This sausage breakfast strata makes the best make-ahead breakfast or brunch for a crowd! Crusty bread soaks up a silky smooth seasoned egg mixture (with a secret ingredient), while sautéed veggies, greens, cheese, and sausage round out the flavor for the ultimate savory breakfast.
No stranger to a sweet breakfast bake (see these baked versions of cornbread french toast and Panettone french toast, among others), I think I’d ultimately choose a savory breakfast option if given carte blanche. This sausage breakfast strata just may be top of the list.
If you've ever thought an egg-focused breakfast bake was a little too heavy-tasting, I think you'd love a strata. Cubed bread forms the base and ensures a lighter texture throughout every bite as it soaks in the eggs, milk, etc. It's the savory version of a french toast bake.
One way I love to lighten up this overnight breakfast strata (and bump up the protein) is to replace a portion of the eggs and milk with cottage cheese. My favorite tip! Blending cottage cheese with liquid, especially eggs, thickens the mixture up perfectly without needing higher-fat ingredients like cream.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- A sausage breakfast strata is a great option for assembling the night before serving, resulting in the easiest morning-of prep. A perfect breakfast for Christmas morning or any holiday.
- The texture strikes the right balance of not being overly soggy, eggy, or dry. Crusty bread absorbs enough liquid to soften just right, while the tops of the pieces and the edges crisp up nicely from baking.
- Blending cottage cheese into the egg and milk mixture thickens it up SO well without having to use higher-fat milk, half-and-half, or cream.
- And on that note, blending cottage cheese = no curds!
- Turkey breakfast sausage is available for a lighter option, which is what I typically use.
Sausage Strata Ingredients
- Bread: Baguettes are a great choice as they feature lots of crust pieces, but a wider loaf, like French or Italian bread, also works.
- Sausage: Look for ground sausage with the following seasoning descriptors: breakfast, regular, or mild. Pork or turkey are fine as you cook the meat separately and drain off the fat. I don't recommend Italian sausage here.
- Eggs: Six eggs add the right amount of eggy-ness to this breakfast bake without being too heavy-handed. It shakes out to about one egg per serving.
- Cottage Cheese: This gets blended and goes unnoticed in the finished product. Small or large curds are fine, as is the fat percentage. I usually choose 2%.
- Milk: A lower-fat variety, 1-2% fat, is totally OK to use without compromising taste.
- Vegetables: A combination of onion and bell pepper provides solid all-purpose flavor along with spinach (or your favorite leafy green).
- Cheese: Choose your favorite variety: Fontina, Asiago, Gruyère, sharp white cheddar, etc.
- Seasonings: Pantry staples, including salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and ground mustard. Add different seasonings in like with your tastes.
- Cook sausage. Brown and crumble sausage and cook fully. Transfer to a plate.
- Sauté vegetables. Sauté onion and pepper until softened.
- Wilt the spinach. Add spinach to the pan and cook for a few more minutes until wilted.
- Blend. Add milk, eggs, cottage cheese, and dry seasonings to a blender and blend well until smooth.
- Layer in pan and soak. Add cubed bread to a greased pan, then scatter the cooked sausage, veggies, and cheese evenly over top. Slowly pour in the egg/milk mixture until it soaks into all of the bread cubes. Chill the breakfast strata in the refrigerator for minimum 1 hour up to overnight.
- Bake. Bake in a 350°F oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the center registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Tips and Tricks
- Baking Dish Material - Make sure to use a baking dish that can handle a fairly-quick temperature flux from the refrigerator to a preheated oven.
- Dish Size - If your dish is on the smaller side and quite filled, consider placing the vessel on a sheet pan for baking so you don’t risk a spillover in the oven.
- Use Foil, If Needed - I routinely bake this sausage breakfast strata uncovered for the entire bake time. That said, if you notice that your strata reaches a toasty golden-brown before the center is fully cooked, tent aluminum foil over the dish and continue to bake until down. The foil will prevent further browning.
Frequently Asked Questions
One- or two-day old bread is widely regarded as best for french toast-ish recipes as it can soak up liquid more effectively and is hardier when handling (doesn't break apart). That said, it's not a make-or-break factor for this tasty breakfast strata. If you only have fresh, soft bread, you can achieve a staler effect by cubing it and baking it in a 300°F oven on an ungreased sheet pan for up to 10 or so minutes, or until lightly dried.
Yes. Once cooled entirely, cut this sausage strata into pieces and wrap each snuggly in aluminum foil. Seal in an air-tight freezer bag with excess air pressed out and freeze for three months. It's best to transfer to the fridge to thaw before reheating when ready to eat.
More Crave-Worthy Breakfast Recipes
Note: This sausage breakfast strata recipe was updated in January 2024 from its initial publish date in 2016. Originally it included asparagus and chicken broth to lighten up the egg mixture, but over the years I've found cottage cheese to accomplish that goal in a creamier, more breakfast-appropriate way.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Sausage Breakfast Strata
- 8 ounces baguette or crusty bread 1-inch cubed
- 8 ounces ground pork or turkey sausage breakfast, regular, or mild
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves roughly chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheese cheddar, Fontina, Asiago, etc.
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup cottage cheese small or large curd
- ¾ cup milk 1-2% fine
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cut bread into approximate 1-inch cubes and arrange in a single layer in the dish. Set aside for now.
- Cook sausage in a large pan set over medium heat, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks. Once fully cooked, transfer the crumbles to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Wipe out the pan to use again.
- Add olive oil to the now-empty pan set again over medium heat. Once the oil is heated add the bell pepper and onion and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened slightly and onion is becoming golden. Add the spinach leaves and stir often as the spinach reduces over the course of a few minutes. Remove the pan from the heat once the spinach has wilted.
- Scatter the crumbled sausage and sautéed vegetables evenly in the baking dish over the bread cubes, lightly stirring everything up so they don't just sit in a solid layer on top.
- Add eggs, cottage cheese, milk, salt, garlic powder, paprika, mustard powder, and pepper to a blender and blend well until totally smooth. Slowly pour this mixture into the pan over all of the bread. Press down on the bread slightly with a spatula or wooden spoon to ensure each piece is fully soaked.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and set the dish in the refrigerator to soak for at least one hour but ideally longer, up to overnight.
- When ready to bake, take the strata out of the fridge to set out while the oven preheats. Preheat oven to 350°F. Once heated, bake uncovered on the middle rack of the oven for 45-55 minutes, or until golden-brown, set, and the center registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. Let the strata rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. Refrigerate leftover slices for up to 3-4 days.
- Dish Material: Make sure your baking dish is made of a material that can handle a quick temperature fluctuation from the refrigerator to a preheated oven.
- Dish Size: If you're concerned your baking dish is quite full and may bubble over in the oven, place the dish on a sheet pan while baking to catch any spillover juices.
- Bread: Ideally this will be slightly stale (1-2 days old) to better absorb the egg mixture and hold its shape. Fresh bread can be cubed and baked in a 300°F oven on an ungreased sheet pan for up to 10 minutes to dry it a bit.
- Seasonings: Add crushed red pepper if you'd like a bit more heat. The amount of salt listed may seem low for an egg dish, but keep in mind cottage cheese contains sodium.
- Freezing Instructions: Let cooked strata cool, then wrap each slice in aluminum foil before sealing in an air-tight freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw slices in the fridge before reheating thoroughly.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer