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Milk Street's Christopher Kimball shares an easy, make-ahead spinach, ham and cheddar strata from his new cookbook, Milk Street: Cook What You Have

"Rich with cheese, crusty bread and an eggy custard, stratas can easily serve a crowd. These savory bread puddings are exceptionally versatile and can include a variety of vegetables and meats, such as the spinach and ham featured here. To streamline prep, we call for thawed frozen spinach; be sure to squeeze it dry so the strata won't become soggy. This is a great do-ahead dish. Assemble the strata, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. The next day, the foil-covered strata can go directly from the refrigerator to the oven. Bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for about another 20 minutes." —Christopher 

For another recipe from Christopher, check out his Cream-Free Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Croutons


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • One 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 8 ounces cheddar OR pepper jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced deli ham, roughly chopped (1 cup)


Serves: 6 to 8


Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle position. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil. Wrap the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze over the sink to remove excess moisture; set aside. 

In a 10-inch skillet over medium, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Break apart the squeeze-dried spinach and add it to the egg mixture along with the bread, three-fourths of the cheese, the ham and onion; using a silicone spatula, stir until well combined. 

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and distribute in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. 

Carefully remove the foil, then bake until golden brown and bubbly, about another 30 minutes. Cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Excerpted from Milk Street: Cook What You Have by Christopher Kimball. Copyright © 2022 by Christopher Kimball. Used with permission by Voracious. All rights reserved.