Spinach & Bacon Breakfast Strata

This spinach and bacon breakfast strata is a simple egg casserole dish combining eggs, bread, sautéed spinach, crisp bacon, and plenty of parmesan cheese. Use crusty day-old bread so each bite is chewy and textured (not flat and spongey). For optimal flavor, prep the strata in advance and bake fresh for breakfast the next morning. Each bite is loaded with texture and flavor, so it’s hard to resist having seconds!

spinach and bacon breakfast strata

It’s no secret that breakfast casserole is a simple, yet satisfying breakfast/brunch dish. Casseroles are usually a cinch to throw together, welcome any sort of vegetable/cheese/meat, and taste even better if you make them ahead of time. Heck, you could even add bagels and cream cheese. See everything bagel breakfast casserole— it’s always a hit!

Strata is a type of breakfast casserole. While you can make strata with many different add-ins, breakfast strata always includes eggs, milk/cream, and bread. (And definitely cheese.) We make it all the time and I figured you’d appreciate our latest one!

(By the way, if you’re more into sweet treats with your coffee, make French toast casserole instead– also eggs, milk/cream, and bread!)


Spinach & Bacon Breakfast Strata Details

  • Flavor: We love this breakfast strata with sautéed onions and spinach, garlic, crisp bacon, and plenty of parmesan cheese. Add a little ground mustard for a touch of sharp flavor, too. A little salt and pepper round everything out.
  • Texture: If you start out with crusty day-old bread, the strata won’t be soggy at all. Rather, you’ll have a mix of soft and textured bites, crisp edges, pockets of melty cheese, plus lots of crunchy bacon. Needless to say, there’s something different in every single bite.
  • Ease: The hardest part, if you can even call it that, would be prepping the bacon, onions, and spinach. All you have to do is cook the bacon, drain a little grease, then sauté onions, garlic, and spinach. Layer all this over bread, then add cheese. Pour your egg mixture over that. Prep is done!
  • Time: For best flavor and texture, you’ll want to start this dish the day before. Cut the bread into chunks, let it sit out to dry, then give yourself about 30 minutes to prepare the rest. Cover and refrigerate overnight before baking the next morning.

 

overhead photo of spinach bacon egg breakfast strata

Some Key Ingredients & Substitution Options

You can get creative with breakfast strata because the flavors and add-ins are virtually endless. Here’s what I use and some substitution options.

  • Bread: Besides eggs and milk, bread is a key ingredient here. Why do you use bread in strata? When eggs bake, they release a lot of liquid. Chunks of crusty bread soak a lot of that liquid up so the casserole is chewy, chunky, and textured– not spongey, flat, and airy. In other words, bread gives the casserole some staying power. Now all of this depends on how crusty and crisp your bread is. Use homemade artisan bread or store-bought crispy, crusty bread. Sourdough is AWESOME in this. Cut the bread, then let the chunks sit out for several hours or overnight (uncovered) to dry out.
  • Spinach: You can use fresh or frozen spinach. You could also use kale or arugula or skip the greens and cook 1-2 cups chopped mushrooms and/or peppers with the onions.
  • Bacon/Meat: If using meat, make sure it’s cooked before layering it into the dish. We love the combination of garlicky spinach and bacon (just like in this creamy mac and cheese recipe), but you can use about 1/2 – 3/4 lb of cooked crumbled or chopped sausage instead. 2 cups of cubed cooked ham can be substituted or leave out the meat. If you skip the meat, feel free to add more spinach (or 1-2 cups chopped mushrooms and/or peppers, see above for cooking instruction).
  • Parmesan Cheese: Salty, nutty parmesan is excellent in this breakfast strata, but we’ve tried it with shredded cheddar, white cheddar, gouda, Gruyere, pepper jack, etc. If you like a particular cheese on your eggs, I’m sure you’ll like it in this dish!
  • Milk + Eggs: You need 9 eggs, but milk usually makes up the bulk of the liquid in a breakfast strata. Some recipes use half-and-half but I find the texture too firm this way. I usually just use whole milk. 2% or 1% would be fine if needed but skip using nonfat. The casserole won’t taste as rich.
  • Seasonings: I keep it simple here with salt, pepper, garlic, and ground mustard. Your breakfast will not taste like mustard. Ground mustard is a common addition to breakfast casseroles because it adds some sharp flavor with a little depth.

Note: I usually use a blend of shredded parmesan and freshly shaved parmesan. Shaved or shredded– either works.

spinach, cooked bacon, parmesan cheese, and torn apart bread pieces

This spinach, garlic, bacon, and parmesan combination is a favorite but if you’re looking for something different, we enjoy this ham & cheese strata too. It’s indefinitely loved by family members of all ages. Try it with Swiss cheese!

cooked spinach and onions in skillet breakfast casserole before baking

breakfast strata with eggs, spinach, and bacon

Start This Spinach & Bacon Breakfast Strata Overnight

One defining characteristic of strata is rest time. It’s common to prep the casserole the night before so the eggs soak into the bread. If you can’t do overnight, as short as 1 hour works in a pinch. I always say that strata is so low maintenance that it literally needs a nap. Ha!

Hope you love it as much as we do.

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overhead photo of spinach bacon egg breakfast strata

Spinach & Bacon Breakfast Strata

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (or overnight)
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (or overnight)
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

For optimal flavor, use stale bread and prep the strata in advance as directed in step 5. See “Some Key Ingredients & Substitution Options” above for a list of ingredient substitutions we’ve tested.


Ingredients

  • 8 cups (about a 12 ounce loaf) cubed bread (I recommend big chunks of a crispy baguette or sourdough loaf)
  • 8 slices uncooked bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 packed cups fresh chopped spinach*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • optional garnish: fresh ground black pepper, flaky sea salt, and/or extra parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9×13 inch (or similar size) casserole dish or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Arrange bread in a single layer in the pan, then set pan aside.
  3. Cook bacon according to package stovetop directions in a large skillet. Drain all but about 1 Tablespoon grease. (Or drain it all and add 1 Tablespoon olive oil for the next step.) Cool bacon until ready to handle, then chop into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle over bread.
  4. Add onion to greased skillet. Cook on medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and spinach and while stirring occasionally, cook until spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Spoon evenly over the bread/bacon, then sprinkle all of the cheese on top.
  5. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, ground mustard, and pepper together in a large bowl. Pour evenly over cheese. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight (up to 12-16 hours).
  6. Remove casserole from the refrigerator and allow to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
  8. Bake casserole, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. The casserole is done when browned on the sides and puffy in the center– usually takes 50-55 minutes total.
  9. Remove from the oven, sprinkle optional garnish(es) on top if using, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  10. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Prepare through step 5, then cover the casserole with plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. These 2 layers are ideal for protecting this egg heavy dish in the freezer. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature, and continue with step 7.
  2. Bread: Use homemade crispy, crusty bread such as artisan bread or purchase a loaf or baguette from your grocery store’s bakery. If you can get your hands on a crusty loaf of sourdough bread, definitely use it here. It’s wonderful in this strata. For best taste and texture, cut the loaf into large bite-size chunks, then let the chunks sit out for several hours or overnight (uncovered) to dry out. They soak up more liquid this way.
  3. Spinach: You can use an 8-10 ounce package of frozen spinach instead if desired. Thaw, then blot out excess moisture. Sauté in step 4 just as you do the fresh spinach. You could also use fresh kale or arugula instead.
  4. Bacon/Cheese/Flavor Substitutions: See “Some Key Ingredients & Substitution Options” above.

Keywords: breakfast strata, spinach and bacon breakfast egg strata

26 Comments

  1. will be making this soon can i use almond milk and mushrooms instead as am a vegetarian and i dont like dairy milk perfect for my brunch everyday in Singapore sorry for early comment as am in SIngapore will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks

    1. Hi Ramya, you can sub in chopped mushrooms. I’d use 1-2 cups. Cook them with the onions before adding spinach. We haven’t tested the recipe with almond milk but I’m sure it would be fine.

    2. Hi! Would you change anything to this an egg white strata?

      1. Hi Shannon! We haven’t tested this recipe with only egg whites. I’m unsure of the exact amount that would be best– I’d use a few more than a dozen large whites.

  2. Lynne Conway says:

    Since there is only 2 of us, I would like to halve the recipe.
    Should I use 4 or 5 eggs? Or 4 extra large?
    9 inch or 8 inch square pan? Change baking time?
    I want to make this for Easter Sunday brunch! Thank you!

    1. Hi Lynne, I would use 4 large or extra large eggs. An 8 inch or 9 inch square pan would be perfect! I’m unsure of the best bake time though.

  3. Hi Sally,
    This looks so delicious! Can you use mustard powder (store bought) or is it better to grind mustard seeds? Thank you!

    1. Hi Maneesha! Thank you so much. Either option is fine, but I usually use ground mustard powder. (Sold as “ground mustard” in the spice aisle.)

  4. Hey Sally,

    I can’t wait to make this recipe – my house loves your make ahead breakfast casserole AND your biscuit breakfast casserole. I am wondering if I can make a heart-healthy version of this recipe using low-fat cheese and egg beaters (or egg whites). Is that possible?

    1. Hi Rachel, I’m sure that’s possible, we just haven’t tested it! Let us know if you do.

  5. Yum! I made this and it turned out really well. It will be a dish I will make again. I was hoping to add a pic, but don’t see that is an option.

  6. Gary Nikolai says:

    Very nice flavours and texture. I used a homemade sour dough bread, which worked nicely, however, I found that there was a bit too much of the bread, for my liking. I will play around with it some more. Also, I know a strata has the layers, what do you think of mixing most of the ingredients together first, distributing the flavours,than sprinkling cheese on top before baking?

    1. It shouldn’t be a problem to mix the ingredients together first, pour or spoon into the dish, then add the cheese. Thank you for trying this recipe!

  7. Joan Larkin says:

    I cubed sour dough bread – 8 cups and it comes to top of pan. Will it reduce when it dries out and should I take out some? I don’t want it too Bready.

    1. Hi Joan, feel free to remove some bread if you’d like. It doesn’t reduce as it dries out, but when you add the spinach/bacon and eggs, it all seeps down into the dish.

  8. My husband made this for Easter Brunch, and it was wonderful! We used Rosemary and Olive Oil bread from our local Wegmans grocery store bakery, and the herbs were a delicious addition. I love breakfast casseroles, and this will definitely be one to have again. Thank you!

  9. Delicious! Such bold and tasty flavors! I made this with gluten free bread – was worried it might get a little more mushy but turned out great! I ended up toasting the bread at 275 for 15 mins to get it nice and hard. I used Udi’s hamburger buns. Great way to start off Easter!

  10. Nancy Heath says:

    A delicious addition to Easter brunch. Thank you for another great recipe.

  11. Amalea Ruffett says:

    Super lovely flavours! Used turkey bacon in this and sourdough and it was a really yummy breakfast. We’ve got plenty of leftovers for dinners this week 🙂

  12. Delicious! Made this for Easter breakfast, used a blend of Romano and Parmesan cheese. I love that it is made the day before so I didn’t have to be in the kitchen in the morning except to put it in the oven.

  13. I made this as written except with sausage instead of bacon. I used amoroso italian rolls. So good! We just had it for dinner but I mostly made it for leftovers. Strata is underrated.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So glad you loved it, Jessie! Strata is definitely underrated.

  14. Stephanie O says:

    Husband and I LOVED this savory gem for our Easter breakfast! I did substitute Sharp Vermont Cheddar for the cheese (parmesan just didn’t seem right to my taste buds) but otherwise followed your recipe to the letter. I love easy recipes that “taste fancy” and this one fits the bill! Will be making again and trying cooked sweet turkey sausage as the meat substitute and maybe some smoky gouda. I’m truly delighted to have a new breakfast recipe that’s not only forgiving but flexible – thank you!

  15. This breakfast strata was incredible and so easy to make! Definitely will make again, especially any time we’re hosting.

  16. This was probably my favourite egg casserole dish I’ve ever made! Love the flavours and so easy to make. I used Sally’s Artisan bread recipe for the bread, mushrooms and bell peppers instead of spinach, and added a bit of paprika for some kick. Next time I would reduce the amount of salt, but otherwise this recipe is a keeper! Thank you for sharing!

  17. Earl Williams says:

    This and excellent breakfast surprise for guests. Everyone loved it. Thank you again Sally for giving us tested recipes we can trust.

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