Whether you’re planning a lazy weekend breakfast or brunch or a quick light dinner, frittatas and quiches are two versatile savory egg dishes that can fit the bill. But what exactly sets these flavorful, protein-packed classics apart?
In this guide, we’ll explore the key differences between a frittata and a quiche – from how they’re prepared to the variety of fillings, egg and milk ratios, and overall texture – so you know which one to make depending on your taste, time and ingredients.
While quiche and frittata both feature eggs as the star, a frittata more closely resembles an omelet, baked open-faced and fluffy, while quiche is a richer custard baked in a pie crust. Keep reading to learn how to craft both recipes to perfection and discover what’s the difference between these delicious two egg dishes when it comes to ingredients, cooking method, taste and presentation.
Demystifying the Crustless Frittata
A frittata is an Italian style, crustless baked egg dish made by cooking an egg mixture mixed with cheese, veggies, and other fillings first on the stovetop and then finishing in the oven.
In many ways, a frittata resembles an omelet, but left open-faced. Here are some key attributes:
- No crust – Unlike quiche, frittatas are always crustless
- Quick cooking – Starts on stovetop so comes together quickly
- Versatile – Take on any flavors with mix-in ingredients
- Fluffy texture – Thanks to gentle baking to finish
- Make-ahead – Can assemble and refrigerate before baking
Frittatas have an airy, custard-like texture from the eggs lightly cooked in olive oil or butter before being baked. The addition of ingredients like vegetables, cheese, fresh herbs, or cooked meat make frittatas highly customizable.
A vegetarian frittata loaded with seasonal veggies makes a satisfying meatless main. Or add cured meats like pancetta or sausage. There are endless delicious options!
Crafting the Perfect Frittata
Making frittatas is simple:
- Sauté aromatics like onion and garlic as the base.
- Cook fillings like chopped veggies until slightly softened.
- Whisk eggs with a bit of dairy, seasoning and parsley.
- Pour egg mixture over filling ingredients.
- Cook on stovetop over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer to oven and bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.
- Cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
With this method, the initial stovetop cooking sets the bottom while the oven finishes cooking the eggs evenly throughout. The result is a puffed, lightly browned frittata ready to slice and enjoy!
- For a fluffier frittata, fold in whipped egg whites
- Add cream cheese or goat cheese for extra richness
- Top with avocado, salsa or hot sauce before serving
Demystifying Baked Quiche: The Crusty Custard Tart
A classic quiche consists of a custard filling of eggs, milk or cream, and often cheese baked in a pie crust. Think of it like a savory custard pie encased in buttery pastry.
The quiche shell provides structure for the creamy egg filling studded with mix-ins. Common additions include meat like bacon, seafood, veggies, or cheese. Here’s what makes quiche unique:
- Flaky pie crust – Typically uses pastry dough or Graham cracker crust
- Custard-like texture – From higher dairy-to-egg ratio
- Must be baked – Requires oven to cook through custard
- Elegant presentation – Served sliced in classic pie wedges
- Make-ahead – Can assemble and refrigerate unbaked
The custard mixture bakes up smooth and silky within the sturdy crust for perfect slices of quiche. Feel free to get creative with quiche fillings like spinach and feta or broccoli and cheddar based on your taste.
Baking Up Perfect Quiche
Follow these simple steps for flawless quiche every time:
- Pre-bake crust – Blind bake empty pie shell at 375°F for 15 minutes.
- Whisk custard – In a bowl, beat eggs with milk or cream, salt, pepper and optional cheese.
- Fill crust with any sautéed veggies or cooked meat.
- Pour custard into crust.
- Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes until set.
- Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
The hot oven cooks the custard through without making it tough or rubbery. The result is a beautifully browned quiche with creamy filling and tender flaky crust.
- For a richer taste, use half-and-half or heavy cream
- Add nutmeg, onion powder or herbs to the custard
- Top with extra cheese, tomato slices or bacon before baking
How Frittata and Quiche Really Differ: Key Differences in Quiche vs Frittata
When it comes to frittata vs quiche, these egg-based dishes have some key distinctions:
- Crust – Quiche has a pastry crust; frittata is crustless
- Cooking method – Frittata starts on stovetop before oven; quiche bakes entirely in oven
- Custardiness – Quiche made with more dairy is creamier than frittata
- Egg ratio – Quiche uses approx 1 egg per 1/4 cup dairy; frittata uses 2-3 eggs per 1/4 cup dairy
- Texture – Quiche is more custard-like thanks to higher dairy; frittata is fluffier
- Presentation – Quiche in a pie dish often looks more elegant
- Ingredients – Quiche traditionally includes cheese in the custard
- Quiche is a custard tart encased in a pastry crust
- Frittata is an open-faced crustless quiche finished on the stovetop
- Quiche has a rich, creamy custard texture
- Frittata has a fluffier, omelet-like texture
So if you prefer a bready crust and ultra-smooth filling, quiche is your winner. For a quick weeknight dinner or fluffier egg dish, frittata is the way to go.
More Egg-cellent Recipes to Try: Our Top Quiche Recipes and Frittata Recipes
FAQs About Frittata vs. Quiche
Get answers to all your pressing frittata and quiche questions:
Q: What’s the main difference between frittata and quiche?
A: The main differences are that quiche has a crust and higher liquid-to-egg ratio making it more custardy, while frittata is crustless, starts on the stovetop, and has a fluffier omelet-like texture.
Q: Is a frittata just like a crustless quiche?
A: Yes, a frittata can be thought of as a crustless quiche made completely on the stovetop then finished baking in the oven to fully cook through. The lack of crust and lower dairy ratio gives it a more omelet-like texture versus quiche.
Q: Which is healthier – frittata or quiche?
A: Frittatas are typically lighter and healthier than quiche since they use less heavy cream and dairy and contain no buttery pie crust. But both dishes can be made healthy by using egg whites, low-fat milk, and loading up on fresh veggies inside.
Q: What are good side dishes with frittata or quiche?
A: Great sides for both frittata or quiche include fresh fruit, roasted potatoes or hash browns, mixed greens salad, and toasted bread or English muffins. The egg dishes pair nicely with fresh, light accompaniments.
Whether you prefer a crustless skillet frittata or a slice of quiche in a buttery shell, both of these egg-based dishes are sure to satisfy. Now that you know the distinct differences between the two, decide which one suits your tastes and breakfast needs.