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This easy Breakfast Strata is a simple make-ahead meal that’s perfect for a holiday brunch, busy weeknight dinner, or a quick breakfast you can reheat all week long! Add this overnight breakfast casserole recipe to your anytime meal rotation—you will not be disappointed!

An overhead image of a ham, egg, and cheese breakfast strata served in a casserole dish next to a carton of eggs.
Table of Contents
  1. What Is a Breakfast Strata?
  2. Ingredients for a Simple Breakfast Strata
  3. How to Make an Easy Breakfast Strata with Ham, Egg, and Cheese
  4. Prepping & Storing Breakfast Strata
  5. What to Serve with Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Strata
  6. Flavor Variations: Things to Add to Breakfast Strata
  7. More Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipes to Try
  8. Ham Egg and Cheese Breakfast Strata Recipe

Most special occasions hosted at our home call for a simple but crowd-pleasing brunch recipe the next morning. I love to serve a delicious overnight breakfast casserole that can be prepped the night before, so I don’t have to worry about cooking and prepping when enjoying family time.

That’s exactly why this easy ham breakfast strata is the perfect brunch recipe! Made with classic breakfast ingredients that require hardly any prep time, this ham, egg, and cheese breakfast strata will please even the toughest brunch crowd.

What Is a Breakfast Strata?

So, what exactly IS a breakfast strata? If you’re unfamiliar with this tasty breakfast dish, it’s basically a mixture of bread, eggs, and toppings (like cheese, meat, and vegetables)—think of it like a savory bread pudding! You can put just about anything you want in a breakfast strata; it all depends on the flavors you’re going for.

For this particular breakfast strata recipe, I borrowed the ingredients from our favorite breakfast sandwich—the basic ham, egg, and cheese—and baked them in casserole form with some crusty bread cubes and simple seasonings. The bread soaks up the creamy egg mixture overnight (like an overnight French toast) and is then baked with plenty of melted cheese, savory ham, and fresh green onions.

Ingredients for a Simple Breakfast Strata

This delicious breakfast casserole is simple food at its finest and makes a perfect brunch, lunch, or dinner option for busy days. Pair it with a fruit salad or breakfast potatoes for a tasty, well-balanced meal that will feed a crowd! Below is an overview of the ingredients we use to make a cheesy ham strata. You can find the complete ingredients and directions in the recipe card at the end of this post.

  • Bread: you want a nice, crusty bread—preferably day-old bread if you can find it.
  • Ham: we used diced cooked ham. This recipe is a great opportunity to use leftover ham from a holiday dinner!
  • Eggs: half a dozen eggs are whipped together for this casserole.
  • Milk: makes the eggs extra creamy. We use 2% milk, but whole milk or even heavy cream will work.
  • Green Onions: add flavorful and freshness to the casserole.
  • Shredded Cheese: we use regular mild cheddar, but this recipe would be delicious with a variety of cheeses.
  • Minced Garlic: for savory flavor.
  • Seasonings: we keep it simple with salt, black pepper, and grated nutmeg (trust me!).

What’s the best kind of bread to use in a breakfast strata?

You want bread with a nice crust and tender crumb. Just like in bread pudding, stale bread is best! The day-old bread will absorb the milk and egg mixture perfectly, making for a creamy and moist—but not mushy or liquidy—breakfast casserole.

We use sourdough bread, but just about any artisan-style bread loaf will work, like French or Italian bread, as long as it is crusty! If your bread isn’t day-old, you can quickly dry it out in the oven (like I do in this recipe) for crispier, drier bread cubes.

What’s the difference between a breakfast casserole and a strata?

So, what exactly makes an overnight breakfast strata different from a make-ahead breakfast casserole? The fact is, they’re both casseroles with an egg base and toppings. While they’re very similar, I think there are a few key differences between a classic breakfast strata and a breakfast casserole.

  • The Bread: strata has large chunks of bread. In fact, it’s pretty characteristic of strata to have both soft, eggy bites of bread and crispy, perfectly golden browned bites that dot the top of the strata.
  • Savory Flavor: strata are traditionally savory, with ingredients like ham, sausage, bacon, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and cheeses.
  • Make-Ahead: While many breakfast casseroles can be made ahead of time, breakfast strata should always be made ahead of time for best results.
A closeup image of a serving spoon resting inside a casserole dish of ham, egg, and cheese breakfast strata.

How to Make an Easy Breakfast Strata with Ham, Egg, and Cheese

Whether you’re serving this simple breakfast strata on Christmas morning, Easter brunch, or a casual Saturday, it’s the perfect way to bring the family together! Simple ingredients, minimal prep time, and so much flavor make this a family favorite breakfast casserole.

  • Cube and toast the bread in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Whisk the milk, eggs, ham, green onions, and seasoning together in a large bowl
  • Fill a casserole dish with the toasted bread.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the cubed bread, then sprinkle cheese on top.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let the strata rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Can I bake breakfast strata the same day?

Yes, you can bake a strata the same day, but it’s even better when baked the next day. Why? Because letting the casserole sit overnight allows that creamy egg mixture to soak into the bread. At the very least, you should let the breakfast strata sit for an hour before baking. (Keep in mind that because of the perishable ingredients, the strata should always be stored in the fridge and never at room temperature.)

How do I know if my strata is fully baked?

The total baking time depends on the thickness of the strata and the size of your baking dish. A thicker, larger strata will take longer to cook than a smaller, thinner casserole. You’ll know the strata is done when the center is set and doesn’t jiggle. Insert a knife or a toothpick into the center to see if it comes out clean. The edges of the strata will be a perfect golden brown color. While it might seem puffy when you first take it out of the oven, it will deflate as the eggs set—the end result being the perfect eggy texture.

Prepping & Storing Breakfast Strata

  • Make-Ahead: assemble the breakfast casserole according to the recipe, then cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a dish over. Store in the fridge until ready to bake.
  • Storing Leftovers: leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days—store individual servings in airtight containers or wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • Reheating: reheat servings of your breakfast strata in the microwave for 30-second increments until heated through, or in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
A closeup, overhead image of a fresh baked breakfast strata with ham, egg, cheese, and fresh green onion.

What to Serve with Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Strata

A breakfast strata is best paired with other breakfast side dishes, like crispy bacon strips or sausage links, fresh fruit, English muffins with jam and jellies, and fresh baked muffins. It’s a great recipe to serve at a brunch buffet with a variety of dishes to enjoy! Here are some easy side dishes to pair with a savory ham and cheese breakfast strata.

Flavor Variations: Things to Add to Breakfast Strata

There are so many flavors you can go for when it comes to breakfast strata. From meats and veggies to cheese and seasonings, you can customize it to the tastes of your family and brunch guests. Here are some ingredient ideas for the perfect breakfast strata recipe.

  • Meat Options: in this recipe, we use cubed ham. Other options include crumbled breakfast sausage, bacon, or seasoned ground beef.
  • Vegetables: the sky is the limit! Try popular additions like green peppers (or any color bell peppers), onions, mushrooms, red peppers, or tomatoes (both fresh and sun-dried tomatoes).
  • Cheese: again, pick a type of cheese that matches the flavors you’re going for. American cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, or Parmesan cheese are all great options.

Looking for specific flavor combinations? Here are some more ideas:

  • Denver Omelet Style: ham, bell peppers, onions, and cheddar cheese.
  • Mediterranean Style: spinach, red peppers, olives, and crumbed Feta cheese.
  • Italian Style: sausage or pepperoni with Italian blend cheese (Mozzarella and Parmesan) and Italian seasonings.
  • Mexican Style: seasoned ground beef or chorizo sausage, tomatoes, green peppers or chiles, and Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese.

More Easy Breakfast Casserole Recipes to Try

Ham Egg and Cheese Breakfast Strata

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 496 kcal
This easy breakfast strata is packed with ham and cheese. Tender chunks of bread soaked with creamy eggs and seasoning. This simple make-ahead breakfast casserole is the perfect brunch recipe!

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces sourdough bread
  • 8 ounces diced cooked ham
  • 1 cup 2% milk, whole milk, or heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup green onions sliced thin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Arrange bread on a baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, or until toasted, stirring halfway through.
    8 ounces sourdough bread
  • Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, garlic, green onion, and seasonings.
    1 cup 2% milk, whole milk, or heavy cream, 1/3 cup green onions, 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt, 6 large eggs
  • In bottom of prepared baking dish, toss together toasted bread and diced ham. Pour egg mixture over top. Sprinkle with cheese.
    8 ounces diced cooked ham, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • If making ahead, cover the casserole and place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  • Bake uncovered at 375°F (190°C) for 25 minutes, or until strata is puffed around the edges and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Notes

Additional Ingredient Variations:
  • Meat Options: crumbled breakfast sausage, bacon, or seasoned ground beef.
  • Vegetables: green peppers (or any color bell peppers), onions, mushrooms, red peppers, or tomatoes (both fresh and sun-dried tomatoes).
  • Cheese: American cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, or Parmesan cheese are all great options.
  • Denver Omelet Style: ham, bell peppers, onions, and cheddar cheese.
  • Mediterranean Style: spinach, red peppers, olives, and crumbed Feta cheese.
  • Italian Style: sausage or pepperoni with Italian blend cheese (Mozzarella and Parmesan) and Italian seasonings.
  • Mexican Style: seasoned ground beef or chorizo sausage, tomatoes, green peppers or chiles, and Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 496kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 32gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 301mgSodium: 1318mgPotassium: 443mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 680IUVitamin C: 1.9mgCalcium: 243mgIron: 3.9mg
Keyword: breakfast casserole, breakfast strata, quick brunch recipe
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: The Seasoned Mom
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    This strata is just mouthwatering, Blair! I’ve never made my own before, so I can’t wait to try this out. What a delicious breakfast for Christmas morning! I love the ham in here!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Gayle! 🙂

  2. Emily Kemp says:

    5 stars
    Totally drooling over this it looks SO delicious and perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Emily!