9” baking dish with butter, then place 3 buttered slices of bread along the bottom of the dish. Layer half of the spinach, cheese, and sausage on top, create another layer of buttered bread, then top that with the rest of your ingredients. For a quicker method, you can mix all of the ingredients together instead of layering them — find tips on that in the recipe card below.
- Cover With Egg Mixture. In a bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, and spices. Pour this mixture slowly and evenly over the layers in the baking pan.
- Let It Soak. Cover your baking dish with foil and pop it in the refrigerator overnight. If you’re in a rush, leave the mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Then, let the strata sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Bake And Serve. Bake uncovered at 350˚F for about one hour, or until the strata has risen and turned golden. Slice and serve piping hot or even at room temperature.
What to serve with your holiday breakfast
Since the egg strata already has a little bit of everything in it, you can enjoy it on its own for a complete breakfast.
Or, pair it with some crispy roasted gold potatoes, fresh fruit or blood orange salad, and a refreshing beverage of your choice!
What’s the Difference Between Strata, Quiche, and Frittata?
While all three of these dishes are baked egg-and-cheese mixtures, they differ in texture, appearance, and preparation.
An egg strata’s defining feature is the layers of bread that the egg mixture is baked around, which gives the dish a more structured appearance and texture — similar to lasagna.
Quiche is similar to a pie, with a cheesy egg custard filling in a flaky dough crust. Frittata is essentially a quiche without a crust (and no bread either!), much like very thick and fluffy omelet.
Does Egg Strata Have to Sit Overnight?
The great thing about this breakfast recipe is that you can make it in advance to free up your morning a bit. Strata needs to sit in the refrigerator overnight so that the bread can fully soak up the egg mixture. If you’re short on time, leave the dish in the refrigerator for at least one hour before baking.
Does Egg Strata Have to Be Room Temperature to Bake?
Yes, it’s important to let your strata come to room temperature before it goes in the oven. This allows it to cook more evenly, and it won’t take as long to bake. Let it sit on the counter while you preheat the oven — for at least 15 minutes, but preferably 30 minutes or so.
This recipe post, originally published on Kevin Is Cooking March, 2016, has been updated with new content, photos and/or video in November, 2022.
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Holiday Breakfast Egg Strata + Video
- 4 links hot Italian sausage removed from casings
- 6-8 slices sourdough bread or 4 sourdough sandwich rolls chopped
- 4 tbsp butter optional
- 1 lb fresh spinach or 10 oz fresh frozen, thawed and drained
- 1/2 lb Gouda cheese grated
- 8 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk or half and half
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg optional
- In a skillet brown sausage and break up any lumps, drain and set aside.
- You can either layer this recipe (directions follow or mix the chopped bread, cooked sausage, spinach and cheese all up in a bowl and then add to buttered pan. This cuts out the layering and extra butter.
- Coat a 9”x9” baking dish with some butter and with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter spread it over the bread slices. Place 3 slices butter side up in baking dish, squeeze to fit.
- Layer half the spinach, then cheese, then sausage over bread. Place remaining bread slices on top, butter side down this time and top with the remaining spinach, cheese and sausage.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, milk, and spices until blended. Pour this mixture over the layered strata pan slowly to absorb completely. OR IF NOT LAYERING pour the egg mixture over the chopped bread, cooked sausage, spinach and cheese in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and place in prepared baking dish.
- Cover the pan with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Bake the strata uncovered for 1 hour or until it has risen and is a golden brown. Let cool enough to slice and enjoy.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
No video!! This is a bit confusing as I am putting it together. nO WAY IT IS GOING TO FIT A 9X9 PAN! I am perplexed. I shall blanch the fresh spinach I guess, then proceed from there.
The video is in the recipe card below the instructions.
have you made ahead and frozen it
No I have not Pat, but would be interested to hear how it goes if you do. I wouldn’t bake it first and freeze, but having it prepped up to the baking point and freezing is what I would do to test first. Let me know!
And I’ve seen recipes where you’re instructed to take it out the day before so that it can thaw in the fridge. Also, I didn’t notice in the instructions, but I remember always reading to remove it from the fridge about a half hour before baking.
Absolutely stunning, Kevin! And perfect for Easter – not only is it easy to put together and full of fantastic ingredients, but it gets assembled the night before. Stellar job on the video too!
Thank you so much Marissa! It is a go to for out of town guests here at Chez Aladin. 😉
It looks I missed this recipe last year which is surprising. How could I?:) So I’m glad you’ve been updating some of them so I can catch up. I’ve never tried a strata, but it always sounded delicious to me. No wonder – sausage, spinach, cheese….I need it in my life:)
Thanks Ben! I think it’s good to bring a few back up to speed for those who might have missed them with new photos and video!
I love these kind of dishes Kevin! Always loaded with great ingredients and always so tasty! Love everything in this one, especially that hot italian sausage!
Thanks MaryAnn, I always love a little kick in this! 🙂
Kevin this is literally breakfast-porn, it should be illegal, at least until I’ve had my first cup of coffee. Your photos are killing me!!
I like you’re thinking Sue and thanks so much for the kind words here. Have a great day! 🙂
I love breakfast recipes like this and what a beauty, Kevin! Sounds delicious too and as always, fab photos and your videos are killing it. 🙂
Thanks Sally, appreciate the kind words. I love this one, too. Great after taking the boys for a mountain hike! Just pop it in the oven and deliciousness awaits. 🙂
I feel dense here, but why do you have as the first instruction to heat the oven to 350, when you then say to refrigerate it overnight? Am I missing something???
Not at all, thanks Roger. I updated the recipe instructions. Thanks for trying this and reminding me, I need to make this again. Let me know what you think.
I’d eat this any time of the day and I think I prefer your method of mixing everything together, rather than the layering. I’ve actually never heard of Jimmy Dean sausage, so Italian style sounds fine to me!
Sorry for the late reply here John as I’ve been gone the last 2 weeks in India, but am back sifting emails, checking out everyones posts I missed and replying here. Thanks sometimes forget that not every American product is available elsewhere, but the Italian sausage make this a little more on the savory side than sweet. Looking forward to checking out your site, although I have followed somewhat via Instagram whenever WiFi was available. Cheers!
This sounds great, my kind of breakfast or brunch.
Hey Kevin! This my kind of breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!! The combination of flavors hits all the right notes! Can’t wait to hear about your trip and all the delicious food you guys are enjoying!
Hi Dorothy, this is such a great one for whenever we have house guests. And I like your thinking of having it for dinner… now I can use that as a reason to make it more often! India adventure and food stories will be coming soon after I catch up with everything. Thanks again. 🙂
This strada sounds (and looks) insanely delicious, Kevin! I think I might have to fight you over those crispy edges, though. 🙂 How can you go wrong with spicy Italian sausage and gouda? I hope you guys are enjoying your travels right now…I can’t wait to here your stories when you get back Stateside.
Thanks Dave. I love how the egg and bread almost make a custard like texture on the inside with all the cheesy, crunchy edges. #GoGouda!