Spinach & Cheese Strata

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Layered with spinach, cheese, and bread, and soaked in a savory custard, this make-ahead strata is ideal for entertaining.

Spinach and cheese strata in a baking dish.

A strata is a layered casserole made with bread, eggs, cheese, and sometimes vegetables or meat (strata means layers). Think of it as a savory bread pudding or breakfast casserole. This spinach version is richly flavored with Gruyère, Parmesan, and Dijon mustard. It’s the perfect vegetarian brunch dish to feed a crowd. You do all of the preparation the night before, let the strata rest in the fridge overnight, then pop it in the oven in the morning. As it bakes, it puffs up like a cheese soufflé, making it a real showstopper. The strata does fall a bit as it cools, but it’s still impressive. For an elegant brunch, serve the strata with bacon (for perfectly crispy bacon, learn how to cook bacon in the oven), a strawberry & orange fruit salad, and mimosas.

What You’ll Need To Make Spinach & Cheese Strata

ingredients for spinach and cheese strata

Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients. It’s important to use good quality cheese. The recipe calls for a combination of Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but since they are both expensive, feel free to substitute other good melting cheeses with bold flavor, like extra-sharp cheddar. The recipe is pretty flexible, so you can play around with different sautéed vegetables depending on what you have on hand. Some cooked sausage or pancetta would be a nice addition; just be sure to reduce the salt in the recipe to a scant teaspoon or the strata will be way too salty.

Be sure to squeeze all of the water out of the spinach. Take your time; it’s important to get it all out or the strata will be watery.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.

melting butter in skillet

Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

sautéed onions in skillet

Add the spinach and garlic and cook a few minutes more.

cooking the spinach and garlic with the onions

Layer a third of the cubed bread in a buttered 3-quart or 9×13-inch baking dish.

Torn bread in a baking dish.

Top with a third of the spinach.

layering spinach mixture in baking dish

Followed by a third of each cheese.

layering cheese in baking dish

Repeat layering twice, ending with the cheese.

strata layers in baking dish

Make the custard by combining the whisked eggs, half-and-half-Dijon mustard salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Whisk in a bowl with eggs and seasonings.

Whisk evenly to combine.

whisked custard mixture

Pour evenly over top of the strata, then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

soaked strata ready to bake

Bake for about 70 to 80 minutes, until puffed, set and golden all over.

Spinach and cheese strata in a baking dish.

Note: My starting point for this recipe was this popular strata originally published in Gourmet magazine. I increased the spinach; amped up the flavor by adding garlic and increasing the salt; swapped the milk for half-and-half; and reduced the baking temperature from 350°F to 325°F for a creamier texture.

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Spinach & Cheese Strata

Layered with spinach, cheese, and bread, and soaked in a savory custard, this make-ahead strata is ideal for entertaining.

Servings: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 75 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes, plus at least one hour to sit in the fridge

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bag chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as possible
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces (¾ pound) Italian sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 11 slices or 8 cups)
  • 6 ounces (1½ cups) coarsely grated Gruyère
  • 2 ounces (⅔ cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2¾ cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and drained spinach and cook 2 minutes more. Set aside.
  2. Butter a 3-quart or 9x13-inch baking dish. Spread one third of the bread cubes in the dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. (Try to break it up as much as possible so there are no huge clumps of spinach.) Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice, ending with cheeses.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half-and-half, mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and whisk until well combined. Pour the custard mixture evenly over the strata. Cover the strata with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake the strata, uncovered, until puffed, set and golden brown all over top, 70-80 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving. It will settle a bit as it cools.
  5. Note: The cook time is based on the strata going immediately from the fridge to the oven. If it sits out at room temperature before baking, the cook time will be about 10 minutes less.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 483
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated fat: 16g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Sodium: 1117mg
  • Cholesterol: 280mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I made this for company brunch today. I intended to prepare it the night before but never got to it. Instead I prepped everything this morning, refrigerated the uncooked strata for 90 minutes. Then followed the exact directions for cooking and cooling. It came out of the oven looking like a million bucks!! Cut and tasted even better! This strata is a keeper. P.s. I made it with gluten free bread and one would never know!!
    Thank you!!!

    • — Susan on April 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was a hit! I used tarragon mustard, asiago instead of Parm, and added Aleppo chile on top. So delicious!

    • — Marcia Gagliardi on March 31, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi, when halving this recipe, should I use 4 or 5 large eggs? Also, do I need to adjust the cook time? Thanks!

    • — Kim on March 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, I’d use 4 total eggs and for the fifth one, beat it in a measuring cup, discard half of it, and use the remaining half. And assuming you’re using a baking dish that is half the size (an 8 x 8 works well), the baking time should be the same. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 15, 2024
      • Reply
  • Would this work to add potatoes?

    • — Bobbir on February 7, 2024
    • Reply
    • I wouldn’t necessarily add potatoes to it as I’m worried that it might make the strata dry, but you could replace some of the bread with small cubed potatoes.

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2024
      • Reply
  • I’ve made this before and it is delicious. Can this be made with gluten free bread without sacrificing flavor? Thank you.

    • — Jan on January 16, 2024
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! And, yes, I think it will still be good with gluten-free bread.

      • — Jenn on January 16, 2024
      • Reply
  • I have made this twice and it’s very good. I think I am going to try it with just a little less bread so it’s a little less dense. I am going to enjoy switching out the veggies now and then. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • — Linda on December 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • Making the strata for Christmas morning.
    Do you use table salt or kosher salt in your recipes?
    I’ve often wondered.
    Happy Holidays!

    • — Jeanne on December 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeanne, I use table salt unless otherwise specified. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thank you so much for replying Xmas eve!

        • — Jeanne on December 24, 2023
        • Reply
  • Can I use fresh baby spinach in place of the frozen? Would the weight be about the same? Thanks!

    • — Cassandra on December 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • Do you cut off the bread crust?
    TYIA

    • — Jeanne on December 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • No, no need – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2023
      • Reply
  • Jenn,
    Love your recipes – every one is a hit. I usually make an 8×8 or 9×9 strata for Christmas brunch with varying degrees of success. How should I adjust the ingredients for a smaller pan? Also, not a spinach fan, could I make this with sausage and red pepper instead?

    • — Ellen on December 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, you can cut the recipe in half and use an 8 x 8″ dish. And, yes, you can use sausage and red pepper in place of the spinach. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 19, 2023
      • Reply
    • I’ve looked at different strata recipes and some say 12 eggs and 3 cups milk. Can you tell me the difference in ratios. How to keep from not setting well and can any type of bread work challah, baguette, hawaiian rolls,regular loaf? Thank you

      • — Cynthia on December 23, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Cynthia, It really just depends on the recipe because there are so many variables with the type of bread and add-ins. I recommend sticking with the type of bread called for, as each type absorbs the custard mixture differently.

        • — Jenn on December 24, 2023
        • Reply
  • Jenn, I have made this so many times always to rave reviews. It’s fabulous as written. When I can get ciabatta at the bakery I use that. I sometimes increase the temperature 5 or 10 degrees just to get a more golden crunchier crust. I’ve increased the garlic, just because we like it. Thank you so much for all your great recipes!

    • — Barbara on December 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • First time making strata: I prepped this yesterday for a luncheon today. Oh my, was it good! We were a small foursome so I halved the recipe and used a deep ceramic pie plate that had a volume of 1.5 quarts (6 cups). Served it with a crisp salad of mixed greens.

    Minor changes: used sautéed leek in place of the onion; added a small quantity of thinly sliced sausage. After overnight refrigeration, I let it sit at room temp for 1/2 hour before baking. It was delicious and enjoyed by all.

    Thank you Jenn–this recipe is a keeper–very much appreciate your detailed instructions.

    • — Elaine Brown on December 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • How many eggs did you use for half the recipe?
      Thanks.

      • — Rhonnie on December 11, 2023
      • Reply
      • I used 5 large eggs.

        When halving this recipe, check that your dish accommodates 6 cups (1.5 quarts). My Emile Henry ceramic pie plate measures 9″ in diameter and has a depth of 2″. The strata was delicious–and I was very pleased with the presentation.

        Much credit to Jenn for another excellent recipe.

        • — Elaine Brown on December 17, 2023
        • Reply
    • Hello Elaine, did you cook the sausage before layering in it?

      • — Lorri Roadcap-Clower on December 19, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Lorri, just in case Elaine doesn’t respond, I would definitely recommend cooking the sausage first.

        • — Jenn on December 19, 2023
        • Reply
      • Hello Lorri,

        Yes, I cooked the sausage prior to layering it. I sliced it very thin, and distributed it throughout the 3 layers. I used barely 1 1/2 links of large sausage–I did not want it to be the dominant flavour. It complemented the other flavours (spinach, gruyere, parm-regg) without overpowering them.

        Makes a very flavourful dish.

        • — Elaine Brown on December 20, 2023
        • Reply
  • This recipe has been on my radar for awhile, now. I have 2 questions:

    1. Would sautéed leeks be an appropriate substitution for the onions?

    2. With respect to the bread, is a fresh loaf ok? (as opposed to day-old)

    Enjoy your recipes very much–thank you.

    • — Elaine Brown on December 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes to both questions, and so glad you like the recipes — I hope you enjoy this one too!

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • I want to leave a comment on how the strata was to make
    Your directions were absolutely spot on
    I want to let anyone thinking about making this that I cook a lot and it took a good 2 hours just to assemble the Stata.
    I made an Italian strata with ground sweet Italian sausage and spinach and cheese
    I have it resting in the fridge and am putting it in the oven for dinner . It looks and smells delicious.
    I’ll let you know how it turns out
    Thank you for this new recipe Once Upon a Chef

    • — Kim Hall on October 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn, when I find a recipe of something I’d like to make, I visit your website first. Everything I have made of yours has always been the best. I’m A rockstar to my family when I make your recipes! Thanks so very much for your easy to understand, tips and delicious recipes.
    I just refrigerated the strata, our morning will be so yummy, we can’t wait!!!!

    • — Wendy ONeill on September 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on October 2, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi,
    I made your crustless quiche and frittata yesterday and they were both hits. Thank you!
    For this strata, my daughter doesn’t like anything green, such as spinach. Can I substitute something else? More veggies?

    • — MONICA M BIEGEL on September 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Monica, Glad you enjoyed the quiche and the frittata! I’ve never made this with anything but spinach, but I think you could make this with any diced and sautéed veggies.

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • Thinking of making this and wondered if I could add some sautéed mushrooms. Thoughts?

    • — Elaine on September 15, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, Elaine – I think that mushrooms would work really well here. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on September 16, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was made for a recent family gathering and everyone loved it!. Recommended!

    • — Ann Sheehan on August 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Quick question for you: what do you think about chopped kale instead of the spinach? Not ideal, or my first choice, but 2 different stores are out of organic chopped spinach & I insist on organic everything. Thanks so much!!! Your recipes are 100% reliable & ALWAYS sooooo… good! I appreciate how you make us all, (even me!) look like we know how to cook!

    • — Kelly on August 16, 2023
    • Reply
    • Agreed that it’s not ideal, but assuming it’s cooked, it should work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on August 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • Can I bake it on Wednesday to serve on Saturday? Or should I freeze it until friday then let it thaw overnight and reheat on Saturday? Thank you! Love all of your recipes 👍🏻

    • — Awiater on June 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • I’d be concerned about letting it sit from Wednesday until Saturday, so I’d freeze it. And so glad you like the recipes!

      • — Jenn on June 28, 2023
      • Reply
      • Similar question. Can I prepare it on Friday, put it in the fridge and then cook it Sunday morning? Seems like a perfect dish for our Sunday brunch but will have a house full of guests on Saturday and would prefer to prepare stuff before they arrive. Thanks

        • — Steve on July 10, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Steve, I’ve never refrigerated it for that long. I wouldn’t push it any longer than that, but I think it should work. Hope everyone enjoys!

          • — Jenn on July 10, 2023
          • Reply
  • Hello, I have seen pictures of various strata dishes and they looked delicious but I wanted to lower the carbs in my diet. I made your Spinach and Cheese Strata using no carb bread but everything else was true to the recipe. It is SO DELICIOUS! I don’t have any other words to describe it. I think next time I’ll do half milk and half and half, also for dietary reasons. I just hope it doesn’t drastically change the wonderful flavor or richness of this beautiful recipe. I’m also signed up for your emails and plan to try many others. Thank you so much for your recipes! -Katherine-

    • — Katherine Silva on June 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Just made this Strata. It is absolutely delicious! Thank you Jen for yet another wonderful recipe, you never let us down!
    Susan

    • — Susan Smith on April 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hello,
    I like the sound of this for a brunch!! But can you please tell me what half and half is? I need to figure out a substitute, as I’m living in France 🇫🇷
    Thanks very much

    • — Elle on April 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Elle, Half and Half is just a mixture of half whole milk and half cream. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 6, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thanks for your help!! Will now try it 👍

        • — Elle on April 8, 2023
        • Reply
  • As a Canadian who has lived in the UK for many years, I love making stratas as people here don’t really know about them. And I almost want to keep them a secret as I get rave reviews whenever I make this recipe! I’ll be making it again for my grandson’s first birthday brunch where it will be perfect. Easy to make and transport across London. Thank you. 🙂

    • — Jenny Scarlett on April 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made it – LOVED IT!! Would I be able to bake this stratta in individual muffin cups instead of a casserole dish? It’s for a brunch event for a big crowd. I’d like this dish to be a one bite thing for ppl. If yes how would I adjust baking temperature and time? Thx so much. Sharon

    • — Sharon K on February 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sharon, Glad you liked it! I think it would work to make it in a muffin tin. I’ve never made them this way so I’m not sure about timing. I’d start checking them at 15 minutes (but keep a close eye on them). I’d love to hear how they turn out in muffin form!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2023
      • Reply
      • Me again! I made your delish stratta in a mini silicon muffin tray for our big group brunch – huge hit!! Made the stratta, let it sit in the fridge over night, scooped out portions into the muffin tray. Baked them at 325 degrees for about 20-25 min. Everyone loved them and I loved that they were bite size, well 2 bite size 😊. Love love your recipes❤️. Thank you!!

        • — Sharon Kopansky on March 28, 2023
        • Reply
  • Excellent strata! I had Havarti dill cheese and parmesan and it tasted wonderful. The proportions in this recipe work!

    • — Mary on February 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • Amazing! I made the recipe as is and had people raving about it. I will definitely be making this again!!

    • — Gail on February 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Does this recipe work without mustard?

    • — Lynn on February 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on February 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • Thank you so much for this tasty and easy recipe.
    I used 3/4 of a cut Safeway French loaf , cooked up fresh spinach and drained out the water. Used guyere and 2 ounces of white sharp cheddar I had on hand. It browned up beautifully at the 325 temp.

    • — JW on January 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • If I make the recipe the day before, including cooking it, will it reheat the next day without over cooking it? What is the best way to reheat it?

    • — Cheryl L Grabert on December 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cheryl, As long as it’s covered, it shouldn’t overcook/dry out. Before putting it in the oven, cover it tightly with foil, then reheat it at 325 degrees until hot in the center, probably about 40 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 29, 2022
      • Reply
  • Very good strata, excellent for a sunday brunch.
    I had to print out the recipe for guests 🙂
    Martine

    • — Martine Belanger on December 28, 2022
    • Reply

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