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need help with brunch for a bunch

So our holiday brunch went from about 14 people last year to at last count 37! I want to try and make it as painless as possible while also serving great food. So far I have baked french toast, banana bread, muffins and some salads on tap. Booze and other drinks are already handled. I have always done a fritatta but worry that I would have to make several and thats tough to do with only 1 non stick skillet! Does anyone have any other for a crowd egg recipes? Or anything else that I can add to make in advance? The beauty of the french toast is you make it the day before and then just bake off and its easy to multiply - any others like those! I dont want to have to resort to bagels! Thanks all and happy holidays!

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  1. The beauty of a frittata is that it can be premade and then warmed for serving. I did a spinach one for an open house a few years ago, and cut the pieces into triangles, then froze them. Brought them to room temp, reheated them and put on a platter. Once frozen, they keep forever.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rednails

      a Tortilla de Papa is like a frittata but more emphasis on the potatoes than the eggs, and you can do it ahead and serve it in slices at room temperature - no need to reheat. serve with an aioli. yum.

      oops, saw below someone else beat me to this.

    2. quiche is also a good eggy brunch dish. I usually have all my custard mixture prepped the night before, and the morning of, I put it in the pie shells and bake it off. It's best served just barely warm or at room temp, so it works out great.

      1. Were you considering a green salad and or a fruit salad as part of your menu?

        1 Reply
        1. re: enbell

          I also love fruit compotes, dried fruits for winter.

        2. Shirred eggs, a baked English breakfast dish. In a large casserole rub the bottom and sides with a little butter. Then cover the bottom with Swiss cheese. Then add a dozen eggs, one at a time. Where ever they land is fine. Add between a quarter and a half a cup of heavy cream. The goal is to fill in some of the holes between the yolks. Season with salt and pepper then top the whole shebang with Swiss cheese. Bake in a 350 oven between 15 and 30 minutes depending on whether you want soft or hard yolks.

          You could always make a great big batch of cheese grits and keep them warm in a crock pot or pan over sterno. I guarantee they'll go quickly. Just like with mac and cheese or cheese sauce for broccoli, remember to use sharp cheddar cheese - it's gives a better cheese flavor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TheKitchenHotline

            man this is a great Idea, I make a large Christmas breakfast and have never thought of this!

          2. ooooooh! I didnt even think about pre making the fritattas! You all are geniuses. Just like a spanish tortilla, cant think of why that didnt occur to me. And I love the idea of a slow cooker with grits. I would love to have a salad to lighten it up. I was worried about finding (or affording) enough fruit for a fruit salad so was thinking a green one. Last year I did endive spears with walnuts and blue cheese but thats too precious for so many people. Does anyone have a good green salad that will hold up with dressing. Maybe something with escarole....

            2 Replies
            1. re: anunez

              For a salad idea...my aunt makes a great one that uses frozen (gasp!) mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, etc.), dices apples, celery, green onion, and whatever else you like. You keep these in a tupperware bowl with the dressing already on. At the last minute toss with the greens. It is so good! And requested at many family get-togethers. I find this really works with whatever veggies you use, and I make it all the time for picnics and bar b ques.

              1. re: anunez

                Hey, how about an orange salad with greens under and a scattering of Pomegranate seeds. Shouldn't break the bank. Will give you the recipe if you are interested.

              2. I like to use smoked gouda cheese in my grits, it's delicious and you could add crumbled sausage, bacon or ham in with the grits as well...it's a very popular dish. Another dish I like to do for a crowd is sweet potato hash, which is diced potatoes, cooked with onions, celery, red bell pepper, fresh ginger, cilantro & a few other ingredients; it can sit out awhile and is good for any meal as a side or main (for vegetarians).

                As for eggs, you might consider doing deviled eggs as part of a brunch dish, there are just so many variations for these eggs: smoked salmon & dill, country ham, curry, etc. Eggs don't have to be served hot but if you want to serve them that way, you could also soft boiled eggs and keep in some hot water in a slowcooker (use a low setting) or an electric skillet. You could also consider eggs poached in a herb tomato sauce, which would also keep in the electric skillet or chafing dish, top with crumbled goat's cheese or any cheese of your choice.

                1. This make a day ahead strata is such a crowd pleaser ("Tahoe Brunch"):


                  But it might be too similar to the French toast. I have a brunch every year serving this and maybe a vegeterian strata with fruit salad and pastries for a sweet treat.

                  I also have pre-mixed my eggs and frittata fillings (minus the cheese) and kept it in the fridge overnight so all I have to do is pour and bake the next day. Good luck! Have fun!

                  1. You might consider this Sausage and Potato Casserole from Epicurious...have made it many many times for office functions and it flies out of the dish...it's sort of like biscuits and gravy only it's with potatoes instead of biscuits...and I've used Southern style hash browns successfully for this instead of the shredded...if you use frozen hash browns, THAW them first, that's my only tip on this recipe:

                    1. Egg cups done with a biscuit base can be made in batches using a muffin tin
                      Fresh fruit or a simple banana, pineapple or pear foster can be done ahead for a group
                      Spinach casserole
                      Lox and cream cheese with dill and any number of thin breads
                      Yogurt & fruit, maybe some granola
                      Sliced croissants with jam or ham or cheese fillings
                      Tea sandwiches
                      Make ahead crepes with sweet or savory fillings
                      Have fun & happy holidays to you too!

                      1. We've made this recipe in my family forever and I find it's perfect for feeding a crowd. You can easily double or even triple the recipe. As written, it has the flavors of chile rellenos and is a crowd pleaser. But it is also endlessly adaptable - I've omitted the chiles and used bacon, fried onions, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and many other things. I've also used other cheeses - jack, swiss, provolone, feta, etc. It's basically a frittata, but the addition of the flour, baking powder, and cottage cheese make it hold up even better.

                        CHILE BRUNCH

                        10 eggs
                        ½ cup flour
                        1 t. baking powder
                        1 pint cottage cheese
                        2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
                        ½ cup butter, melted and cooled
                        8 oz. diced green chiles, drained

                        • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
                        • In a large bowl, beat eggs until light.
                        • Add flour, baking powder, cottage cheese, Cheddar, and butter. Mix until smooth.
                        • Stir in chiles.
                        • Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 pan.
                        • Bake for 35 minutes or top is browned and center appears firm.
                        • Cut in squares and serve warm.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: aching

                          I make this one too! Mine is called Chile Cheese Fritatta - and it also include a pinch of cumin. It's great for brunch because you can make it the night before (in a pyrex dish) and refrigerate it, then just pop it in the oven. It's not as heavy as some of the egg casseroles with sausage - and it's often nice to have a few things without meat.

                        2. I made Smitten Kitchen's Gruyere and Spinach Strata for brunch a few different times and it is amazing. For that many people, I would do two of them. I also have made an egg and chile puff that is quiet easy. I can post the recipe if you want it. The french toast is another great idea, but with that many people you might want a few different kinds of make ahead dishes.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mcel215

                            I was also going to suggest her strata - it's really delicious.

                            Also on that note, I wanted to do a strata recently but wanted to do something different from the SK one, so I strata-ized Thomas Keller's leek bread pudding from Ad Hoc. I made it once as written and it was so good but I wanted something eggier for a brunch. So I kept the basics of his but incorporated the egg/cheese/bread measurements (plus the overnight soaking) of the SK since I knew I loved the texture results of hers. It turned out amazing. Got tons and tons of compliments. It's a lot of legwork (though less so than other TK recipes), but can definitely be made ahead. Also even if you don't have Ad Hoc, that recipe was published lots of places when the book first came out so I'm sure it would be easy to find.

                            1. re: rachmc

                              Third on that strata, it's terrific!

                          2. I love ham and biscuits at brunch. We do country ham and tiny beaten biscuits but really any would do....
                            A layer salad is a nice addition, I agree with the deviled eggs...they go fast! My husband does a delish sausage, cheese and egg casserole that you do the night before that feeds a lot and is tasty.
                            Oh and sausage balls are always a big hit.
                            We love on the coast so there is always so seafood like shrimp cocktail or crab dip at brunches.

                            1. A sliced ham,
                              or a platter of brown sugar bacon (pig candy)

                              Or a breakfast burrito bar
                              set out dishes of scrambled eggs, sausages, cheese, diced ham or bacon, maybe hash browns or refried beans, flour tortillas, salsa, sour cream, avocado or guacamole

                              Let guests build their own burritos

                              1. frittata is always my first inclination, because as others have already said, you can make it ahead. a breakfast casserole or baked oatmeal also works well in these situations, polenta is a great alternative to grits - you can serve it with fruit compote.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  I know this sounds plebeian, but my mom always made an overnight crumbled sausage and egg breakfast casserole. It looks terrible and tastes great.

                                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                                    Graydon, this is a go-to advance holiday breakfast around these here parts. Did your mom use a layer of crouton or day-old bread? I do mine with shredded hash browns and chorizo, and serve it with salsa. Yumm.

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      UM, YUM. THIS is what i want for brunch at your house!

                                2. I had brunch for a bunch on Sunday and the biggest hit was a baked half a ham, spiral-cut but put a sharp knife out beside it, with a basket of rolls sliced almost through and mustard on the side so people could make little sandwiches. That morning I put it in the oven for an hour to heat then put the glaze on it from the little packet---very little work.

                                  Another brunch dish I have used in the past is kedgeree, which you can make most of the day before. Saute sliced onion, golden raisins, salt, and curry powder in a whole stick of butter then add to hot cooked rice. Refrigerate this. Also poach some fresh salmon, break it into chunks, and refrigerate that. Hardboil some eggs. To assemble for brunch: microwave the rice good and hot. Microwave the salmon barely so it doesn't get tough. Gently stir the salmon chunks into the rice. Serve with wedges of hardboiled eggs, lemon wedges, grated coconut, ground peanuts, chopped parsley, and chutney---an elegant breakfast dish from old Anglo-Indian days.

                                  Also, anunez, consider adding a fruit dish, either fresh fruit salad or a casserole of sliced apples baked with sugar and cinnamon and topped with bread crumbs and butter, served hot.

                                  A couple more:1) Krusteaz (brand) at stores owned by Safeway sells a big bag of frozen tiny pancakes about 2 inches across---you can dump them all into a pie plate and microwave them and serve with any topping you want. 2) Precooked link pork breakfast sausage, wrapped in Crescent Roll dough and baked for 10-15 minutes

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Querencia

                                    that Kedgeree sounds so wonderful, so many flavors zinging around each other! i'd heard the name of the dish before, but had no idea it was so exotic. yum. copying that down.

                                  2. I'd go with quiche. The menu is already pretty bready, so breakfast casseroles that use bread or potato might seem too heavy. I'd add a big plate of breakfast sausage to round out the meal. A bit of spicy meat can help offset the sweeter dishes.

                                    Have you considered a waldorf salad? Yes, it's a little heavy but it will give you that fruit component and a little welcome crunch.

                                    Another thought: french toast and muffins and banana bread might be a little overkill on the sweet bready stuff. I'd suggest doing either banana bread or muffins, but not both.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Christnp

                                      You could make some pimento cheese and serve with mini biscuits or serve the biscuits with country ham and red pepper jelly.

                                    2. Thank you all so much for the input. I finally asked my boyfriend what he wanted to serve (oops) and he had a major vote for scones so we are doing 2 types of those, the baked french toast, a couple banana breads, a fruit and a green salad per suggestions and the fritattas. And of course because enough is never enough, sea salt and pecan chocolate bark as favors! Happy holidays to all

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: anunez

                                        just a *teeny* suggestion in case some of your guests want a protein alternative to eggs...you might want to consider putting out some low fat Greek-style yogurt or ricotta. that they can top with the fruit or enjoy with the baked goods.

                                        i'm sure it's all going to be delicious have fun!

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          Good thinking. If anyone is dairy intolerant (I am sure the OP knows by now) a tofu scramble might be a good alternative.

                                        2. re: anunez

                                          If you are making the scones, consider "Sticky Fingers Bakery" scone mix, available at Coast Plus, and comes in several flavors. All you have to do is add water, and bake for about 20 min.. I make mine mini. They are so surprisingly good! I always keep a package in my pantry for unexpected guests, or on days I can't get the kids out of bed for school.