8 Simple Thanksgiving Breakfasts That Won’t Spoil Your Dinner

updated Nov 26, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

If you’ve spent weeks dreaming of juicy turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, and sweet pies, the last thing you want to do is ruin your appetite with a heavy morning meal. In years past I’ve been tempted to skip Thanksgiving breakfast altogether, saving myself for the big to-do. But wow, does that backfire! By 10 a.m. I’m nibbling on every dish as it cooks, and filling myself up before I can even sit down.

It works much better to have a light meal early, and let that carry you through so you’ll be hungry, but not starving, by dinner. Here are my picks for easy, holiday-worthy breakfasts that won’t ruin your appetite.

1. Slow Cooker Spiced Porridge for a Crowd

Cooking one big meal for a house full of guests is enough for me. If you plan to have a crowd at breakfast, cook this spiced steel-cut oatmeal and dried fruit low and slow overnight, so both early risers and late sleepers can wake up to a piping-hot breakfast bowl. Top with toasted nuts, diced apples, or a swirl of jam.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Spiced Porridge for a Crowd

Credit: Faith Durand

2. Fresh Cranberry Scones

There’s such a short window to enjoy fresh cranberries each year that I can’t help but make more than just the Thanksgiving day cranberry sauce with them. Pulse the cranberries with butter and flour in a food processor to make a tender dough. Press into a disk and cut into wedges before freezing (unbaked!) up to two weeks in advance. Come Thanksgiving morning, pop the scones in a hot oven and drizzle with a sweet vanilla-rum glaze.

Get the recipe: Fresh Cranberry Scones

Credit: Megan Gordon

3. Whipped Yogurt with Apples and Walnuts

Can’t bear the thought of cooking before the big meal? Whip honey-sweetened Greek yogurt with a splash of heavy cream (hey, it’s a holiday!) until the whole thing is light and thick. Do double duty during pie prep and make the sautéed cinnamon apple topping in advance.

Get the recipe: Whipped Yogurt with Apples and Walnuts

4. Mini Bagels and Lox

Offer a more subdued serving of the classic brunch dish this holiday. Nestle a few slices of thinly sliced lox onto a cream cheese-topped mini bagel for a three-bite breakfast. Sprinkle the top with chopped chives, dried spices, or a few capers from the fridge.

Get the recipe: Mini Bagels and Lox

Credit: Lauren Volo

5. Hearty Breakfast Fruit Salad

Nothing brightens up a cold autumn morning better than sunny slices of tart citrus. Prep everything in advance — cook and cool the barley, make the honey-citrus dressing, slice the fruit — but wait to assemble the salad until morning.

Get the recipe: Hearty Breakfast Fruit Salad

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage and Eggs

If Thanksgiving dinner is scheduled for late afternoon, a hearty (not heavy!) breakfast is what you need. Slide a sheet pan full of sausage, sweet potatoes, and eggs into the oven to hold off hunger for a few extra hours. Bonus — make this hash ahead and simply reheat to eat!

Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage & Eggs

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

7. Moonstruck Eggs

Cooking for two before heading to the main event? Make the classic egg-in-a-hole, but with a twist. This one features buttered bread, toasted until golden, with a sunny-side-up egg in the middle, topped with a simple roasted red pepper relish.

Get the recipe: How to Make Moonstruck Eggs

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Easy Crustless Quiche

An egg bake is a tasty way to fuel a family for a full day of cooking. Whisk eggs and milk (or cream, because why not?) and add mix-ins of whatever you can spare from the fridge. Steal a few handfuls of cooked sausage from the stuffing or sneak in some shredded cheese. Just make sure whoever gets up first knows to pop it in the oven!

Get the recipe: Easy Crustless Quiche