Make Ahead

Cornbread Strata With Cheddar & Jalapeños

December  7, 2020
6 Ratings
Author Notes

This corny strata is made with cornbread cubes, corn kernels, jalapeños, scallions, and sharp cheddar cheese. For a tangy finish, serve it with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and hot sauce. If you don’t like the heat, try adding a diced mild pepper such as poblano or even green bell pepper instead of the jalapeños. If you want more of a breakfast feel, add a couple strips of cooked and crumbled bacon. The options are endless!

Strata is a cross between bread pudding and frittata—eggier than bread pudding, it easily slides into frittata’s savory territory. The recipe is highly adaptable, working with any stale bread from bagels to biscuits, and can accommodate any number of mix-ins, for the perfect fridge clean-out casserole. For best results, assemble it the night before so the bread can soak up the egg-milk mixture, then bake it in the morning for an easy and impressive brunch centerpiece.

This recipe makes enough to fill a high-sided 10-inch skillet, 2-quart baking dish, or 9x9-inch brownie pan. If you need to scale the recipe up to feed a bigger group, feel free to double the quantities and bake for an hour in a 9x13-inch casserole dish instead. For a smaller portion, you can divide the recipe in half and bake the strata for 30 minutes in a 6-inch skillet.

Want to eat pizza for breakfast? Try this Pizza Party Strata recipe. And read more about this strata technique here, so you have the confidence to take it off-script. —Sohla El-Waylly

  • Prep time 12 hours
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 6 cups lightly packed (about 12 ounces) cornbread, homemade or store-bought, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or ¾ teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt), plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
  • Whole-milk Greek yogurt or sour cream and hot sauce, to serve (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Evenly grease a high-sided 10-inch skillet, 2-quart baking dish, or 9x9-inch brownie pan with 1 tablespoon of butter.
  2. Spread the cubed cornbread on a rimmed baking sheet. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and pour over cornbread. Sprinkle over smoked paprika and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the cubes and taste, adding more salt and pepper if needed, and bake until lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs until no streaks of whites remain. Add the milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and whisk to combine. Reserve a small handful of sliced scallion for garnish. Add the corn, jalapeños, remaining sliced scallions, grated garlic, and all but a handful of the shredded cheese. Mix with a rubber spatula to combine.
  4. Add the toasted cornbread and fold into egg mixture until moistened and combined. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Garnish with remaining cheddar.
  5. You can bake right away or, for best results, cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. (If chilling for later, let the strata hang out at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before baking.) Bake the strata at 350°F until puffed, golden brown around the edges, and set in the center, about 45 minutes. (If the cheese isn’t brown enough, broil for 2 to 3 minutes until golden.) Garnish with reserved sliced scallion. Let cool 10 minutes before serving, optionally with yogurt or sour cream and hot sauce.

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Sohla El-Waylly is a Food52 Resident, sharing new riffable recipes every month that'll help you get creative in the kitchen. Watch her cook on YouTube in her new series, Off-Script With Sohla. Before she started developing fun recipes for home cooks, she worked as a chef in N.Y.C. and L.A., briefly owning a restaurant in Brooklyn with her husband and fellow chef, Ham El-Waylly. She lives in the East Village with Ham, their two dogs, and cat. Find out what else she's up to on Instagram @sohlae.