Food

A Formula for the Perfect Brunch

brunch table setting

I’m sure I’m going to come across as a grouch here, but I’m not the biggest fan of restaurant brunches…

Most of the reason for this is because I think I’m still scarred from the Sundays in my twenties when I’d spend half the day waiting in line with my friends to grab a table at some popular New York spot, then spend, like, thirty bucks, for a plate of scrambled eggs. And I never really recovered from reading Kitchen Confidential, by then-restaurant-chef Anthony Bourdain, where he famously admitted his abhorrence for the meal, calling it a “horrible, cynical way of unloading leftovers” made from “old, nasty odds and ends.”

But at-home brunches are a different story. Over the years I’ve had to host my share of bridal and baby showers and, of course, Mother’s Day brunches, and, unlike dinner party menus, I’ve kind of nailed a formula for a perfect spread. This is how it goes:

Egg-Based Main + Bagels & Smoked Salmon Spread + Fruit Salad

If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll throw in a baked good or ask one of the guests to swing by the local bakery for muffins or a decadent coffee cake.

For the egg-based main, you can go with a classic quiche (like the spinach and sweet onion below), a frittata (like the one shown above) or a simple bake (like this Leek, Ham, and Cheese from Smitten Kitchen). For the bagels and salmon, you want to make sure you have all the fixings (cream cheese, minced red onion, capers, lemon wedges), and the fruit should be whatever is in season: a big bowl of just strawberries this time of year would be beautiful. In the winter, I’d go with pineapple, oranges and pomegranates. Simple, sweet and entirely make-ahead.

Spinach and Sweet Onion Quiche
You can consider this a basic formula for quiche, swapping in kale, broccoli or chard, for the spinach, and feta or Gruyère for the cheddar. Makes one 9-inch pie.

Storebought pie dough, such as Pillsbury, to fit a 9-inch pie dish (you might have to roll it out slightly)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach (or 1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach, squeezed dry)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half-and-half or light cream
4 large eggs
3 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange an oven rack in the middle position.

Fit the dough into a 9-inch pie dish, then using a fork, prick the bottom all over. Bake for 8 minutes.

While the crust parbakes, combine the olive oil, onion, salt, and pepper in a skillet set over medium heat. Cook the onion for was long as you can, stirring occasionally, at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes, to get them as caramelized as possible.

Transfer the onion to a cutting board, spreading them out on one side of the board to cool a bit. Add the spinach to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted. (Skip this step if using frozen spinach.) Transfer to the same cutting board as the onion and let cool a bit, then roughly chop both the onion and the spinach.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, half-and-half, eggs, and more salt and pepper.

Remove the pie dish from the oven and pour in the egg mixture. Gently add the onion and spinach. Top the whole thing with the cheese and bake until golden on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving. 

Notes on Advance Planning: If you are making this ahead of time, allow it to completely cool, then cover with foil and refrigerate. To reheat, place in the oven, then set the heat to 350°F to warm through (placing the dish in a cold oven allows it to gradually heat with the oven) until a knife inserted into the center comes out hot, about 25 minutes. I also think quiche works at room temperature, so if you make it the morning of, just let it sit on the counter until brunch time.

P.S. Easy breakfasts for guests and a raspberry-almond coffee cake.

(Photo by Jeff Wasserman/Stocksy.)

  1. Rachel says...

    Another idea is to borrow a coffee maker from a friend/neighbor for the day, too, so you can always be brewing the next pot.

  2. Natalie says...

    Talking about formula, what’s the formula for how many bagels to get? I always over-cater and panic buy way too much of everything.

  3. SB says...

    Brunch with friends at home pre-COVID – one of the things I am missing most!

    Some of the brunch “things” I’ve done that have received the most compliments:
    – Make-your-own Bloody Mary (or Caesar) Bar (including homemade candied maple bacon for garnish and a million other things to garnish like pickled green beans, assorted olives, etc. etc.)
    – Huge bowl of guac – goes with breakfast-y type things and also transitions well to “chips & dip” when brunch inevitably becomes a day drinking activity
    – Big punch bowl of sangria with lots of fruit! The boozy fruit is an awesome snack later in the day…
    – In the spring – frittata/quiche/tart with leeks and fresh peas and asparagus – yum!!

  4. Georgette says...

    As a morning person, I always hate brunch. First, I always wake up early and friends who love brunch would go at noon, which is lunch. So I’m eating a sad breakfast to have space for a large meal I’ll have to wait for. I’m also so hungry so I’m right on time but everyone’s late and I have to be the one who keeps a spot. It’s awful.

    Personally, I love breakfast and the calm before the day. I used to love grabbing a breakfast sandwich or pastry and heading to Riverside Park with my book. Waking up early has its perks because you can also snag a table at the cafe and usually it’s the coveted one by the window!

  5. silvia says...

    I loved brunch for the social aspect: sitting down at a table in a room packed full of interesting, happy, relaxed people; every one in joy mode. I always tipped generously so the waitress could also feel good about working so hard. I do miss that vibe. But when I changed my diet to vegan, whole foods I also lost interest in brunch – I’ve made peace with the fact that it’s a happy memory now.

  6. Denise says...

    For the past two years, I’ve hosted a birthday brunch open house. All my friends are invited, bring along a dish to share, and I supply coffee and a mimosa & Bloody Mary bar. We while away the day and go back for seconds or thirds. And no one comes along to shoo us out (as has happened with restaurant brunches lol). I’m hoping to do this again soon!

  7. Alexis says...

    100% hate brunch too! Our weekly pre-pandemic weekend routine was to get to dim sum early. Luckily, some of those spots deliver now so we can continue that during quarantine. We tried to make our own spread once it’s a lot of work!

  8. beth says...

    We’ve moved into a house that is difficult to host parties in (small, weird layout, no parking), but once upon a time we used to have people pretty frequently. My favorite was hosting brunch parties- but often those turned into all-day parties…the more bloody mary’s people drank at one party, the more food I’d serve at the next party (just to make sure people didn’t get too smashed!), only for people to just keep eating and drinking until suddenly it’s dinnertime. wow, I’ve missed that!

    ps, I was a waitress for 17 years and we all hated brunch- front and back of the house. Everyone’s super exhausted/possibly hungover from working Saturday night’s crazy shift, the pace of brunch for restaurant staff is very harried, and the tips are so-so. Loved Kitchen Confidential.

  9. TeeJay says...

    I love all the food ideas that y’all are posting.
    I just showed up to say that I can’t stand brunch because it robs me of one of my meals! My body really likes breakfast-lunch-dinner-repeat. And brunches at restaurants tend to be so heavy (either greasy or sugary) so I just feel both too full and then also wondering why I can’t have lunch.

    • Susan says...

      hahaha, yes I need my 3 squares a day! I am loving that there are so many other people that hate brunch, I am not alone :)

  10. Sarah says...

    I live alone, and one of my pandemic traditions has become making a Sunday morning frittata. It’s a little different every week depending on what I feel like and what bits of veggies and herbs I have in the fridge. It makes my Sunday mornings special and I have excellent leftovers for easy weekday breakfasts that week. I’m looking forward to being able to make frittatas to share!

  11. Sarah F. says...

    I love hosting brunch but one thing I haven’t figured out is how to have enough coffee for everyone? My family & friends are big coffee drinkers and it’s hard to keep up with their consumption with my single 12-pot coffee maker. Should I buy like, two more coffee makers? Or is there a way to make a huge quantity (like 30 cups) in advance?

    • Christina says...

      Yes indeed! Make the coffee in advance and store it in one or multiple thermoses (I hope that’s the word in English too). That is what I always do/(did…) when I have guests over!

    • Ana O says...

      Iced coffee/cold brew! I love the Food52 recipe (it adds a little sugar and cinnamon) and it gives people a fun alternative!

    • Julie says...

      Sometimes I just order a big thing of coffee from a local coffee place. The carrier it comes in keeps it nice and warm. And one less thing to worry about.

    • Clau says...

      I have a lovely Stelton Thermo that I use when I have people over!!

  12. Jennifer says...

    I love love love breakfast out, but this brunch thing you mention (like after 10 am?) is by far not up my alley. What I mean is – we have two small kids. There’s no way we can wait to have brunch. So what we love to do (prepandemic, ugh), was to find the best breakfast spot that opens early in our city (for us, that was 8 am), and get a good table and enjoy a nice breakfast with the kids, BEFORE the brunch crowd arrives. Then drive around town with a cup of coffee in hand and check out yard/estate sales. The kids are still in the good window of time (somewhat rested, full bellies), so the whining is usually at a minimum.

    This is the thing I miss most during this season of COVID (well, aside from seeing family that don’t live nearby, ha).

    • CandiceZ says...

      We should be friends! Lol! Us too! I’m hoping to find a good spot like this in our new area someday.

    • Angela says...

      Yes!!! It was perfect too when my kids were still doing a mid-morning nap. We’d drive around enjoying coffee and NPR, while wishing for a driver so we could snooze too.

  13. Amanda says...

    “If i’m feeling ambitious, I’ll throw in a baked good” Hilarious!

  14. Court says...

    I was JUST talking to my mom about how great it will be to have a lingering, casual brunch at home with her this year. Thanks for the idea of adding the bagels and salmon! Makes it fancy ;)

  15. Meagan says...

    Going out to brunch is amazing! The perfect poached egg, sitting outside enjoying the city energy, hot tea and a cocktail? I’m here for it. But you do have to split the savory and sweet with your brunch partner, say NO to the bottomless mimosas and always make a reservation.
    I agree, hosting brunch is also fun and much more relaxed than a dinner party.

    I’m Team Brunch in all it’s forms!

  16. Eleanor Vaughn says...

    My favorite brunch, and it’s so easy: great bacon from a butcher shop, roasted. The ripest fruit I can find, sliced, and fresh-squeezed juice. Simple but hits all the sweet and salty-decadent notes!

  17. CC says...

    I love these entertaining guides from Jenny. Filing this away!

  18. K says...

    omg the money i “wasted” in my 20s on restaurant brunches! even now walking by most restaurants it seems so overpriced. these days i’m like, can we just grab takeout and eat it in the park at least? but i definitely have become one of those people that prefer to make their own food.
    i do have a soft spot for diner and deli brunches, though.

    my dream breakfast/brunch:
    -a good pain au chocolat
    -some pancakes or crepes with lemon sugar, great maple syrup for the pancakes, salted cultured butter for both
    -juicy crispy sausages and some bacon
    -scrambled eggs or over easy
    -baked beans
    -roasted tomatoes
    -guacamole
    -hashbrowns

    and mixing and matching a little bit of this and that over and over again until I’m stuffed!

  19. Judi says...

    I’m from Australia and even though I have visited the States a number of time I have no idea what half and half is in relation to milk/cream. We have milk (full fat, skim) cream (full fat, lite) and then a few other varieties such as Smart milk (added calcium).
    Do I just use lite (reduced fat) cream?
    PS your cheese is equally mystifying :)

    • Anu says...

      Half and half is supposed to be half cream and half milk – light cream would work!

    • Ann says...

      Half and half is a mixture of 50% heavy cream and 50% full fat milk. It is about 12 percent fat.

  20. Anne says...

    I adore brunch! But NEVER without a reservation.

    My dilemma is that the sweet plates look so delicious, but they always leave me feeling gross and over-sugared, so I try to go savory. If my mom is in town, she’ll split an Eggs Benedict and a stack of fun pancakes with me so we each get the best of both worlds.

    As for mimosas, I finally learned that day drinking makes me cranky as heck, so I save it for dinner.

    • Kate says...

      There’s a restaurant in my town that has the most amazing thing on the menu: a belgian waffle topped with chorizo, two over-easy eggs and pico de gallo. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and savory!! The toppings are piled right in the center so you can easily put syrup on the waffle and eat around it, but I love a bite of waffle and egg and chorizo with a little bit of syrup to balance it all out.

    • Guilia says...

      @Kate! What town is this! I Need To Know.

  21. Jenny says...

    Totally agree with you brunch assessment!

  22. rachel simmons says...

    yes yes yes! I love slow mornings at home, my favorite before church meals are when my husband cooks up a pack of bacon and makes french toast, with fresh berries, and hot coffee… maybe some orange juice and we sit in the warm sunlight at the breakfast table with our 2 children. is there anything better?!

  23. Sonia C. says...

    Weekend brunchpre-pandemic was my favorite event to host! It’s a (fairly) cheap way to entertain guests, you kick off your day on the right foot, and there’s nothing better than a nap post-brunch!

    I love reading everyone’s brunch formulas + tips & tricks! Here is my ideal brunch formula that’s super hands-off.
    1) Baked Egg Dish. My mother-in-law passed along a laughably easy recipe: Mix 12 eggs + 1/2 pound of shredded Cheese (I like low-fat sharp cheddar) + 1 pound Light Sour Cream + sauteed veggies (peppers, leeks, spinach, garlic, whatever you have) + seasonings (S&P, herbes de provence, garlic powder, etc.) Bake in 9×13 pan for 40-45 minutes at 350 F.
    2) Bacon! I actually cook it the night before and warm it up in the oven during the last 10 minutes of the egg dish. And I always cook extra because my carnivore friends always. Eat. More. Bacon. (any leftover bacon = BLTs!)
    3) Potatoes! 100,000% YES to the comment about the pre-made hash brown patties in the Air Fryer. Hash brown patties are unbeatable for both kids and adults.
    4) Fruit Salad (outsource to guests)
    5) Baked goods (also outsource to guests)
    6) MIMOSAS

  24. We’ve gone vegan this year, so I’ve been experimenting with brunch a lot. How is it possible without eggs?! Turns out, entirely possible. My solution is a recipe based on Smitten Kitchen’s Zucchini Galette. My zucchini tart includes store-bought puff pastry filled with a mix of vegan ricotta made at our local Whole Foods, sauteed leeks, a full bunch of parsley, some vegan feta (the brand Follow Your Heart makes vegan feta that tastes exactly like Greek feta), garlic, and spices. Top it all with thinly sliced zucchini, crimp the edges, brush with olive or avocado oil, and bake for about 40 minutes at 375. Delicious. Even my non-vegan BIL liked it.

    • Katherine says...

      Thank you, Jane! I’ve also gone vegan this year and homemade egg-based brunch is one of the meals I’ll miss most. So glad to hear you’ve found an alternative that works – I look forward to trying your recipe variation on a weekend morning soon.

    • Hilary says...

      If you ever wanted to switch it up (not that you need to, it sounds divine already) may I recommend the Smitten Kitchen burst tomato galette? It has corn, zucchini and parm, which I find is the cheese easiest to approximate with vegan subs! It tastes like literal summer and is great for any time of day, including brunch.

      Because it’s on the lighter side, I often serve it with coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, muffins, or some other pastry and a big bowl of berries with mint!

      https://smittenkitchen.com/2013/08/burst-tomato-galette-with-corn-and-zucchini/

    • jane says...

      Try Violife Feta! The Fred Meyer (Kroger’s) has it here – should be available elsewhere in the US as well. They’ve got the culture down. I use their parm all the time as well.

  25. angie says...

    me and my grandma are both antibrunch, too, butttttt we love this place in des moines called st. kilda. yeah, sometimes we have to wait in line, butttttt we adore the menu. other than this place…antibrunch through and through

  26. Audrey says...

    Love it! My covid pod (3 families total) do “Bagels & Mimosas” at least one Sunday a month and rotate hosting. We each provide a dish: something egg based, sometimes bacon, bagels and toppings, along with mimosa stuff. We let the kiddos run around while we sip mimosas or coffee. It’s the best way to spend a Sunday.

  27. Anna says...

    This is such perfect timing! Hosting a brunch for friends in a few weeks and was just thinking I need to menu plan. Printing this off and…done! Thank you, Jenny!

  28. arc says...

    The formula has been working for us for years: we are usually three families that get together: one brings a quich (or two), one brings bagels & lox, and the third one brings fruit salad of some sort. It’s always excellent and fun. Looking forwarding picking this up again once everyone is vaccinated.

  29. Kari says...

    I am one of those people that adores brunch. It’s all my favourite breakfast food but not at the crack of dawn, and it’s acceptable to have a cocktail! I lived in NY for a couple years a while back and I still think about the giant stack of banana pancakes at Five Leaves. But! Here’s my issue with brunch – I always leave feeling almost hungover. I think it’s the sugar high and then crash after said pancakes and syrup, but whatever it is, I always feel like garbage afterwards.

    • rachel simms says...

      HAH! Yes!! Thats ideally when you go home and nap :)

  30. Julia says...

    My brunch formula:
    -baked good/pancakes/waffles (depending on whim and the size of the group; usually sweet-ish but could be savory, like potato pancakes or bagels)
    -a hearty salad (for example the roasted carrot/avocado/citrus/greens salad, originally from ABC kitchen; I use the recipe here: https://www.lottieanddoof.com/2014/06/hotels/)
    -a platter of fruit that’s prepared to eat (not that into fruit salad per se; I like an assortment but not a mixture)
    -plenty of coffee and tea

  31. amber says...

    Even though totally American I grew up with a mysteriously Scandinavian-inspired spread of both savory egg and sausage crepes and fruit and whipped cream crepes, open-faced sandwiches on brown bread with smoked and pickled fishes, havarti slices, cucumber and watercress. Surprisingly I am not Scandinavian or even Jewish haha.

  32. Ramya says...

    I’m with you on feeling that brunch is overrated! The value for me is more the experience/setting than the food and also that it’s often easier to get out during the day than the evening with a small child in tow.

    For the eggy dish, while not make-ahead, I love chilaquiles, shakshuka or cilbir. Could eat those anytime!

    And of course, mimosas. All the mimosas!

  33. Sarah Beth says...

    I have independently come up with this formula, and it is the best!! I send my husband for the bagels while I throw together a frittata and cut up whatever fruit is in season. Brunch is my favorite and my repertoire is pretty big (almost entirely from Smitten Kitchen, lol), but this is the brunch I can throw together with no effort and short notice. We usually add a coffee cake, either from the bagel shop or a kringle from Trader Joe’s, and that’s it! Now that warm weather is here and our friends are vaccinated, we are excited to have outdoor brunches and let the kids run around while we ignore them!

    • Lacy says...

      Sarah Beth your last line made me chuckle. :)

  34. K says...

    I don’t drink, so for my 21st birthday, I had all of my friends over (at a generous friend’s house) for a crepe party! I made the batter the night before and then my sweet boyfriend (now husband) got up early with me and made them starting at 6am! Instead of gifts, I asked everyone to being their favorite crepe topping; and it was WAY cheaper and more fun than a classic 21st birthday rager. And I got lots of sleep. :)
    Brunch is best at home, AMEN!

    • LEE ANN says...

      K, this is the BEST. Having people bring crepe toppings is genius — friendly for the budget and the environment (no unwanted gifts).

    • Sonia C. says...

      “Brunch is best at home, AMEN!”

      AMEN INDEED!

  35. L says...

    I love, love, LOVE at home brunch! Quiche, green salad, fruit with good, plain yogurt, some kind of baked good (I’m totally happy for someone else to do that part), and tasty drinks – done! It is the best.

  36. L says...

    Pre-pandemic, brunches were my favorite things to make with and for friends. I’m in grad school and I’m on a much tighter budge then most of my friends. Instead of going out, spending too much, waiting in line, etc. etc., I would invite a friend over, cook some eggs and pancakes, and make coffee for them. It was the best way to spend a weekend morning.

  37. Jill says...

    Your brunch sounds just about perfect, Jenny!
    But you forgot to mention brunch cocktails like mimosas and bloody Mary’s. Wink wink.
    And a little dark chocolate at the very end.
    I’m combining your ideas and my ideas this Sunday.
    Happy Mother’s Day!!

  38. riye says...

    I like brunch food but we get up early–even on the weekends–and I don’t want to wait until mid-morning to eat. I love having breakfast/brunch foods for lunch and dinner. :-)

  39. lauren says...

    The thought of mixed company for the first meal of the day in any context perturbs my slumber at the bottom of the sea and awakens a hankering for foolish heroes’ blood, but:
    If people I loved insisted on arriving at my place early/fancy/hungry, I would prep no-knead dough, shut the cat in the bedroom, and bake a succession of breakfast pizzas with a side of kick-ass fruit smoothies.

    • Katie says...

      Friends will come now that you’ve put it out there. I love this plan.

  40. Emily Catherine says...

    This sounds like a great formula though I’ve always wanted to do a bagel brunch! Jenny and others -how do you have people toast their bagels? Do you set out a toaster and people just do it themselves? My toaster has only two slots so I’m picturing a line up with no one able to eat at the same time.

    • Julia says...

      If your bagels are good and fresh, they are really best just split and smeared, un-toasted. If they’re a little stale, you can refresh them by putting them in at 350 F for 5 min (and then they will be good at room temp, split and spread with whatever you like).

    • B says...

      If I need to toast a lot of items, I pop them on a sheet and a quick turn under the broiler and then a flip to the other side gets it done speedily. I just have to watch it as being sidetracked is no good…speaking from experience :)

    • Sonia says...

      Yes to toasting under a broiler but just keep a very close eye on the bagels!

  41. When my husband started law school, we evaluated our budget and cut brunches entirely. Totally agree – the meal is too expensive for what it is and is so easy to replicate at home! However now that we have a young baby, I can’t help but think how much easier it would be to do a day date over an evening date. Maybe we will reconsider our policy once restaurants reopen fully!

    • Denise says...

      DO THIS! :) It makes so much sense to pay for a sitter during a time when the kid(s) are AWAKE then to pay for one to sit there while they sleep. Day dates are such a win.

    • Allison says...

      Day dates are amazing once you have kids! My husband and I love our evenings at home so it didn’t make sense for us to pay someone to sit at hike with our sleeping kids so we could go out. Pre-pandemic we started hiring sitters for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning and we could go to a quick breakfast and run an errand or two. Can’t wait to start that agin soon!

    • Ellen says...

      The ultimate win if you can swing it is to drop the kids at daycare and take a sick/vacation day from work and you have a WHOLE DAY for a date! We’ve gone for a run then long, fancy lunch (YOU get to be the people having 2 martini lunches!), followed by a nap and then pick up the kids. The best!

  42. ang says...

    Here I thought being underwhelmed by brunch was just me being crabby. Glad to have found this tribe!

    Add a fried potato (I’m from Pittsburgh, and you know how we do) and pitcher of mimosas or belinis and this is my ideal brunch too! I love a good meal formula.

  43. I am totally at your side – don’t like restaurant brunches either, or more correctly, don’t like restaurants at all!
    I prefer to cook myself and have family and friends over to enjoy their company in a relaxed atmosphere instead of sitting in a fancy place, wearing my facade face:-)

  44. Kate says...

    One year for a mother’s day brunch I made a bunch of crepes and had a whole smorgasboard of filling options laid out for people to make their own. It was a HUGE hit! I had a mix of savory and sweet fillings and people came up with some really delicious combos that I never would have come up with on my own. It was a veritable crepe-buffet and I highly recommend it!

    Here’s the crepe recipe: https://smittenkitchen.com/2016/05/failproof-crepes-a-crepe-party/ Sometimes I make a batch of the batter and store it in a big mason jar in my fridge so I can make myself a couple for breakfast whenever I want them!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      That sounds amazing!

    • Emma says...

      I would so love to know what fillings you chose! Such a brilliant idea.

    • Kate says...

      Thanks!! It was a great way to clean out the fridge. I know I had ham, brie, asparagus…maybe some leftover turkey? There were definitely bananas, strawberries, raspberries, cream cheese, a couple different jams and jellies….obviously we had peanut butter and nutella…maybe mini marshmallows? Lemon and powdered sugar, for sure. It was a couple of years ago so I can’t remember exactly, but I do know that after the first round people went back for seconds and thirds and that’s when some really interesting combinations started happening!

  45. Jay says...

    I’d also bake a sheet pan of bacon. Cut the slices in half before putting in the oven so they are already a good size.

  46. Monica says...

    Haha I’m literally making this on Saturday morning for a very small outdoor birthday brunch!

    Sheet pan brunches are also amazing. Leftover shredded baked potato hash browns, throw some veg and eggs on top, bake and done!

    • Robin says...

      That is brilliant.

  47. Caitlin Lee says...

    I just ordered a mother’s day brunch from a local farm to table restaurant. Glad to see it’s going to have some of these components, with a few more! Spinach, Swiss & Leek Quiche, Sour Cherry & Goat Cheese Scones, Chicken Sausage, Greens with Cucumber Vinaigrette, pickled peppers & pea shoots, Lemon Blueberry Loaf with citrus mint glaze, Floral Tea Blend, Chocolate Truffles, Custom Potted Plant from Michelle’s Flowers, and most importantly a Bottle of Villa Conchi Rosé Cava.

    I literally copied and pasted this from the restaurant because I am so excited for it. I fully agree, brunch is amazing at home. The more the better, imho.

    • Lindsey says...

      This sounds incredible. Sour cherry & goat cheese scones!?!?! YES PLEASE.

    • K says...

      Yum! Can I come? :)

    • AN says...

      OMG, I just watched the Chef’s Table: France episode on Adeline Grattard, and when it zeroed in on her Stilton Amarena Cherry Bao, I died.

    • Lauren says...

      This does sound incredible – well done, happy Mother’s Day, and cheers!

      I wanted to order a feast for my mom (in CA; I’m in NY) and was a bit stumped. Then I thought of her passion for gorgonzola (for which the rest of the family has always teased her mercilessly), so I found a creamery to send her a big old basket of blue cheese with a note that says HOPE YOUR MOTHER’S DAY STINKS.

    • amber says...

      Lauren, that is funny, haha

    • Lauren says...

      @Lauren — that is the most creative mother’s day present I’ve heard of!! I love it!

  48. Suzanne says...

    This is *close* to my ideal brunch formula, but I’d adjust to:
    Eggy Main (quiche, frittata, casserole) + Sweet Baked Good (muffins, quick bread) + Fruit (salad or slices or bowls) + Tons of Coffee
    For the Sweet Baked Good, Smitten Kitchen’s rhubarb muffins are *so good* but I also like a standard banana bread.

  49. Kate says...

    Thanks Jenny! Love this formula. Any tips with frozen spinach to prevent the dish from being too watery? Should we cook it down first to avoid that?

    While on the topic of egg dishes, I feel like sometimes might end up so rubbery with grey-ish bubbles on the inside. Is this just a matter of overcooking? This has plagued me for years!

    • Sarah says...

      Defrost and squish the hell out of it!!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      Yes, what Sarah said! thaw and squeeze and squeeze and squeeze!

    • Amy says...

      I always use fresh spinach and don’t have to worry about that happening :)

    • Eleanor says...

      If you have a potato ricer, squeezing thawed spinach is another thing it is good at!

    • Kate says...

      @Eleanor, brilliant!! Saves the spinach and now the ricer is no longer a monotasker!

  50. Rezia says...

    Haha, Jenny, I was ranting about NYC brunch just a few days ago. I don’t get it. People line up (for up to an hour?!!) to spend way too much money for mediocre food and then it’s taken up so much time in your Sunday you feel like the day is half gone by the time you’re done. Why???

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Same!!

  51. Agnès says...

    No brunch without cheese, ham and croissant, pain au chocolat, etc. (the french version of brunch I suppose); and well, maybe a little cider or prosecco and fresh orange juice.

    • Maryn says...

      I was just going to say—the only brunch I truly love is a French brunch! My husband and I lived in Paris for about two years and loooved getting brunch at Le Loir dans La Théière. Their brunch comes with croissants, baguette, jam, butter, eggs, ham, fresh juice, yogurt (French yogurt is truly something else), hot chocolate. Loved it so much we went there for my birthday. :) Oh, how I miss it.

    • Agnès says...

      Oh Maryn, I go study at the library near Le Loir dans la théière (Bibliothèque Historique de la ville de Paris, rue Pavée); . Restaurants open on the 19th of may; I will go to the library on the 27th, I promise I will stop for a tea and cake and will be thinking of you, it’s such a lovely place.

  52. Julie says...

    I am a big fan of potato hash + fruit for brunch. You do all the chopping ahead of time and then throw potatoes on 30 minutes before guests arrive.

    https://smittenkitchen.com/2010/05/spring-asparagus-pancetta-hash/

    Bonus is you can cater to the vegan and gluten free people in your life, making the bacon/pancetta optional as well as eggs you throw on top.

    Also–a toast bar is great too. Buy some nice bread, put out avocado, ricotta, jam, bacon, lettuce, tomato, kimichi, pesto etc. whatever you’d like. Guests can build their own. Caters to the vegan folks well too. For the gluten free folks you can have some nice lettuce so they can build a salad, or find good gluten free bread to provide. Add a bowl of fruit and you’re done!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YUM.

    • Meredith says...

      These are awesome ideas, and it’s SO NICE to be this accommodating of your friends with dietary restrictions. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Hattie says...

      I had the same idea to celebrate my retirement a couple of years ago (after 40 years in university admissions). I invited 25 friends to a toast party where we would “eat toast and make toasts.” I had three toasters set up, several loaves of good bread and various toppings (both sweet and savory), juice, coffee and tea. It was a big success and easy to set up since I’m an early riser. The self-service aspect meant I could mingle with my guests. I would love to try this again with gluten-free options that Julie recommends.

  53. Connie says...

    Jennie!! I know I’ll reach you here, cuz you’ve replied to my comments before! I just checked out Dinner A Love Story from our library and OMG The arroz con pollo and the pomegranate pork loin…My entire table (including my son who is just…the least adventurous food person I’ve ever known….shudder…) GOBBLED them. “Wow, mom. This week dinner has been, like…AWESOME.”-my 9 year old. My husband did that “close his eyes and take a second cuz he’s having a MOMENT” thing when he took a bite of the arroz on pollo. We ate the WHOLE PAN.
    I’m buying a copy of that book STAT. Highest of Fives, my friend. Highest. Of. FIVES.

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      What a nice note, Connie. So glad the whole family is enjoying it. Thank you so much for letting me know!

    • shannon says...

      1) this is such a nice note! I love it!

      2) I know that face exactly! I made it at a restaurant once and a random stranger from the table over skeptically said “wow is it really that good?” Lol! It was!

  54. SN says...

    I love, love, love brunch! Both hosting and eating:) Always need egg main, bagels, and fruit.

    My additions would be: French Toast Bake (pioneer woman recipe- SO good) and mimosas (and/or NA fancy-sparkling drink for the non drinkers). Now I’m hungry….

  55. Jeannie says...

    This is a great formula unless one of the key guests is vegan (in this case, my brother for Mother’s Day brunch). But I think the basic formula still works – savory main, baked goods, and fruit salad. Luckily, I’m not vegan so I will be making that quiche for myself…

    • Colleen says...

      Agree. And you have to have a lovely green salad.

    • clair says...

      I just bought, but haven’t yet tried cooking with, a vegan egg called, Just Egg. Supposedly scrambles just like egg so it may work as a vegan frittata. I used to make tofu frittata’s but I can’t use soy products anymore because they give me sinus headaches. We will see how this new thing works out.

  56. Rosie says...

    I’m a big fan of quiche, some kind pastry, fruit and crudités. Bagels are too much for me personally. If I get a bagel I’m not also eating quiche and fruit. I also don’t want to have to go out for bagels the morning I’m having people over. I love to do quiche, homemade morning buns or muffins, mixed berries and a little veggie platter. I think people are more comfortable digging into a high fat and carb meal when they can put a few carrot sticks on their plate and kid themselves into thinking it is a balanced meal.

  57. Laura says...

    For me, it ain’t brunch without potatoes- and I recently discovered that those pre-made hashbrown patties cook up PERFECTLY in the air fryer :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes!!!!!!!