If you’re a fellow Midwesterner, I think you’ll agree cozy breakfast casseroles are an absolute must during the holiday season especially. Aside from freshly fallen snow on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am not about the cold.

Up close breakfast strata with melty cheese and potatoes.

And besides warming up with a Homemade Latte (or festive Peppermint Mocha Latte), the next best way to keep warm is eating ALL the carbs. 

This Breakfast Strata has been a Christmas brunch staple and a huge hit in my family for years. It’s the ultimate make-ahead vegetarian breakfast recipe. Simply layer it together, pop it in the fridge overnight, and let the crusty bread and hearty potatoes soak up all the herby, savory flavor.

Strata vs. Frittata vs. Quiche. What’s the difference?

If you’re starting to confuse the brunch classics, don’t worry – you’re not alone! I get this question a lot, and I’m so happy to fill you in. 

Strata is often described as a savory bread pudding or like a French toast casserole. It’s a popular breakfast casserole made with layers of crusty bread, eggs, fresh herbs, and lots of gooey cheese. 

Frittata is a classic Italian dish similar to an omelet or a crustless quiche. It’s typically cooked on the stovetop and finished in the oven, but can be made entirely on the stovetop, depending on the recipe! 

Quiche is a French dish made with a pastry crust and filled with a mixture of eggs, cream, and various cheeses, vegetables, and meats. 

In summary, all three eggy brunch favorites are similar and suitable for Christmas morning, but they do differ slightly in texture, ingredients, and methods of preparation.

Ingredient Spotlight

If you’re a seasoned brunch-lover, chances are you have many of the required ingredients already on hand. A good breakfast strata recipe sticks to the basics and gives the aromatics plenty of room to shine. And of course the cheese. Lots and lots of cheesy goodness. 

Please be sure to see the full recipe card below for measurements.

Ingredients for breakfast strata on counter.
  • Italian bread: Some vegetarian strata recipes call for cubed bread, but I highly recommend sliced bread. It creates neater layers and makes it easier for the bread to absorb the egg mixture more evenly.
    • Just make sure to use stale, day-old ​bread, not fresh bread. If the bread is fresh, spread it in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 200F.
  • Potatoes: Crispy, herby red potatoes add a layer of starchy goodness that compliments the bread and other ingredients. If you’re a fan of Cheesy Potato Croquettes and classic Crispy Potatoes, you won’t be disappointed. 
  • Fresh herbs: Holiday recipes are the time to load up on fresh herbs, and this vegetarian strata recipe is no different! For the best herby flavor, use fresh rosemary, thyme, and fresh parsley to finish!
  • Eggs: The egg custard recipe uses 7 whole eggs (yolk and egg whites). 
  • Half-and-half: Adds rich creaminess, as well as much-needed moisture to moisten the bread as it soaks overnight. 
  • White wine: A dry white wine adds depth of flavor, balances the richness, and helps deglaze the pan, infusing additional flavor into the dish. Try a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Grigio.  No alcohol? Substitute with vegetable stock.
  • Fontina: What is a vegetarian breakfast strata without lots of gooey cheese? My favorite cheese to use is soft and creamy fontina because it melts beautifully and its mild saltiness enhances the savory flavors in the dish. You can also use other good melting cheeses such as parmesan, mozzarella, or gruyere.

How to Make a Vegetarian Breakfast Strata with Potatoes

Before getting started, I do want to acknowledge that making a Vegetarian Breakfast Strata is more involved than say Homemade Granola or Breakfast Muffins. With that being said, the best holiday recipes generally are.

And having a glass of wine in hand (or a warm mug of Mulled Wine!) while you prepare it the night before makes it truly enjoyable. So fill your glass, and let’s get cooking! 

Cook the Potatoes and Aromatics

First, take 1 tablespoon of butter and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Then, bring a large stockpot of salted water filled with the diced potatoes to a boil. Cook the potatoes for about 4 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Once tender, drain, and set aside. 

​Next, in a large skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium-high heat. Add the drained diced potatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring infrequently to encourage browning. Once the potatoes are golden, stir in the chopped shallots and cook for an additional 2 minutes. 

Then, add the garlic, rosemary, and thyme, and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. At this point, everything should be smelling absolutely wonderful. Cook for a final 2 minutes, then transfer the potato mixture to a bowl and set aside.

If you want to add some extra vegetables, wilt in kale or spinach before transferring!

Prepare the Eggs

Return the skillet over medium heat and slowly pour the wine into the skillet. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half and deglaze the crispy bits from the pan. Then, remove from the heat to stop the cooking process and allow the wine reduction to cool. 

Skillet with wine reduction.

Once the wine has sufficiently cooled, so they won’t cook the eggs, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, parsley, and wine together.


In the greased baking dish, spread half of the bread slices in a single layer in the bottom, cutting the slices of bread to fit as needed. Layer on half of the potato mixture, followed by a third of the total amount of fontina cheese. You can eyeball this, but don’t run out too quickly!

Place another layer of bread over the cheese, followed by the remaining potatoes, and an additional 3/4 cup of cheese (reserve the remaining cheese for the top just before baking). 

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the casserole, letting it soak into the bread and potato layers. Finally, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap flush against the top to help keep it moist. 

Then, place the veggie strata in the fridge overnight. 

Tip! In addition to pressing the plastic wrap flush against the top of the casserole, I like to weigh down the top with items in the fridge. This helps all of the layers meld together overnight while keeping it fresh and creamy! For example, tetra-paks of vegetable broth or leftover food containers work amazing!


The next morning, let the savory breakfast casserole come to room temperature while the oven preheats. Right before baking, sprinkle the top with the remaining fontina and parmesan cheese.

Finally, bake for 65-70 minutes, or until beautifully golden brown and bubbly around the edges. Let rest for a few minutes to set, then dig in and serve while warm!

Vegetarian breakfast strata after baking, with chopped herb garnish.

What to Serve with Vegetarian Strata

When it comes to serving a vegetarian breakfast strata, it’s hard to go wrong. You can go sweet, or savory, or enjoy it on its own with bottomless mimosas (it’s a brunch casserole, after all!). 

If you want my opinion, I personally love to serve this strata with a Fresh Fruit Board, Broiled Grapefruit, or a fruit salad to balance the carby-savory flavors. Plus, if you ask my family, it’s required to serve with a side of Homemade Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Regardless of what you end up serving it with – you’re going to have a new holiday tradition in the making this year!

Day after Thanksgiving? It also goes great with a serving of vegetarian gravy. Indulgent? Yes. Absolutely irresistible.

Storage Instructions

​Leftover veggie breakfast strata is not very common at my house, but if you do happen to have leftovers, they can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Strata will reheat best, covered, in the oven for about 30 minutes or until warmed through. It can also be microwaved. Just be careful not to overdo it – the eggs can become overdone and rubbery. 

You can also freeze slices of strata, similar to our breakfast casserole. Wrap them well in plastic wrap, and again with foil for extra protection. Store in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Defrost in the microwave and warm until heated through.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

Serving utensil in baking dish of vegetarian breakfast strata.
4.89 (9 ratings)

Get the Recipe Overnight Vegetarian Breakfast Strata with Potatoes and Fontina

Rich, savory vegetarian breakfast strata is layered with thick Italian bread, crispy potatoes, warm herbs and lots of fontina cheese! Baked in a creamy egg base, it's a crowd favorite for weekend brunch or special holiday breakfasts.



  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Bring a large stockpot of salted water with diced potatoes to a boil; cook for about 4 minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
    24 ounces red potatoes
  • In a large skillet, melt the remaining butter (3 tablespoons) over medium-high heat. Add fork-tender potatoes, stirring to coat in the butter, then saute for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Stir infrequently to encourage browning.
  • Reduce heat to medium, stir in chopped shallot; cook for 2 minutes. Then add garlic, rosemary, and thyme and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then transfer this potato mixture to a separate mixing bowl.
    1 cup diced shallot, 6 cloves garlic, 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
  • Return the empty skillet to heat and slowly pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half. Remove from heat and let cool.
    ¾ cup dry white wine
  • Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, parsley. Whisk in the wine reduction once its cool enough.
    8 large eggs, 2 cups half-and-half, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
  • In the 9×13 baking dish, place about 5 bread slices in a single layer, cutting to fit as needed. Layer half of the potato mixture on top of the bread, and about 4 ounces (1/3 of the total amount) of cubed fontina. Place another layer of bread on top, with the remaining potatoes, and then an additional 4 ounces of cheese. Reserve the remaining cheese for later. Pour egg mixture over the layers evenly.
    10-12 slices Italian bread or sourdough, 12 ounces fontina cheese
  • Cover the strata with plastic wrap, pressing it flush against the top. Place in fridge overnight. For best results, weigh down the top of the strata with items in your fridge (boxes of stock work great, or leftover containers).
  • The next morning, before baking, bring the strata to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle the remaining fontina and parmesan cheese on the top of the strata. Bake uncovered for 65-70 minutes until golden brown.
    ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese*
  • Let the strata rest and set up for at least 5-10 minutes before serving. Store any leftovers in the fridge, covered or transferred to an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or oven.


  • If your bread is fresh, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and dry it out in the oven at 200°F for approximately 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • If you’re using dried herbs, halve the amount.
  • This recipe is adapted from The Cookbook Critic. 
  • *Look for cheese specifically labeled vegetarian, if needed.
Calories: 692kcal, Carbohydrates: 65g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 251mg, Sodium: 1328mg, Potassium: 793mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 1188IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 436mg, Iron: 5mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!