How to make a frittata without a recipe
by HexClad Cookware
Few dishes are as reliably delicious, filling, and easy to make as a frittata. Great for every meal of the day, a frittata doesn’t need a strict recipe to come out well, making it a great pick for meal prep, cleaning out the fridge, or making the most of what’s in season.
Though many articles will tell you that there’s a set formula for an off-the-cuff frittata, the truth is, it’s an incredibly forgiving food, which can allow for a range of eggs, mix-ins (like vegetables, meat, grains, and herbs), and works well whether or not you want to include dairy.
Forget the advice that tells you to keep a frittata simple. Some kitchen sink frittatas that have a knob of this and that cheese and a sprinkling of 7 different veggies and herbs that have been languishing in the crisper turn out into a magnificent meal.
Here’s how to make frittata without a recipe:
- Pick a pan: Decide whether you want to start your frittata on the stovetop (a good option if you want to first sauté some fillings) or just bake it in a dish in the oven (a great option if you’re using already cooked veggies, meat, or grains. If you’re using a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, you’ll want to use at least 12 eggs and 4 to 5 cups fillings. Otherwise, use a smaller baking pan (like a cake pan) or use a HexClad 12-inch skillet as a baking pan (no need to heat up on the stove).
- Preheat the oven: Whether you’re starting on the stovetop or baking the frittata from start to finish, preheat your oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
- Decide on your fillings: If you have already roasted vegetables on hand, or perhaps a cup of cooked quinoa, pull those out and keep them by the stove. A good rule of thumb is 3 eggs for every 1 cup of fillings. Of course, if you have 4 cups of filling and just 8 eggs, that will work, it will just be a slightly less eggy frittata. The same goes in the opposite direction. 12 eggs and 3 cups of fillings will be eggier. If you want to use cheese, grate it now. (If possible, skip the pre-shredded cheese, please, as it often includes anti-caking agents made from—seriously—wood pulp.)
- Make the custard: Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Season with ½ teaspoon salt per 3 eggs. So, for 6 eggs, that’s 1 teaspoon salt, for a dozen eggs, that’s 2 teaspoons. Add some generous grinds of black pepper, and whisk again to evenly distribute the salt and pepper.
- Add any stir-ins: If you’d like to add milk, cream, or another dairy product like sour cream or crème fraîche, now’s the time to stir it in, along with any cheese. You don’t strictly need dairy, though. Other delicious ingredients that you can stir into a frittata custard include olive tapenade, pesto, or even pepper relish. Add these now if you want them to be distributed equally. If you’d rather pockets of these, then wait to dollop them on later.
- If you’re using a baking dish, scatter the fillings evenly over the bottom. Pour the custard overtop, then dollop with any toppings mentioned above, if you like. Bake until the center is just-set and wobbles slightly when you shake the pan. Though timing will vary based on the amount of eggs and filling, start checking around 20 minutes.
- If you’re using a skillet, cook your fillings: In the skillet you want to make your frittata in, start by cooking any meat or vegetables. Once cooked, spread them evenly over the bottom of the pan, and pour the eggs over top. Gently tilt the pan so they are evenly distributed, then top with cheese and dollop with any toppings mentioned above, if you like. Bake until the center is just-set and wobbles slightly when you shake the pan. Though timing will vary based on the amount of eggs and filling, start checking around 15 minutes (the timing will be faster than with the baking pan since the ingredients and pan are already hot).
Cool, then serve: Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then slice into pieces and serve. You can also cool the frittata completely and serve at room temperature for on-the-go breakfast, lunch, or dinner.