Delicious Frittatas are like a crustless quiche or omelet loaded with favorite ingredients like cheese, meat or vegetables nested in a silky savory custard base. They are easy recipes and fast to make and perfect for any meal of the day! Frittatas are a great way to use up leftovers or to create a satisfying main dish that’s totally affordable!
Frittatas are one of the most versatile recipes ever. Completely flexible about what ingredients you use. This guide will give you guidelines so you can make a new combination every time!
They are great when you need egg dishes that aren’t fussy to make and will serve many people too. With lots of options for filling ingredients it’s a perfect way to use up leftover ingredients from your refrigerator (the ultimate clean-out) or combine your favorite flavors for the best frittata. It’s a versatile dish, a one-pan meal, the whole family
What is a Frittata?
This egg dish is very similar to a crustless quiche loaded with favorite ingredients like cheese, meat and/or vegetables.
The word frittata is Italian in origin (it’s an Italian dish) and roughly translated to mean ‘fried’. It also translates to refer to the dish itself as an unfolded omelet with chopped vegetables or meal.
Why You’ll Love It
- It’s inexpensive to make
- Perfect for any meal of the day
- Completely flexible to change up (great for using up leftovers for the add-in ingredients)
- It’s easy to make
Key Ingredients Notes
There are five main components in a frittata recipe:
- Cream, Half and Half or Whole Milk
- Vegetables and/or meat
The basic recipe is based on 6 eggs. I usually use 8 which makes it a bit larger. The frittata will be a bit less creamy with more eggs.
Cream, Half and half or Whole Milk
Use full-fat dairy for the best results.
Almost any type of vegetable can be used. If it sounds good to you add it!
Vegetables cannot be raw. They can either be cooked in the frittata pan at the beginning or leftovers can be used.
Here are some favorite choices:
- onions, leeks or shallots
- spinach, kale, Swiss chard or other greens
- potatoes (perfect for leftover roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes)
- sweet bell pepper (using different colors can add a nice visual touch)
As with vegetables the meat needs to be cooked before added to the frittata. Ground meat can be cooked in the pan at the beginning of making the frittata. It’s a great way to use up leftover meat in a new way.
Try one or more of these:
- cooked bacon
- leftover holiday turkey or ham
- pre-cooked sausages (just slice and add)
- pulled pork
- rotisserie chicken
- leftover steak
Most types of cheese will be delicious. Soft cheeses won’t really melt but will stay in large crumbles for a pop of flavor in a bit.
Cheese that melts well will blend into the frittata ingredients. Harder cheeses (think parmesan cheese) aren’t the best choice for inside the frittata but can be sprinkled on the top.
Here are some great choices:
- shredded mild or sharp cheddar cheese
- Monterey Jack (regular or pepper jack)
- gouda (regular or smoked)
- havarti (regular or with dill)
- goat cheese
- feta cheese
- blue cheese (use in moderation as the bold flavor can take over the frittata’s flavor)
Salt and black pepper are a must. Consider adding cut fresh herbs and spices to compliment the vegetables or meat being used.
Basic Easy Frittata Recipe
The standard ratio for ingredients (agreed upon by most cooking authorities) is as follows:
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (Half and Half or whole fat milk can also be used)
- 2 cups vegetables and/or meat (combined total volume)
- 1 cup cheese (grated)
Depending on the desired size, these ingredients can be doubled or made at 1 1/2 the amount keeping the proportions the same for a large frittata.
This recipe makes a frittata full of vegetables and/or meat, plenty of cheese and a moderately creamy consistency.
The importance of the ratio is to ensure the frittata has a pleasing consistency but also stays together. Too much liquid and the eggs won’t solidify.
Making Frittatas without Cream or Milk
Having shared the recipe above, I’ll confess I make frittatas without milk or cream.
I learned this simple method to make them that way and have always done that.
If you omit the milk the end result is an eggier frittata, more similar to an omelet just in a different form.
Here are some of my favorite recipes:
- Italian Turkey Mashed Potato Frittata
- Cheesy Mexican Frittata
- Asparagus Leek New Potato Frittata
- Smoky Ham Cheese Potato Frittata
- Frittata and Garlic Kale (this recipe uses duck eggs but chicken eggs can be substituted)
How to Cook a Frittata
The traditional method, and the method I personally use, is to start cooking on the stove top and move to the oven to finish the frittata using an oven-safe skillet.
Though any ovenproof skillet will work I recommend using a cast-iron skillet if possible. It distributes heat perfectly and is heavy so better prevents burning when on the stove top. It also helps develop a wonderful crust-like exterior that’s delicious.
Alternate methods include just baking it OR just cooking it on the stove top.
How to Make an Oven Baked Frittata
- To only bake the frittata (no stove top cooking) any vegetables or meat will need to already be cooked.
- Whisk together the eggs and milk or cream. Stir in any vegetables, meat, cheese, herbs and spices.
- Pour into a 9-inch oven proof baking dish (spray with non-stick cooking spray).
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until it is set.
How to Make a Stove Top only Frittata
This method is a combination between making an omelet and food that requires a skillet flip in the middle.
- All the ingredients are added to a large skillet. As the frittata cooks the sides are lifted with a spatula and the pan tilted for any uncooked eggs to fun underneath to cook.
- When it is semi cooked and has a firmer form, a plate is added to the top of the skillet, the skillet turned upside down releasing the semi cooked frittata onto the plate.
- It is then slid back into the skillet, cooked side up, to finish cooking.
You can see one being made here on Bon Appetit’s website. Frankly this feels more complicated than using the traditional or baked only methods.
How to Make it (Traditional Method) – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Heat olive oil in a cast iron (or oven safe) skillet.
STEP 2. Sauté or cook any vegetables or meat for the frittata over medium high heat.
STEP 3. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, seasonings and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet.
STEP 4. Allow the frittata cook undisturbed until the edges are set. Place in a 400 degree preheated oven to cook until lightly golden brown (10-12 minutes).
STEP 5. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cook until the cheese is melted.
Choose cheese type based on desired end result. Cheese that melts well like a cheddar or Monterey Jack will blend and melt into the frittata.
Soft cheeses like goat cheese or feta will be delicious but will stay whole. So you’ll find bites with the cheese crumbles.
Harder cheeses like a Pecorino Romano won’t really melt so you’ll end up with bits of strong flavored cheese shreds.
Pre-cook vegetables before adding them. When adding vegetables they should be sautéed or pre-cooked before adding them. This is one thing that makes frittata great for using leftovers.
This is important both to ensure everything cooks properly but also to limit the release of extra liquid from vegetables cooking in the eggs mixture.
Use full fat dairy. Heavy cream, half and half and whole milk offer the best results. Sour cream and crème fraiche can also be used; but use the full fat versions.
Do not overcook. The final texture of a frittata should be like a custard. JUST set with a slight bit of movement but no more. If overcooked it can become dry or rubbery.
Frequently Asked Questions
It will appear just set not overly browned. Like a custard it will have a bit of movement (and will firm up after removed from the oven).
If unsure slice into the top to look for uncooked liquid.
Depending on how many eggs used usually 4-6 with some side dishes.
Frittatas taste best right after cooking. However you can prepare ahead of time for the Oven Baked method.
Whisk together the eggs, cream and stir in any cooked vegetables, meat, herbs and seasonings. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before baking.
If using a cast iron skillet it should not stick. Second choice would be a heavy non-stick skillet.
It’s usually best freshly made however YES it can be frozen. After it has been cooked allow it to cool. Wrap well with a few layers of plastic wrap followed by an outer wrap of foil. Freeze for 2-3 months.
To thaw: place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. When thawed reheat in the oven or microwave.
NOTE: the ingredients used in the frittata can affect it’s texture after freezing and thawing.
They overlap in the ingredients used but the real difference is in the method to make them. Omelets are cooked entirely in a pan on the stove top.
Frittatas start to cook on the stove top and finish in the oven. Also Frittatas are larger.
Omelets usually are sized for a single serving where as a Frittata serve multiple people.
These two also overlap in the ingredient types and the flexibility to change them up. Both are aproximately the same size and serve multiple people.
The main difference is that a quiche is prepared in a pie crust and a Frittata is crustless. A quiche will take longer due to blind baking the crust then the quiche itself. Quiche also has more milk or cream.
How to store
You can store leftover frittata in an airtight container in individual slices for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving.
More recipes you’ll love!
Basic Frittata Recipe
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil or unsalted butter
- 2 cups prepared Vegetables or Meat 2 cups total
- 6-8 Eggs
- 1/4 cup Heavy Cream Half and Half or whole milk may be substituted
- 1 cup shredded Cheese
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- If starting with uncooked vegetables: Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter to a 10-inch cast iron or other heat proof skillet over medium high heat. Add the vegetable to sauté and cook until done.If starting with previously cooked vegetable and/or meat: Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter a 10-inch cast iron or other heat proof skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables and/or meat and toss just to warm through.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs together. Add in the cream (or half and half), salt, pepper, 3/4 cups of the cheese; whisk to combine.
- Spread the skillet mixture (vegetables + meat) to evenly cover the bottom of the skillet. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the vegetable/meat mixture in the skillet.
- Allow the frittata to cook undisturbed over medium heat until the edges are set; 3-4 minutes.
- Place the frittata in the heated oven and allow it to finish cooking for 10-12 minutes until the liquid is gone and the top is fluffy and very lightly browned. NOTE: cooking time can vary based on the ingredients being use.
- Sprinkle on the remaining ¼ cup cheese and allow to melt 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from oven, cut into 8 wedges and serve immediately. Any leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in the microwave or oven.
Originally published: January 10, 2021