The Basics: How to Make a Cheese Frittata

From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you’re making.

  • - a large oven-safe frying pan or cast iron skillet
  • - one onion
  • - a handful of any or all of the following fresh herbs: parsley, basil, cilantro
  • - one clove of garlic (optional)
  • - the green part of two scallions (optional)
  • - a dozen eggs
  • - three handfuls of grated cheese (your favorite kind)
  • - salt and pepper
  • - hot sauce (optional)
  • - oil (any kind)


  • 1. Heat the broiler and put the rack in the middle of the oven. If you have one of those broilers that’s in a drawer under the oven, then use the oven instead, heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • 2. Thinly slice the onion and chop the herbs, garlic, and scallions (if using).

  • 3. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add two handfuls of cheese, lots of salt and pepper, and the herbs and scallions.

  • 4. Stir until everything is well blended. Add 10 dashes of hot sauce, if using.

  • 5. Heat the frying pan over medium-high heat on the stove and coat the bottom with oil. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and golden.

  • 6. Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the onion and garlic, turn the heat down to medium low, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes undisturbed. (You want the outer edges to be set and slightly browned, but not the middle.)

  • 7. Sprinkle the last handful of cheese on top.

  • 8. Put the frittata in the oven and, if you’re using the broiler, cook for 3 to 5 minutes. If you’re using the oven, cook for 5 to 10 minutes. When it’s finished, the center will no longer jiggle if shaken, the cheese will have slightly browned on top, and the frittata will have puffed up a bit.

Illustrations by Bill Russell