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The 10 best brunch recipes for restaurant-quality meals at home

Skip long lines and getting hangry and whip up your own high-quality brunch

A person cutting up tomatoes for a healthy meal
Kristina Vianello / Getty Images

Spring is here, so it’s officially brunch season. Over the past couple of decades, brunch has become the meal of the weekend, the repast that lets you keep the party going from the night before with mimosas and Bloody Marys. The name implies that it should fall sometime between breakfast and lunch but can run anywhere from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some restaurants have given up trying to put time restrictions on their brunch menu and serve it all day. Others have dedicated their whole concept to the “in-between” meal and only serve brunch-friendly foods.

So, what is considered brunch food? Originally, restaurants had brunch to use up ingredients that weren’t used over the weekend. But now, brunch is such a busy shift (if not the busiest for some), restaurants must order special items for brunch to present creative, in-demand dishes.

The idea is that a brunch menu can be comprised of anything you can typically order for breakfast or lunch but usually features lunch/breakfast fusion items. For instance, chicken and waffles and an array of eggs benedict styles are brunch menu staples, but you can find pretty much anything.

But, as we said, brunch at restaurants is almost always busy. We’ve all seen the restaurants with two to three-hour waits, with lines around the block. This is the worst part about brunch, especially if you’re nursing a wicked hangover.

We’re here to help you beat the lines and host a delicious brunch at your house that will have your friends and family raving. We reached out to food industry experts to deliver you excellent brunch recipes. Some of these recipes may take a bit of prep the night before, but it’s worth it to beat the line at the restaurant.

Hops & Pie’s IPA mac and cheese

Hops & Pie mac and cheese
Hops & Pie

Courtesy of Hops & Pie

This hangover-busting recipe comes from artisan pizzeria and craft beer taproom Hops & Pie in Denver. You’ll need to braise the ham hock in this recipe ahead of time, but it will be worth it for this ultimate Sunday morning comfort food. This recipe makes six servings.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • Cracked pepper
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni (cooked)
  • 1 cup English peas (cooked)
  • 1/4 cup shredded/braised ham hock
  • 1/4 cup West Coast-style IPA
  • 1 tablespoon chopped bacon
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Tapatio (or another Mexican hot sauce)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a saucepan, add cream, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached, reduce the heat to medium and stir regularly to prevent burning and boil-over.
  3. Once the cream is reduced by 75%, strain through a fine-mesh strainer into another saucepan.
  4. Return the pan with the strained cream to a medium flame and stir in the cheddar. Once the cheddar is fully incorporated, add hot sauce and cracked black pepper to taste.
  5. Add the macaroni, peas, and ham hock to the pan and stir well. Add the IPA and continue stirring until hot.
  6. Add salt to taste and place in a large baking dish. Top with the chopped bacon and breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake until the bread crumbs become golden brown and crispy.

Cinnamon coffee cake

Cinnamon coffee cake
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Courtesy of the former baking website Baking Beauty

Sometimes, you just feel like baking. This cinnamon coffee cake from the former Baking Beauty food blog is a simple yet delicious recipe you can make the night before and then impress your brunch guests he next day. Or, you can eat the whole pan alone by yourself, your choice.

Ingredients

For the coffee cake

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

For the cinnamon swirl

  • 3 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)

For the crumb topping

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Method

For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9-by-9-inch pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, add cream, butter, and white sugar. Stir in vanilla, egg, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Alternate stirring in flour and milk until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.

For the cinnamon swirl

  1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  2. Pour into the batter in the pan, and swirl with a knife. Pour the remaining batter on top.

For the crumb topping

  1. In the same small bowl, using 2 forks, mix butter, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Sprinkle the topping on top of the batter and then press in lightly.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Smoked salmon Dutch baby

Smoked salmon Dutch baby
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Courtesy of Blue Circle Foods

Eating this version of a Dutch baby is much more accepted than the alternative. If you haven’t had one, it’s sort of a combination of a crepe and a pancake stuffed with deliciousness. This smoked salmon version comes from Julia Obici, VP of product development at Blue Circle Foods. This recipe works well with BCF’s hot or cold smoked salmon.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour (all-purpose, unbleached)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 ounces sour cream (or creme fraiche)
  • 8 ounces Blue Circle Foods smoked salmon
  • 1 teaspoon dill fronds, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives, cut into 1/2-inch sprigs
  • Small handful of baby arugula
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Method

  1. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet on the center rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add the eggs, flour, milk, salt, and nutmeg into a blender and blend on low until the batter is smooth.
  3. Once the oven reaches 425 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the skillet and place the butter in the pan. Swirl the pan to make sure the butter melts and coats the bottom and lower sides.
  4. Pour the batter into the skillet and return to the center rack of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the skillet from the oven. Using a spatula, gently spread the sour cream on the bottom of the Dutch baby pancake.
  7. Gently place the smoked salmon evenly over the sour cream and garnish with the dill fronds, chive, and baby arugula.
  8. Sprinkle with lemon zest and cracked black pepper.

Bacon jam and goat cheese burger

Bacon jam and goat cheese burger
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Courtesy of Cru Cafe

This is a recipe from the Charleston, South Carolina institution Cru Cafe. Its bacon jam and goat cheese hamburger is a must-try brunch burger! The bacon jam is easy to replicate at home and brings the “brunch” taste to the burger, which combines perfectly with the tanginess of the goat cheese.

Ingredients

For the burger

  • 2 pounds Angus ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 burger buns
  • 8 ounces goat cheese

For the bacon jam (yields 4 cups)

  • 8 cups raw bacon, chopped
  • 2-3 each vine ripe tomato, rough chopped
  • 1 each red onion, diced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Method

For the burger

  1. Divide the ground beef into four 8-ounce patties.
  2. Pat the burgers into a round, flat shape and make a dimple in the center of the meat. Season both sides of the burger liberally.
  3. Add burgers to a preheated cast iron pan. Cook at medium heat.
  4. Continue to cook until you see the meat form a crust on the side that is cooking. Flip the burger on the other side.
  5. Continue to cook until the second side has formed a crust.
  6. Flip one more time and place the goat cheese on the burger and then cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes off the heat.

For the bacon jam

  1. Put bacon in a large rondeau or wok under medium heat.
  2. Cook slowly until the bacon is about 90% cooked and all the fat is rendered.
  3. Add the diced red onion and continue to sauté until the onions are darker or caramelized.
  4. Add the tomato and continue to cook until the tomatoes break down.
  5. Add the apple cider vinegar. Reduce by half.
  6. Add the brown sugar and mix well.
  7. Cook at a simmer and continue to reduce until thick.
  8. Take the mixture off the heat and let cool for 20 minutes.
  9. Add the mixture to a food processor in small batches and pulse the mixture twice and then repeat with the rest of the mixture. The jam should still be a little chunky.

Orange French toast

Orange French toast
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Courtesy of Trisha Pérez Kennealy

This super easy yet super delicious recipe comes from the owner and culinary educator at Inn at Hastings Park (Lexington, MA). Trisha’s orange French toast is a different, non-dairy spin on the classic French toast. It can even be made ahead of time if you need more time to cook things the day of your big brunch party.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 8 pieces of sliced bread (or equivalent amount of day-old rolls)
  • Maple syrup

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease an -8 or 9-inch round or square pan.
  3. Beat eggs, orange juice, vanilla, and cinnamon until well blended.
  4. Dip individual slices or pieces of bread in the mixture and arrange in the pan (pieces will be overlapping).
  5. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and bake for 20 minutes or until the egg mixture is cooked through.
  6. Serve warm with maple syrup.

Spring avocado toast two ways

Spring avocado toast two ways
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Courtesy of Heather Scholten

Avocado toast for brunch might be considered so five years ago. However, it will never go out of trend when it looks and tastes like this Spring Avocado Toast Two Ways, thanks to Heather Scholten at Spiceology. If you’re wondering what the “two ways” part of this recipe is all about, one side of the toast calls for avocado, while the other calls for  “mock-a-molé,” a faux guacamolé made from peas.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sourdough bread, sliced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons mock-a-mole
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh peas
  • 2 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 egg, soft-boiled (air fryer instructions below)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 asparagus spears, parboiled
  • Honey
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Flake sea salt
  • Microgreens, optional

Method

  1. Toast the sourdough slightly and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add the feta and cream cheese and cream with a fork. Spread half on each slice of toast.
  3. For the pea avocado toast, add mock-a-mole, fresh peas, radishes, and microgreens. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Serve.
  4. For the avocado egg toast, add the avocado slices, asparagus spears, sliced egg, microgreens, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of honey. Serve.

Chef’s tip: To make soft-boiled eggs in an air fryer, place 1 or 2 eggs in the air fryer’s basket. Set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 8-9 minutes. Have a bowl with ice ready and plunge the eggs into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Peel, slice, and serve.

Breakfast sushi

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Recipe courtesy of Fig Tree Café

Just when you thought sushi couldn’t get any better, the Fig Tree Cafe in SoCal goes and makes it out of bacon and serves it for brunch. Plus, it’s not just any bacon; it’s “man candy” bacon.

Ingredients

For the sushi

  • 4 cups jasmine rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 each whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup scallions, diced
  • 3 each man candy bacon
  • 3 fluid ounces plum sauce

For the man candy bacon

  • 1 pound 10/12 applewood bacon
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Method

For the man candy bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together and place them on an aluminum tray.
  3. Place in oven for 10 to 15 min until bacon is cooked.

For the sushi

  1. Add jasmine rice to water and cook the rice.
  2. Mix eggs and scramble in a pan until soft (not cooked all the way).
  3. Add scallions and rice to eggs and mix thoroughly.
  4. Using a 4-inch aluminum ring, line the bottom inside of the ring with bacon.
  5. Fill the rest of the ring with the egg, scallion, and rice mix.
  6. Repeat this step two times, making three separate rolls.
  7. Top each roll with 1 fluid ounce of plum sauce.
  8. Makes 3 rolls.

Breakfast jambalaya

Breakfast jambalaya
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Courtesy of Breakfast Republic

If SoCal eateries have taught us anything, it’s that you can serve anything for brunch as long as you throw some eggs into the mix. Breakfast Republic has made it so you can enjoy this Cajun comfort classic at any time of the day — and we’re definitely not complaining. This recipe is great if you have leftover rice and you need to use up.

Ingredients (2 servings)

For the jambalaya

  • 6 each shrimp
  • 4 ounces andouille/Portuguese sausage
  • 2 ounces red pepper, sliced
  • 4 ounces green onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups red rice
  • 4 ounces jambalaya sauce
  • 6 eggs (3 per plate)

For the jambalaya sauce

  • 6 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes (you can find these canned at stores)
  • 1 tablespoons Old Bay
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 clove of garlic

For the rice

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock

Method

For the jambalaya sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepot and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and blend everything, cool, and set aside.

For the rice

  1. Follow the instructions on the rice packaging to cook fully. Add the vegetable oil to a medium saucepot and saute the rice until golden brown.
  2. Add tomato sauce, onion, herbs, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes, add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the lid and cook on low for 20 minutes without lifting the lid.
  3. Turn off the heat and wait 10 minutes before serving.

For the jambalaya

  1. Saute shrimp, sausage, and peppers together until shrimp is cooked on both sides.
  2. Add rice and jambalaya sauce, and stir until all flavors are combined.
  3. Garnish with green onions and top with 3 eggs per plate.

Sweet cream ricotta pancakes

Sweet cream ricotta pancakes
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Courtesy of Chef Kenneth Williams

Pancakes will always be a brunch staple. They’re even better injected with ricotta cheese and served with homemade whipped cream. Chef Kenneth Williams of The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage, California, shares his take on the American classic.

Ingredients (4 servings)

For the pancakes

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (can use 1 teaspoon if you want a thicker pancake)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Butter for skillet
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 cup real maplesSyrup
  • 1 cup blueberries
  •  1 cup toasted pistachios

For the whipped cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

For the pancakes

  1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta cheese, buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla until combined.
  2. Carefully fold in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined, avoiding over-mixing.
  3. Heat skillet over medium heat.
  4. Place a pat of butter onto the skillet and wait for it to sizzle.
  5. Pour batter in 1/2 cup portions and cook until golden brown on each side.
  6. Place the pancakes in the center of the plate and then top with blueberries, pistachios, whipped cream, and maple syrup.

For the whipped cream

  1. Gather all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together at high speed until soft peaks form. Reserve until ready to serve.

Turkey, grapes and brie crepes

Turkey, grapes and brie crepes
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Courtesy of Sweet Paris Creperie

This savory crepe is brought to you by the notable Texas crepe chain, Sweet Paris Creperie. If you want to save time on this recipe, there are a lot of pre-made crepe brands out there you can get from your local supermarket. If you’d like to try your hand at a from-scratch crepe, check out this basic crepe recipe brought to you by the Pillsbury Doughboy. This crepe can be easily turned into a vegetarian dish simply by omitting the turkey.

Ingredients

For the pre-made crepes (Melissa’s French crepes)

  • 3 ounces turkey
  • 1 3/4 ounces brie cheese
  • 1/2 ounce walnuts
  • 1 1/2 ounces grapes
  • 1/2 fluide ounce Dijon vinaigrette
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary ground seasoning
  • Cooking oil for pan
  • 1 ounce spring mix
  • Your favorite salad dressing
  • Freshly shredded parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Heat crepe on a griddle on both sides. Once heated, fold the crepe in half.
  2. Drizzle oil on the pan and saute turkey, season with rosemary seasoning and salt and pepper mix.
  3. Add brie cheese, grapes, walnuts, and spring mix.
  4. Add Dijon mustard vinaigrette to the folded crepe.
  5. Add sauteed turkey and spread throughout the crepe.
  6. Fold the crepe into a triangle.
  7. Place the crepe on the side of the plate, garnish with a piece of grape cut in half, drizzle Dijon vinaigrette on the bottom half of the crepe, and sprinkle chives on top of the crepe.
  8. Add the side salad of spring mix, add a dressing of choice, and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the spring mix.

Can you use egg whites instead of whole eggs when making pancakes from scratch?

Yes, you can use egg whites instead of whole eggs when making your own pancakes, such as the sweet cream ricotta pancakes above, but take note of how egg white only can change the recipe a bit. The egg whites will make your pancakes lighter and fluffier, but they might also be a bit drier and less tender. Whole eggs add moisture and richness from the yolk. Pancakes made with just egg whites may have a slightly less rich flavor compared to using whole eggs.

If you want fluffy pancakes but don’t want to skip the yolks entirely, you can separate the eggs and whip the whites to stiff peaks before folding them gently into the batter mixed with the yolks. Overall, using egg whites is a fine substitute, especially if you prefer lighter pancakes. Just be aware of the potential trade-offs and adjust your recipe accordingly.

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Steven Johnson
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