The versatile strata is a great recipe that helps you use up holiday leftovers.

The cousin to bread pudding, a strata is more eggy, less custardy, and usually savory instead of sweet.

It’s a great recipe to have in your repertoire, although it’s not so much a recipe as a method to use up leftovers - especially after the holidays.

Save the ends of your loaves of bread of all kinds (slightly stale is fine too!), uneaten dinner rolls, leftover vegetables, and meat. Pretty much anything that's in the fridge after a big holiday meal. Even stuffing and cranberry sauce can go into a strata.

In addition, you’ll need lots of eggs, milk or cream, and some cheese (I love using a combination of all the odds and ends and bits of random types of cheese I find in the fridge).

I call this my Holiday Strata because it's a great dish to throw together after a holiday when you find yourself with some creamed spinach, and a bit of turkey, maybe some broccoli or even mashed potatoes - not really enough to make a meal out of, but enough that you need the space in your fridge back!

But it’s also a wonderful holiday brunch dish because it can be assembled the night before - and it’s actually better if you let the bread soak overnight - and then just pop it into the oven in the morning as your guests are arriving.

I love how the eggs bind all the other ingredients together and then you've got the melty, cheesy top and the crispy toast tips!

Toasty Holiday Strata

Makes 6 servings.

Butter for greasing the pan
4 cups cubed bread
1 cup cooked meat and/or vegetables
2 cups shredded cheese
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Use butter to grease an 8-inch square baking dish or pie dish Add the bread cubes to the dish and place the dish in the oven while it’s preheating. Bake the bread cubes for 7 to 8 minutes until they’re slightly toasted.

Remove the pan from the oven and top the bread with the meat, veggies and the cheese, reserving ¼ cup of the cheese for topping.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk the eggs and milk and season generously with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and use a spoon or rubber spatula to fully submerge them in the liquid.

Then let the dish rest for at least 30 minutes to be sure the bread soaks up lots of the eggy liquid, or cover the dish in aluminum foil and refrigerate it overnight.

(If you refrigerate your strata, let it sit out on the counter for about half an hour to come to room temperature before baking.)

Bake the strata for 20 minutes covered in the foil, then sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup of cheese over the top and bake for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered, until the middle is set and the top is golden brown and crispy.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then cut into squares.

Scroll down for the printable recipe card.

A version of this recipe appears in The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook (HarperCollins 2022) available where you buy your books.

©2022 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc. and updated in 2024 for Coop to Kitchen. All rights reserved