An easy cheese frittata is so basic, yet so satisfying—and versatile too; memorize the simple recipe in a flash and adapt it any way you like. Add leftover cooked veggies or meat, fresh herbs that are about to wilt, whatever spices you fancy. Serve it up for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and make it on repeat—but never the same way twice…unless you want to.
The Beauty of Beaten Eggs
What do an omelet, a quiche, and a frittata share in common? They’re all beaten egg dishes that allow for creativity and customization based on whatever ingredients are in season and on hand, and they all make a perfect brunch centerpiece. Among them all, however, the frittata—think of it as Italy’s answer to the breakfast casserole—may be our favorite; it’s less fussy than a rolled omelet, and comes together much more quickly than a quiche. (And if you were wondering, it’s the crust that sets it apart from the latter.)
We’ve got a no-frills method for cooking basic frittatas that’s free of precise measurements and complicated techniques. Feel free to store it in your memory and pull it out of your back pocket for a satisfying meal anytime you’d like, whether you’re camping, staying at a vacation home with incomplete kitchen equipment, or just looking for an easy weeknight meal you can throw together in a jiff.
Lodge Chef Collection Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, $39.95 at Sur La Table
You'll need a large oven-safe frying pan or cast-iron skillet to cook it.
What You Need to Make a Cheese Frittata:
- One onion, thinly sliced (optional, but highly recommended)
- A handful of any or all of the following fresh herbs: parsley, basil, cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
- One clove of garlic (optional)
- The green part of two scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
- A dozen eggs
- Three handfuls of grated cheese (your favorite kind)
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Oil (any kind)
Steps to Making a Cheese Frittata:
1. Heat the broiler and put the rack in the middle of the oven. If you have one of those broilers that’s in a drawer under the oven, then use the oven instead, heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add two handfuls of cheese (reserving the third handful for later), lots of salt and pepper, and the herbs and scallions, if using.
3. Stir until everything is well blended. Add about 10 dashes of hot sauce, if using.
4. Heat the oven-safe frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat on the stove and coat the bottom with oil. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and golden.
5. Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the onion and garlic, turn the heat down to medium low, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes undisturbed. You want the outer edges to be set and slightly browned, but not the middle.
6. Sprinkle the reserved third handful of cheese on top.
7. Put the frittata in the oven and, if you’re using the broiler, cook for 3 to 5 minutes. If you’re using the oven, cook for 5 to 10 minutes. When it’s finished, the center will no longer jiggle if shaken, the cheese will have slightly browned on top, and the frittata will have puffed up a bit.
Follow these steps, and you’ll wind up with a frittata that’s slightly custardy in the interior and lightly golden around the edges every single time. And if you’re hoping to bump your frittata skills up another notch, here are a few other favorites that highlight the same skillet-in-the-oven frittata technique but get a little more involved (and even more delicious).
More Frittata Recipes
Follow these to the letter or use them as templates to create your own combos:
Sweet Dungeness crab, mild and creamy fromage blanc or ricotta, and roasted potatoes make for an especially elegant frittata, offset by a tangy tomato vinaigrette. This one easily swings from brunch to dinner with the addition of a crisp white wine. It’s also slightly smaller, using only 5 eggs and a 10-inch skillet, but you can make it larger if you want. Get this Dungeness Crab, Fromage Blanc, and Potato Frittata recipe.
Stuffed with Canadian bacon, Gruyère cheese, and shallots, our Frittata Lorraine is less fussy (and healthier) than the traditional quiche Lorraine, yet still feels fancier than a ham and cheese omelet. Get our Frittata Lorraine recipe.
Try pairing this hearty dish with bacon for breakfast, between slices of toasted bread for lunch, or paired with a big green salad for dinner. Get our Bell Pepper and Potato Frittata recipe.
Make this asparagus frittata at the peak of asparagus season, when the spears are abundant and reasonably priced. Here, they’re featured in an airy frittata, which pairs well with a cool horseradish cream. Get our Asparagus Frittata with Horseradish Sour Cream recipe.
Muffin pans have a dual purpose: they’re ideal baking trays for individual frittatas. Make a dozen for your next hosted brunch or as an appetizer at a dinner party. Get our Onion, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas recipe.
This egg dish, which is chock-full of bell peppers and dark, leafy kale, could double as a healthy way to get your greens in any night of the week. Get our Kale and Roasted Red Pepper Frittata recipe.
Make this cheeseless, egg-white-only seafood stunner anytime you’re in the mood to eat a clean, protein-rich meal. Get our Egg-White Frittata With Shrimp, Tomato, and Spinach recipe.
At the height of summer, when squash are flourishing, make our zucchini blossom frittata, which pairs sliced zucchini rounds with their delicate orange blossoms, as well as Manchego cheese and fresh marjoram. Get our Zucchini Blossom Frittata recipe.