Type Omelette
Place of origin Italy
Main ingredients Fried beaten eggs
Variations Fritaja (Istria)
Cookbook: Frittata  Media: Frittata

Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche or scrambled eggs, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses or vegetables. The word frittata is Italian and roughly translates to "fried".


The Italian word frittata derives from friggere and roughly means fried. This was originally a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet, anywhere on the spectrum from fried egg, through conventional omelette, to an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla de patatas, made with fried potato. Outside Italy, frittata was seen as equivalent to "omelette" until at least the mid-1950s.[1]

In the last fifty years, frittata has become a term for a distinct variation that Delia Smith describes as "Italy's version of an open-face omelette".[2] When used in this sense, there are four key differences from a conventional omelette:

  • There is always at least one optional ingredient, and such ingredients are combined with the beaten egg mixture while the eggs are still raw[3][4] rather than being laid over the mostly cooked egg mixture before it is folded, as in a conventional omelette.[5]
  • Eggs may be beaten vigorously, to incorporate more air than traditional savory omelettes, to allow a deeper filling and a fluffier result.
  • The mixture is cooked over a very low heat, more slowly than an omelette, for at least five minutes,[4] typically 15, until the underside is set but the top is still runny.[2][6]
  • The partly cooked frittata is not folded to enclose its contents, like an omelette, but is instead either turned over in full,[3][6][7] or grilled briefly under an intense salamander to set the top layer,[2][4][6] or baked for around five minutes.[8]

See also


  1. Elizabeth David (1954). Italian Food. Barrie & Jenkins (published April 5, 1990). ISBN 978-0-7126-2000-0.
  2. 1 2 3 Delia Smith (1998). Delia's How To Cook. Book One. BBC Worldwide. pp. 48–49. ISBN 0-563-38430-1. the Italian word here is lentamente—very slowly
  3. 1 2 Robert Carrier (1963). Great Dishes of the World. Sphere Books (published 1967). p. 121. ISBN 0-7221-2172-5.
  4. 1 2 3 Sarah Brown (1984). Vegetarian Cookbook. HarperCollins. p. 127. ISBN 0-7225-2694-6.
  5. H L Cracknell and R J Kaufmann (1972). Practical Professional Cookery. Macmillan (published 1973). pp. 114–119. ISBN 0-333-11588-0.
  6. 1 2 3 Nigel Slater (1992). Real Fast Food. Penguin Books (published 2006). pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-0-14-102950-4.
  7. Gillian Riley (1 November 2007). "Eggs". The Oxford Companion to Italian Food. Oxford University Press. p. 168.
  8. Jamie Oliver. "roasted chilli frittata". Jamie magazine issue 7. Archived from the original on 2011-03-03.
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