Omelettes, Frittatas or Quiche

October 23, 2008 4 Comments

Omelettes, Frittatas or Quiche Recipe

Is it an Omelette, Frittata or Quiche?

Here they are: a trinity of brunch egg dishes. All three of these preparations are wonderful for some of the same reasons:

they help you use up leftovers,

they impress your friends

potatoes are a welcome, but somewhat unusual addition.

While all three of these dishes contain eggs, the preparation methods vary. So, to clear up any confusion, here is a primer on omelettes, frittatas and quiche.


A traditional French omelette contains eggs with perhaps a splash of water and a pinch of salt and pepper. The eggs are briskly whipped and are cooked in clarified butter over medium high heat.

These omelets are turned out when the top is still a little custardy and unset, and if made correctly, they do not have any color on them. They are rolled out of the pan in thirds, like a business letter. French omelettes are served very simply, usually just with some herbs. That’s it.

Americans have taken the omelette and run with it, making it bigger, badder and more full of stuff. And there’s nothing wrong with that””time to clear out the fridge!

Some rules to remember when making an omelette: use a non-stick pan; cook and/or heat up your filling ingredients first. The cooking process is so fast that the ingredients, especially chunky ingredients like potatoes and some meats, won’t have time to heat up if you don’t.

An American omelette is generally cooked until mostly dry on top and golden on the bottom. They are folded over once, like a taco shell, for service. Omelettes are usually served hot.


The frittata is Italy’s answer to the omelette. Frittatas are generally thicker than omelettes, the ingredients are mixed in instead of sprinkled on, and while started on the stove, frittatas get finished under the broiler. For service, frittatas are sliced like pie and served either warm or at room temperature.


A quiche is a savory custard baked in a pastry crust, or as in a potato crust. Unlike omelettes and frittatas, which don’t necessarily contain a dairy component in the egg mixture, quiche gets its wonderful richness from the addition of whole milk, half and half or even some cream. Hey, no one ever said it was diet food; I just say it is tasty!

Quiche can be served warm or at room temperature.


Last modified on Tue 26 July 2016 3:17 pm

Filed in: Breakfast Recipes

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Peter Hertzmann says:

    Ah, I see you subscribe to the Julia Child school of French omelets. But wait…there’s more: the French have a large variety of omelets dating back to the 14th-century. I’d suggest reading my article Les Omelettes from 2005.

  2. chady bayram says:

    hi i would like to ask u how to make

    thanx in advance

  3. RG says:

    Hi Peter,
    Thanks for bringing your article “Les Omelettes” to my attention. Great information. Here is an excerpt from Peter’s article and a link to read the entire piece.

    “Omelets have been a part of French cuisine for hundreds of years. One of the earliest texts about French cooking is a single large chapter in the manuscript called Le Ménagier de Paris. Written around 1393, Le Ménagier has two recipes for alumelles, thought to be an early reference to flat omelets. In 1653, François Pierre de la Varenne published his Le Patissier François with 22 recipes for sweet and savory aumelettes, many of which are almost identical to recipes published three centuries later.

    The place of the omelet today in a French meal is not as a breakfast dish, but as an entrée (a first course) or a dessert. Add a little extra milk and sugar to a basic omelet preparation and you have a custard. Add a little flour and the omelet becomes a crepe batter. (The omelets we are concerned with in this article are those made primarily with eggs.)

    Early omelets were served flat or rolled. Nowadays, they can be flat, rolled, folded, stacked, or souffléed. They can be savory or sweet. The filling can be mixed with the eggs or rolled inside the cooked eggs or spread across the top of the finished dish.

    In former times, it was recommended that the frying pan used for omelets be only used for that purpose. Today, with the availability of nonstick surfaces, this is less important. More important is that the shape of the pan allows for easy removal of the finished omelet, usually by sliding it out of the pan.”

    For the entire article, go to

  4. Laura says:

    thank you… great info and history… LOVE food history. reading your article i came up with salmon & herb quiche in a potato crust…YUM!! Thanks!

Leave a Reply