As-You-Like-It Breakfast Casserole

On vacation, 5 o’clock pm, having too much fun to realize that nothing has been planned for dinner, fridge mostly empty, remembering that uh oh, I’m the one in charge of feeding my friend’s children that night. Oops! Open the refrigerator door, see half a dozen eggs, half a carton of milk, some cheddar cheese, leftover sausage from biscuits and gravy the day before, a little broccoli, a leftover ear of corn (cooked). Open the freezer and see half a loaf of sliced bread. Saved. Whew. The kids will not have boxed Mac-n-cheese for dinner.

Have you ever made a breakfast casserole? The basic ingredients are eggs, cheese, milk, and bread. It’s the easiest thing in the world to put together. We have a sausage breakfast casserole on the site that is one of my favorites. The great thing about a breakfast casserole is that you can add almost anything you want to the base. Italian sausage is my all time favorite, but bacon or ham will do too. Or make it veggie, with zucchini, broccoli, basil and onions. The first time I served this to the kids they insisted that it had to go on the website. The name they picked was “Open Fridge Breakfast Bake” because basically that’s what I did – opened the fridge, put everything I could find into a casserole dish, and baked it. A few days later we cooked it again (this time Reilly, the 11-year old helped) so we could get some photos. Do you have a favorite breakfast casserole combo? If so, let us know about it in the comments.

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As-You-Like-It Breakfast Casserole Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8.

The ingredient proportions are estimates. The more eggs, the firmer, and less likely to deflate, the casserole will be. Mushrooms tend to hold a lot of moisture, so if you use a lot of them, you may want to sauté them first to release some of their water. Sausage should be browned and cooked through first. Can also uses spices such as curry and cumin.

Ingredients

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  • 6-10 eggs
  • 2-3 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices bread, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Additions

  • 1 cup corn (cooked or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli (cooked or raw, raw will turn out crunchier)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup cubed ham and/or cooked Italian sausage
  • A few slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de provence, or other dried herbs, or a Tbsp of fresh chopped herbs such as basil, rosemary, or thyme
  • 13 x 9 inch casserole dish

Method

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1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the milk and cheese. Add the bread and carefully stir until all pieces of bread are moistened (don't over mix or the bread may disintegrate). Add additions. Add salt and pepper to taste (if using Italian sausage, you won't need either.) Butter a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish. Pour mix into casserole dish.

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2 Bake in oven for 50 minutes to an hour, until the top is browned and the center springs back when touched. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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74 Comments

  1. Leila Abu-Saba

    The base recipe (cheese, eggs, bread, butter, cream) was one my mother, named Mary Edith, used to make; then I found it in MFK Fisher titled “Edith’s Cheese Puff.” Total coincidence on the name… Edith is the Jennifer of the early 20th century. I’ve been making the base recipe on and off for years.

    Adding all those other ingredients is brilliant. Must try soon. My kids will probably love it.

  2. Trish

    I just found this site and checked out your Sausage Breakfast Casserole recipe. This will be great for my husband’s 50th birthday recovery breakfast as it falls in Winter. Our families will love it, will have to make two. Not sure what the Aussie equivalent of Italian pork sausage is, might make the suggested recipe in the comments section with pork mince.
    Great site.

  3. Donald

    Absolutely! This type of dish is one of my favorite ways to rid the fridge of pesky leftovers!

  4. Barb

    What great timing! I’m hosting many 20-somethings at my beach house, friends of my kids. I’ve planned a pretty good menu, but this will be absolutely super. They can eat it whenever they wake up, and it will fill them up for a few hours at least. Thank you Elise

  5. Lillianne

    Simply Perfect
    A dear friend is recovering after an accident and our friends have been providing all the usual covered dishes. Since it’s the weekend this can be popped in morning, noon or night. And a fruit salad will round it off.

  6. mary

    This sounds like a giant Frittata, but with bread. Yum. What do you think of using Rye bread. It might throw the flavor off, but that is what I have on hand right now.

  7. theycallmered

    Try making the same recipe in muffin tins. It decreases the baking time and makes just the cutest serving size.

  8. Marion

    Do you think this could be frozen prior to baking? How would that change the cooking time?

    No idea how that would turn out. I know you can refrigerate it overnight before cooking. ~Elise

  9. Kalyn

    Very fun. There is no way you can go wrong with Italian sausage in this, IMHO! The photo of Reilly slicing the bread reminds me of my niece Olivia, who is “most likely to become a food blogger” out of my nieces and nephews. She loves to cook (and eat!) Glad you are having fun.

  10. becky

    What’s wrong with boxed mac and cheese for dinner? :)

  11. Jessica

    My fiance and I don’t eat a lot of bread, so we always have some going a bit stale that we end up throwing out. This will be the perfect use! Thank you so much.

    Yes, this recipe is perfect for stale bread. ~Elise

  12. katie

    It looks and sounds delicious. I keep seeing recipes for similar stratas/casseroles/ etc. but have never made one, thinking that it had to sit overnight…. This is more my speed – open the fridge, assemble, bake, eat!

  13. Jon

    I used to make something similar all the time when trying to live cheaply, and my wife and I loved it! One thing we did (and I know this doesn’t sound cheap) was to buy fresh salmon and cut it into cubes, removing the skin. When the salmon cooks in the egg/milk it is almost poached. The textures and consistency are wonderful. If using salmon, use quite a lot less cheese so that it doesn’t overpower the salmon. Salmon, mushroom (saute first) and brocolli, with whatever appropriate herbs you have to hand, try it!

    What a great idea! I could just see that with some goat cheese instead of cheddar, and some fresh dill. ~Elise

  14. Divya

    Sounds and looks delicious. I am vegetarian, so gonna omit the bacon & Italian sausage and give it a try! Cheers!

  15. Susan from Food Blogga

    This is like a frittata. I just love the ease and versatility of these dishes, which is why they’re a go-to meal when the fridge is running on low.

  16. Karina

    Oh- I love these kinds of suppers. Especially when you can combine leftovers with a few fresh pantry ingredients. I bet it was mighty tasty!

  17. deb

    Yes!! this is very similar to the recipe that I use for our family Christmas breakfast. It is very forgiving (e.g. will patiently wait while you finish opening presents), and you can add/subtract ingredients according to what you have on hand. and OH.SO. YUMMY!!

    Some fresh fruit on the side only makes it better!

    Deb

  18. Vanessa

    We rarely ever use bread at my house… is there anything that could be substituted for bread? (Maybe something that would last a little longer in the cupboard if we bought it for this recipe.)

    You can skip the bread all together. If you do so, also skip the milk and add several more eggs. Or, you could try adding a half cup of all purpose flour and a half cup of bread crumbs. Then what you’ll end up with is more of a soufflé. ~Elise

  19. Cheri

    Segueing to other easy egg dishes, here’s what we do when camping–saute a breakfast meat–sausage, bacon or ham–cut into bite-sized pieces. Drain off most of the fat, and add beaten eggs, uncooked, frozen hash browns, and grated cheese. Cook and stir over the campfire til it’s all set. Sometimes we add mushrooms and green onions, saute them in the fat in the skillet before adding the eggs. Only one pan, kids love it.

  20. Rachel

    I think I’ll try this. Do you think it will work with egg beaters instead of eggs?

  21. Jessie

    I always love a great breakfast casserole, the one I usually use is from Epicurious and is quite similar to yours. By the way, these can be frozen. I work at a meal assembly business and we have several breakfast casseroles & frittatas that we freeze prior to cooking.

  22. Jodi

    My company-for-brunch version includes sauteed leeks and mushrooms and substitutes brie for the cheddar cheese.

  23. Rebekah

    I have a wheat allergy and I make breakfast casseroles all the time, obviously without the bread. I use potatoes as a substitute and cook them in bacon fat with rosemary. Then dump the eggs and bacon on top and bake it up with cheese. Really yummy!

    Love the potatoes substitute idea> ~Elise

  24. Kris

    I love the way this recipe all goes together at once. I have a similar recipe where I substitue well browned hash brown potatoes for the bread (1 frozen package). It is also very good and the method is the same.

  25. Lisa

    I also have a similar recipe that I have often used for sleepovers. I assemble the casserole the night before..(left over asiago cheese bagels make a create substitute for the bread.) Then in the morning I mix up one can of cream of mushroom soup with 1/2 can of milk and pour over the top. It tastes like biscuits and gravy!
    Thanks for reminding of this wonderful easy meal. My kids are too old for sleepovers anymore, but they would still enjoy this….

  26. Chris

    My parents found a recipe for a version of this somewhere, and have been making it for special occasion breakfasts ever since. It is a little more “upscale” than just using left-overs, but is absolutely delicious.

    It calls for roasted red peppers, sliced green olives, caramelized onions, and feta. Plus you add a little bit of white wine and chicken broth to the bread chunks before pouring the egg and milk mixture over them.

    That being said, I love how easy it is to take random left-overs and a few items from the pantry and turn them into a delicious and satisfying meal.

  27. Ursula

    My roommate is vegetarian, so whenever we do brunch, we substitute sausage with the vegan sausage, suprisingly it tastes just as good.

  28. Vicki

    We get together with a group of friends at the beach twice each year. There are usually 25-35 of us and we split up the cooking duties. I always choose breakfast and make a variety of these breakfast cassaroles. Some of the favorites have been sausage & mushrooms with cheddar; Ham & broccoli with swiss; and spinach & artichoke with feta. The possibilities are endless!

  29. Shane Keener

    This looks great.

    My family has a recipe like this called a “24 Hr Omlette”. We mix everything up the night before and then refrigerate it overnight. Pop it in the oven first thing in the morning and you have one of the best breakfast treats.

  30. Russell Wright

    Great recipe idea! I am a big fan of going the casserole route when we can’t come up with any ideas and don’t want to order out. I love the ideas of using day-old bagels and cooking it in a muffin tin. I would think biscuits baked the day before would work, as well, especially with the “biscuits and gravy” idea.

    For me, I am pretty flexible when it comes to ingredients, but I am a big fan of doing it “Western Style” (any breakfast meat, peppers (mild or hot … your choice), onions, and cheese) and topping it with salsa when you dish it up.

    Another option would be making it similar to the “farmer’s breakfast” we used to do in Scouts at campouts. This consists typically of sausage, potatoes o’brien (use instead of bread?), and cheese. The difference here would be that in Scouts, we made it in a big skillet by cooking the sausage, then using the fat to cook the potatoes and egg. Cheese would be an optional topping. Yeah, I guess you could bake it over over a campfire if you want to go the dutch oven route, but I would think that would be a bit tricky … and messy ;)

  31. Amanda

    Think stewed tomatoes would be a good addition? I’m afraid they might be too “wet”, but I love the tang they would give this…
    Also the bread doesn’t need to be stale/day old for this version, correct? That would mean I’d have to wait a day to make it…and I can never wait a day to prepare something lol. I don’t have the patience or ability to look that far ahead :-)

    If adding stewed tomatoes, which are quite wet, I would reduce the amount of other liquid, such as the milk. Regarding bread, I’ve made this with frozen bread, day old bread, several day old bread, and fresh from the grocery store bread. ~Elise

  32. Kevin

    That looks like a nice base breakfast recipe with limitless flavour combination possibilities.

  33. Debbie

    Breakfast casseroles are great for the day after,ie: Thanksgiving,Christmas,etc. We like to switch out the bread and use Tater Tots instead. We make a spicier version by adding canned green chiles, green onions, jalapenos, and serving it with salsa. It’s great! There are never any leftovers. For those who like it non-vegetarian, add chorizo.

  34. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

    Yum. My Mother and Grandmother used to always make a breakfast casserole that was so good. It was very similar to what you are talking about. Cheese, eggs, bread, sausage.

  35. Yu Ming Lui

    What a great idea. I tried your recipe this morning, sans the bread and bacon since I am on a diet, but it tasted wonderful. It’s so easy to make, too.

  36. Amy

    Someone said they didn’t eat much bread and didn’t often have it around–

    I have used a bag of salad croutons in this kind of casserole– salty, herby, YUMMY!

  37. dede

    Will this receipt work with egg beaters instead of eggs?

    No idea. If you try it, let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  38. K.

    This was a wonderful way to use up one of the three cartons of eggs that somehow ended up in our fridge!

    I used some sauteed zucchini (thinly sliced), onions, garlic, mushrooms, and Gimme Lean soy “sausage” for a vegetarian version, and was amazed at how hearty it was!

    Next time I’ll try this with feta instead of cheddar!

  39. Kim

    We do something similar, using 2 minute noodles instead of bread and omitting the mild. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the fillings and fold into whisked eggs. Bake in oven or over a low flame, until well set. Finely sliced BBQ chicken, diced red peppers, cheddar cheese and a dash of BBQ sauce makes a great flavour combo.

  40. Kim

    I make a very similar recipe to this one in a frying pan where I saute up the vegetables before putting in the egg and bread mixture, then throw it in the oven. The recipe I have also calls for a few dollops of cream cheese, so if you have it on hand it makes a nice texture combination. A very fast and healthy dinner.

  41. apd83

    my mom used to call this a strata…I think it is the big egg dish SJ Parker dropped all over kitchen in the Family Stone movie where she played the annoying fiancee, only to end up with other brother…

  42. Martha

    I use seasoned croutons to make my casseroles saves a little time and the different seasonings add a nice touch.

  43. andaluss

    Thanks a lot for sharing. I’ve been looking for a casserole recipe lately and this one is watering my mouth already lol.

  44. Elliot

    Thanks for this great recipe. I made it last night in an attempt to use up a bunch of odds and ends of veggies in the fridge and a dozen beautiful fresh eggs and coworker had given me from her hens. My husband was skeptical of putting bread in the mix, but in the end we both loved it. This will definitely appear at our table again in the future. I also loved how easy it was to pull together on a work night.

  45. Duncan

    My mother makes this with croissants in place of bread, leaving some crusts poking out the top. Yummy.

  46. Linda

    This is so good. I just joined this site and since my kids are grown and still live with me, I decided to make a grown up breakfast. No cereal allowed. There’s nothing left. My son took the rest to work with him.

  47. karen

    I just made this tonight and it’s great! Good recipe for beginner cook. I may even experiment a little more next time… Thanks!

  48. Sophie

    I have taught a version of this in a cooking class. Call it a ‘strata’ and leave off the breakfast nomenclature and everyone will assume it is of haute cuisine origins. :)

  49. Karen R

    I ended up making something like this on the spur of the moment, which got dubbed “Breakfast Massacre”. Sausage and/or bacon and/or ham would be fried up, with thawed-out hasbrowns, veggies like mushrooms, green pepper, tomoatoes, onions (whatever was on hand). Once all that was done, eggs would be broken into the dish, and proceed to scramble the eggs into the batch. Sprinkle liberally with cheese and whatever spices (typically salt, pepper and parsley), and toss under the broiler until bubbly.

  50. Sorcha

    Hi there,
    I used this recipe for a brunch and it turned out awesome. Its so tasty and versatile. I put asparagus and corn with some great spring onions.
    Thank you for your recipes!
    Sorcha

  51. linda

    This sounds & looks wonderful. I’ll be preparing this for a family prior to funeral tomorrow a.m. It is bound to be both needed & appreciated. Thanks! Linda

  52. ella

    I buy day old bread/rolls etc. from Walmart for super cheap and keep them in the freezer, so when I have the urge to whip up a big pan of this I can. I do onion, red and green bell peppers, cooked in butter slowly until soft then add in some cubed ham or crumbled bacon, half a teaspoon of mustard (yes plain old yellow mustard lol) then add the eggs. I rarely measure usually just throw it all together, shake on a bit of black pepper over the top then some grated cheese (or american slices in a pinch). Bake til set. Your recipe looks awesome!

  53. ROZ

    My family loves pizza, so I came up with this
    Pizza Strata, with all your favorite Pizza Toppings.
    The Ingredients are: 1 Box Frozen Chopped Spinach,thawed and squeezed to remove excess water>>1cup half & Half>>1cup shredded mozzarella
    cheese>>1(14oz)can diced tomatoes with basil,garlic,oregano>>1 Loaf french/Italian Bread cut into cubes>>1/2tsp Italian seasoning>>1/2tsp
    of each salt/pepper>>4 Eggs
    Preheat oven to 425F, spray non stick cooking spray in a 12×7 baking pan. Toss together bread,spinach,diced tomatoes,cheese,Italian seasoning in a large bowl & mix well. Spread evenly in prepared baking dish. Whisk together
    eggs,half & half,salt/pepper in a bowl. Pour evenly over the bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 425F, take the strata from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Bake for 55 minutes or until done and the top is golden.
    You can add or subtract the ingredients to your liking, anything will go!
    Enjoy

  54. bonah

    hello everibody, thsi sounds like a reli yummy recipe, i’d like to make it for my boyfriend, he however doesnt take eggs, cheese;he’s vegan, i’m thinkin mayb i can use cream of mushroom soup instead or cream (woolies have a vegetarian cream)…any ideas? thanx

    You cannot make breakfast casserole without eggs. ~Elise

  55. old man

    Great recipe, I do kind of the same thing but I just fry up some potatoes and onions maybe add some ham chunks and cheese than the eggs and parsley and put it in the oven until set.

  56. Tim

    YUMMM !!!

  57. Reta and Laras

    Love this recipe. Last night, I thought my 10-year old daughter how to learn an easy and healthy casserole for dinner. We used wheat bread, low fat milk, 1 slice of bacon and 2 small slices of ham. Doubled the brocolli, mushrooms and fresh herbs. The taste was amazing — very tasty. Next time, we’ll make it veggie. It’s amazing how we could learn so much from this blog. Thank you!

  58. Noelle

    This sounds delicious and I’ve had many recipes similar to it. In the Midwest we usually mix the casserole together and then let it sit overnight. Have you ever tried that?

    Yes! I like the convenience of just cooking it up in the morning. ~Elise

  59. alisa

    I love this recipe! I made it this weekend and added sausage, green onion and mushrooms. Can’t wait to try it w/other variations. Thanks so much for this great recipe to add to my “go to” arsenal :o)

  60. su

    I had the same dilemma tonight as Elise described in the introduction. I had all the ingredients for the egg casserole from last weekend’s family gathering leftovers. It was a delicious life-saver.

  61. Patsy

    Did anyone ever answer the question about whether or not you can freeze this casserole? I’ve got lots of zucchini right now and would love to find a way to “have it” in the winter?

  62. Kelly

    It was SCRUMPTIOUS! Here’s what I did…I used cream instead of milk. The second time I made it, I heated up some fresh corn tortillas on the griddle and tore them into bite size pieces. I also supplemented with bread to total the required amount of bread (including the tortillas). I also added cooked hash browns on the bottom of the baking dish. I used crumbled bacon pieces and fresh snipped basil and chives.

    Once baked, you could taste a wonderful hint of corn (from the tortillas) and the herbs woven throughout the dish made it simply outstanding. The potatoes gave it a hearty yumminess that was a nice surprise.

    The first time I made this dish (a week or so ago), I had no bread but I DID have an organic whole wheat pizza dough that had been in the frig for almost a month…I used it and it worked very well. This time, I had some broccoli slaw (in the bag without dressing added) and I decided to chop it up and cook it with onions in the pan. I then added it to the dish. I took it to work for breakfast one morning and got rave reviews!

    I LOVE this recipe! Thanks for sharing! ;D

  63. Amy

    This is very reminiscent of our own Christmas morning and/or New Year’s morning recipe. I love this dish because all the prep and assembling is done the night before. For my recipe I buy french bread loaves kept in their paper sleeves and let them go stale. Good to keep the stale bread in freezer too. Make the egg mixture with plenty of marjoram or oregano and black pepper. Cut the french bread into 1 1/2″ to 2″ slices. Arrange 8 to 10 in 9 by 13 pan. Stuff each slice with your favorite breakfast meat. Cover with egg mixture using about 12 eggs. Let sit in fridge over night. In morning add grated swiss and parsley to the top. Bake one hour. Bread holds shape enough to be individually portioned.

  64. Paula

    We own a diner and I make a recipe like this every Sunday for brunch. I do different ingredients each week just to keep it interesting.Last week I did crabmeat,green chilies and corn with some onion and a little fresh cilantro and some jack and cheddar cheeses.We baked them in small gratin dishes and topped it with some salsa. Another favorite is Italian sausage, spinach and red bell peppers with mozzarella. Love your blog!

  65. becca

    How does this hold up as leftovers? I’m in a two-person household (sometimes one when the roommate is gone) and while this sounds delicious, I worry about finishing it, even w/the recipe halved.

    It reheats okay. It is an egg dish though, so it is better right out of the oven. ~Elise

  66. Sandra

    I’ve made variations of this recipe for years. One of my favorite additions is a can of drained diced tomatoes with green chilies. I’ve even made this over a campfire in a cast iron dutch oven, much to the delight of the other campers. It makes a great breakfast/brunch.

  67. Tara

    Made this for a brunch with friends and got RAVE reviews! I used egg whites, which turned out well. I was worried, but the consistency was perfect. We had ham, broccoli, green onions and Herbs de Provence. I’m trying to figure out if I can adapt the recipe for individual servings using a muffin pan. It would make a nice healthy breakfast we could heat up during the week. We’ll see…

  68. Kittie

    Hi – My son’s wedding is next weekend. I wanted to make many pans of strata during the week to have ready for Sunday Brunch. Has anyone suggestions for freezing BEFORE I bake the strata, or do I freeze it, defrost Saturday night, and bake it in the morning? Has anyone tried this? Thx
    Kittie

  69. Steve

    Can I just use white bread or does it need to be something special?

    Use whatever bread you like to eat. ~Elise

  70. Amy

    Got already to make a quiche for a Mom in our playgroup who just had a baby. Forgot that because of the hurricane and power outage that I no longer had any frozen pie crusts in the house. THANK YOU for saving me from certain embarressment with this recipe! :)

  71. booch221

    I love bread pudding. One morning I decided to make a savory breakfast bread pudding. I followed the bread pudding recipe but instead of sugar, raisins, and wall nuts, I put in browned breakfast sausage crumbles, frozen hash browns, diced red bell pepper, and cheddar cheese. It turned out great. Every time I make it–it’s a little different.

  72. jw

    my husband loves this with leftover garlic bread – any other bread just isn’t as good in his opinion even if i add garlic powder/salt

  73. Annette

    I have enjoyed reading all of the comments, in addition to your recipe Elise. There were a lot of interesting variations described. Many I would like to try! My version included cilantro, sundried tomatoes, chorizo and pepper cheese.

  74. Erum

    After having a “whoops, I need to feed the kids and there ain’t much in the house” moment myself yesterday, I was thrilled to find this recipe! I used sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, yellow peppers, and onions, and followed the recipe just as written (I used 9 eggs, 6 slices whole-wheat bread, just under 2 cups shredded cheese, and 2 cups milk). It ended up taking around 45 minutes in my oven at 350 degrees. It turned out great, and my kids (and my husband and I) loved it! And I happily had leftovers to eat for lunch at work today, which tasted great even after being zapped in the microwave. I’ll definitely be making this again! Thanks.

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