Frittata 101

Start Basic Then Make It Fancy

Frittata 101

Frittata, which translates to “fried” in Italian, is an egg-based classic dish. Yes, eggs are the main ingredient in any basic frittata recipe, and that’s good news for us who have a daily supply of healthy, fresh eggs. Think of a basic frittata as a blank canvas. Even with just eggs and seasonal herbs, it’s a winner. Take my best frittata recipe, for example. All it takes are eggs, cheese, and fresh herbs to make this delicious, savory meal in a pan. Frittatas take just minutes to make, a boon for busy folks.

Along with my best frittata recipe, I’m sharing two more. One is a spinach and bacon frittata suitable for Paleo guidelines. The other has a Southwestern flair and uses fresh or frozen corn.

When I learned to make frittatas, I knew I had a dish simple enough for a family supper yet fancy enough for entertaining.

Best Eggs for Frittatas

I use eggs from my chickens, but I have used Pekin duck eggs in place of chicken eggs. Since Pekin duck eggs are larger, use one duck egg for every two chicken eggs.

Folding Yolks into Whites

If a recipe calls for beaten egg whites, beat until stiff but not dry, then pour the yolks over the beaten whites and fold them in with a spatula.

Yolks over whipped whites

Filling Possibilities

Herbs, meat, greens, cheese, vegetables, potatoes, or pasta. Check to see what’s leftover in the refrigerator!

Use the Right Pan

Although you can use any ovenproof pan, a nonstick ovenproof omelet pan with sloping sides or my trusty well-seasoned cast iron skillet is my preference. For these recipes, a 10-inch pan works well.

Measure top of the skillet for accurate dimension. This is a 10-inch skillet.

Don’t Overbake

Frittatas typically don’t get brown on the top since they’re in the oven such a short time. Overbaking results in a spongy texture. If you insist on a golden brown top, run the almost-cooked frittata under the broiler for a few minutes.

My Best Frittata Recipe: Frittata with Tarragon, Parsley, and Onion Chives

This recipe is lovely for brunch, lunch, or light supper.


  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. shredded Gruyere, white cheddar, or Fontina cheese
  • Romano for sprinkling on top
  • 2 tablespoons each: fresh tarragon, onion chives, and parsley plus extra for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Separate eggs. Whisk yolks with a little salt and pepper, until thick and fairly light.
  3. Beat whites with a dash of salt until stiff but not dry.
  4. Pour yolks over whites and gently fold them into whites.
  5. Melt butter in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet and heat just until starting to foam but not brown. Pour egg mixture into skillet, spread evenly and smooth top.
  6. Cover pan with a lid whose underside has been sprayed to prevent sticking. (You can also use sprayed foil).
  7. Cook over low heat for about five minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle omelet with both cheeses and herbs.
  8. Put the pan in oven until top is set, about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven, using mitt since the handle is hot.
  10. Use a spatula to loosen edges and bottom.
  11. Place on a plate, sprinkle with Romano and extra herbs. Cut into wedges to serve.

Change It Up

If you don’t have the herbs on hand from my best frittata recipe, you can certainly substitute with what you have on hand. Substitute parsley, basil, and garlic chives for the tarragon, parsley, and onion chives.

Parsley, basil, and garlic chives.

Paleo Chard and Bacon Frittata

My daughter-in-law feeds her family a modified Paleo diet, rich in protein. She would like this recipe. Leafy greens fit the Paleo profile, too, so I can use my garden chard.


  • 1/2 pound pork or turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup leeks or onions, diced or to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cups Swiss chard chopped
  • 5-6 large eggs, beaten or whisked until light and somewhat fluffy
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Tomatoes for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook bacon over medium heat in a 10-inch nonstick, ovenproof omelet pan. Remove and leave the drippings in the skillet. Put leeks in skillet and when they start to get soft, add garlic and chard. Cook until chard wilts. Add the bacon back into the pan and mix. Pour in the eggs and cook just until the eggs start to set around the edges.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until middle is set. Remove from oven, using mitt since the handle is hot.
  4. Loosen edges and bottom with a spatula, and turn over upside down onto a plate.
  5. Cut into wedges to serve.

Tips from Rita’s Kitchen

  • Serve shredded cheddar cheese on the side for those who like it. That addition makes it a modified Paleo dish.
  • Substitute spinach for the chard.
  • Use bottom part of leeks only. Leaves are too tough to eat but are flavorful additions to stocks.
  • Wash leeks after dicing. It’s easier that way!
Diced leeks after washing
Bacon and chard frittata

Tex-Mex Frittata with Corn and Bell Pepper

One of my students shared this recipe with me. “My family likes anything Southwestern, and it’s a kid-friendly dish, too,” she told me. When corn is in season, this is a “must have” on our table. I’ve adapted her recipe only slightly.


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • Salt and a dash of cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 small red, orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup corn, fresh from cob or frozen, thawed
  • 8 oz. Mexican blend shredded cheese

Garnishes: Your Choice!

  • Salsa
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Diced tomatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Beat or whisk eggs, milk, salt and cayenne pepper until light and somewhat fluffy.
  3. Film the bottom of a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, and corn. Cook until tender. Pour in eggs, stir to mix and cook until edges start to set. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Place in the oven and bake 10 minutes or until middle is set.
  5. Remove from oven, using mitt since the handle is hot.
  6. Loosen edges and bottom with a spatula, and place onto a plate.
  7. Cut into wedges to serve. Pass sides.

Cut Corn From The Cob Easily

Put corn in the center of an angel food pan for easy cutting from the cob. No flyaway kernels!

An easy way to remove corn from the cob.

Change It Up

Substitute sauteed zucchini and tomatoes for the bell pepper and corn. Instead of Mexican blend cheese, use Italian blend cheese. For garnish, serve warm marinara sauce on the side.

Zucchini, tomatoes, and onions.
FrittataCooking starts on top of the stove and finishes in the oven.
OmeletCooked entirely on top of the stove; eggs folded around filling.
Crustless QuicheCooked in the oven. (Some fillings may be cooked on top of the stove and then added to egg mixture.)
Eggs and filling either mixed together or poured in layers in the pan.

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