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What Is Frittata?
Frittata is an Italian open-faced omelet that features a mixture of eggs and dairy and highlights a variety of other ingredients like meat, cheese, and vegetables. Think of frittata as a crustless, low-carb quiche. Unlike a traditional French omelette, a frittata typically feeds multiple people, and may be served room temperature. The name “frittata” roughly translates to “fried” in Italian, due to the dish being prepared in a skillet.
How Many Eggs in a Frittata?
Rather than folding mostly-cooked eggs around the other ingredients, like a traditional omelet, frittata involves pouring uncooked eggs over vegetables, meats, and cheese in the pan, resulting in a totally incorporated dish. While your ratio of eggs to other ingredients will depend on the size of your eggs, the size of your skillet, and personal preference, here’s a no-fail ratio for a creamy egg custard and even distribution of sautéed ingredients: For every 6 eggs, use ¼ cup heavy cream, 2 cups of filling (whether meat or vegetables or a combo of both), and 1 cup of cheese.
3 Ways to Make Frittata
Frittata begins with a scrambled eggs base, but the possibilities for making it your own are endless. Learn all about scrambled eggs (and check out Chef Thomas Keller’s perfectly scrambled eggs recipe here). Methods for making frittata include the traditional skillet method, the oven method, or cooking in muffin tins for bite-sized snacks.
- Skillet frittata. You’ll need a non-stick, oven-safe pan (a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet works great) to ensure the eggs don’t stick. Sauté your fillings directly in the pan, then sprinkle with cheese and pour the egg mixture over the top. Allow to cook on the stovetop over medium heat for 5 minutes. When the frittata is starting to set but still just a little loose, transfer to a 400°F oven for a few minutes more to finish cooking the top. Alternatively, you can place the frittata under your broiler for a quicker finish.
- Baking dish frittata. Double the standard recipe to achieve frittata’s signature layers and volume in a 13x9-inch baking dish. If using an especially deep baking dish (i.e., deeper than 2 inches), increase time in oven to 20 minutes and check regularly to know when your eggs have set.
- Muffin tin frittata. To make single-serving frittatas, spray the cups of a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Whisk together your eggs and dairy, and season with salt and pepper. Stir your cooked filling and cheese into the egg mixture, then fill each muffin cup just to the top. Bake at 375°F for about 8 minutes, until your frittatas puff and are just set. Due to their small size, these mini frittatas can overcook easily, so keep an eye on them!
3 Frittata Ingredient Ideas
These recipes combine sweet, savory, and acidic ingredients together for a balanced final dish.
- Bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and goat cheese. Slice 1 cup cherry tomatoes in half and dice one red bell pepper. (Saute the bell pepper first for a deeper roasted flavor, but keep tomatoes raw.) Sprinkle ½ cup goat cheese, reserving ½ cup for the top. Add egg mixture and stir gently to combine. Top frittata with remaining cheese in the last few minutes of cooking.
- Butternut squash, caramelized red onion, and crème fraîche with thyme. For a fall favorite combination, combine cooked, peeled butternut squash cut into 1-inch pieces (or thinly sliced) with half an onion, sliced and caramelized. Sauté together briefly with 1 clove minced garlic and fresh thyme from 2-3 sprigs, stems removed, and season to taste. Dollop small spoonfuls on crème fraîche on top of the vegetables before covering with the egg mixture. Stir gently to combine. Top with fresh thyme leaves after baking.
- Bacon, asparagus, and baby spinach with cheddar cheese. Cut the raw bacon (about 4-5 strips) into small lardon-style pieces, place in a cold skillet, and heat over medium-high. Once cooked, remove bacon and set aside. Drain off most of the fat, then briefly sauté 1 cup chopped asparagus before adding a handful of spinach. When the spinach is beginning to wilt, add your bacon back in and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese over your filling, then pour in egg mixture. Stir briefly to disperse the filling and cheese.
4 Tips to Make the Perfect Frittata
While you can go wild with frittata ingredients, remember these two rules of the kitchen to avoid a loose, watery, or overcooked frittata.
- Keep your frittata simple. Too many components will weigh down your frittata and prevent the egg custard from cooking evenly. Instead, choose a few star ingredients and stick with them.
- Monitor your frittata moisture. Too many high-moisture ingredients can turn your frittata into a watery mess. When using zucchini, which contains 94% water, remember to sauté thoroughly prior to adding your eggs in order to evaporate excess moisture. If you’re using mozzarella cheese, opt for low-moisture variety, rather than the fresh mozzarella.
- Use the toothpick method. To check your frittata’s doneness during cooking, insert a toothpick into the center. When the toothpick comes out clean, you’re good to go.
- Watch your frittata closely. Every second matters with frittata, especially when using the broiler method: the incredibly quick cook time is one of its best features, but that also means rubbery, dry eggs are just seconds away. You want a frittata with a firm jiggle, not a wobble.
Quick and Easy Breakfast Frittata Recipe
Prep Time10 min
Total Time30 min
Cook Time20 min
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup heavy cream (half-and-half or whole milk works here too)
- 1 cup shredded cheese, like Gruyere, cheddar, fontina, goat cheese
- 2 cups filling cut into small pieces, like bacon (cut into pieces) or chorizo; asparagus, zucchini, or thinly sliced onions or potatoes; even greens like baby spinach or baby kale
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Handful of fresh herbs, like mint, thyme, or green onions
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
- Combine the eggs, heavy cream (or dairy of choice), and ½ tsp salt into a large bowl, and beat until frothy. (Why large eggs? Learn about the importance of egg sizes here.)
- Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, then add your filling. Cook meats first, removing from pan before cooking any additional vegetables and garlic in the delicious fat. Combine all fillings together before sprinkling cheese over the top.
- Pour egg mixture on top of filling and cheese; tilt pan gently until eggs cover all the filling.
- Bring heat down to medium, and allow to cook until eggs are just beginning to set at the edge, 4-5 minutes.
- Working carefully, transfer pan to oven and let cook another 5-8 minutes, until the custard is set and the top is golden brown and crispy. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick or make a shallow cut in the middle of the frittata: If the custard runs, give it a few more minutes. If it holds, it’s ready to eat.
- Let frittata cool in the pan for 2 minutes before slicing into wedges. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator in a sealed container for a week.
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