It’s Saturday morning—or Sunday, whatever—and your alarm goes off. You promised friends they could come over for brunch, and it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you’re a bit hazy. Why did I do that? Can’t I just sleep a little bit more? Do I really have to wake up and cook?
Cue informercial voice: But what if you didn’t have to?!
Exactly! What if brunch prep were actually a breeze, and you could sleep in and welcome your guests looking like the calm, cool, and collected person you are? It sounds far-fetched, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. For this mission (seemingly) impossible, it’s all about the make-ahead brunch. Dishes you can make a day or two ahead, then heat or stir or blend into existence the morning of. Instead of waking up hours before company arrives, wake up mere minutes before instead. If anyone asks, call it magic.
Baked goods are great because they taste amazing, obviously. But also because you can make them a few days prior, store them, then pop them out right when you need them. No one—not even you—will be able to tell the difference.
Blitz both of these the night before you serve them. Keep them on your counter and in your fridge, respectively, and bust them out when the time is right. Serve them together for extra brownie points. Granola in the morning? Don’t mind if I do.
In this situation, your best friends are dishes you can assemble ahead of time, keep in your fridge, then cook at a moment’s notice. I introduce you to three of your brunch’s new best friends. All of them benefit from a few hours alone—some time to get the juices flowing—before being popped in the oven. Just heat and serve!
Think of these as your back-pocket aces. Who doesn’t like overnight oats? Who doesn’t like smoothies? That’s what I thought. Keep a stockpile of either of these up your sleeve (read: fridge or freezer), then scoop them out according to your guests’ needs, wants, and desires. Everybody’s happy! Even you, and that’s the most important.
How do you throw the chillest brunch? Tell us your tricks in the comments.
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).