7 Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Brunch

published Nov 8, 2013
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(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

Love the idea of hosting brunch, but begin to regret it the moment your friends start recalling their hilarious evening while you toil over a pan of bacon grease? Join the club. While I don’t host brunch often, when I do, I frame my entire menu around the fact that I don’t want to spend the whole morning in the kitchen. Sure, that chorizo and leek omelet is fantastic at your local eatery, but are you a short-order cook? No. Skip the omelets and spend time with your friends.

Here are seven tips to host a brunch without stress, and without getting up at 5 am to prep.

1. Set out everything you’re going to need the night before.

Plates, napkins, silverware — all of it can go on your table, out of the way in the kitchen. Don’t forget glasses too! Coffee mugs and juice or cocktail glasses. It might seem simple, but I don’t know how many times I’ve forgotten that people actually have to use silverware to eat and been frantically washing forks while everything gets cold.

2. Fix up Bloody Mary mix or the juice for mimosas the night before.

Maybe this seems simple, but maybe I’ve been caught running to the store for horseradish at 11:59 am…

3. Do not make pancakes. Ever.

Skip the flapjacks in favor of a baked French toast that can be prepared the night before and popped in the oven. (Again, you are not a short-order cook.) Deb at Smitten Kitchen has a great recipe that’s a staple in my kitchen.

4. Do make scones.

If you don’t want to make French toast, make scones ahead of time (like, even two weeks ahead of time) and freeze. You guessed it — pop these in the oven the morning of. Biscuits work well too!

5. And eggs.

You can’t have brunch without eggs. But no omelets! Find a really great, substantial egg dish that can be made the night before. Quiche, strata, casserole, something along those lines. Are you really jonesing for runny yolks to sop up with bread? Go for a baked egg dish that’s easily scooped into guests’ bowls, or if you’re real close friends — eaten communally.

Some Menu Ideas:

6. Cook your bacon in the oven.

The one thing you really can’t do very far ahead of time is cook bacon. However, save yourself the stress of spattering yourself with bacon grease amongst friends and bake it in the oven just a little before everyone arrives. Not only will the house smell heavenly, you can turn off the oven and keep the tray warm until serving.

7. Keep it all in perspective.

Remember the point of this gathering: to spend time with friends. Don’t be afraid to assign someone to cocktail and coffee duty while you’re chatting with friends and keeping an eye on the oven.

What’s your favorite no-fuss brunch dish?