7 Effortless Brunch Dishes to Serve Your Overnight Guests
As friends and family travel for the holidays, you may find yourself housing and feeding overnight guests. When it comes to preparing a breakfast or brunch for your visitors, you don’t need to spend all day in the kitchen whipping up dishes. By preparing any of these seven low-maintenance brunch recipes, you can save yourself from spending hours slaving over a stove while ensuring that your guests are fed a marvelous meal.
1. Baked Apple-Cinnamon French Toast
Eating Well’s Baked Apple-Cinnamon French Toast can easily be made in advance. Just make it the day before, pop it in the oven in the morning, and prepare to enjoy a beautifully baked dish that’s filled with warm flavors. It yields 12 servings.
- 3 cups nonfat milk
- 2 cups pasteurized liquid egg whites
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 (1-pound) loaf sliced whole-wheat bread
- 1 cup chopped dried apples (3 ounces)
- ½ cup raisins
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Directions: Whisk milk, egg whites, honey, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Trim crusts off 8 bread slices and set aside. Cut the crusts and the remaining bread into 1-inch pieces. Toss with dried apples, raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg in another large bowl. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Transfer the bread mixture to the pan. Lay the reserved crustless slices evenly on top, trimming to fit. Whisk the milk mixture one more time, then pour evenly over the bread.
Press the bread down with the back of a wooden spoon, making sure it’s evenly moist. Cover with parchment paper, then foil, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the casserole, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until puffed, set, and lightly browned, about 20 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes; dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
2. Blueberry Focaccia
Oprah’s recipe is a brunch-friendly version of a blueberry muffin. Packed with juicy berries and heavenly flavors, this Blueberry Focaccia will provide your guests with a sweet start to their day. If you’re looking for a delicious drink to serve with your dish, we recommend making Seattle Coffee Gear’s Blueberry Delight Latte.
- 1 package (¼ ounce) active dry yeast
- 2¼ cups warm water
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- Vegetable oil for greasing
- 2 pints (5 or 6 cups) blueberries
Directions: In a small bowl, mix yeast and water; set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine flour, ½ cup brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir egg into yeast; pour into flour mixture and mix on low speed. Add butter and mix until combined. Knead dough until smooth and pliable but still relatively wet, about 5 minutes on a stand mixer. Grease a large bowl and 2 baking sheets with oil; set baking sheets aside.
Scrape dough into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Halve dough and place 1 piece on each baking sheet. Stretch out slightly, until dough forms a 1-inch-thick oval; cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise again about 1 hour. With greased fingers, dimple surface of loaf; sprinkle each with 1 pint berries and ¼ cup brown sugar each. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating once. Slice and serve warm.
3. Brunch Strata
Ham, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and cheese create a hearty egg dish that’s perfect for brunch. Taste of Home’s recipe yields 16 servings. We suggest also making The Make Your Own Zone’s Morning Brunch Punch, which is filled with orange juice, grape juice, and 7 Up.
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ½ pound sliced fresh mushrooms
- 3 small zucchini, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup half-and-half cream
- 12 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups cubed day-old bread
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and ham; cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain and pat dry. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and cream until smooth. Gradually beat in eggs. Stir in the remaining ingredients and vegetable mixture. Transfer to two greased 11-by-7-inch baking dishes. Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
4. Southwestern Tofu Scramble
Eating Well’s Southwestern Tofu Scramble is vegetarian-friendly and packed with zesty seasonings, corn, zucchini, cheese, and salsa. In addition to tasting delicious, this dish is also really healthy. Medical News Today notes that tofu contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. Each serving contains 202 calories, 12 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber.
- 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
- 1 (14-ounce) package firm water-packed tofu, rinsed and crumbled
- 1½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- ¾ cup frozen corn, thawed
- 4 scallions, sliced
- ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup prepared salsa
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Directions: Heat 1½ teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, chili powder, cumin, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the tofu begins to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to the pan. Add zucchini, corn, scallions, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.
Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Return the tofu to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese until just melted. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons salsa and 1 tablespoon cilantro.
5. Portuguese Baked Eggs
Bon Appétit presents a brunch dish that’s filled with baked eggs, onion, peppers, jalapeño, tomatoes, cheese, and plenty of fresh seasonings. If you want to get a head start on your Portuguese Baked Eggs, you can cook your bell pepper mixture 1 day in advance — let it cool, then cover and chill. This recipe yields 6 servings.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 bell peppers, any color, thinly sliced
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño, with seeds, halved lengthwise
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 1½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup ricotta
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar (about 4 ounces)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan (about 1 ounce)
- Toasted country-style bread (for serving)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, basil, oregano, chili powder, and paprika to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is thickened, 20 to 30 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Discard the jalapeño. Transfer bell pepper mixture to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, make 6 evenly spaced divots in mixture. Spoon a dollop of ricotta into each divot, then crack 1 egg into each. Top with cheddar and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until Parmesan is melted and egg whites are almost set but yolks are still runny, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve baked eggs with toast.
6. Make-Ahead Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Pancake Bake
Betty Crocker’s Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Pancake Bake is an indulgent brunch dish that’s filled with rich and creamy flavors. This recipe, which yields 8 servings, can be prepared the night before. The next morning, cover it with the crumb topping and bake.
- 2 cups original Bisquick mix
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 eggs
- 1½ cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ cup cold butter, cut into cubes
Directions: In large bowl, mix Bisquick mix and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. In medium bowl, mix ⅔ cup milk, 2 eggs, pumpkin, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add to dry ingredients in large bowl, and stir until just combined. Heat skillet over medium heat; grease if necessary. Pour batter by ⅓ cupfuls into skillet. Cook until edges appear dry, about 2 minutes, then turn and cook 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter; let pancakes cool completely.
Grease 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Spread each pancake with cream cheese, then cut in half and place cut side down into baking dish. In large bowl, beat 6 eggs, 1½ cups milk, the cream, granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Pour over pancakes. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 8. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove baking dish from refrigerator. In small bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Cut in butter with pastry blender until the size of small peas. Sprinkle on top of pancakes in baking dish. Bake about 1 hour or until topping is golden and filling is set. If topping browns too quickly, cover with foil. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
7. Big Pancake
The Kitchn’s Big Pancake, otherwise referred to as a Dutch Baby, is an easy way to feed your hungry brunch guests. You can serve several people without putting in much effort, and its slightly sour and subtly sweet flavors will please any palate.
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup whole or 2% milk
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Lemon wedges
- Powdered sugar
- Pure maple syrup
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, or whiz in a blender. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Place the butter in a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet or glass baking dish. Place in oven until the butter melts. Remove the pan, swirling butter to coat the sides.
Pour the batter into the pan, place the pan back in the oven, and quickly close the door. Bake until golden-brown on top, puffed in the middle, and the edges of the pancake have crawled up the sides of the pan, about 12 to 15 minutes. Slice the pancake into wedges and serve with dusting of powdered sugar, berries, and lemon juice, or some maple syrup.