Nothing’s better on a weekend than a nice lazy brunch catching up with friends. But, who has time for those long waits at the local spots? Nobody. So, skip the line and host your own banging brunch at home.

Brunch s a casual occasion by nature, so this is a super stress-free way to get together and enjoy some quality time. Plus, with just a little bit of planning, you can still sleep in on Saturday morning and get your private brunch on that same afternoon.

Do-Ahead Dishes

The key to an easy, breezy brunch is to stick with make-ahead meals to keep it super simple.

Egg Course: The obvious go-to for brunch, eggs are a must. A great, easy way to incorporate them into your menu are with my Bite-Sized Bacon, Egg & Cheese Frittatas. You can make them the day before and gently reheat before serving. They’re also pretty tasty at room temperature. A baked strata is another idea that you can assemble the night before and pop in the oven when you wake up.

Something Sweet: French toast casseroles or frozen cinnamonbuns are easily baked the morning of, or you can try my Citrusy Belgian Waffles with Crème Fraîche & Raspberries. They’re super delicious and you can make them before the troops arrive, then keep them warm on a resting rack in oven.

Something Savory: If you prefer the lunch side of brunch, a smoked salmon platter with cream cheese, minced onions and capers is great alongside pre-sliced bagels, or you could go for a small spiral ham with fruit chutney. If you can’t brunch without bacon, bake it in advance and and keep it warm in the oven.

Bakery Basket: Use a pretty cloth napkin to line a basket and then pile it with bagels, muffins and cookies. Take things up a notch by baking fresh Toasted Oat Scones with Cranberry & Ginger or just have friends grab treats from the bakery on their way over. Baked goods is a great answer to brunch guests when they ask, “What can I bring?”

Pretty Parfaits: For a simple, serve yourself setting, put out a variety of yogurts, granola and fresh fruit (buy precut!), then set guests up with serving bowls or parfait glasses to make their own layered treat.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee: Set up your coffee maker the night before and borrow carafes as needed. Want to make it even easier? Put a Keurig on the counter with a basket containing a variety of coffees and teas.

Boozy Brunch: Um, of course! Grab a bottle or two of bubbly and offer a variety of juices for make-your-own-mimosas (mango is an amazing option to traditional OJ) or blow them away with my special Spicy Sriracha Bloody Marys.

Buffet Your Way to Easy Brunch

No need to worry about place settings. Just make sure you’ve got enough seating and set up a serve-yourself buffet. Don’t have enough space in one room to put everything out? Great! Using multiple places to split up food and drinks actually works super well to control traffic and encourage mingling. Keep warm dishes in the kitchen, set out baked goods on the dining table or sideboard, and build your bar in the living room or den.

The pro tip is to set everything up the night before with post-it notes to label where everything goes. This not only makes sure you keep your plan straight, it’s a good way to help any helpers help you. All your plates, utensils, glasses and coffee cups can be set up the night before, too.

Lounge & Linger

Ask any weekend server: brunch is a long, lazy meal that can last for hours. It’s not so great for restaurant turnover, but it’s awesome for giving your guests an excuse to rest and relax before heading back to work on Monday.

Here are some ideas to set the scene and make your guests comfortable and content:

  • To encourage lounging, make sure there are plenty of places to sit and lay out floor cushions to create a casual space for hanging.
  • Add ambiance with flowers,but put them on a buffet where they won’t block conversation.
  • Make self-service a snap with pre-sliced bagels and breads, and already-cut-into-portions casseroles, and roll utensils into napkins to have at the ready on the buffet.
  • Place extra pitchers of water with glasses on the side, or ice buckets with individual-sized bottles in a couple of easy access spots.
  • Create a fun playlist in advance or try a groovy Pandora channel for background music. Or, find that early-arriver guest who loves to DJ and put them on task when they show up.
  • Put out crossword puzzles and pens, print out the funny pages or take it old school with a fun round of Mad Libs to enhance the entertainment.

Now, how simple is that? You can practically set up and host your banging brunch in less time than it takes to go out, and you’ll have tons more fun as a result.

Have your own easy ideas for weekend brunch at home? Share them with us below!

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