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What Is a Frittata?
A frittata is an Italian dish, similar to a crustless, low-carb quiche or a voluminously fluffy, layered omelette, that features a mixture of eggs and dairy, and highlights a variety of other ingredients like meat, cheese, and vegetables. The name roughly translates to “fried,” due to the dish being prepared in a skillet.
What Is the Right Eggs to Ingredients Ratio for Perfect Frittata?
While the personal stylings mostly boil down to intuition and preference, the foundational steps of making frittata remain the same. 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 cheese.
How to Make a Frittata
There are myriad ways to make a frittata: on the stovetop, in the oven, or in muffin tins for bite-sized snacks.
- Fried. 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 filling directly in the pan, then sprinkle with cheese and pour the egg mixture over the top. Allow to cook on the stove over medium heat for 5 minutes. When it’s still just a little loose but not entirely set, transfer to a 400°F oven (or directly under the broiler for a quicker finish) for a few minutes more oven to crisp up the top and finish setting.
- In a muffin tin. To make single serving frittata, spray tin with nonstick spray. Whisk together the eggs and dairy, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in cooked filling and cheese and fill muffin tins just to the top. Bake at 375°F for about 8 minutes, until mixture puffs and is just set. These can overcook easily, so keep an eye on them!
- In a baking dish. Use a standard recipe, but double it to achieve the signature layers and volume. If using a deep baking dish, increase time in oven to 20 minutes and check regularly to know when eggs have set.
Common Frittata Ingredient Combinations
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 (or leave whole if small), and medium-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 with remaining cheese.
- 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. To assemble, cut the raw bacon (about 4-5 strips) into small lardon-style pieces, then place in the cold skillet, heating to medium-high. When cooked, remove and set aside; drain off most of the fat and give 1 cup chopped asparagus a quick saute, then add a handful of spinach. When beginning to wilt, add bacon back in and stir gently to combine. Scatter 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese over the top, and pour in egg mixture. Stir briefly to disperse the filling and cheese.
Top Two Tips to Make the Perfect Frittata
While you can go wild with ingredients, remember these two rules of the kitchen to avoid a loose or watery frittata:
- Keep it simple. Too many components will weigh down your frittata and prevent the egg custard from cooking evenly. You don’t want too much extra moisture, so choose a few star ingredients and stick with them.
- Watch closely. Every minute matters with frittata, especially when using the broiler method. It’s incredibly quick cook time is one of its best features, but that also means rubbery, dry eggs are just seconds away. You want a firm jiggle, not a wobble.
Quick and Easy Breakfast Frittata Recipe (Add Your Own Mix-Ins!)
Prep Time10 min
Total Time30 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 your skillet over medium-high heat, then add your filling, cooking according to need. 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, 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.