Easy Brunch Ideas & Menu Planning

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Planning a brunch can be an enjoyable occasion because it requires so few restrictions and many items can be prepared ahead of time. Whether you are planning a friendly get together, baby or bridal shower, birthday or even a family event, organizing brunch can be easy with delicious food items.

Most brunches are weekend affairs starting before or around noon. Since it’s the middle of the day, brunches can last as long as needed. Make sure you give guests plenty of time to respond to the date especially if you are asking for a dish to be brought.

Brunch Menu Planning

A brunch menu has endless possibilities especially if it’s potluck, which can show off amazing culinary talents. However, if guests have been assigned dishes, planning is easier for presentation and serving.

  • Some standard brunch items are to serve a type of egg dish, baked goods, breakfast meats, sandwiches, salads, fruit and an array of drinks from coffee to Bloody Mary’s.
  • Some easy to make and serve egg dishes, which are also scrumptious, are quiches and frittatas. These items can be baking while guests arrive and ready to serve when dining begins.
  • For sandwiches, light items such as watercress with herbed mayonnaise or cucumber sandwiches are easy to make and delicious.
  • Salads can range from fruit to greens and beans and can be prepared ahead of time.
  • Other items to prepare before brunch are muffins, breads, cookies, brownies and any type of baked goods.
  • Serving baguettes, bagels and other types of bread can be bought or made the day before. A selection of breads with spreads and dips is an easy menu item everyone should enjoy.
  • In addition, having a charcuterie plate, cheese selections and dips with vegetables and crackers are great self-serve brunch items, which are easy to prepare as well.
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A brunch is a happy gathering where mimosas, Bellini’s, sangria and other festive cocktails with wine and champagne can be served at the beginning and coffee drinks can finish at the end. Having an assortment of juices and serving water is also a brunch staple. Serving Bloody Mary’s is also a brunch favorite, which can be enjoyed in numerous ways. Make sure all ingredients such as celery, lemons, hot sauce and worcestershire sauce are available. Don’t forget the vodka, if you are making traditional Bloody Mary’s.

Setting Up

The number of guests will determine how your brunch will work whether it is a sit down meal or a buffet. With limited seating at a dining table, a buffet will work best. The dining table can be used for food items, dishes and drinks or you can plan to have stations for a large brunch where name cards for dishes are helpful especially for a pot luck brunch. When planning a brunch, using linens, dishes, silverware, glasses and mugs adds a personal touch unless you are planning for a brunch picnic where disposable items for plates and utensils are better suited.

  • Including flowers, name cards and even a chocolate for guests to take home are nice additions to creating a successful brunch at home.
  • In some cases, having leftover containers ready for guests is also a great way to clean-up and not waste food.
  • If your brunch has a theme, such as a baby or bridal shower or a birthday, make sure you have enough dishes and silverware ready for cake cutting.
  • Unload your dishwasher before guests arrive in case you need more clean dishes. Also, with a themed brunch you can include decorative and keepsake items around the dining table.

Time Saving Tips

A few tips to making a less stressful event are:

  • Set the brunch time according to your schedule. The best part of planning a brunch is that you can make it anytime of the morning or afternoon you like. Sleep in, or get an early start on the party.
  • Have one item to be prepared during brunch, which can include an egg dish or a soup. Making as many items the evening or day before brunch will free up your kitchen for dishes being brought by guests who may require preparation for their cuisine, and save valuable time on the morning of the brunch. The key is to be as relaxed as possible.
  • When sending out invitations for brunch it is a good idea to find out if there are any food allergies and dietary exceptions you may need to know about so you can plan.
  • Alternative foods and drinks are always a good idea. In addition, guests who bring items should also keep in mind food allergies and dietary exceptions.
  • If having a brunch outside, make sure items are secure on tables.
  • In addition, make sure all pets are kept safely away from food items so there is nothing to worry about except having a great brunch.
Last Updated: December 29, 2011
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About Sabina Dana Plasse Sabina Dana Plasse holds a bachelor's degree in history from Bucknell University, a master's in liberal arts from Johns Hopkins University and a master's in film and video from American University. She is an award-winning writer and editor living in Sun Valley, Idaho. Besides writing on fine arts, lifestyle, home and garden, entertainment, philanthropy and business, she enjoys teaching film and writing screenplays. Sabina has served as the arts and events editor and living writer for the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper, a twice weekly national award-winning newspaper serving Idaho's Wood River Valley. Sabina adores mountain town living where she is an active snowboarding, skier, mountain biker, hiker, supporter of the arts and an avid seeker of practical living ideas.  

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