Quiche is a delightful dish that seems intimidating. But once you master the straightforward technique, you'll know how to make any quiche under the sun. Plus, learn how to make a quiche without a crust and get ideas on vegetarian, vegan, and meat quiche fillings. Keep this recipe handy because quiches are a great dish for picnics, parties, and using up leftovers in your fridge.
Quiches are deceptively simple. A pastry crust and an egg-cream custard with your favorite fillings mixed in. Despite these humble foundations, quiches offer complex tastes and textures that keep you guessing. Luckily, making a mouthwatering quiche is a breeze too. It comes down to the technique.
Technique-focused cooking is partly why I love French cooking. Once you get the technique right, it's almost impossible to screw up a French dish. You free yourself up to explore and play with ingredients. That's what we're doing to do in this recipe.
Since quiche lorraine is the queen of all quiches, let's focus on successfully executing a quiche lorraine in this post. Once you feel confident in your ability to make quiche lorraine, you can apply the same technique to all kinds of quiches, whether they're vegetarian or crustless quiches. Heck, you can use these quiche techniques to enhance your egg bakes, egg casseroles, and frittatas to make the fillings smooth like velvet.
How to make authentic quiche lorraine in an American kitchen
I'm dedicating this post to my friend Benjamin's French Together readers. Because many of his readers are Americans learning French, I'm going to explain how to make an authentic quiche lorraine in an American kitchen and how to find American equivalents of French ingredients.
That's not to say you have to aim for authenticity. If getting this quiche ready for breakfast tomorrow morning without catching your hair on fire is your goal, that works too. You'll want to read the adjustments and substitutions for ingredients to make your life easier.
RELATED: If you love French food, check out this raclette recipe on how to make a raclette meal at home without special equipment.
Signs of a good quiche lorraine
Quiche lorraine is one of the most famous dishes from Alsace, a region in eastern France that borders on Germany. It has a silky, creamy texture that wobbles gently as you cut into the quiche and bring a forkful to your mouth.
Traditional quiche lorraine as Alsatians make it only contains an egg-cream custard and lardons. There's no cheese, herbs, or green onions (yes, I know my picture above is an abomination but I enjoy the garnish of green onions). We'll stick with the traditional recipe in this article because it simplifies the technique. But remember you can fill your quiche with whatever you like, and I share many ideas of my favorite fillings.
Quiche lorraine is not for the fat phobic. It calls for a lot of milk and cream. The cream is mixed with eggs to form the melt-in-your-mouth custard.
The ideal ratio of eggs to dairy is approximately one large egg to half a cup of milk or cream.
In my version, I skipped the milk altogether and went all in on crème fraîche. I learned how to make crème fraîche from scratch and had to prove to Alex that I could finish the Costco-sized jug of heavy whipping cream that he insisted I not buy (yay, marriage). In the end, it was a terrific choice because crème fraîche turns out to be super easy to make (if you want the recipe, leave a comment to let me know).
Alex remarked that the crème fraîche added a touch of acidity, which lightened up the heaviness of the custard. You can buy crème fraîche at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. I've seen crème fraîche sold at Costco at a big discount.
You can also skip the 2 cups of crème fraîche and substitute with 50% whole milk and 50% heavy whipping cream. That means 1 cup of whole milk and 1 cup of cream. Or try the 1:1 ratio of yogurt and heavy whipping cream to get the acidity without the effort of acquiring crème fraîche. You could also use 2 cups of heavy whipping cream but we suspect it might be a bit too heavy.
Once you've tried this 1:1 ratio, if you decide you like your quiche lorraine with a sturdier texture, you can keep the same number of eggs while reducing the milk by 1/2 cup.
Traditional quiche lorraine uses lardons, which is French bacon that is thicker, cured, and not smoked. I searched high and low for lardons on the supermarket shelves without results. When I stepped up to the glass displays in the meat section, I told the butcher that I was looking for something called "lardons" to make a French recipe, and I wasn't happy with the smoked streaky American bacon on the shelves.
He responded, "I have just the thing for you, but maybe there's not enough," in a French accent. His name badge told me I was speaking to René. (How mortifying!) That's how I discovered that Whole Foods sells a "Thin Cut French Prairie Pork Belly" product that's perfect for our purpose.
Most quiche lorraine recipes you see on the Internet call for bacon. Bacon works if you're in a pinch and don't want to search for lardons. You can also use Italian pancetta, which is also cured and not smoked. If you're unable to find these European products, then pork belly sliced thinly works too.
I prefer not using bacon because the smoky flavors (maple smoked, applewood smoked, etc.) detracts from the subtle tastes in quiche lorraine. But, if your goal is to make this recipe with 20% effort to get 80% of the results, then go with the bacon.
The French pie crust pâte brisée is the classic choice for quiche lorraine. It is a flaky, buttery crust that's delicious for fruit pies and custard pies, such as quiche or pumpkin pie. It's an all-butter crust that you can make by hand or with a food processor.
If you already have a frozen ball of pie dough, feel free to use it. If you're in a rush, you can use a frozen premade pie crust. I've had good results with puff pastry and frozen rolled-out pie dough that I roll out into my glass pie pan.
If you're using pre-rolled frozen pie crust in a pie pan, make sure it is a deep-dish pie crust to avoid the custard overflowing and making a mess.
I've tried phyllo dough but that didn't work as well because the egg-cream mixture is too liquidy so the phyllo fell apart.
If you're worried about a soggy crust, keep reading for tips on how to avoid a pasty, undercooked pie crust. Or skip the crust and make a crustless quiche.
RELATED: If you're working in a very hot kitchen, check out tips on how to bake pies even when your kitchen is too humid and steamy.
With those tips in mind, let's jump into the recipe and then we'll discuss quiche lorraine variations, such as crustless and vegetarian quiches.
- pie pan
- parchment paper
- pie weights
- Chopping Board
- Mixing Bowl
- aluminium foil
- 1 pâte brisée (substitute with frozen pie crust or skip if making a crustless quiche)
- 6 medium Eggs (if large or extra-large eggs, use 5 eggs)
- 7 oz lardons (cut into 1/2 inch/1 cm pieces, substitute with bacon if no lardons)
- 2 cups crème fraîche (substitute with 1 cup/250mL whole milk and 1 cup/250 mL of cream)
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Gather the ingredients.
Pâte brisée (pie crust)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
- Prepare the pie crust for blind baking. After you have chilled the pie crust in the fridge or freezer, put a layer of parchment paper over the pâte brisée. Fill with pie weights or 1 lb./500 g of dried beans or rice to weigh down the pie dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Once the pâte brisée has formed a solid crust, about 15 minutes of baking, remove from the oven. Separate the egg white from 1 egg. Brush the egg white over the bottom of the pie crust. If you see any cracks in the crust, fill in the cracks with excess pie dough. Be sure to evenly coat the nooks and crannies of the pie crust with the egg white to seal the crust. Put the pie crust back into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Watch the pie crust carefully as it is baking to avoid burning the crust. After about 10 minutes, remove from the oven. The pie crust should look fully baked and excess egg white should have cooked through and become white. Set aside this crust while you prepare the egg and crème fraîche filling.
- While the pie crust is blind baking, you can cook the lardons (or bacon if substituting) on a frying pan over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Cook until the lardons are no longer pink but avoid overcooking. You don't want the lardons to be crispy or hard.
Prepare the egg-cream mixture
- Beat the remaining eggs and additional egg yolk. If you have excess egg white leftover from brushing the pâte brisée, add the leftover egg white to the other eggs. Beat until the eggs become foamy.
- Add the crème fraîche (or the whole milk and cream if substituting) to the foamy eggs and continue whisking until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the egg-cream filling into the blind-baked pie crust. Add the lardons in an even distribution into the filling. The foamy eggs should help to keep the lardons from all sinking to the bottom of the pie.
Bake the quiche
- Put the quiche into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- After baking for 15 minutes, check on the quiche. You should notice that the edges of the crust are golden brown but the center of the filling has not set. Remove the pie pan from the oven and cover with strips of aluminium foil to shield the crust from burning. Return the pie to the oven and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Check on the quiche lorraine 5 minutes before the cooking time should end to make sure the quiche is not overcooked. The eggs will continue cooking once you remove the quiche from the oven. You know the quiche is done when it is golden brown on top but the filling still wobbles when you move the pie pan. When you insert a small, thin knife, it should come out mostly clean with moist flecks of egg stuck to the knife. Cool the quiche lorraine for 20 minutes and it is ready to serve.
Quiche lorraine variations
While we focused on the most authentic quiche lorraine recipe from the Alsace region, there are plenty of variations on quiches that are equally delicious. Many French people, especially Parisians, enjoy adding cheese like grated gruyère to their quiches.
Here are ideas on what you can add to the egg-cream filling to make creative quiches tailored to your taste buds.
Vegetarian quiche fillings
Combine these ingredients to make your custom quiche. Ideas for vegetarians and vegans for quiche fillings:
- Cheese (1 cup/100g): Grated gruyère, goat cheese, feta, sliced brie, gorgonzola, ricotta
- Vegetables (about a handful): Cooked mushrooms, (sun-dried) tomatoes, spinach, caramelized onions, olives, sliced green onions, roasted red bell peppers, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, chopped asparagus, cooked sliced potatoes
- Herbs (1 tablespoon, roughly chopped): Rosemary, basil, thyme, cilantro
WARNING: If you're adding veggies to your quiche filling, you could make a mistake that will ruin your entire quiche. Check out the tips for how to avoid a soggy crust and a ruined quiche.
Non-veggie quiche fillings
In addition to the veggie options listed above, here are seafood and meat filling ideas:
- Fish and seafood: Crab meat, imitation crab meat, (smoked) salmon, shrimp, tuna
- Meat: Ham, prosciutto, salami, sausages
Crustless quiche lorraine
If you're on a low-carb diet or you don't have a frozen pie crust ready (and lack the energy to make one), you can make a quiche lorraine without a crust. Quiche lorraine tastes delicious with and without a crust. The only concern is that the wobbly texture of the filling may make a crustless quiche a challenge to slice without destroying it as it comes out of the baking pan.
RELATED: One of the main fixes for a quiche with a soggy bottom is to skip the crust. Check out other tips for how to fix problems with your quiche.
To avoid a disaster when serving, I use a layer of parchment paper to act as a crust. I pour the filling into the parchment paper-lined baking pan. Once the quiche is cooked, I cut into the crustless quiche and gently lift the edge of the parchment paper to get my spatula underneath the slice of quiche.
Then your quiche is ready to lift out of the baking pan and serve with a refreshing green salad or a bubbly mimosa. Check out what other dishes you can enjoy alongside your quiche lorraine.