Flipped Frittata With Asparagus, Spinach, Ham, and Cheese Recipe

Flip your frittata for a quicker meal, no broiler required.

Closeup of a slice of flipped frittata with asparagus, spinach, ham, and cheese bering lifted from a cutting board with a chef's knife.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why This Recipe Works

  • Pre-seasoning the eggs with salt helps them retain moisture during cooking.
  • Cooking the vegetables in batches gives us more control over their texture.
  • Keeping the cheese in large chunks gives us oozy pockets in the frittata.
  • Flipping the frittata ensures a creamy, dense center.

The other night I was up late editing some photos and got a bit of the ol' late-night hunger pangs. After realizing I was out of pickles to wrap in slices of Swiss cheese (my standard eaten-by-the-warm-glow-of-the-refrigerator light meal), I spied the carton of eggs and remembered Daniel's excellent tutorial on how to make a Spanish-style tortilla. I quickly pulled out my phone to check my shopping list to see if I was out of potatoes, then stopped myself because I realized I could get the answer much faster by looking at the potato bin right next to me. It was empty.

Luckily I had a fridge full of vegetable and cheese scraps. My tongue turned toward my stomach and flashed electric signals across a vast tunnel of synaptic gaps to deliver one word in three syllables: frit- ta- ta.

My stomach had only just given a genial growl to indicate its approval of the plan when my brain butted in and said ahem, we are not going to be turning on the broiler tonight, daring anyone to challenge it. Cranking the oven on a hot summer evening just wasn't gonna happen.

Meanwhile, my hands had already started slicing onions and garlic, some asparagus, spinach, and a couple of shishito peppers before my brain had even caught up to what was going on. Most of my brain decided to take a moment to regroup while my hands continued to sauté vegetables. The only part that stuck around to watch was the bit that remembered to sauté the onions separately so that the steam from the other vegetables didn't inhibit any delicious caramelization on the onion bits.

By the time my brain caught up, my hands had already sliced some ham and diced up some cheese (a much nicer way to incorporate it into frittatas and quiches than grating it), whisked some eggs, and deposited them into the skillet.

So there I was. I suddenly found myself with a frittata cooking in the skillet and no broiler to finish it under. The solution was simple: Just flip it like a Spanish tortilla. Compared to a normal finished-in-the-oven frittata which can take on a poofy, souffléd texture, flipping produces a much creamier, denser omelette. It's a texture I actually prefer.

As Daniel demonstrated, once you get the hang of it, the process of flipping is really simple and it allows you to put dinner on the table much faster than using the oven (and it saves you from having to heat up the kitchen during the summer). All you have to do is place an empty plate or pot lid over the pan, invert it over the sink (just in case you have any drips), then slide it back into the skillet. You end up with a nice fat omelette that's golden brown on the outside and nice and creamy in the middle.

After I finished my slice, I covered the rest and left it out for breakfast. My stomach thanked my hands, my hands gave a synaptic high five to my brain, and my eyes remembered seeing the last egg come out of that carton. My thumb flicked on my phone and when I looked down to update my shopping list, my hand decided to smack my head: Turns out I'd never put potatoes on the list anyway.

July 2016

Recipe Details

Flipped Frittata With Asparagus, Spinach, Ham, and Cheese Recipe

Active 20 mins
Total 20 mins
Serves 3 to 4 servings

Flip your frittata for a quicker meal, no broiler required.


  • 6 large eggs

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (60ml)

  • 4 stalks asparagus, sliced on a bias into 1-inch pieces

  • 6 shishito peppers or one green bell pepper, diced

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced (about 4 ounces; 120g)

  • 1 cup packed spinach leaves, roughly chopped (about 2 ounces; 55g)

  • 3 ounces sliced ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (90g) (optional)

  • 4 ounces medium-firm cheese such as cheddar or Jack, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (120g)


  1. Lightly beat eggs with a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil in a 10-inch non-stick, cast iron, or carbon steel skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add asparagus and peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing and stirring frequently, until asparagus is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the eggs.

    Collage of sautéing vegetables in batches and adding the assembled frittata mixture to a skillet.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil in the now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring, until starting to brown around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until onions and garlic are lightly browned, about 1 minute longer. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 1 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the eggs. Add ham (if using) and cheese to the eggs and stir the mixture until everything is evenly combined.

  3. Wipe out skillet. Add remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil to skillet and set over medium-high heat until shimmering. Scrape egg mixture into skillet and cook, swirling and shaking pan rapidly, until bottom and sides begin to set, about 3 minutes. Using a heatproof spatula, press the edges in to begin to form the frittata's puck shape. Continue to cook, adjusting heat to prevent bottom of frittata from burning, until beginning to set around edges, about 3 minutes longer.

    The half, cooked mixture is stirred with a wooden spoon.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  4. Working over a sink or garbage can, place a large overturned flat plate or lid on top of skillet, set hand on top (using a dish towel if you are sensitive to heat), and, in one very quick motion, invert frittata onto it. Carefully slide frittata back into skillet and continue to cook until second side is beginning to firm up, about 2 minutes. Use rubber spatula to again press the sides in all around to form a rounded puck shape. Continue to cook frittata until lightly browned on second side but still tender in the center when pressed with a finger, about 2 minutes longer. If desired, you can flip frittata 2 to 3 more times during these last minutes of cooking, which helps to cook the center more evenly and reinforce the shape.

    The flipped frittata is cooked on its other side.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  5. Carefully slide frittata out of skillet onto a clean plate, and serve.

Special Equipment

Nonstick, carbon steel, or cast iron skillet

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
374 Calories
30g Fat
9g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 374
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 10g 48%
Cholesterol 307mg 102%
Sodium 516mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 26mg 130%
Calcium 281mg 22%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 337mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)