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Spinach and Cheese Strata

This cozy strata recipe is made with fresh baby spinach, croissants, and lots of cheese. It’s easy to make and so satisfying! You can assemble it the night before and bake it in the morning for an effortless breakfast.

This easy strata recipe is full of cheesy, cozy goodness. Made with a simple custard, fresh baby spinach, herbs, and lots of cheese, biting into this breakfast casserole is pure heaven.

I use croissants instead of regular bread to give this strata a buttery, fluffy texture that makes for an extra satisfying breakfast. The croissants absorb the custard as the strata chills before baking, then when everything is cooked the eggs give the strata a souffle-like texture. The top of the strata gets slightly crisp with a gorgeous golden color.

Why You’ll Love This Strata Recipe

There are many reasons to love this breakfast bake, but here are the top ones!

  • Easy. It only takes 30 minutes to prep this strata recipe, then you just let the croissants soak up the custard for a bit and bake the casserole.
  • Flavorful. Between the rich custard, herbs, spinach, and buttery croissants, every bite of this breakfast bake is bursting with flavor.
  • Decadent. Most strata recipes use bread, but this one uses buttery croissants for an extra elegant and decadent breakfast idea. The pillowy texture in each bite is divine.
  • Can be made ahead. You can prep this recipe the night before and let the strata chill overnight in the fridge. This makes it perfect for an easy breakfast the next day!
A slice of spinach strata on a while plate with a fork

What is a Strata?

Stratas are essentially savory bread puddings. They’re usually assembled the night before but can also be made an hour before you bake them. This recipe features spinach and cheese, but you could definitely add in other things such as cooked ham and bacon, cooked ground meat and leftover chicken, or even shredded hash browns. Stratas are very flexible – which is another reason to love them.

What is the Difference Between a Frittata and Strata?

These are two classic egg recipes that are actually quite different from each other.

A frittata is a kind of thick omelet filled with cooked veggies, meats, and often some cheese. You begin cooking it on the stovetop and then finish the dish in the oven.

By contrast, a strata is a breakfast casserole. It is made with custard, bread, and various add-ins like veggies, meat, and cheese. You assemble the strata in a baking dish, let it sit for a bit until the bread soaks up some custard, and then bake the entire thing in the oven.

Bowls of cheese next to a basket of eggs, a bowl with croissant pieces, and a measuring cup with cream

What You’ll Need

I have grouped the strata ingredients by step. Where applicable I’ve included some substitution ideas. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.

For the Spinach

  • Fresh spinach: You could also use frozen spinach.
  • Unsalted butter: You can also use salted butter if that’s what you have on hand, but you’ll need to reduce the amount of salt added separately.
  • Onion: I used half a red and half a yellow onion, but you could definitely use one or the other. That is just what I had in the fridge.
  • Garlic
  • Herbs: Thyme, Sage & Parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Water

For the Custard

  • Eggs: This recipe uses 10 eggs, which I love because it helps us work through the backlog from our flock.
  • Milk
  • Heavy cream: You can replace with regular milk if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

For the Strata Layers

  • Croissants: Roughly torn into cubes.
  • Mozzarella & Parmigiano-Reggiano: You can replace these with other kinds of cheese if that is what you have on hand.
  • Unsalted Butter

Can I use frozen croissants? Yes! Costco can really get me going because we have a small family and everything comes in such large quantities. So instead of letting croissants go to waste, I usually freeze them. Wrap each croissant in saran wrap, then place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use them, thaw them on the counter for a few hours.

How to Make Strata

Making strata at home is incredibly easy. Here’s how to make this cheesy breakfast casserole:

Cook the Spinach Filling

  • Cook onions: In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Add onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions become slightly translucent.
  • Cook garlic: Add the minced garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add spinach and herbs: Add the chopped spinach, thyme, sage and parsley.
  • Season and cook: Add a pinch of salt, stirring to incorporate. Add ¼ cup water and cook uncovered until spinach has wilted and the liquid has evaporated.

Make the Custard

In a large bowl combine the eggs, milk, heavy cream, salt and black pepper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Assemble the Strata & Let Sit

  • Tear your croissants into chunks. 
  • Prep baking dish: Grease a 9×13 baking dish with the 1 tablespoon of butter. 
  • Add strata layers: Spread ⅓ of the croissant chunks across the bottom of the pan. Top with ⅓ of the spinach mixture and ⅓ of the cheeses. Make sure you spread out the spinach mixture. Repeat until you have used up all the croissant chunks, spinach and cheeses.
  • Pour the custard over the croissant layers.
  • Let sit: Cover with plastic wrap and let the croissants soak up the liquid. Place in the fridge and let the strata chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. (I usually let it sit on the counter for an hour and then place it right in the oven.)
Baked croissant strata in a white pan on a dark counter

Bake the Strata

  • Heat oven to 350F. Remove the plastic wrap.
  • If your strata was sitting on the counter: Bake the strata covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. Then uncover and continue cooking for 30-40 minutes more, or until the custard is set and the strata is golden on top.
  • If your strata was chilling in the fridge: Bake the strata covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Then uncover and continue cooking for 40-45 minutes more, or until the custard is set and the strata is golden on top.
  • Check periodically: Regardless of baking time, begin checking periodically towards the end of the baking time to make sure your strata does not overcook.
  • Let the strata rest for 15 minutes before serving. This will help it hold together when you get into it and also helps avoid burnt mouths.
A baked spinach strata in a white baking dish on a wood counter

Tips for Success

  • Don’t skip letting your strata sit for a bit. This gives the croissants time to soak up the custard. If you skip the step, it is likely your strata will be a bit runny.
  • Make sure your croissant and pieces are not too large. Tear them into about 2-inch cubes. Making sure the pieces are not too large ensures there is enough surface area for the croissant pieces to soak up the custard.
  • How do you tell if the custard is set? Using a sharp knife, make a small cut in the strata. If eggy liquid is visible your custard has not set. You can also shake your pan and if the center doesn’t jiggle the strata is set.
A slice of spinach strata on a plate with a fork

Variation Ideas

One of the best things about stratas is how easy they are to customize. You can pretty much use whatever you have on hand. Here are some ideas:

  • Meats: Crispy bacon, cooked ham, chorizo, and sausage pieces would all go well here. Just make sure the meat is already cooked and that it is cut into small-to-medium sized pieces. You could even add leftover steak or chicken breast. Want to give your strata some Mexican flare? Add some leftover cochinita pibil, carnitas or chilorio.
  • Veggies: Sautéed cherry tomatoes, scallions and mushrooms are just a few ideas. As with the meat, be sure to cook these before adding them to your strata. Otherwise, the veggies will release excess liquid during baking.
  • Hash browns: Cut up hash browns are another delicious add-in idea! Make sure they are cooked first.
  • Other kinds of cheese: You can use whatever kind of cheese you like best, or even add more cheese to this recipe. Just be sure not to stray too far from equal parts shredded cheese to custard. There are about 2 and 3/4 cups liquid in the custard, so you would want to use about that much cheese. (I used 2 2/3 cups.) You can also use a bit less cheese, but I’m not sure why you would want to do that. Melty, gooey cheese is so good!
A slice of croissant strata on a plate being cut with a fork

What Goes With Strata?

This strata recipe can definitely be a meal in and of itself, but if you want to serve it with something on the side I recommend our skillet home fries. They are easy to make and so, so tasty!

I’m also a big fan of fancy coffee drinks made in your own kitchen. Especially if I’ve made my strata the night before, I’ll make honey-vanilla lattes or gingerbread lattes while the casserole is baking. These drinks only take a few minutes to make and just make the entire meal extra special.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Let your croissant cool completely before storing in the fridge covered tightly with saran wrap. It will keep for 3 to 4 days.

When you are ready to eat more, simply cut out a slice and heat in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes depending on the size of the piece.

Print

Spinach and Cheese Croissant Strata Recipe

A cooked croissant strata in a white baking dish.
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This Spinach and Cheese Croissant Strata is so satisfying. Assemble it the night before and bake it in the morning for an easy breakfast!

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Chill Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

For the Spinach:

  • 8 oz fresh spinach chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups) (I used half a red and half a yellow onion)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry parsley
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup water 

For the Custard

  • 10 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Strata

  • 78 croissants torn into ~2-inch cubes (about 9 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

Cook the Spinach. In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Add onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions become slightly translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chopped spinach, thyme, sage and parsley. Add a pinch of salt, stirring to incorporate. Add ¼ cup water and cook uncovered until spinach has wilted and the liquid has evaporated.

Make the Custard. In a large bowl combine the eggs, milk, heavy cream, salt and black pepper. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Tear your croissants into chunks. I usually tear them into about 2-inch pieces. 

Prep your tools. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with the 1 tablespoon of butter. 

Assemble the strata. Spread ⅓ of the croissant chunks across the bottom of the pan. Top with ⅓ of the spinach mixture and ⅓ of the cheeses. Make sure you spread out the spinach mixture. Repeat until you have used up all the croissant chunks, spinach and cheeses.

Add custard and chill. Pour the custard over the croissant layers. Cover with plastic wrap and let the croissants soak up the liquid. Place in the fridge and let the strata chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. (I usually let it sit on the counter for an hour and then place it right in the oven to reduce the cooking time.)

Bake the Strata. Heat oven to 350F.  Remove the plastic wrap.

  • If your strata was sitting on the counter: Bake the strata covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. Then uncover and continue cooking for 30-40 minutes more, or until the custard is set and the strata is golden on top. 
  • If your strata was chilling in the fridge: Bake the strata covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Then uncover and continue cooking for 40-45 minutes more, or until the custard is set and the strata is golden on top.  

Check for doneness. In either case, check oven towards the end of the baking time to make sure your strata does not overcook. 

Let the strata rest for 15 minutes before serving. This will help it hold together when you get into it and also helps avoid burnt mouths.

Notes

How do you tell if the custard is set? Using a sharp knife, make a small cut in the strata. If eggy liquid is visible your custard has not set. You can also shake your pan and if the center doesn’t jiggle the strata is set.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 437
  • Fat: 31
  • Carbohydrates: 21
  • Protein: 18

Keywords: breakfast casserole, strata recipe, breakfast bake, breakfast strata

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I never thought about using croissants instead of regular bread for strata, but I tried it and this recipe is GOOD. I may never use bread again, though I do want to see your recipe for a regular strata so I can make that too.

    1. Rustic Family Recipes

      I will have to post it. I like to use extra sourdough bread for regular strata. I should probably post a sourdough bread recipe too. 🙂