If you are looking for ideas on How To Plan A Stress-Free Brunch On A Budget, keep reading.
In this article, we share tips for menu planning, how to keep costs down by using seasonal ingredients, and advanced preparation ideas to save time on the day.
You will also find some easy and crowd-pleasing menu ideas, so you can entertain guests and enjoy the festivities with them instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
So let's get started and learn how to plan a stress-free and budget-friendly brunch that will impress your guests and leave you feeling proud and satisfied.
- Plan your Menu In Advance
- Keep Costs Down and Use Seasonal Ingredients
- Get Creative With Your Proteins
- Don't Forget The Sides
- Plan For Drinks
- Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
- Make Ahead Tips
- How Many Dishes Should I Serve At A Brunch Party
- 15 Brunch on A Budget Menu Ideas
- More Easy Recipe Collections
Plan your Menu In Advance
The key to a successful and affordable brunch party is planning your menu.
Start by deciding on the dishes you want to serve and make a list of the ingredients you'll need because this will help you to shop efficiently and avoid overspending.
Keep the stress down and choose dishes you can make a day or two in advance or freeze, or make dishes that so that the guests and serve themselves.
Here are some cheap brunch recipe ideas for a crowd of any size to get you going:
- Chia puddings like this banana chia pudding can be made a day or two in advance, you can make them in individual serving dishes or one big bowl and serve it family style.
- Overnight oats or rice flakes are great are a great breakfast idea and are very cheap to make. Just like the chia puddings these can be prepared in advance, and can be made in just about any flavor like these cinnamon banana overnight rice flakes, or take a look at the variety of flavors of these overnight oat recipes.
- Pancakes whip a batch of homemade pancakes and serve them with your favorite toppings.
- Frittatas are filling and can be made with eggs and cheese and whatever vegetables you have on hand. Frittata like this pumpkin feta frittata can be made in advance and reheated or served at room temperature.
- Quiche is similar to frittatas and is made with milk, cheese, eggs, and vegetables. These can be one whole piece that can be cut into smaller servings like this quiche Lorraine, or you can make mini quiches in puff pastry cases. These can be made ahead of time frozen and defrosted a day or two before and reheated on the day.
- Pinwheels like these baked ham and cheese pinwheels will be welcomed by young and old and are very easy to make.
- Smoothie bowls like this purple smoothie bowl are easy to make, and you can adapt the recipe to suit seasonal fruits.
- Breakfast casseroles are also quick and easy to make, and depending on the recipe, most can be made in advance and reheated on the day, like this dairy-free breakfast casserole.
- Fresh fruit salad served with yogurt is a great healthy option, and you don't need much to make a great-tasting salad.
- Breakfast burritos can be made with store-bought or homemade soft flour tortillas and filled with scrambled eggs, beans, cheese, and salsa.
- Muffins and quick bread like banana bread are quick and easy to make with pantry staple items.
Now you don't need to make every breakfast item for brunch - store bought-items can also be part of the menu.
But make sure they are as fresh as they can be for the best possible taste. You could serve things like:
- Hash browns serve these crispy and nice and hot and lightly seasoned.
- Bagels with cream cheese and other toppings are always a great choice.
- English muffin breakfast pizzas split English muffins in half and top them with pizza sauce, bacon, cheese, and scrambled eggs, then warm in the oven for a few minutes before serving.
- Yogurt parfaits are easy to make with store-bought yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola.
- Sausages go well with scrambled or fried eggs.
Keep Costs Down and Use Seasonal Ingredients
Keep the costs down when planning a brunch on a budget by making the most of local seasonal produce.
Using seasonal ingredients ensures that your ingredients are readily available, and they usually cost less than non-seasonal or imported produce.
For example, when planning your epic brunch menu in summer, take advantage of fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and melons, along with vegetables like corn and zucchini.
In the Fall use seasonal fruits like apples and figs or hearty vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
Winter is good for citrus fruits, pomegranates, and winter squash. Spring is great for asparagus, and peas.
With these seasonal ingredients, you can create several dishes, including fresh fruit salads, quiches, and frittatas, for a delicious and budget-friendly feast.
Get Creative With Your Proteins
Meats can be one of the more expensive items on your menu, but there are ways to keep costs down.
One option is to use eggs as the main protein source. Eggs can be prepared in many different ways, from scrambled and boiled to frittatas and quiches.
Another option is to incorporate beans and legumes into your menu, which are a great source of protein and fiber.
Don't Forget The Sides
Sides can be an affordable way to add variety and flavor to your brunch menu.
Fresh fruits, roasted vegetables, and whole-grain bread or fluffy dinner rolls are all great options and are perfect for making the brunch table look plentiful.
You can also create simple dips and spreads using inexpensive ingredients like hummus and yogurt.
Plan For Drinks
Beverages are an important part of any brunch, but they can also be a hidden expense.
Instead of buying expensive pre-made drinks, consider making your own like:
- Freshly squeezed juices with in-season fruits
- Serve affordable drinks like almond milk tea or cold brew coffee or infused waters, or simple homemade flavored milk like strawberry almond milk.
- Or go with the standard hot coffee and tea and serve these with jugs of milk, cream, and sugar for everyone to help themselves.
Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If you're hosting brunch, don't be afraid to ask your guests to bring a dish or two.
This is a great way to spread the cost and ensures everyone can enjoy their favorite foods.
Make Ahead Tips
When planning a brunch or any party, there are plenty of ways to cook ahead and make things easier on the day. Here is how we like to plan parties:
Up to one month in advance
- Create a menu of the dishes you would like to serve.
- If you have on that list dishes like muffins, pancakes, quiches, frittata, or breakfast casseroles, you can make these now and freeze them.
Up to 2-3 days in advance
- Make any spreads and dips and store them in sealed containers in the fridge.
- Prepare salad dressings and keep them in separate containers in the fridge.
- Take out any frozen foods you have prepared and allow them to defrost in the fridge.
- Make any drinks like cold brew, flavored milk, or infused waters.
The day before
- Set up your serving table with serving platters, plates, forks, napkins, etc.
- Set up your food serving table.
- Set up the beverage station with nonperishable items.
- Prepare any salads and store them covered in the fridge without any dressings. If your salad has tomatoes or avocado, keep them out of the salad for now and add them to the salad on the day of serving.
- Cut up any fruits that won't discolor or break down for a fruit salad or fruit platter and store them in the fridge.
- If you are making pancakes or waffles mix up the dry ingredients and store them in an air-airtight container until the party.
The morning of the brunch:
- Reheat foods that need heating.
- Cook any pancakes and waffles and keep them warm in the oven.
- Finish setting up your beverage station.
- Finish preparing fruit and vegetable salads and any other dishes.
- Arrange the food on your serving table.
- Enjoy your party!
How Many Dishes Should I Serve At A Brunch Party
As a general rule, you should plan on serving 3-5 different dishes, including a mix of sweet and savory options. Use the following categories to help you plan a balanced menu:
- Main dishes (choose 1-2): frittata, quiche, breakfast casserole, baked French toast.
- Breakfast meats (if you are serving meat, choose 1-2 options): you could serve bacon, sausages, ham, or cold deli meats.
- Bread and pasties: Offer a selection of fresh bread, pastries, muffins (sweet or savory), quick bread, croissants, bagels, or biscuits (scones).
- Sweet options: Fruit salad, flavored yogurts, yogurt parfait, pancakes, or waffles.
- Side dishes: roasted potatoes, hash browns, grilled vegetables, or salad.
Also, when planning your brunch on a budget, it is a good idea to consider any dietary restrictions guests may have such as: vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
15 Brunch on A Budget Menu Ideas
Have fun when planning your budget brunch menu, here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Mediterranean Brunch
2. New York Deli Brunch
- Main Dishes - Bagels and Lox, Reuben sandwiches
- Meats - Corned Beef and Pastrami
- Bread and pasties - Bagels, rye bread, and black and white cookies
- Sweet Options - Cheesecake and chocolate babka
- Side Dishes - Potato salad, coleslaw, and pickles
3. Mexican Fiesta Brunch
- Main Dishes - Huevos rancheros and chilaquiles
- Meats - Grilled chicken and chorizo Sausage
- Bread and Pastries - Corn tortillas, Mexican sweet bread, and cinnamon sugar donuts
- Sweet Options - Mexican hot chocolate and tres leches cake
- Side Dishes - Refried beans, grilled vegetables, and spicy rice
4. Southern Comfort Brunch
- Main Dishes - Biscuits and gravy, shrimp, and grits
- Meats - Fried Chicken and ham
- Breads and Pastries - Buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, and beignets
- Sweet Options - Sweet potato pie, and pecan pie
- Side Dishes - Collard Greens, mac and cheese, and deviled eggs
5. Brunch Buffet
- Main Dishes - Scrambled eggs and Belgian waffles
- Meats - Bacon and breakfast sausage
- Bread and Pastries - Bagels, English muffins, and croissants
- Sweet Options - Fresh fruit salad, donut holes, and mini muffins
- Side Dishes - Roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and grilled asparagus
6. French Bistro Brunch
- Main Dishes - Croque Monsieur and quiche Lorraine
- Meats - Ham and smoked salmon
- Bread and pasties - Baguette, croissant, and pain au chocolat
- Sweet Options - Creme brulee and fruit tart
- Side Dishes - Mixed greens salad, ratatouille, and gratin Dauphinois
7. California Fresh Brunch
- Main Dishes - Avocado toast and breakfast burrito
- Meats - Turkey bacon and grilled chicken breast
- Bread and Pastries - Whole grain bread, English muffins, and sourdough baguette
- Sweet Options - Fresh fruit salad and granola parfait
- Side Dishes - Mixed greens salad, roasted sweet potatoes, and grilled asparagus
8. Asian Fusion Brunch
- Main Dishes - Congee and kimchi fried rice
- Meats - Korean BBQ short ribs and teriyaki glazed salmon
- Bread and Pastries - Steamed buns, soba noodles, and vegetable spring rolls
- Sweet Options - Mango sticky rice and matcha green tea cake
- Side Dishes - Miso soup, Stir-fried vegetables
9. British Breakfast Brunch
- Main Dishes - Full English breakfast and Welsh rarebit
- Meats - Bacon and sausages
- Bread and pastries - Toast, crumpets, and scones with clotted cream and jam
- Sweet Options - Bread pudding and trifle
- Side Dishes - Bubble and squeak, grilled tomatoes, and baked beans
10. Vegetarian Brunch
- Main Dishes - Vegetarian quiche and tofu Scramble
- Meats - Vegetarian sausage and tempeh bacon
- Bread and Pastries - Whole grain bread, bagels, and fruit and nut muffins
- Sweet Options - Vegan banana bread and mixed berry parfait
- Side Dishes - Roasted tomatoes, grilled portobello mushrooms, and avocado slices
11. Brunch with a Twist
12. Middle Eastern Brunch
13. Tex-Mex Brunch
14. Italian Brunch
- Main Dishes - Frittata and breakfast panini
- Meats - Prosciutto and Italian sausage
- Bread and Pastries - Focaccia bread, croissants, and biscotti
- Sweet Options - Cannoli and tiramisu
- Side Dishes - Caprese salad, roasted potatoes, and grilled asparagus
15. Classic Brunch
- Main Dishes - Quiche and eggs benedict
- Meats - Ham and bacon
- Bread and Pastries - English muffins, bagels, and croissants
- Sweet Options - Cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit salad
- Side Dishes - Roasted tomatoes, sauteed spinach, and homemade fries
We hope that these ideas for How to Plan a Stress-Free Brunch on a Budget are helpful to you in planning your brunch menu.
With the many different cuisines and options for meat-eaters and vegetarians, you can choose or mix and match one that suits your taste and budget.
Whether you prefer a classic brunch with eggs and bacon or something more exotic like Middle Eastern or Brunch with A Twist, there's something for everyone.
Don't forget to include some drinks to complete the meal. Happy brunching!
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How to Plan A Stress-Free Brunch On A Budget
Have fun when planning your budget brunch menu, here are some menu ideas to get you started:
- Mediterranean BrunchMain Dishes - Shakshuka and falafelMeats - Lamb sausage and grilled halloumi cheeseBread and Pastries - Pita Bread, spanakopita, and foccaciaSweet Options - Baklava and Greek yogurt homemade or store-bought with honey and fruitSide Dishes - Hummus, baba ganoush, and tabouli salad
- New York Deli BrunchMain Dishes - Bagels and Lox, Reuben sandwichesMeats - Corned Beef and PastramiBread and pasties - Bagels, rye bread, and black and white cookiesSweet Options - Cheesecake and chocolate babkaSide Dishes - Potato salad, coleslaw, and pickles
- Mexican Fiesta BrunchMain Dishes - Huevos rancheros and chilaquilesMeats - Grilled chicken and chorizo SausageBread and Pastries - Corn tortillas, Mexican sweet bread, and cinnamon sugar donutsSweet Options - Mexican hot chocolate and tres leches cakeSide Dishes - Refried beans, grilled vegetables, and spicy rice
- Southern Comfort BrunchMain Dishes - Biscuits and gravy, shrimp, and gritsMeats - Fried Chicken and hamBreads and Pastries - Buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, and beignetsSweet Options - Sweet potato pie, and pecan pieSide Dishes - Collard Greens, mac and cheese, and deviled eggs
- Brunch BuffetMain Dishes - Scrambled eggs and Belgian wafflesMeats - Bacon and breakfast sausageBread and Pastries - Bagels, English muffins, and croissantsSweet Options - Fresh fruit salad, donut holes, and mini muffinsSide Dishes - Roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and grilled asparagus
- French Bistro BrunchMain Dishes - Croque Monsieur and quiche LorraineMeats - Ham and smoked salmonBread and pasties - Baguette, croissant, and pain au chocolatSweet Options - Creme brulee and fruit tartSide Dishes - Mixed greens salad, ratatouille, and gratin Dauphinois
- California Fresh BrunchMain Dishes - Avocado toast and breakfast burritoMeats - Turkey bacon and grilled chicken breastBread and Pastries - Whole grain bread, English muffins, and sourdough baguetteSweet Options - Fresh fruit salad and granola parfaitSide Dishes - Mixed greens salad, roasted sweet potatoes, and grilled asparagus
- Asian Fusion BrunchMain Dishes - Congee and kimchi fried riceMeats - Korean BBQ short ribs and teriyaki glazed salmonBread and Pastries - Steamed buns, soba noodles, and vegetable spring rollsSweet Options - Mango sticky rice and matcha green tea cakeSide Dishes - Miso soup, Stir-fried vegetables
- British Breakfast BrunchMain Dishes - Full English breakfast and Welsh rarebitMeats - Bacon and sausagesBread and pastries - Toast, crumpets, and scones with clotted cream and jamSweet Options - Bread pudding and trifleSide Dishes - Bubble and squeak, grilled tomatoes, and baked beans
- Vegetarian BrunchMain Dishes - Vegetarian quiche and tofu ScrambleMeats - Vegetarian sausage and tempeh baconBread and Pastries - Whole grain bread, bagels, and fruit and nut muffinsSweet Options - Vegan banana bread and mixed berry parfaitSide Dishes - Roasted tomatoes, grilled Portobello mushrooms, and avocado slices
- Brunch with a TwistMain Dishes - Breakfast tacos and savory crepesMeats - Smoked salmon and turkey sausageBread and Pastries - Naan bread, pumpernickel bread, and banana breadSweet Options - Lemon bars and carrot cake cupcakesSide Dishes - Hash browns, grilled peppers and onions, and roasted broccoli
- Middle Eastern BrunchMain Dishes - Shakshuka and Foul Mudammas (Fava Bean Dip)Meats - Lamb kofta and chicken shawarmaBread and Pastries - Pita bread, Manakish (Lebanese Flatbread), and Simit (Turkish Sesame Bread)Sweet Options - Baklava and halvaSide Dishes - Hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouleh salad
- Tex-Mex BrunchMain Dishes - Breakfast quesadillas and chorizo breakfast burritosMeats - Chorizo and grilled steakBread and Pastries - Cornbread, flour tortillas, and churrosSweet Options - Sopapilla cheesecake and Tres Leches CupcakesSide Dishes - Refried beans, Spanish rice, and grilled vegetables
- Italian BrunchMain Dishes - Frittata and breakfast paniniMeats - Prosciutto and Italian sausageBread and Pastries - Focaccia bread, croissants, and biscottiSweet Options - Cannoli and tiramisuSide Dishes - Caprese salad, roasted potatoes, and grilled asparagus
- Classic BrunchMain Dishes - Quiche and eggs benedictMeats - Ham and baconBread and Pastries - English muffins, bagels, and croissantsSweet Options - Cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit saladSide Dishes - Roasted tomatoes, sauteed spinach, and homemade fries