As the word itself would suggest, brunch is what happens when you bring breakfast and lunch together, a marriage of all of the best things that each meal has to offer. It’s a time when pancakes are as appropriate as a hamburger, when sweatpants match the dress code as much as something a little dressier. What’s not to love?

But brunch is about more than just delicious food. It’s also about the experience. Sunday brunch, for example, is a fantastic opportunity to gather with friends and family members and catch up on all the things. It can be casual or upscale, cozy or chic. Brunch is whatever you want it to be, and it’s almost always a good idea. 

Some people enjoy going out for brunch, but there’s something pretty special about hosting at home too. Inviting your loved ones to join you for weekend brunch at your house or apartment is a nice alternative to hosting dinner parties or movie nights. You’ll have the chance to test out some yummy brunch recipes—and your guests will thank you for a lower-cost alternative to eating out at a restaurant. 

Not sure where to start with putting together a Sunday brunch of your own? Don’t stress! Brunch is supposed to be the opposite of stress, after all. Keep reading for plenty of brunch ideas to help keep your weekends booked and your appetite satisfied for the foreseeable future. 

Planning a Brunch Menu: What to Consider

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Brunch (especially one this tasty) is almost always a good idea.

Plenty of brunch enthusiasts would argue that the key to a successful brunch is a solid brunch menu. After all, your guests might show up for the company, but they’ll stay because they want a second—or a third or fourth—helping of food. 

When it comes to brunch foods, the options are limitless. Make a list of all of the dishes you most enjoy eating for breakfast. Do the same for lunch. Any of those items would be totally appropriate for a weekend brunch. Plus, brunch dessert is definitely a thing, so you can add any of your favorite sweets to a brunch menu. 

Speaking of sweet, achieving the perfect brunch menu is about finding the ideal balance of sweet and savory. For every fruit-forward, sugar-dusted scone or biscuit, you’ll want to give your guests a dish that’s heavy on eggs, vegetables, and maybe even a little spice. 

You’ll also want to ensure that you have a healthy blend of foods that are traditionally served for breakfast and foods that are traditionally served for lunch. Most people have a tendency toward sweet or savory dishes and a preference for either breakfast or lunch. If you offer a little bit of everything, everyone is sure to be happy. 

Just like menu planning for any other event, it’s also important to consider any of your guests’ allergies or other dietary restrictions when putting together a weekend brunch. It never hurts to check in with everyone you’ve invited before you lock in your menu to see if there’s anything you should be considering. 

One more note on menu planning: Never underestimate the power of a brunch potluck! If the idea of assembling a full brunch on your own feels intimidating, you can make it a team effort. Invite each of your guests to bring their favorite brunch dish, being sure to communicate any pertinent information about allergies and dietary restrictions. Going the potluck route will ensure that things stay interesting and will give your guests—and you!—the chance to try some new things. 

Now that we’ve talked in broad strokes about what makes for the ideal weekend brunch spread, let’s get into specifics. 

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Sunday Brunch Ideas

Ready to host your very own Sunday brunch at home? Whether you’re brunching with your immediate family or a larger group, these suggestions will help you put together the best meal possible in terms of both food and experience. 

Know What to Buy

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Bagels are one of many items you might consider purchasing instead of making from scratch. 

Who says everything has to be homemade? You can make plenty of delicious brunch items from scratch, but there are others that you might as well pick up at the store. Pastries, donuts, bagels, fresh fruit, and juice can beautifully round out a brunch spread. You can even serve store-bought cookies and cakes as a fun brunch dessert. 

Make Key Items Ahead of Time

Broccoli and cheese frittata cups can be made ahead and warmed up just before you serve them. 

If you are planning to make the brunch dishes you’re serving yourself (instead of buying them at the store), consider making things ahead. There are many delicious make-ahead breakfast recipes that you could use for a weekend brunch menu. Overnight oats, breakfast cookies, chia pudding, frittata… these are just a few of the delicious morning delicacies you can prepare ahead of time so you’re not rushing around to make all the food just before your loved ones arrive. It will feel like a gift from your past self! 

Look for One-Pan Recipes 

french toast
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One-pan breakfast recipes like this French toast casserole are always a crowd-pleaser. (Via @lexiscleankitchen)

There are lots of breakfast casseroles recipes out there that can make preparing brunch for a larger group of people a little easier. These one-pan recipes can be sweet (like a French toast casserole) or savory (like an egg casserole). They’re a great way to incorporate lots of ingredients and serve many people at the same time. Plus, it will make your clean-up faster! 

Serve Brunch Finger Foods

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These French toast waffle fingers make for delicious (and photo-worthy) brunch finger food. (Via @babytoddlerfoods)

Would you like to see your brunch guests mixing, mingling, and generally moving around during your event? No problem! There are plenty of ways to get creative with brunchtime finger foods that will allow attendees to eat and socialize simultaneously. Consider making fruit kebabs, mini muffins, egg cups, sliders, or French toast sliders. 

Make It a Buffet 

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Buffets are great for brunch. 

When in doubt, a buffet is a great option for brunch. Brunch is inherently less formal than meals served later in the day, so there’s no need to offer plated servings or to treat your guests as though they’re at a restaurant. Instead, set out all of your options and allow everyone to choose what they’d like. 

You can set up a buffet no matter how much space you’re working with, either on the kitchen counter or in a designated area near the dining table. Plus, if you’re doing a potluck, guests can add their contributions as they arrive. 

Make a Mimosa Bar

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A mimosa bar will add an extra something special to your weekend brunch. (Via @whattodoinsavannah)

For a boozier brunch experience, put together a mimosa bar! Offer a selection of fruit juices along with sparkling wine. If there are people in the group who don’t drink, you can also provide sparkling cider. To kick things up an extra notch, set out fun garnishes like fresh berries and mint. Now is a good time to break out those champagne glasses that make you feel fancy! 

Don’t Forget the Coffee!

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Find a cozy corner of your kitchen or dining room to set up a coffee bar. 

If you’re gathering in the morning, chances are good that people will show up to brunch sleepy. Tell everyone to skip their usual coffee stop, because you have their fix ready and waiting. Set up a coffee station so your guests can prepare a morning beverage just the way they like it, with various milks, milk alternatives, sweeteners, and flavored syrups. Extra points for fun mugs. 

Pick a Theme

table set
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This pretty tablescape is perfect for a holiday-themed brunch party.

You would consider a theme for a birthday party, holiday gathering, or even a dinner party. Why not do the same for your weekend brunch? Invite your guests to suggest themes based on the season, the pop culture they’re buzzing about, or something they’ve seen on social media. If you’re approaching a holiday, you can also theme your brunch accordingly. Add fun decorations and music to go with it.

Celebrate Special Occasions

cinnamon bun
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Adding a candle to a pastry can turn a standard Sunday brunch into a party. 

Not sure how to celebrate a friend’s upcoming birthday, impending wedding, or a baby on the way? Consider hosting a brunch in their honor. Add a candle to a stack of pancakes or cinnamon roll for the guest of honor and add any of your other favorite party details. 

Party With PJs

Contrary to popular belief, it’s never too late to throw a pajama party. Even if you’re inviting a lot of people to your home for brunch, you can keep things casual (and fun!) by making the dress code PJs. Your guests will have a great excuse to wear their favorite loungewear, and you’ll have plenty of photo ops along the way. 

Play With Tablescapes and Table Settings 

table setting
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This simple setting brings a little something different to the table. 

Now is the time to let your imagination and creativity fly! Search online and on social media for inspiration for your table setting. A brunch tablescape definitely doesn’t need to be fancy, but your guests will love arriving at your home to see that you’ve put a few extra touches on the table in the form of name cards, fresh flowers, napkin rings, candles, and confetti.

Keep the Brunch Party Rolling

One of the best things about hosting people for a Sunday brunch is that the day is just getting started. When you have people at your home for a late morning or early afternoon meal, you might just find yourself spending time with them for a few extra hours. How fun is that? 

Now that you have a handful of brunch ideas, we hope you’ll feel inspired to host a brunch of your very own. Big or small, fancy or casual, potluck or gourmet, there’s nothing like an at-home brunch to make people feel cozy and welcome in your space. Happy brunching! 

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Written by:

Alli Hoff Kosik