Brunch is the fun meal that comes around every weekend when you sleep a bit too late to eat breakfast, but you still want to enjoy dishes that are usually reserved for the most important meal of the day. The best brunches are the ones when you can get a group of your friends together to drink coffee, eat great food, and maybe have a few mimosas. Whether you’re just making a meal for your family or inviting over a group of friends, brunch is the perfect way to start a weekend morning. These tips and recipes will help you host the perfect brunch in no time!
Our Marketing Coordinator Katie enjoying the brunch layout.
I love hosting brunch. Something about getting together with my friends and enjoying a meal to wrap up the weekend is one of my favorite weekly traditions. However, depending on how many people you’re hosting, it can be difficult to get the details right. Here are a few tips that I love to use when hosting a brunch.
Set Out Decor and Place Settings Ahead of Time
Hosting can be overwhelming whether you’ve had the same group of people over a hundred times or if it’s a new group of guests. Either way, getting as much ready ahead of time as you can will save you time and stress the day of your event.
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Lay Out Place Settings
To save yourself from trying to get all the little details done when you’re rushing to cook things the morning of your brunch, you can lay out your place settings the night before. This will also help you ensure that you have all of the supplies you need, from mugs to silverware. If you want an Instagram-worthy brunch as well, this is perfect for making sure all of your place settings and serving dishes will fit perfectly on your table and look great.
If you’re setting up decor specifically for your brunch, like centerpieces or vases of fresh flowers, arrange everything you can the night before to make day-of setup a breeze. You can check out some inspiration for decorating brunch on the Pinterest board we made!
Set Up Serving Areas
Whether you’re planning on having a buffet setup or putting serving dishes right on the table, make sure that all of your serving dishes fit and look good. This will prevent you from having to try to find creative ways to make all of your serving dishes fit when they’re already full of food and more difficult to maneuver and rearrange.
Plan Your Menu Ahead of Time
It’s easy to think you have all of the ingredients for what you need, but then when it comes time to cook the morning of your brunch you may realize that you’re out of an ingredient or two. This is why planning your menu and making sure you have all of your ingredients ahead of time is so important. Plus, if you plan ahead you can also prep some things ahead of time and get the chance to hit snooze a few extra times before brunch starts.
Make Sure You Plan For Guests’ Dietary Restrictions
If you have friends that have allergies, intolerances, or preferences, it’s important as a host to make sure you take that into account. There’s nothing worse than having a friend show up only to realize they can’t eat or drink anything that you have set out, so make sure to avoid that issue entirely by checking with everyone beforehand and planning it into the menu. Even if you only have one or two options for someone with a more restrictive diet, like veganism, they’ll likely be happy that you thought ahead for them!
Stick to Recipes Within Your Skillset
Although it’s tempting to make elaborate, new recipes for your brunch, it can sometimes result in recipes that turn out not quite right. Once I hosted a brunch in college, and I thought I was totally ready to make pancakes from scratch despite the fact that I hadn’t done it before, and I ended up mixing up the baking soda and baking powder and making entirely inedible pancakes. I probably should’ve stuck to box mix, and now I make sure that I am fully equipped to make the recipes I want (and that I double-check the ingredient list before mixing things in!). Testing things out before the day of is another good way to make sure you’re making things within your skillset.
Offer Balanced Options
Having a mix of sweet and savory foods as well as caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks is a great way to ensure there’s something for everyone at your brunch. If you’re planning on having alcoholic beverages as well, make sure you have non-alcoholic alternatives for those that are driving or otherwise want to stay sober during the meal.
Coffee cake pancakes with coffee-infused maple syrup and an arugula salad topped with a coffee vinaigrette.
Prep as Much Beforehand as You Can
Not a morning person? You can still set yourself up for success even if you don’t want to wake up early to cook your dishes. Once you plan out your menu, you can check what needs to be prepped the night before as well as what you can make ahead of time and reheat.
Reheat Baked Goods and Casseroles in the Oven
Things like baked goods and casseroles can be made ahead of time and heated up in the oven before guests arrive to still taste fresh and delicious without having to worry about timing different dishes that cook at different temperatures.
Make a Big Batch of Coffee Ahead of Time
If you’re planning on serving iced coffee, it’s a great idea to make a big batch of coffee the night before and leave it in your fridge overnight to chill. Cold brew is also a great option for making a large batch of coffee before your brunch.
If you’re going to make hot coffee, you can weigh out your coffee beforehand so that in the morning you can just grind it and immediately brew, If you’re using an electric coffee maker, you can even put the coffee and water into the correct spots the night before so that all you have to do in the morning is switch the coffee maker on before your guests arrive.
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A classic hot cup of coffee is perfect for colder months, rainy days, or for anyone that prefers the temperature. However, just because hot coffee and espresso beverages are classic doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Here are a few recipes that can bring the coffee you serve to the next level.
Homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer
If you want to add a homemade touch to a large batch of brewed coffee you made for your guests, this homemade french vanilla creamer is a great choice. It only takes a few minutes to whip up, but it adds something special to your brunch spread.
Coffee with our homemade creamer added in.
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1.5 cups of whole milk
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- Combine the ingredients in a container that has a lid (like a cocktail shaker or a mason jar).
- Close the lid and shake until combined.
- Store in the fridge until you are ready to serve. If you’ve been storing it, make sure that you shake it before pouring. If you have leftovers, they can be stored for up to a week.
Maple Almond Latte
If you want to whip up some lattes for your guests that will go perfectly with the pancakes you’re serving, this maple almond latte recipe is a great choice. It’s relatively easy to make, so you don’t have to worry about taking too much time to brew while your guests are waiting for their drinks.
A Maple Almond Latte.
- A double shot of espresso (or single shot if that’s your taste preference).
- ½ tablespoon of maple syrup
- ½ tablespoon vanilla almond simple syrup
- Cinnamon for garnish
- 1 cup of whole milk
- To make your almond vanilla simple syrup, combine ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and 3 tablespoons roughly chopped almonds in a saucepan over medium-high heat. For a more premium option, add in the insides scraped from a vanilla bean in as well. Bring to a boil, stirring often until the sugar fully dissolves. Remove from heat, stir in ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract if you opted not to use vanilla bean, and let cool. Once cooled, strain out the almonds. Once strained out, the almonds make a deliciously sweet side dish, especially if you sprinkle some cinnamon on them!
- Add ½ tablespoon of maple syrup and ½ tablespoon of vanilla almond simple syrup to your mug.
- Pull a shot of espresso and pour over the maple syrup and simple syrup, stirring until the syrups dissolve.
- Steam your milk, then pour it into your mug.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the latte for garnish and serve.
Whether it’s warm out and you’re looking for something refreshing or just want to serve a few drinks over ice, these cold drinks are great for brunch.
I’m a big fan of spritzy and sparkling americanos. I even included one in my blog on all things iced coffee because it’s one of my favorites, so I was really excited to test out this recipe. I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint – this sweet sparkling coffee is a perfect addition to any brunch spread. It’s also easy to make it a boozy option by adding a shot of amaro if you want something alcoholic that isn’t the usual mimosa.
- ½ cup plain seltzer water
- A double shot of espresso
- ¼ cup of fresh orange juice (~1 orange worth of juice)
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup
- One shot of amaro (for a zero proof option, this can be left out)
The spritzy americano.
- Fill your glass with ice.
- Pull your shot of espresso and let it chill while squeezing your orange juice.
- Pour the seltzer over the ice, then the espresso, the orange juice, and the simple syrup before stirring in your shot of amaro.
Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Smoothie
If you’re having guests over that generally aren’t big coffee drinkers, this recipe is perfect. This shake has greek yogurt and coffee for a delicious drink packed with protein! This recipe will make 4 servings, so you can make a batch to serve all at once if you don’t want to brew individual drinks for all of your guests.
- 2 cups of whole milk
- ½ cup of canned pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons of simple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (plus a few pinches to garnish the finished drinks).
- 2 cups of coffee
- 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 2 cups of coffee greek yogurt
- 1 cup of ice
- Optional: whipped cream for garnish
The pumpkin coffee smoothie ready to drink.
- Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, simple syrup, and pie spice in a saucepan and bring to a boil to combine the ingredients. Once boiling, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a bowl.
- Add the coffee and vanilla extract to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours, but ideally overnight.
- When you’re ready to serve, combine the contents of the bowl with ice cream and ice and blend until smooth.
- Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and enjoy!
Coffee-Infused Brunch Recipes
If you love coffee and want to expand the use of coffee to your entire meal, these recipes can help. Whether you’re infusing your maple syrup to add something extra to your favorite pancake recipe or making a coffee vinaigrette to top a salad, these recipes will help you put a fun twist on classic brunch foods.
Coffee Cake Pancakes and Coffee-Infused Maple Syrup
Pancakes are a staple for any brunch, and this recipe adds a fun twist to a classic pancake recipe that will impress your guests. Pairing coffee cake pancakes with coffee-infused maple syrup adds a whole new layer to your brunch.
Coffee Cake Pancakes drizzled with coffee-infused maple syrup.
Coffee Cake Pancake Ingredients
For the pancakes
- Box buttermilk pancake mix (and any ingredients required according to the box) – use enough mix for 12 pancakes.
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
For the strudel topping
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons butter
- To make the strudel, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and crumble together using your hands or a fork until the texture is crumbly. Then, set this bowl aside until you’re cooking your pancakes.
- Pour pancake mix into a mixing bowl and add the other dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the vanilla extract and wet ingredients that are specified for the box mix you’re using.
- Add dry mixture to the wet mixtures and mix until combined. Be sure not to overmix.
- Heat your griddle or pan over medium-high heat and grease with butter.
- Pour your pancake batter into the pan and add a large sprinkle of the strudel mixture on top. Flip the pancakes when bubbles start appearing.
- Once you’ve flipped the pancakes, add another large sprinkle of the strudel topping onto the cooked side of the pancakes.
- Once they’re fully cooked, move the pancakes to a separate plate.
- Repeat until all of your batter is used up.
- Top with your coffee-infused syrup and enjoy!
Coffee-Infused Syrup Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons of whole coffee beans
- 1 cup maple syrup
- Put your maple syrup and whole coffee beans in a small saucepan and heat on medium-high heat until steaming.
- Once the mixture starts steaming, reduce heat to low and let it cook for 5 more minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove the mixture from heat and let it cool.
- Strain the beans out of the maple syrup.
- Place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. This syrup will stay good for several months when refrigerated.
Coffee Vinaigrette and Arugula Salad
The key to a good brunch spread is to have dishes that fit for both breakfast and lunch, and this salad definitely fits the bill. The coffee vinaigrette is unexpected and adds a fun flavor to a classic side dish. If you’re attending a brunch that you’re not hosting, this is also a fun and easy dish to bring to add to the spread without worrying about it being a repeat of any dishes that other people may bring!
An arugula salad topped with feta goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, and coffee vinaigrette.
For the vinaigrette:
- 4 tablespoons coffee-infused olive oil
- To make the coffee oil:
- ½ white onion, chopped
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup very coarsely ground coffee
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
- Goat cheese
- Halved cherry tomatoes
- To make the coffee-infused olive oil – in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the onion, ground coffee, and canola oil until the onion turns translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with a paper towel to ensure you get all of the onion and coffee separated from the oil.
- Combine the oil with vinegar and maple syrup and season with salt and pepper. Whisk or shake the mixture to combine.
- In your serving box, mix together arugula, goat cheese, and halved cherry tomatoes.
- Top with the vinaigrette and mix.
A toast to a successful brunch.
Hosting brunch can be a really fun experience as long as you make sure you’re ready with the right recipes and decor to wow your guests. I know that I’ve used these tips and recipes when hosting my own brunches, and I’ve found them to really help make the event as fun and stress-free as possible!
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