Brunch is a favorite meal of many around the world, and it is one of the most popular go-to entertaining ideas for celebrations such as wedding and baby showers.
With so many occasions to brunch, there are a variety of different ways to go about selecting the perfect brunch menus.
Oftentimes dividing the menu into types of dishes such as main dishes, sides, sweets, and drinks can make the process a bit more streamlined.
It is also important to keep the stress level down in order to be able to enjoy the celebration.
Hosting a stress-free brunch is at the top of the list of important tricks for making a top notch, yet stress free celebration come off without a hitch.
Make Ahead Brunch Menu Ideas
The trick here is not being a slave to the kitchen.
This means that you will be able to mingle with guests instead of having to cook throughout the whole celebration.
To be able to pull this off, it is important to pre-prep as much as possible.
Choose recipes that can be made in advance, so all that needs to be done is a little warming up. Follow the tips below to make a brunch menu that you can prepare in advance:
- Always plan the menu ahead of time so you know what to expect when cooking the meal. One suggestion is to choose one egg dish, one hearty dish, and a drink of some sort, all of which can be prepared mostly before the day of the brunch.
- Choose a drink menu that can be made in advance. This could be anything from mimosas or making a batch of Bloody Mary mix or making cold-brew coffee. All of these can be made the night before.
- Poaching eggs in advance of the brunch is a good way to be a step ahead. This is perfect if the brunch menu includes Eggs Benedict. When making poached eggs for a crowd, the key is to quickly suspend cooking of the egg by dropping the poached eggs into ice water. Then be sure to keep them in the fridge overnight. The eggs can be revived at brunch time by putting them in gently boiling water.
- Make the bacon before. Preparing big batches of bacon on a baking sheet and popping them in the oven is a great way to prep the day before a party. Baking the bacon instead of frying it frees the host up to finish up anything that needs to be done on the day of the brunch. An added bonus here is that there is no greasy pan to clean and no stove space being taken up.
- Instead of making omelets and crepes that need constant attention right before being served, an alternative could be to prepare a make-ahead casserole, quiche, or breakfast strata. The same can be said of French Toast—instead of making it on the stove, pop it in the oven instead and make it a baked variety.
- Some other great options for make in advance dishes are scones, coffee cakes, banana bread, and muffins. It is even possible to freeze breads if you want to make large batches weeks ahead of time.
Picking the theme for the brunch is also important for creating the perfect menu. It also lets you know which items will be needed to make in advance of the brunch day. Here are some ideas on themes to look for when hosting a brunch.
- Southern Brunch. For these types of brunches, the menu typically includes fluffy biscuits, cheesy grits, and boozy punch of some sort.
- Baby Shower and Wedding Brunch. Special occasions such as these lend themselves to festive menus. The menus might include mini mushroom and goat cheese tarts, smoked salmon appetizer, chorizo and potatoes mini quiche, chicken curry puffs, shrimp cocktail, caprese, lemon tarts, cupcakes, and chocolate dipped strawberries.
- Tea Party Brunch. These types of brunches are great for celebrating Mother’s Day and birthdays. The menu for this could have everything from savory sandwiches and mini quiches to sweet scones and dainty desserts—and don’t forget to brew the tea!
- A Farmer’s Market Brunch. For these brunches that celebrate the peak of the summer season, keeping it fresh is what it’s all about. Have a market fresh menu that includes gazpacho, spring herb hummus, yogurt parfait, and a build your own Bloody Mary Bar.
- Classic and Traditional Brunch. These recipes will be sure to sparkle at any occasion. Try orange pecan French toast or bacon and egg breakfast tarts paired with a yogurt parfait and breakfast sausage.
- Brunch with a Twist. Recipes for a brunch with a little twist can offer a variation on the traditional menu options. Menus for these occasions include Monte Cristo benedict, Mexican breakfast tacos, Charleston style shrimp and grits, and pork sausage patties with pistachios and apricots.
Going out for Brunch
Maybe whipping up brunch and hosting the party is not on your radar at the moment.
There are endless options for finding a wonderful place to brunch that will give you a plethora of brunch food ideas for when you’re ready to host your own.
In fact, if you’re looking to find top brunch spots that will hit the spot, here are some inspiring ideas from chefs on great brunch menus.
- Smoked Salmon and Tater Tot Waffles. This is a new twist on waffles that is topped with smoked salmon and caviar, which creates a delicious dish that is very decadent and pairs great with champagne.
- Fired Eggs with Ratatouille Toasts. This is one of those recipes you enjoy at a restaurant and can easily be made ahead at home. In fact, the ratatouille tastes even better when made a day in advance.
- Kale and Butternut Squash Strata with Multigrain Bread. This is another great restaurant recipe that can be a good make-ahead dish at home. The multigrain bread adds a distinct flavor to the casserole.
- Fresh Berries with Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Custard. Another rich and decadent brunch item, this bread pudding is great for a sweet side. This can be made with store bought bread but making it with a fresh loaf is the best way to go.
- Brioche with Egg, Prosciutto and Gruyere. This is an open-faced sandwich that combines buttery, toasted Brioche bread with large slabs of melted cheese, prosciutto and an egg on top.
- Fried Eggs with Corned Beef Hash. When having brunch out, the corned beef is typically homemade. If you wish to make this for brunch yourself, you could use store bought corned beef from the deli and cut it into thick pieces.
- Butterscotch Sticky Buns. Stick, gooey buns are always a hit on the brunch menu. Dipping these buns into the salty-sweet butterscotch sauce just tops it off.
- Biscuit Breakfast Sandwiches. The biscuit here is topped with cheese, eggs, country ham, and the optional jam. A big step up from the fast-food variety.
- Goat Cheese and Wild Mushroom Omelets. This is described as a tangy-creamy omelet that uses shiitake mushrooms and fresh pea shoots. A simple dish that can be made for any home brunch celebration.
- Spicy Glazed Honey Bacon. Smoky bacon that is slathered in a spice honey glaze makes the perfect side dish at any brunch, and another dish that can be made in advance by popping it in the oven to bake.
- Herb and Three Cheese Frittata Sandwiches. Add chives, parsley, and cheese and this dish makes for a fresh-tasting and creamy frittata. This is best served warm, but it can be eaten at room temperature or chilled.
- Sausage and Ham Strata. This is a definite make-ahead brunch item. The strata needs to be refrigerated for a minimum of four hours or overnight before it can be baked.
- Bok-Choy and Asparagus Frittata. Italian frittatas are a main staple for brunch, but it can be fun to explore your options beyond traditional ingredients. The key here is to get creative. Mix in Asian ingredients like Bok Choy to give the dish a change of pace.
- Ricotta Pancakes with Orange Syrup. Guests who eat these pancakes when catching brunch out love how the pancakes work with the ricotta topping and crunchy almonds, all topped off with orange syrup. This is a good way to wow guests at any home brunch occasion.
- Eggs Benedict with Arugula and Bacon. Any kind of bacon can be used for this, but it is especially good with Applewood-smoked bacon. This gives the dish a crisp, rich flavor and texture.
- Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Another great option for eating out or for home gatherings, this coffee cake is a hit because it is so moist and has a fruity sweetness.
- Glazed Cinnamon Rolls with Swirls of Pecans. This is a make-in-a-big-batch kind of sweet. It takes a bit of effort, but it is worth it. They are delicious with the glaze and pair perfectly with the pecans.
- Baked Orzo with Bacon, Spinach, and Feta. Pasta for brunch isn’t something that is widespread, but this dish pairing orzo with leeks and bacon is sure to make it a new staple for brunch menus all over the world.
- Open Faced Grilled Egg and Ham Breakfast Sandwich. These are essentially brunch sliders that are incredibly easy to prepare, especially if you are on a time crunch for your celebration.
- Blueberry Dutch Baby. By using pomegranate juice to sweeten this Dutch baby’s batter, this light yet berry-rich pancake is a hit amongst brunch goers.
- Quinoa Egg Bowl with Pecorino Cheese. This grain bowl is a great option if you want to change things up at your celebration. The quinoa bowl pairs wonderfully with the lemony, cheese dressing and a soft runny egg.
More Tips to Making the Brunch Perfect
Brunch is a great way to gather people together and enjoy each other’s company. For many people, brunches are their favorite meals. Remember these tips when throwing together the perfect brunch menu so that the day can come together flawlessly.
- Always remember to keep the food warm. Casseroles, hot breakfast items, and pastries can be kept warm in the oven at around two hundred degrees until it’s time to serve. Most guests like to have a drink or two and chat before the meal is served. If the host prefers the table to be ready right when guests arrive, put the food on the table and tent it with foil five minutes before guests arrive. Pull off the tents when the first guest appears.
- Don’t forget the drink menu. This is one of the most important pairings of any brunch menu. Mimosas are the staple of almost every brunch menu. There are also a variety of new drinks that are making their way on the brunch scene. These drinks include Lemon Martinis, Bloody Maria, Strawberry Mimosas—and of course, don’t forget the coffee.
- Don’t forget about the children. Remember to stock the kids table with easy staples such as cereal and milk since children are less likely to try any new or adventurous dish at a brunch.
- Offer a self-serve bar. Having a buffet station with a theme can bring a special touch to any brunch. Make a space on a counter for guests to be able to serve themselves as they chat with other guests. Some ideas for a self-serve bar include;
- Coffee Bar: Make this complete with all the coffee essentials like sugar and cream, flavored syrups and an assortment of spices and teas.
- Toast Bar: Prepare a plate of sliced bread and/or bagels and pair those with a few different jellies, jams, spreads, and butter. Also have a toaster available for people to toast their choices.
- Parfait Bar: Put out fresh fruit, nuts, granola, and some sweet toppings all in separate bowls. Guests can layer all the ingredients into cups of plain yogurt.
Whether you’re looking to host a themed brunch or a casual get together, finding the right brunch menu to suit your cooking style is the key to making the celebration a success.