You’ve probably heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”—usually invoked to convince someone who claims not to be hungry to have something to eat. Experts claim that you won’t have the energy to tackle the day if you don’t get something in your stomach relatively early on. Every body is different, but this conventional wisdom often proves true. When was the last time that having breakfast made your day worse? Of course, there’s a big difference between eating something for breakfast and eating something special for breakfast. If you want to take your breakfast game to the next level, a breakfast buffet might be your best bet. 

While there are no rules stating you can’t have the whole buffet to yourself, setting up the first meal of the day as a beautiful spread is bound to inspire you to include others. Your friends, family members, and other loved ones will love the chance to join you for a gorgeous breakfast buffet—and you won’t have to push anyone to eat by reminding them that it’s the most important meal of the day. 

If you like the idea of serving and hosting a breakfast buffet but aren’t sure where to start, keep reading! You’ll find suggestions for breakfast buffet foods, as well as breakfast buffet ideas to help you set the tone and make the whole event one to remember. 

Breakfast Buffet Ideas 

To be clear, a breakfast buffet is a morning meal consisting of multiple dishes that guests serve themselves. You can serve the items on a buffet line on a counter or in the center of the table where you and your guests are eating. Setting up a meal as a buffet—rather than a plated progression of dishes—simply makes things a bit less formal and allows attendees to choose what they want to eat on their own terms. 

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about some more specific breakfast buffet ideas. 

Create a Tablescape

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Even simple flowers and vases can elevate your breakfast buffet.

Nothing takes a meal to the next level more than a beautifully prepared table. A tablescape can be as simple as fresh flowers and a fun tablecloth or as extravagant as handmade place cards and DIY centerpieces. Design your tablescape to fit the mood and season. The added touch will make your guests that much more excited to have a seat and enjoy the meal. 

Make It a Potluck

If you’re not much of a breakfast chef, you can still host a lovely breakfast buffet. Invite each of your guests to bring a favorite breakfast dish of their own. When you do this, you’ll ensure that everyone has something they love to eat on the table. Plus, you’ll take a little cooking pressure off your metaphorical plate. This way, you can focus on a smaller number of dishes and on being an excellent host. 

Master the Breakfast Basics 

Restaurant Kitchen Basics: The Breakfast Course 

Add a DIY Element 

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Invite your breakfast guests to prepare oatmeal, parfaits, and other dishes to their exact specifications. 

Who says breakfast can’t be an interactive activity? There are many standard breakfast dishes that guests can customize to their tastes without a lot of extra work on your end. Here are a few examples:

  • DIY Oatmeal: Prepare a large batch of oatmeal on the stove or in your slow cooker and provide a variety of oatmeal toppings, including fresh fruit, brown sugar, cinnamon, chocolate chips, nut butter, nuts, and honey. 
  • DIY Parfaits: Set out yogurt, fresh fruit, granola, cereal, honey, and other parfait fixings on your buffet. 
  • DIY Toast Bar: Offer a variety of breads, bagels, and English muffins, along with a selection of spreads and fresh fruits and vegetables. People can prepare everything from peanut butter and jelly to avocado toast! Make sure a toaster or toaster oven is nearby to crisp things up. 

Mix Sweet and Savory 

breakfast spread
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There’s an art to composing the perfect breakfast menu, and it’s all about balancing the sweet with the savory. 

As you browse recipes for breakfast buffet foods, focus on achieving the perfect balance of sweet and savory dishes. Some people go for sweet when it comes to their morning meal—think French toast, pancakes, waffles, and fruit salad. Others like a savory egg dish and breakfast meat. If your goal is to make everyone at the table happy, be sure you have a little of everything. 

Make a Breakfast Casserole 

french toast
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A French toast casserole like this one is easier to serve a crowd than individual slices of French toast… and just as delicious. 

One-pan breakfast casseroles are easily among the best breakfast buffet ideas. They’re hearty, easy to serve, and quick to clean up. Plus, there are tons of options, both sweet and savory. Here are a few breakfast casseroles to consider when you’re planning your breakfast buffet: 

Offer a Range of Breakfast Beverages

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A mimosa is one of many fantastic morning beverage options. 

When you’re putting together a breakfast buffet, you’re probably more likely to consider the food than the drinks, but there are plenty of great beverages to serve in the morning! Set up a hot beverage bar with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Offer fresh juices, too—and if you want to have a little extra fun (or turn breakfast into brunch), serve a bottle of champagne to make mimosas! 

Rise and Shine!

Armed with these breakfast buffet ideas, you should be all set to host some fabulous morning meals. Whether you’re going for informal or fancy, hearty or healthy, your loved ones will be thrilled to start their day on a delicious note. 

Add Coffee Cocktails to Your Breakfast Buffet Menu

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Written by:

Alli Hoff Kosik