Make Ahead

Bagel and Cream Cheese Strata

December 21, 2014
2 Ratings
Photo by Emily Vikre
Author Notes

My family started the tradition of eating a bread, egg, and sautéed veggie strata -- that we've always called a frittata -- for Christmas morning breakfast many years ago. When I got married, I found my husband's family eats bagels with cream cheese and lox and/or smoked salmon for Christmas breakfast. This year I decided to combine the two traditions into a strata made with bagels, cream cheese, and salmon. The unique texture of bagels makes this a very sturdy strata, which is nice and hardy, but you can also use regular bread if you prefer a softer, eggier texture. —fiveandspice

  • Serves 8
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 cups cubed stale bagels
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced lox or crumbled smoked salmon
  • 2 tablespoons capers (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill (optional)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into half-inch cubes (as much as it's possible to cut cream cheese into cubes)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and ground pepper
In This Recipe
  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it is foaming. Add the red onion and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Butter a large baking pan (9 x 13 or so) and layer the cubed bagels, the salmon or lox, the sautéed onions, the cream cheese pieces, and the capers and dill (if using) in the pan. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs with the half and half and the teaspoons of salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the bagels, etc, in the baking pan. Cover and let this sit for at least 45 minutes (you can also let it sit in the fridge overnight).
  3. When ready to bake, heat your oven to 350° F. Bake the strata until the eggs are set, about 45 minutes to an hour. Allow to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into it. Eat warm or at room temperature.

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I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.