Mini Breakfast Stratas

If I had to choose between lounging around in bed on a weekend morning or getting up early to make a hearty breakfast, it would be no contest. I’d pick the lazy option every time. But why choose when you can have both by spending ten minutes assembling a breakfast strata the night before? This popular, make-ahead casserole includes all of the ingredients of a classic “English” breakfast in one easy package — eggs, optional ham or bacon, cheese, vegetables, and bread — while minimizing the cook’s time involved and letting the oven do most of the work.

In this simple recipe, I have considered how breakfast strata’s winning formula might be improved and settled on the idea of baking my default recipe for the dish in individual portions using muffin cups. Do members of your household eat breakfast at different times? No problem. Each serving can be reheated in the microwave oven for 10 seconds and then served. Wrapped, these mini stratas make excellent additions to lunch boxes. They can be eaten on the go or as afternoon snacks. They cook in half the time of a traditional strata casserole and are a great way to use leftovers. A vegetarian (ovo-eating) option is provided. And, finally, they make a satisfying light dinner served with soup or salad. I think of these as anytime stratas.

Ingredients

5 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk or half & half
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/8 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoked)
A pinch of cayenne
A dash of nutmeg
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 slices day-old bread, cubed (about 2 cups)
(Optional) 4 ounces cooked smoked ham, cubed (about 1 cup) or 5 slices cooked bacon, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup cooked and very well drained mushrooms, spinach, swiss chard, potatoes, or other vegetables (double the amount of vegetables and dispense with the meat if opting for the vegetarian version of this dish)
6 green onions, the roots and half the greens removed, thinly sliced
4 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) grated cheddar, emmental, or other cheese
(Optional) 1 tablespoon chopped bell peppers

Preparation

  1. Oil 6 jumbo-sized, 12 regular-sized, or 24 mini-sized non-stick muffin cups.
  2. In a mixing bowl with a spout, whisk together well the eggs, milk or half & half, mustard, paprika, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Evenly distribute among the muffin cups, in order, half each of the bread cubes, meat (if used), vegetables, green onions, cheese, optional bell peppers (if used), and the milk/egg mixture. Repeat.
  4. Cover the muffin cups with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
  5. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. with the rack in the middle position. Bake for 15 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of the muffin cups used, until the tops are lightly browned and the eggs set. Allow the mini stratas to cool in the muffin cups for five minutes, remove them, and serve.

print recipe print recipe

You might also like...

Leave a Comment

{ 41 Comments...read them below or add one }

Felice December 25, 2011 at 12:15 am

Thank you for great inspiration! I had a taste for strata but not enough ingredients on hand to make a full tray and honestly a full 9 x 11 tray was a good deal more strata than I wanted. I used your recipe as a guide…I ended up using 4 eggs, 1/4 cup water, four slices of bread, 1 leftover fully cooked sausage chopped, a couple ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, some leftover fingerling potatos, 1 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. I cubed two slices of bread and lined the bottom of a small pyry pan. I topped that with the sausage, then potatos, then about half of the cheese. Then I cubed the remaining bread on top of that. I whisked the eggs and spices and water together well. Then poured the egg mixture over the other stuff. I stored for thirty minutes and then baked per your directions. This recipe has great possibilities for leftovers. Really excellent. Thank you!

Reply

Michelle May 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I made these for Mothers day brunch. They were a HUGE hit! I added goat cheese and 2 yr aged Irish cheddar. Thanks so much for the recipe. I love your site!

Reply

The Guerilla Griller February 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

I’d never heard of stratas before, although after reading the other comments, I appear to be almost the only cook in the world who hasn’t! I’m loving the idea, though, and looking forward to trying them – being British, I may slip a little diced sausage and/or black pudding in there too. I’m also loving the design of this blog: great photos and very clear layout – mine is a bit scruffy and cluttered, somewhat like me…

Reply

Barbara February 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm

This really is one of those (almost) “anything goes” recipes in terms of the meat, veggies, and cheese variety used. It’s also a great way to recycle leftovers. Sausage, which I’ve used in the past, would work well here.

Reply

Jennifer February 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

A sleep in and an impressive breakfast – girl you have got yourself sorted!! Plus I love anything miniature!!

Reply

kellypea February 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

These sound perfect for us! Make ahead and freeze for the week. It would keep me away from the carbs! I’ve made large stratas before, but hadn’t thought of this. Nice!

Reply

Lacey @ dishfolio.com February 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

Great photos! Plus the recipe looks divine. We’d love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!

Reply

Kim Beauchamp January 31, 2011 at 10:45 am

WOW! The make ahead note alone is enough to get me to try these. We have an abundance of fresh eggs, and I’m always looking for new ways to get them into my kiddos. Thanks for another delicious, nutritious meal idea.

Reply

RJ Flamingo January 29, 2011 at 8:51 am

I love stratas and have a couple of different recipes for them on my blog, too. I love this idea of using muffin cups for individual portions – especially minis for appetizers! Great thinking!

Reply

Jane Bonacci - The Heritage Cook January 28, 2011 at 9:03 am

Stratas are some of my favorites, and making them in individual servings is a wonderful way to make everyone feel extra special! I have a guest staying with us this weekend and I think this is going to be my breakfast offering for tomorrow – only I’m going to use over-sized muffin tins because I’m that hungry looking at your photos, LOL!!

Reply

Delishhh January 27, 2011 at 12:07 am

I love strata and make this for big brunches all the time because you can do it the night before. I always have sausage and bacon in mine but otherwise mine is very similar to you. I have never made them in small muffin cups but love this idea. I am hosting a baby shower in a month and i might just do it this way this time around.

Reply

Susan Mallery January 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Wow, these look so good! I love the idea of being able to prepare them ahead of time. In the morning, I’m never in the mood to cook. I just want to grab and go, and these would be perfect for that. And all that protein would be a great way to jump start my day. Packed with energy. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Peggy January 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Oh man, these look perfect! Definitely my kind of savory breakfast!

Reply

bellini January 20, 2011 at 6:52 am

I am definitely a breakfast person so these mini stratas are perfect for those weekend meals.

Reply

Heather Davis January 19, 2011 at 6:57 am

I’ve never heard of these before Barbara but they look amazing. What a clever idea. My husband likes doing breakfasts in our house – full English as they call it here – but he makes one hell of a mess doing it! Perhaps I will beat him to it and make these the night before.

Reply

Barbara January 19, 2011 at 10:08 am

Thanks, Heather. This approach to “full English” ingredients does cut down on the pots and pans used and the kitchen mess involved.

Reply

Maria January 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

Love the mini versions! Great idea!

Reply

Megan January 18, 2011 at 9:49 am

Perfect little breakfast! Over the weekend I was thinking individual quiches with puff pastry for the crust but never got up to make them. I was too lazy! I like the idea of doing them the night before.

Reply

Cookin' Canuck January 18, 2011 at 12:02 am

This is one of our favorite ways to prepare eggs. These would be perfect for a weekend brunch, but just as welcome as an easy dinner on a busy weeknight.

Reply

Grace January 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I’m always trying to think of ideas when entertaining a large crowd, these are perfect, a nice addition to a brunch as well. Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Big Shamu January 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Love this recipe but I love the piece of pottery you served them in just as much. Is that something you picked up locally or is there someplace online that carries that?

Reply

Barbara January 18, 2011 at 5:51 am

Many thanks. My talented sister-in-law Karen made that pretty piece, and she can be reached at Yellow Branch Pottery.

Reply

Big Shamu January 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Excellent, thank you so much. She does beautiful work.

Reply

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog January 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

So cute breakfast and also very good pics! These mini stratas, several of them!, can be perfectly my lunch too. Have a great week, Gera

Reply

Jenna January 17, 2011 at 11:48 am

I agree about the brilliance of the individual sized portions–they turn it into something so classy! I love your pictures of the process–I’m always more likely to make something when I can wrap my head around the steps, and the images make that happen so easily.

Reply

Faith January 17, 2011 at 11:04 am

The recipe looks great Barb. I love how healthy and easy to make it is. You made it seem super easy! I’m always a little scared when I look at a beautiful dish and wonder how to make it but you made it really easy! great job. The pictures are awesome! Have a great week ahead.

Reply

Feast on the Cheap January 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

Breakfast stratas will now always remind me of that scene from The Family Stone…. This looks like a fabulous way to start the day!

Reply

Claudie January 17, 2011 at 8:42 am

I’ve been doing a lot of scrambled eggs lately for breakfast… I think this recipe is a great one to try out as an alternative. And, I’m thinking — if I prepare the ingredients the night before — a quite quick one! Oh, and beautiful too, of course.

Reply

Brenda January 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Hi,
Quick question, I just made these and have plenty of leftovers. How could I save these for later? Would freezing them individually work? And after I freeze them, should I thaw them out first before baking or could I bake them straight from the freezer Thanks so much!

Reply

Barbara January 17, 2011 at 5:39 am

I haven’t actually tried freezing this recipe myself. However, if I were to do so I would try the following method: (1) Assemble the extra mini breakfast stratas in muffin cups through step 4 of the recipe above. (2) Transfer the unbaked muffin cups to the freezer until the unbaked stratas are frozen solid. (3) Remove the frozen stratas from the muffin cups, put them in a freezer bag, and return them to the freezer. (4) When ready to bake, return the frozen stratas to oiled muffin cups, thaw for 30 minutes or so, and bake, as described in step 5 of the recipe above.

Good luck and I hope it works for you!

Reply

A Canadian Foodie January 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

These are so pretty and look so flavourful and are so so so smart! I think I get the best, simplest – yet most difficult to think of myself – ideas from you, Barbara! They would be beautiful in a basket for a brunch, or packed in a school lunch…. so many ideas… and a great user of kitchen leftovers, too! Valerie

Reply

Beth January 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Small servings are always adorable, and I love the presentation of these. So cute!

Reply

Suzanne January 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

One of my all-time favorite ways to start the day! Great leftover, too! And I have a mini muffin tin for your appetizer suggestion! Super Bowl perfect!

Reply

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme January 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

Barbara – I simply love this version of strata! I have a recipe that I make frequently but never thought of the mini-sized option. Perfect, as you say, for those who eat breakfast at different times. I could also easily enjoy this with a bright green salad for a light lunch. Just wonderful!

Reply

Barbara January 17, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Thanks, Lana! We often eat “breakfast” strata for dinner at our house, often with leftovers and whatever green veggie we have going in the garden. One of the things I like about these individual stratas is the crustiness one gets from the extra surface area of the muffin cups.

Reply

SMITH BITES January 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

stratas are such a brilliant dish and individual portions, even better! the beauty of stratas too is that you can make them with leftover veg and/or meat from another meal – just perfect!

Reply

Mei Teng January 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

Beautiful food photo

Reply

fooddreamer January 16, 2011 at 8:01 am

Strata makes such a lovely breakfast and little individual ones that can be reheated on a moment’s notice is just brilliant!

Reply

Shelby January 16, 2011 at 7:33 am

I’d choose the lazy highway too! Looks great!

Reply

marla January 15, 2011 at 8:50 pm

This is a great recipe & so healthy. Real energy food, just like you say – for any time of day. I have been thinking I need to do some eggs in muffin cups. I love the presentation & instant proper portion sizes. xo

Reply

Barbara January 16, 2011 at 8:10 am

Thanks, Marla! It occurred to me belatedly that these — with the ingredients chopped a bit smaller — would also make excellent appetizers baked in bite-sized, mini-muffin cups.

Reply

{ 2 Comments...read them below or add one }

Previous post:

Next post: