Breakfast Casserole Vs. Frittata: What's The Difference?

At breakfast time, an egg dish can really satisfy the appetite. While eggs Benedict might be particularly popular on brunch menus, when feeding a breakfast table at home, it's convenient and a special to create a tasty egg dish that can be sliced up for served for multiple people. After all, cutting into a beautiful quiche is just as impressive as plating eggs Benedict, but it's way easier and might be even more delicious, depending on what's inside.

Egg dishes like quiche, omelets, and frittatas containing veggies, cheese, and sometimes meat offer a combination of textures and flavors that are gratifying, and the protein content in eggs keeps everyone nice and full as you begin your day. Of all the egg-centric breakfast dishes you might find in a recipe book or on a restaurant menu, there are two crust-less options that you might consider as distant cousins. Let's explore them.

The Fritatta

According to All Recipes, a frittata is thought to be an Italian omelet. It's similar to a crustless quiche except in its preparation. While a crustless quiche is cooked entirely in the oven, a frittata is made by pouring an egg-based custard mixture into a frying pan on the stove, cooking it for a short time, and then the dish is finished in the oven.

A frittata needs to be made in an oven-safe frying pan like cast iron so that it can be transferred safely if you opt to finish it in the oven (per The Kitchn). All Recipes notes that oftentimes the frittata will be flipped and finished on the stove, so if you don't have an oven-safe frying pan, you can cook a delicious frittata simply on the stovetop. All Recipes does, however, note that the most common preparation is for it to be browned on the stove and then finished in the oven. Frittatas can be made with chopped veggies, cheeses, and meats. They're a great way to clean out your fridge while simultaneously making an impressive breakfast.

Breakfast Casserole

A breakfast casserole is different than a frittata in that it is made by pouring an egg-based custard over layers of fillings and then baked. According to Southern Living, the eggs in breakfast casseroles act as a binding agent. The protein in the whipped eggs will congeal during the baking process and hold all the fillings together. In this case, the custard is often poured over layers that also include starch like sliced or cubed bread, cubed potatoes, and even tater tots. This mixture is set in a casserole dish that is then baked in the oven. Breakfast casseroles can be prepared the day before and rest overnight in the fridge before baking.

According to All Recipes, one of the most popular breakfast casseroles is called strata which is a savory bread pudding of sorts where the bread absorbs the custard mixture before it's baked. Like a quiche or frittata, a breakfast casserole can contain any kind of veggie, cheese, or meat you enjoy, as well as numerous preparations of potatoes.

What's What

When it comes to these two dishes, the key difference is not so much the ingredients as it is simply the preparation and execution. All Recipes notes that both the frittata and the breakfast casserole showcase an egg-based custard mixed with fillings that usually consist of veggies, meat, and cheeses. In both cases, what you put inside your dish is a dealer's choice kind of situation. 

A frittata's cooking process is two-part, whether you do it on the stovetop flipped or finished in the oven, so it's a more involved process. A breakfast casserole can be layered and prepared well in advance, and its cooking process occurs all in one go (per The Kitchn) so you can relax the entire time it's in the oven. Whether you try making a frittata or a breakfast casserole for you and your family or friends, or if you order one off a breakfast menu, you can be sure you're going to have a hearty, tasty meal combination of all of your favorite breakfast ingredients.