Spinach & Cheese Strata

Tested & Perfected Recipes

With spinach, cheese and bread baked in a savory custard, this make-ahead strata is perfect for entertaining.

strata

This elegant brunch strata — really a savory bread pudding with spinach, cheese, and cubes of bread baked in custard — is ideal for entertaining. You do all of the preparation the night before and then let it rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning you simply turn the oven on, place the strata in, and effortlessly wait for brunch to emerge. It’s a ‘wow’ dish so you can keep the sides simple: crispy bacon, a Strawberry & Orange Fruit Salad, and Mimosas would be perfect.

What You’ll need to make Spinach and Cheese Strata

ingredients

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, it’s fine to substitute something else; just use a good melting cheese with bold flavor, like an 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 also be good — just be sure to reduce the salt in the recipe to a scant teaspoon or the dish will be way too salty.

How to make Spinach and Cheese Strata

Begin by squeezing all of the water out of the spinach. This will take a few minutes — you won’t believe how much water is in there! Take your time; it’s important to get it all out.

squeezing-spinach-dry

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

cooking-onions

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

cooking-spinach

Layer a third of the bread in a buttered 3-quart baking dish.

layering-strata-1

Top with a third of the spinach.

layering-strata-2

Followed by a third of each cheese.

layering-strata-3

Repeat layering twice, ending with the cheese.

layering-strata-4

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

making-custard

Pour evenly over top of the strata.

pouring-custard-over-strata

Then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

ready-to-bake

Bake for about 75 minutes, until puffed, set and golden all over.

Spinach-Cheese-Strata-1

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, and swapped the milk for half-and-half and reduced the baking temperature from 350°F to 325°F for a creamier texture.

You may also like

Spinach & Cheese Strata

With spinach, cheese and bread baked in a savory custard, this make-ahead strata is perfect for entertaining.

Servings: 8-10
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
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces (3/4 pound) Italian sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 11 slices or 8 cups)
  • 6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) coarsely grated Gruyère
  • 2 ounces (2/3 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2-3/4 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible.
  2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and drained spinach and cook 2 minutes more. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half-and-half, Dijon 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.
  5. Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake the strata, uncovered, until puffed, set and golden brown all over top, 70-75 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.
  6. 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 10-15 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.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • I made this today (yesterday to stand overnight) to take to a brunch with friends. I followed the recipe, and added bacon pieces on each layer. My 9×13 pan was filled to the top, and the egg mixture did not reach the top of the pan. I was concerned it would not be good. I was so pleasantly surprised! It was absolutely delicious!!! Everyone enjoyed it, had seconds, and I will definitely make this again. It is truly a keeper. Thanks for a delicious recipe!

    • — wiz of oz on January 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made several stratas before and was underwhelmed by the bland taste but this was DELICIOUS! Maybe it’s all the onions/garlic/gruyere but I and my guests loved it. PS – I just used organic whole white bread.

    • — TC on January 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • I halved this recipe for a family of 5 and it was the perfect amount. Some tweaks that I felt really elevated this recipe- 1) I added in sauteed garlicky mushrooms 2) I used a mix of artisanal rosemary foccacia and french baguette for the bread. 3) I used heavy cream instead of the half/half and used a mix of cheddar, gouda and mozzarella cheese, bc that’s what I had on hand. Oh man, this was amazing and definitely going into my ‘AGAIN’ cooking file.

    • — situ on December 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hello. I was considering adding mushrooms before I read your review. How many mushrooms did you use and when did you add them? Thanks for your advice.

      • — Lauren Russ on January 24, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made this for Christmas morning and it was just perfect! Used a bag of loose-leaf frozen spinach – not the block kind – and instead of thawing & squeezing i just threw the frozen spinach in the pan with the garlic. It thawed the spinach and evaporated the extra moisture. Even my meat-loving family thought it was great.

    • — Shelby Harrington on December 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • My husband made this (as I’m pregnant and can’t stand the smell of sauteed onions and garlic) and he is not the cook in the family. He was able to follow these super clear instructions and it was phenomenal!! It had so much flavor and was salted perfectly – even taking into account the saltiness of the parmesan. I LOVED how much spinach was in it, not too dry, not soggy, not too cheesy, just perfect. A nice alternative to meat based egg casserole dishes and so easy. THANK YOU again Jenn!

    • — Lynnessa R Struble on December 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • Making this for Christmas Brunch! Do you think I could use a French Brioche instead of Italian Sandwich Bread? Thank you!

    • — Gretchen on December 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this for my husband’s birthday breakfast. It was my favorite type of recipe: simple, yet impressive and flavorful! Thanks for the fantastic recipes, Jenn – love your site!

    • — Jessi on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this as a quick weeknight supper to use up leftover bread. I microwaved a steampack of spinach while sauteing the onion. Threw the bread cubes in the dish, mixed in the drained spinach, onion and some swiss cheese, shook on some parm from the green can and poured the custard over. I pushed the bread down gently to make sure it was soaked and then put it right in the oven. I couldn’t tell the difference from stratas I have made with better ingredients and left overnight. Start to finish in a hour.

    • — Sue on November 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • I stumbled across this recipe while looking for vegetarian brunch ideas. It was utterly perfect: rich and flavourful without a too-eggy taste despite the inclusion of 9 eggs! Here in the UK, where we don’t have half-and-half, I used half single cream and half whole milk, and the result was fantastic. I’ll be making it frequently.

    • — Vicki on October 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • Oh my goodness!!! Just served this for my bookclub brunch and it was amazing!! I love that it’s made the night before ready for cooking the next morning 👍😋😊 I’m thinking it’s going to be perfect for Christmas brunch this year 🥰👩‍🍳🎅🎄

    • — Lorraine on September 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this a couple of time before and love it! In the future I’ll be making this for a person who can’t eat any kind of onions, but can have garlic. Do you think it’s okay to omit the onions or is there something else that I could add instead? Thanks so much!

    • — Cindy on July 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, I would leave out the onions and use 5 cloves of garlic. Hope it turns out well!

      • — Jenn on July 30, 2020
      • Reply
  • Could I substitute feta cheese?

    • — Kathy on July 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, Feta doesn’t melt nearly as well as Gruyere, so if you want something a little more evenly distributed through the strata, I’d stick with Gruyere. If you use feta here; it will be different but still good. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made and love it. Thank you

    • — Theresa on June 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe. I have found the best way to get the water out of frozen spinach if to put it in a clean dishcloth and wring it out over the sink after it is thawed. Also works great for relish after you rinse off some of the juices. Works like a charm.

    • — MaudGonne on April 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – We are stuck inside and I’d love to make this recipe but it’s just the 2 of us. Do you have a suggestion on how best to cut down the recipe to 2-4 servings? Should I just cut it in half? Thank you

    • — Claire on April 4, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Claire, you can cut it in half and use an 8 x 8-inch pan. It will still make more than what you need for just two of you, but it refrigerates and reheats nicely so you can use it for more than one meal. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2020
      • Reply
    • Hello. I was considering adding mushrooms before I read your review. How many mushrooms did you use and when did you add them? Thanks foe your advice.

      • — Lauren Russ on January 24, 2021
      • Reply
  • could sauteed sliced mushrooms be added to this recipe?

    • — Jean Woessner on March 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on March 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • A friend of mine made this, and I had to have the recipe! I’ve made it a few times now, and people always want the recipe. It is so good!!

    • — Gayle on February 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Jenn, this strata is fabulous – like everything I’ve made from your blog and cookbook. One question: can I freeze leftovers? It’s rare, but today we actually had some. Thanks for transforming what comes from my kitchen!

      • — Barb on January 17, 2021
      • Reply
      • So glad you liked it! Yes, I do think you can get away with freezing leftovers. 🙂

        • — Jenn on January 18, 2021
        • Reply
  • Can I add ricotta into the egg mixture or somewhere else in the recipe? Also, could u add some leftover wild rice or would that be too much?

    • — Tiffany on January 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Tiffany, I think you could add both, but I’d limit the quantities; maybe stick to 1/2 cup of ricotta and 1 cup of the wild rice. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • I’m having a very large brunch at my house. If I have a baking dish that is 10″ x 14 1/2″, can I double the receipt or should I only add 50% to the ingredients?

    • — Judy Haddad on January 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, I’d increase by 50%. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, would it be okay to use fresh baby spinach instead of frozen as I have quite a bit that I would like to use up?

    • — Jeanette on December 21, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jeanette, fresh spinach will work (you’ll need about 1.5 lbs). Cook it first and make sure you drain it (like you would with the frozen spinach). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2019
      • Reply
  • I love so many recipes Jenn creates. In fact, I bought her cookbook because I felt guilty using and enjoying so many free recipes. Other than Ina Garten, I have never used so many recipes from a single chef. So I expect a couple not to be to my taste, and this was one. I was making it, along with several other dishes, including the leek quiche, for a group of women. I don’t think anyone cared for it. I bought bakery Italian bread, used the expensive cheeses. I thought it was dry, even though I used the nine eggs and baked only 60 minutes. It just seemed bland with occasional bites of the spinach. I did tr6 to spread out as advised. I used several ounces more than required. I know this got five stars by other cooks so it could have been me. I won’t make again.

    • — Bep on December 14, 2019
    • Reply
  • I don’t see list and amounts of ingredients???

    • — Adela on November 23, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Adela, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, to the right of the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this for a Baby Sprinkle and it was a big hit. The only change I made was to use Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Mountain White Bread instead of Italian sandwich bread and prepped it the night before. I allowed the bread to thaw first and followed the recipe otherwise. I would probably add a tad bit more moisture (milk) the next time. Everyone enjoyed it and asked for the recipe.

    • — Diana on November 22, 2019
    • Reply
  • This recipe is divine! I have made this twice recently and both times it has come out perfectly. I usually half the recipe. Make sure you soak it overnight. It makes a significant difference!

    • — Mary on November 18, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I am making this strata in a few days for a bridge luncheon for 12 and need to make a smaller dish for gluten free friends. I have bought the bread and wonder if a need to do anything differently with this part of the recipe. I love your website and always look forward to receiving the email. I am just concerned about the difference in the bread.
    Thanks.

    • — Betsy on November 14, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Betsy, I think you could get away with using gluten-free bread here without making any other adjustments to the recipe. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 14, 2019
      • Reply
  • I have made this a bunch of times – found the recipe years ago and it became a staple! Sometimes I switch it up and use broccoli instead of the frozen spinach for times sake (squeezing the water out of the spinach can be a bit of a hassle). I also will sometimes add bacon or ham! Just love it every time 🙂

    • — Lauren Toth on November 9, 2019
    • Reply
  • Could this be frozen after soaking, before cooking (or partially cooked)?

    • — Megahn on November 8, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Megahn, If you want to freeze it, I’d recommend freezing it after baking.

      • — Jenn on November 10, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, not sure my market has Italian bread. Would sourdough work or should I keep looking? Thank you so much for answering questions Barbara Riddle

    • — Barbara Riddle on August 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Barbara, sourdough will work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 28, 2019
      • Reply
  • Sorry, we were not a fan of this recipe. My husbands first bite was “it’s to much cheese”. I followed the recipe to a T. I just found it to be bland. I guess we just prefer a spicier casserole. I would suggest adding sausage to maybe kick it up a notch.

    • — Julie on June 23, 2019
    • Reply
  • Could this be Made in a Crock pot? I need to bring breakfast casserole to a lady’s brunch but I’m worried cold strata may not be great. Suggestions?

    • — Kristy Kirby on May 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Kristy, I don’t have much experience using a crockpot, so it’s hard to say for sure how this would turn out in one. You could fully prepare/bake this in advance and then reheat it once you get to the hostess’s house. In case you want to research using a slow cooker, here are some tips on converting recipes that you may find helpful.

      • — Jenn on May 20, 2019
      • Reply
      • Thanks for your reply !!! I love your cookbook and blog . My 7 year old daughter and I cook almost exclusively from your ideas . The strata turned out great . I just took it in a insulated carrier. We added sausage and topped with pepper flakes to give it a kick . We also took the berry trifle and chocolate croissant bread pudding (everyone’s favorite😉)

        • — Kristy Kirby on May 23, 2019
        • Reply
        • Thanks for the follow-up Kristy – so glad you had success with the strata (and the trifle and bread pudding)! 🙂

          • — Jenn on May 23, 2019
          • Reply
  • This was a huge hit for our brunch party yesterday! As a new mom who needed to feed a crowd without much time on my hands, I loved being able to make this the night before and then simply pop it into the oven the next day. Everyone at the brunch requested the recipe, which is always a great endorsement. I’m sure I’ll be making this for years to come!

    • — Julia on May 5, 2019
    • Reply
  • I added 1/2 pound of sweet Italian sausage but otherwise did not change a thing. It was delicious! This will be my go too brunch item!

    • — Cindy B on April 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen. This sounds delicious and I’m planning on making for Easter brunch. However I have a guest coming who hates the taste of mustard in anything. Can the Dijon be replaced with something else or just eliminated ? I’m concerned that eliminating it will take away from the final product.

    • — Debbie C on April 17, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, The Dijon does add flavor but I think it’d be fine to just leave it out. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 17, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this strata for Christmas Brunch. It was a hit with everyone, especially my vegetarian daughter! My husband browned some sausage patties for the meat eaters, and my daughter-in-law brought Mimosa ingredients. I served it with the homemade cinnamon streusel sour cream coffee cake. This is a dream recipe because you can make it up the night before and pop it in the preheated oven the next morning. Easy peasy Brunch! I’m thinking of repeating for Easter.

    • — Anne Cahill on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Our family absolutely loves this recipe!! We have been making it every Easter Brunch for the past three years.
    I had made many of your recipes and all are amazing!! I can always count on the recipe to come out great!!
    Thank you!!

    • — Rocio Costello on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    I would like to use sharp cheddar as one of the cheeses, would swiss be a good choice for the other?

    • — Linda on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Linda, I think will work nicely. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, if I need to prep this on Friday morning for Sunday afternoon, do you recommend I bake it on Friday and reheat on Sunday or should I keep assembled but uncooked in the fridge for 2 full days?

    • — KJ on March 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi KJ, It’s fine for this to be refrigerated overnight or even for 24 hours, but because you plan to assemble it more than two days before serving it, I would suggest baking it on Friday and reheating on Sunday. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on March 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • In Australia we have a metric system – have you a metric version of the recipe? Thanks

    • — Olga on February 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Olga, I just added metric measurements for this recipe. To view them, scroll down to the recipe and immediately under the recipe title on the right side, you’ll see a little toggle. If you move it from “cup measures” to metric, you’ll see measurements that will work for you. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2019
      • Reply
  • Jenn,

    You make the best recipes on the internet! Thanks
    Can I half the spinach and cheese strata since we are only two at home?

    • — Barbara on February 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Awww, thanks Barbara! 💕
      Yes, halving this should work. Hope you enoy!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2019
      • Reply
      • Can fresh spinach be used?

        • — Lois Rankin on July 31, 2019
        • Reply
        • Yes, Lois, fresh spinach will work here; you’ll need about 1.5 lbs. Just make sure you drain it like you would with the frozen spinach. Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on August 1, 2019
          • Reply
  • Another winner! The changes I made were that I added a sauteed red bell pepper and 1 lb mild sausage and I used a little less bread. Everyone loved it and had seconds. Will do this one again for sure.

    • — Karen O on February 5, 2019
    • Reply
  • Can you use fresh baby Spinach? If not, how many boxes of frozen Spinach? We don’t get frozen spinach by the bag.

    • It’s fine to use fresh baby spinach; just be sure to cook first and squeeze all the liquid out.

  • I made this as part of our Christmas morning breakfast. It was delicious! The gruyere cheese is an important ingredient, that really pushed the dish over the top!

    • — Sandra Crowley
    • Reply
  • Excellent!!!! Followed the recipe exactly. Was a bit nervous when making the layers because the onion/spinach layers seemed so scant. But just trust the recipe. Thank you for making our Christmas breakfast delicious!!!

  • Made this strata and your strawberry orange fruit salad for Christmas breakfast this morning.
    My SIL said this is the best strata I’ve made so far. Every Xmas I try a new strata recipe. He said this is worthy of repeat!
    I did add a lb of sweet Italian sausage and no additional salt.
    Also use Challah bread.
    The fruit salad was light and refreshing, perfect with the strata.
    Excited to try some of the recipes from your new cookbook. I haven’t purchased a cookbook in years, but yours I could not pass up.
    Once Upon A Chef and Cooks Illustrated are my go to for cooking.
    Thank you for your invaluable blog and fabulous cookbook.

  • This is very good and my family liked it a lot. Mine came out a bit drier than I liked. I think next time, I might try using a little less bread so it’s not so stiff and is more creamy, soft.

    • — Kristi Kay Wiseman
    • Reply
  • This sounds amazing!
    If I use fresh spinach, should I still squeeze out liquid after sauteeing with the onion?

    • Hi Elaine, I’d actually cook the spinach separately and squeeze out the liquid, then add it to the onions.

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.