Breakfast has always been a chore for me. I never seem to have enough time to make something that I like or I'm in too much of a rush to eat anything at all. I quickly become bored of scrambled eggs and was never a fan of instant oatmeal. I usually skip breakfast altogether or grab a piece of fruit, which means I’ll inevitably be hungry again by mid-morning or feel sluggish by lunchtime.
Recently, I’ve been trying to change my non-breakfast-eater ways, and one dish has made the journey a lot easier: strata.
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What is strata?
Strata is a layered savory bread pudding that consists of eggs, bread, milk or cream, and cheese. It sometimes includes some vegetables and meat, though it doesn't have to. The one constant, though, is that you assemble it the night before and then bake it in the morning (it's essentially a 24-Hour "Omelet"). It’s got everything you need for the most important meal of the day, in a convenient, make-ahead package.
Breakfast Strata with Potatoes, Rosemary, and FontinaThe right blend of four staple ingredients—bread, eggs, cheese, and cream—produces a savory breakfast casserole that's simple and satisfying.
Strata is often touted as being the perfect for-a-crowd breakfast. And that's true: It's impressive, it makes your kitchen smell amazing, and it hardly takes any work the morning of (all you have to do is pop it in the oven). But I think it's even better for keeping all for yourself.
Here are a few reasons why this dish has helped me feel more prepared to take on the day.
1. Strata is a great make-ahead option. Lack of time is the demise of any good breakfast. Strata is prepared the night before, making it perfect for mornings when I need to rush out the door. But my secret? I even do the baking ahead of time. I'll typically assemble the strata in an 8-inch baking pan on Saturday evening and cook it on Sunday. This allows me to take my time and gives it time to cool.
2. It's ideal for individual portions. I love that I can bake strata over the weekend, let it cool, portion it into single-serving squares, and stick it in the refrigerator (or freezer!) for the upcoming week. When I wake up in the morning, I either quickly microwave it or stick it in the oven to warm it up while getting ready for the day. It’s so hands-off that even when I’m in a rush, eating breakfast doesn’t feel like another item on my to-do list.
3. You can switch up the fillings. I may make our Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyère one week and decide to whip up the Breakfast Strata with Sausage, Mushrooms, and Monterey Jack a few weeks later. I even use these recipes as a jumping-off point and then add in leftover ingredients that might otherwise go to waste such as that big bag of spinach sitting in the crisper or the extra mushrooms from another recipe. Anything goes here.
4. It keeps you full 'til lunchtime. Satisfaction is one of the most essential qualities of a good breakfast—maybe even the most essential. It needs to fuel you through the morning and keep you full until lunch. Strata does just that. It’s carried me through many hectic days and given me the energy to focus on my work. (Plus, it’s delicious, which certainly helps with the satisfaction factor!)
Convinced yet? Check out some of our strata recipes, such as Breakfast Strata with Potatoes, Rosemary, and Fontina or the equally make-ahead-friendly Featherbed Eggs, which uses cornbread instead of sandwich bread. Your mornings will thank you.