These 9 Make-Ahead Brunch Foods Will Make You Feel Like a Weekend Wizard

Go ahead, hit snooze.

April 12, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin

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.

Bake Ahead

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.

A Match Made in Heaven

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.

Beauty Sleep

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!

Come Prepared

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.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.

1 Comment

Terri April 13, 2018
I usually make one or two frittatas or strattas, but also rely on quality store bought products. A help-yourself mimosa, Bloody Mary and juice bar can all be set up easily with the help of some good bottled ingredients and a few bowls of fresh citrus (which can be cut up the night before). A cheese platter is an easy addition to the buffet and don’t discount the luxury and convenience of a slow cooker for a delicious steel cut oatmeal! Just put out some toasted nuts, seeds and fruit!
I have also set out several varieties of local honey and butter for fresh artisan breads from our local bakery. There’s always different coffees and teas for my guests to try and fresh flowers scattered around to brighten up the morning of even the most diehard slugabeds. And don’t forget music - make a brunch playlist!