Next time you get together with friends for a wedding shower, baby shower, neighborhood get-to-know-you event, church gathering, or any other celebration, try hosting a brunch party. Most brunch foods are quick and easy to make, so you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen.
Etiquette For A Brunch
When you plan for a brunch get-together, consider serving the food buffet style. A buffet will keep you from jumping up and waiting on people like you would at a more formal dinner party. You can relax and enjoy having great conversations with your guests.
Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for inviting people to a brunch, it’s always best to give the invitees enough time to add the party to their schedule. If you can, invite them a couple of weeks before the event.
Whether you send a written invitation, email, or text, it’s best to request an RSVP so you know how many people to expect. If you don’t hear back from someone before it’s time to purchase the ingredients for the menu, there is nothing wrong with calling to find out if they’re coming.
Best Day And Time For A Brunch
Your brunch can be any day of the week, as long as people are available to attend. If most of your guests hold nine-to-five jobs in offices, the best day will be a Saturday or Sunday. However, if you’re inviting people who have different schedules, choose the day that most of them can attend.
Brunch is typically served between the normal breakfast time and lunch—generally around 10:00 AM. However, you may choose to start early so guests can chat for a little while before they start eating.
Perfect Brunch Menu
There are no set rules about what should be on the brunch menu. However, some things will make the party more fun for everyone, including you.
Here are some basic tips for a brunch menu everyone will enjoy:
- Have a buffet so your guests can serve themselves. This takes the pressure off of you to make sure everyone has what they want.
- Offer a variety of foods and give your guests plenty of choices. If you know that someone has an allergy or food issue, make sure you have enough options that are free from the allergen.
- Serve egg dishes that don’t require last-minute preparation. Quiches and frittatas are great choices.
- Have a colorful fruit tray to add visual interest to the table.
- A multi-tiered platter provides vertical space for more food, and it adds visual interest to the buffet.
- Instead of making pancakes that turn mushy after sitting out, make oven-baked French toast. After it’s done but before you serve it, you can keep it warm in an oven—even after you turn it off.
- If you serve a large amount of breakfast meat, such as bacon or ham, cook it in the oven to prevent a big mess of splatters on the cooktop or counters.
Offer a variety of drinks. If you choose to serve alcohol, have nonalcoholic options, such as orange juice or tomato juice, available. You’ll also want to serve coffee and tea. Some favorite brunch cocktails include mimosas, screwdrivers, bloody Marys, greyhounds, and Irish coffees. It’s nice to offer virgin versions of these drinks as well.
How To Make Your Brunch Stress-Free
One of the best ways to be a good hostess is to relax. It’s not always easy, but there are some things you can to do eliminate most of the stress.
- Make a list of everything you need to purchase, including ingredients and decorations. If you don’t already have enough chairs, purchase, rent, or borrow them in advance.
- Do as much of the preparation as possible the night before. Set out the plates, mugs, glasses, napkins, and flatware. Place trivets where you’ll want to put the casserole dishes so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute.
- Put fresh hand towels in the bathroom that guests will be using. Make sure there is plenty of soap in the dispenser.
- If you want place cards, jot your guests’ names on pretty cardstock and put them in small frames that they can take home later. They’ll enjoy having a new frame for photos of their children or pets.
- Decorations can be as elaborate or simple as you want. The guests will be happy with a table full of food and a few well-placed floral arrangements. However, if you want more, feel free to add more decorations. Just make sure you leave room on the tables for your guests’ food and drinks.
- Have a few conversation starters to keep people engaged. You may not need them, but it’s nice to have something to fall back on if you do.
- If you have room, separate the food from the drink station so your guests won’t bump into each other. This will help prevent uncomfortable and awkward moments.
Regardless of the reason for the brunch, you can choose a fun theme. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Garden Party – Bring the outdoors inside, or have the party outdoors if the weather permits. Have potted plant (herbs or flowers) decorations and send them home with the guests.
- Muffin Tin Brunch – All of the menu items can be cooked in muffin tins or served in muffin cups.
- Pajama Brunch Party – Have everyone wear their cutest pajamas and fuzzy slippers. Serve traditional breakfast food, such as bacon, eggs, and toast or biscuits.
- Coffee and Donut Bar – Serve a variety of coffee and donuts. Make sure you also have some nutritious options, like fruits and vegetables.
- Fondue Brunch – Have a variety of fondue items with pots of melted chocolate, cheese, and oil. Serve fruits and cubes of cake with the chocolate. Offer bread cubes, meats, and veggies with cheese or oil.
- International Brunch Party – Serve eggs with salsa, sushi, quiche, egg rolls, strudel, éclairs, and guacamole with chips.
Have A Good Time
Even though you’re the host of this party, do your best to have a great time. Your guests will be more relaxed if they know you’re enjoying the party as much as they are. If you’re hosting this party for someone who is about to get married or have a baby, they’ll appreciate your positive demeanor and joyful spirit.
While I’ll always love a sangria party with badminton tournaments late into the night, brunch get-togethers certainly have their own charm.
The food and drink options can be kept a lot simpler compared to dinner. Really, a brunch buffet can be as simple or involved as you want it to be. You can go all out and make a ton of fancy brunch recipes, or just make some bacon in the oven, a vegetarian quiche, and a round of caramel coffee and call it good.
Hosting a brunch buffet at home allows you see all of your family and/or friends, but then send them on their way by early afternoon, leaving you the rest of the day to relax, nap, and sip a lemon margarita if you want.
And seriously, who doesn’t love brunch food? Savory, sweet, cocktails in the morning – there’s something for everyone!
One of my classes in culinary school was literally just a class where we put on a breakfast buffet every single morning. And today, I’m sharing some of the tips and tricks I learned that will you help you serve the best brunch buffet at home.
There’s also a big list of the best brunch ideas and brunch recipes (all verified easy and buffet-ready) at the bottom of this post.
Bookmark this guide for brunch ideas at home for Easter, Mother’s Day, a baby or bridal shower, or simply any time you’re in the mood for brunch!
Keep Your Brunch Buffet Menu Very Simple.
We all know that there are a lot of food options when it comes to a brunch buffet, with a wide range of sweet and savory foods.
The best way to host a great buffet and keep your sanity at the same time is by narrowing down your brunch menu ideas. You’re not a culinary school class with 18 students attending to the buffet line, it’s just you!
And since you’re the host, choose which brunch ideas you like best. Maybe choose one savory entree-type dish (like a leftover cornbread breakfast casserole), one sweet one (such as malted waffles made earlier and kept warm in a low oven), some fruit, and then a bread or pastry, like lemon poppyseed mini cornbread muffins.
Everybody knows that I much prefer savory foods, so when I host my personal best brunch buffet, it include things like olives, savory cottage cheese breakfast bowls, and even a salad.
Rely On Brunch Food That You Can Make Before Your Guests Arrive.
Sadly, if you want to keep things easy and stress-free, now is just not the time for brioche French toast made to order while your guests are standing around watching you sweat (although you can make French toast ahead of time and keep it warm in a low oven).
But, lots of different types of brunch food, especially egg dishes, can be made in advance.
You can assemble and fully cook a quiche or sweet potato breakfast casserole the day before, keep it in the fridge, and rewarm it right before guests arrive. One of my favorite brunch recipes, quiche is just fine served warm or at room temperature.
But can I just tell you that store-bought quiche is one of my favorites shortcuts ever? My local gourmet grocery store makes and sells homemade quiche. I’ve often bought it and straight-up pretended I made it (no shame).
La Terra Fina brand quiche is also really delicious (they make mini quiche too), and widely available at grocery stores and Costco. I turn to quiche time and time again when coming up with brunch ideas. Another savory brunch idea I use often for buffets is make ahead breakfast muffins.
Pickled egg salad, served with croissants, is also a great make-ahead brunch menu idea. I’ve even been known to make a seafood pasta salad as part of a brunch spread.
Or, Serve a No-Cooking-Required Platter Or A Make-It-Yourself Bar For Your Brunch Buffet.
Sure, you could spend your time assembling smoked salmon crostini and arranging them on a pretty platter. Your guests will certainly appreciate a lovely plate of finger foods. Or, you could have them put it together themselves with a big DIY smoked salmon platter!
A big breakfast charcuterie board with phyllo cup appetizers lets your guest graze on brunch food while they mingle, and couldn’t be easier to put together. You could even have guests make their own jarcuterie.
Or how about a yogurt parfait bar? Everybody can spoon as much yogurt as they want into their own bowl, and top it with all the delicious toppings. You could even introduce your friends to a new brunch idea with a savory yogurt bar!
Even something a simple as english muffins can be served DIY style. Put out a bunch of jams. Store-bought jams. From the fancy aisle. Like, three or four flavors. Scoop them into pretty bowls. Insert spoons. Scatter them around the buffet table and hand people a toasted muffin. They will love it. This is one of my favorite brunch ideas!
Forget The Typical Fruit Plate, I Have Some Easier Brunch Ideas For Fruit.
For the classic hotel-buffet-style fruit platter, you’d either have to buy a pre-cut fruit platter from a grocery store (which is usually super expensive and the quality is generally not good), or buy a bunch of different kinds of fruit (melons, pineapple, etc.) yourself and cut it all up (which can be time consuming).
Instead, just pick a few fruits that are in season and don’t even need to be cut up. Clementines, grapes, apples, berries of all kinds are among the best brunch ideas for fruit.
All you need to do is wash the fruit and set it out in pretty serving dishes. You’re done, and it’s one of the easiest brunch ideas at home!
Psst – if you ARE feeling the need to get next level with your fruit tray, I recommend fruit and cheese kabobs with croissant croutons. But seriously, don’t feel like you HAVE to get next level. It’s not necessary!
Unless MAYBE it’s a holiday morning, and then feel free to splurge on Thanksgiving fruit salad or Christmas fruit salad.
Set Up A Bar Cart, And Let Everybody Mix Their Own Personal Best Brunch Drink.
And by “bar cart,” I mean a cart, an old tv tray covered with a pretty dish towel, or even a spare bit of counter space, if you have it. You can Google “how to stock a bar cart” another time – right now you only need a few things.
Stock it with champagne + orange juice for mimosas and/or vodka + bloody mary mix for bloody marys, and maybe some everything bagel bloody mary rim salt if you’re feeling fancy.
Everybody has their own idea of the proper ratio for a mimosa anyway (in my opinion, it’s a full glass of champagne with the tiniest splash of OJ for color). Letting your guests make their own drinks is easy for you, and fun for them.