Meal Plan

20 Breakfasts You Can Start (or Make Entirely) the Night Before

October  7, 2016

Even if you're an early bird, the waking hours of a weekday morning are sacred. With an hour to spare before emails start flying, you might exercise, get organized for the day, settle down with a real live newspaper, or even (try to) meditate. But opening every cabinet in your kitchen and working up a whole sink of dishes to clean before the sun comes up? That's the opposite of centering.

But of course, we love homespun breakfasts—they're the kind of small pleasure that propels us through meetings and technical glitches all day long. To make this possible without unhinging the calm of your morning before it even begins, we've rounded up 20 recipes you can start (or make entirely) the night before. (They're organized, from easiest to most complex, by how much finishing up you want to do in the morning.)

Just Add Spoon (or Milk!)

Make muesli or overnight oats in the evening—in individual jars, even—and they'll be ready to go when you wake up.

Baking a big tray of granola is just as easy—and perfect if all you can muster in the morning is the sheer act of sloshing milk or placing yogurt into a bowl.

Split, Butter & Toast

Your morning task, should you choose to accept it, is to cut one of these puppies in half, dab it with butter, then run it under the broiler or put it in the toaster.

Alternatively, you can just add toast under a scoop of these make-ahead mixes.

Get Out a Skillet

Prep a few ingredients the night before—whether that's beating eggs for a frittata or chopping and sautéing the ingredients—and then simmer your way to breakfast in the morning without so much as dirtying a cutting board.

Pop It In the Oven

For the recipes below, do every step in the recipe right up until you're asked to put it in the oven the night before. Cover your baking dish or sheet, and refrigerate (or freeze, depending on your recipe), then bake as instructed while you're brushing your teeth.

What's your favorite time of day to cook? Tell us in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


Judith R. October 19, 2016
I love these ideas - also it gives me something to look forward to in the morning! I wrote recently about some of my favorite breakfasts and of course overnight oats are on there!
Nan October 8, 2016
I seem to enjoy cooking in mid-late afternoon: odd, but true. Also, for make-ahead breakfast, I recommend Heidi Swanson's baked oatmeal (or pretty much Heidi Swanson's anything...). Thanks for the nice ideas and photos.