One of my favorite meals to make is a frittata, especially when the flavor has been pumped up like today’s Cheesy Breakfast Frittata! They are delicious for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.
Most people are very familiar with omelets but some don’t know about frittatas. They are halfway between an omelet and a quiche. The fillings are stirred into the eggs like you do with a quiche instead of folded inside an omelet. But a frittata doesn’t have the crust that a quiche has so it is even easier to make. It is a great way to use up leftover meats and vegetables you have on hand.
Unlike the strata recipe I shared last month, a frittata doesn’t have any bread in it. No need to worry about staying gluten-free with today’s easy egg casserole! And by using fresh herbs, you know this breakfast will be loaded with flavor. If you are watching your cholesterol, you can leave out half of the yolks and add additional egg whites.
For a vegetarian version, just leave out the meat and use butter in the pan to help the eggs release. If you prefer, you can replace the chorizo with any sausage, some chopped ham, or crumbled bacon (see the Gluten-Free Tips below). Just remember that all additions need to be cooked before adding them to the eggs. I had a zucchini in the fridge so that went in our frittata. If you have leftover cooked pasta, stir that into the eggs before cooking. There really is no limit to the variations you can come up with for this dish!
Since frittatas originated in Italy, if you want to take this in an Italian direction, you can serve it with marinara sauce. If you like a little heat, add some red chili flakes to the sauce. For even more heat you can pass a bottle of Tabasco or Sriracha at the table. This would also be interesting with a light curry cream sauce … so many options! What sauce would you choose?
Many frittata recipes call for you to slide the eggs out of the pan halfway through cooking, flip them over and put back in the pan to cook the other side. That is too fussy for me, so I finish mine in the oven for a few minutes. The broiler does a nice job of cooking the eggs, melting cheese, and browning the top.
My recipe calls for Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, but you can change these too. If you like feta, you can use that or another goat cheese. Gruyere, Manchego, and ricotta would also work. For a wet cheese like ricotta, either set it in a colander to drain most of the liquid before using. Some Parmesan sprinkled over the top would also be delicious.
If you are serving a crowd, especially if there will be a lot of children coming, you can make these in individual servings and easily customize the additions. Cook the pork or chorizo and vegetables as directed and divide equally among buttered muffin tins (leave some without the meat mixture for the pickiest eaters). Beat the eggs together with seasonings in a large measuring cup with a spout. Then carefully pour the eggs into the tins to 3/4 full. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese blend and bake until they are puffed and golden on top and are fairly firm to the touch. Don’t forget, they will continue to cook as they stand, so it’s OK to pull them out of the oven when they are close to being done.
This cheesy breakfast frittata is an obvious choice for breakfast or brunch, but I like to make frittatas for dinner too. When you’ve had a long, hard day at work and want something quick and easy for dinner, consider throwing together a frittata!
Don’t forget to sprinkle some chopped chives over the top before serving for contrast and color. Our eyes respond to colors, sending the signal to our brain that a delicious meal awaits. And this one certainly delivers!
How to make Cheesy Breakfast Frittata:
- Cook the meat, breaking up clumps as it cooks; transfer to a bowl
- Cook the onions and peppers in the pan drippings; add to the cooked meat and cool slightly
- Mix the cheeses together
- Whisk the eggs; stir in half the cheese, cooked meat and fresh herbs
- Pour into the same pan and cook until mostly solid; sprinkle with remaining cheese and put the pan under the broiler to finish cooking the eggs and melt the cheese
- Transfer to a cutting board, cut into wedges and serve sprinkled with more chives
Which is better, nonstick or regular pans?
There will always be a debate between non-stick and regular pans. I have both. When I want a good sear or am making a sauce, I use the regular pan. When I am cooking delicate things like eggs and fish, the nonstick is my go-to.
Buying a good skillet doesn’t have to be intimidating. There are a few things you want to look for. You want the skillet to be fairly heavy for its size and the bottom should be thicker than the sides, which will give it a solid base to insulate cooking foods. A heavier pan will also distribute the heat more evenly so you don’t have hot spots and burning as you do with inexpensive pans. And you always want a metal handle so you can transfer it to the oven when needed.
When you’ve had a pan in the oven and the handle is hot, be sure to cover the handle with a towel or hot pad so you don’t grab it by mistake and burn yourself.
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Bulk pork sausage or uncooked chorizo
- Onions, shallots, and bell peppers
- Monterey Jack, cheddar, and Pepper Jack cheese
- Cilantro or parsley and chives
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe (affiliate links)
Always watch the labels carefully when preparing meals that include processed meats such as ham, bacon, and sausage. Some inject the meats with a liquid that can include gluten ingredients, bacon may have been cured with a sweetener containing gluten, and sausages may have gluten in the fillers. I look for the gluten-free stamp on packaging to be sure it’s passed inspection.
- 1/4 lb pork bulk sausage or uncooked chorizo (gluten-free if needed), optional
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 3 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 3 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 oz Pepper Jack cheese, shredded, optional
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro or parsley
- 2 tsp minced chives, plus more for garnishing
- 8 large eggs
- Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven. Preheat the broiler to High.
- Heat a 10-inch nonstick oven-safe skillet over medium heat, cook the pork or chorizo, breaking up clumps until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl. Remove all but about 2 tbsp of the drippings. Add the onions and bell pepper to the pan, and cook until translucent and softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Take off the heat, add to the sausage and cool slightly.
- Combine the cheeses in a bowl, tossing to blend them.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth with a large pinch each of salt and pepper added. Stir in about half of the cheese, the cooked sausage mixture, and the herbs. Whisk until evenly combined.
- Reheat the skillet over medium heat. (If your skillet tends to stick a little, add 1 tbsp butter to help the eggs release easily.) Pour in the egg mixture and cook, using a heatproof silicone spatula to stir the eggs until they have started to thicken but are still very loose. Stop stirring and let them cook undisturbed to set the bottom and cook most of the way through, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining cheese.
- Put the pan under the broiler and cook until the eggs have puffed up, the cheese is melted, and top is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Leave the door to the oven ajar so you can watch and pull them out when they still jiggle a little in the center when you gently shake the pan.
- Remove from the oven being sure to leave an oven mitt or towel draped over the handle of the pan so you don't burn yourself! Allow the residual heat in the pan finish cooking the eggs. Shake the pan to loosen the frittata (if it doesn't easily move around in the pan use the spatula to gently loosen any areas that are sticking) and slide onto a cutting board or serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve hot, garnished with an extra sprinkle of chives.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 535Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 466mgSodium: 814mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 38g
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This post was first shared in July 2016. The article was updated in 2020.