Cook up one of these 15+ easy breakfast side ideas for an elegant brunch or a simple family breakfast. The morning meal is the most important meal of the day, after all!
From egg casseroles to cinnamon rolls, I am always down for some breakfast food.
Most mornings I enjoy a protein smoothie for breakfast, but on the weekends I love to prepare a bigger meal.
Whether you're hosting brunch or fixing a simple weekend breakfast for your family, it's important to have a well-rounded mix of foods on the table. This is true for holiday breakfasts as well.
Let's talk about how to put together a great breakfast spread with easy dishes.
1. Start with the Main Breakfast Dish
First, decide what your breakfast main dish is going to be. It's typical to plan something a little heartier. It's often usually a tad more time consuming than the other dishes on the table.
The star of the show can be savory or sweet, but your supporting side dishes should include the opposite. People like choices, you know!
Some of my favorites are a hearty egg dish like a Green Chile Egg Casserole or Homemade Egg McMuffins. Eggs and meat are both protein-rich, which makes them great ingredients for your centerpiece dish.
You could also set up a "taco bar" of sorts for guests to create their own breakfast burrito bowls, breakfast tacos or breakfast burritos. Put out some cheese, sour cream, guacamole (or sliced avocado), hot sauce and salsa and let people assemble their ultimate breakfast bowl.
2. Then Pick Your Breakfast Sides
Once you have your main dish picked out, it's time to dream up some great breakfast sides. (Don't worry, I have a big list of breakfast side ideas for you below!)
For a sweet main dish: If you went with something sweet like pumpkin donuts, you'll want to make sure you have at least one savory item on the table — say, crispy bacon or sausage patties — to balance out tastebuds. You may even want to have an additional savory side as well.
For a savory main dish: Likewise, a savory main dish like a breakfast tart should have at least one sweet item on the table to pair it with.
If your main dish isn't bread based (like waffles or sticky buns), you may want to add a bread side like buttermilk biscuits or avocado toast.
3. Don't forget the beverages!
Though not technically a breakfast or brunch side dish, per se, make sure you consider a couple of breakfast drinks as well when you're planning out breakfast for a crowd.
Not everyone loves coffee or wants alcohol, so make sure to have a few drink options for your guests. Here are a few ideas:
- fresh orange juice
- apple juice
- mimosas or bellinis
- hot coffee (with dairy and non-dairy creamers)
- chocolate milk
- boozy coffee drink (like Irish coffee) or 1-2 options to mix into regular coffee (like Kahlua or Baileys)
Now, let's get into those brunch and breakfast side ideas!
Tips for a Great Brunch Menu
Consider dietary needs. For vegetarians, consider a vegetarian breakfast casserole and vegan sausage. For gluten-free and dairy-free folks, make sure there are options for them on the table as well.
Balance sweet and savory dishes. I usually aim for at least one sweet and one savory brunch side, no matter what my centerpiece is.
Consider the carbs. It's also a good idea to stick to just 1 or 2 bread based dishes. For example, if you're planning to serve biscuits and gravy with a side of sweet muffins, your other dishes should be non-bread. If you're going with my example, skip the French toast sticks as your other side, go for turkey bacon or a breakfast casserole instead.
Stick 1 or 2 of each type of dish. If you're making quiche, you might not also want to make scrambled eggs and a ham & cheese breakfast casserole casserole. However, more options might make sense for a big party.
How Many Breakfast Dishes Do You Need?
The number of dishes and how much to make for a breakfast or brunch really depends on how many people you expect.
For most parties, you should follow the one pound rule, meaning that you should serve approximately 1 pound of food for every adult and ½ pound of food for every child.
For a small group of up to 8 people: Start with 4 dishes, including a main dish, a sweet side, a savory side and a bread or biscuit (if none of the dishes are bread-like). For smaller groups, it's easier to plan around dietary concerns as well.
For a larger group of 8 or more: You'll want a bigger spread. Start with 6-8 dishes, including 2 types of main dishes, 2 sweet sides, 2 savory sides, 1 fresh dish like a fruit salad or fresh fruit, and at least one type of bread or biscuit.