Valentine's Day happens to fall on a Sunday this year, so, if you're not plotting an elaborate dinner for two with your special someone, brunch together is another great option. But, just as with dinner, we counsel against going out to eat on Valentine's Day—especially since serving your partner breakfast in bed is about as romantic as it gets. We've rounded up 13 recipes for sumptuous breakfast dishes that even late risers won't mind being woken up for—eggs all ways, French toast, muffins, quiche, and more. And, because calling it "brunch" gives you an excuse to have a noontime tipple, we've also included seven drink recipes, including fresh takes on Bloody Marys and mimosas.
Foolproof Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict is an elegant brunch standard, but its primary components—poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce—are often intimidating to home cooks. In this recipe, we'll teach you how to make restaurant-quality poached eggs using nothing more than a mesh strainer, and perfect Hollandaise with a hand blender. You'll end up with soft, intact orbs of egg smothered in a creamy, light sauce, all of it to be piled onto a toasted English muffin with crispy ham.
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict With Dill Hollandaise
Eggs Benedict is usually made with Canadian bacon or ham. For an impressive variation with a Nordic flair, consider swapping out the pork for smoked salmon and adding chopped dill to the Hollandaise—it's a natural pairing for salmon, and its bright grassy flavor cuts through the richness of the eggs and sauce.
Eggs Sardou (New Orleans-Style Poached Eggs With Artichoke Hearts, Spinach, and Hollandaise)
Got a vegetarian for a valentine? This is an alternative to eggs Benedict that's vegetable-forward, but just as rich. We replace the English muffin and Canadian bacon with slowly simmered creamed spinach and artichoke hearts warmed in butter.
Crab Imperial Eggs en Cocotte
Eggs en cocotte is one of those dishes that look so pretty and put-together, people automatically assume they're difficult. In reality, the only challenge here is getting the timing right so the eggs come out just-set, soft, and custardy—a process you can aid with the combination of a hot water bath, a low oven, and a bit of intuition. This version, inspired by the Maryland dish Crab Imperial, sets the egg atop a mixture of crabmeat, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard. For more variations, check out our recipes for eggs en cocotte with mushrooms and Gruyère and tomato and goat cheese.
French-Style Soft, Spoonable Scrambled Eggs
Even if you normally like your eggs soft-scrambled or fluffy, Valentine's Day is a good occasion to try something unusual and a little fancier. Cooking them over low heat and whisking constantly yields exquisitely delicate scrambled eggs that are spoon-soft, almost pourable. If you really feel in the mood to celebrate, try spreading them on toast points and topping them with smoked salmon, lobster, or even caviar.
Easy Mixed Cheese Quiche
If you're anything like me, you probably have a refrigerator full of odds and ends of cheese that are dangerously close to passing their prime. It's painful to throw them out, we know, yet there's only so much cheese one can snack on in a day. Instead, use them to make a quiche so cheesy, so melty, so delicious, your partner will never guess that it's made from scraps. It's simple, too: Just blind-bake a crust using our Easy Pie Dough, fill it with trimmed cheese leftovers, and pour in a mixture of whisked cream, eggs, and milk. A garnish of minced chives feels properly French.
Endive, Shallot, and Goat Cheese Tart
Most of us are used to encountering endive in its fresh, bitter, and crunchy state. When sautéed in butter, its astringency mellows considerably, and its earthy sweetness comes out to play. Pair it with shallots and goat cheese—ideally firm, funky Bûcheron de Chèvre, but regular goat cheese will also work—in this buttery golden tart. Adding a couple of anchovies to the filling gives it umami depth.
Eggy Puds (Breakfast Yorkshire Puddings With Bacon and Fried Eggs)
A Yorkshire pudding, for the uninitiated, is nothing like the US version of pudding—it's more of a puffy, deeply crisped dough basket, similar to a large popover. Resting the moist batter overnight will help your puddings rise especially high and light, as well as giving them more complex, toasty flavor. How to make them even better? A dappling of diced bacon before baking, then topping off the baskets with fried eggs and Hollandaise sauce.
Bourbon-Glazed Pork Chops and Fried Eggs
If you and your sweetheart can't get enough bacon and sausage with breakfast, why not skip the charade and go for broke by serving pork chops with your eggs? Here, we rub the chops with a sweet-and-savory combination of brown sugar and smoked paprika, then deglaze the pan with bourbon to make a flavorful sauce. Potatoes would be a good side to soak up all that glaze and runny egg yolk.
Chorizo and Halloumi Pancakes With Fried Eggs
Who says pancakes are only good when they're sweet? These cakes are packed with halloumi—the salty white Cypriot cheese that's delicious when fried—and studded with Spanish-style chorizo. Using slices of halloumi rather than cubes helps to maximize the contrast between the crisp batter and the meaty, pliable cheese at the center of each pancake. A fried egg on top rounds the pancakes out into a meal.
Perfect Quick-and-Easy French Toast
For a simple, comforting breakfast that requires just a few basic ingredients, French toast is the way to go. A batter made with three eggs per cup of milk produces French toast that strikes the perfect balance between moist-and-custardy and light-and-fluffy. Sprinkling on some sugar while the first side of the toast cooks creates a thin, crackly caramel coating.
Guava and Cream Cheese Puff-Pastry Waffle
Pressing rolled puff pastry in a waffle iron yields a treat that's crisp and flaky on the outside, warm and airy inside—and, even better, it can be loaded up with any fillings you want to make hot and gooey, from pepperoni pizza to Buffalo chicken. For a sweet and colorful Valentine's Day breakfast that's a variation on a Colombian fruit-filled pastry, stuff your waffle with guava paste and cream cheese.
Cheesecake Streusel Muffins
Resembling a brilliant love child of muffins and Danish, these muffins have a tender, buttery crumb outside, a cream cheese filling in the center, and a topping of crumbly streusel. Fresh out of the oven, they're moist and creamy, with a pleasant tang from lemon zest in both the filling and the batter.
The Bitter Mimosa
Though the mimosa is a beloved brunch drink for good reason, the combination of orange juice and sparkling wine is a little one-note. For a more grown-up flavor, try this take, which swaps the orange juice for sweet-tart grapefruit juice and adds bitter Cynar.
Mezcal Mary With Roasted Jalapeño and Bacon
We love a traditional Bloody Mary, but versatility and adaptability are part of what makes this cocktail so good. Among our many Bloody variations, one of our favorites is this smoky number made with mezcal and a roasted-jalapeño purée. Pump up the smoke with a bacon swizzle stick, you say? Don't mind if we do.
For a more tart, purely refreshing alternative that won't overshadow your celebratory meal, mix gin, lemon juice, sugar, and bubbly into a French 75. For sparkling cocktails, we generally recommend an affordable wine, like Prosecco or Cava, but, if you're so inclined, Valentine's Day is a good excuse to splurge on a bottle of Champagne.
Legend has it that the Negroni Sbagliato was invented when a bartender, in an attempt to make a Negroni, accidentally reached for sparkling wine instead of gin—sbagliato is the Italian word for "bungled" or "mistaken." Sounds apocryphal to me, but that doesn't make this bitter, effervescent mixture of Campari, sweet vermouth, and sparkling wine any less tasty.
A pretty, rose-colored twist on an Aperol spritz, this drink cuts bitter Cocchi Americano with a sweet and herbal raspberry-mint syrup and sparkling wine. In addition to being lovely to look at, this spritz is fairly low in alcohol—so you can enjoy it with breakfast and still have energy for the rest of the day.
Honey and Marmalade Sour
If you can spread marmalade on toast and call it breakfast, why not mix it into a cocktail and do the same? This riff on a vodka sour uses lemon juice to highlight the citrusy flavor of orange marmalade, while the bitter pith in the marmalade offers some complexity. An easy honey syrup lends sweetness to round out the drink.
Sparkling Lemon-Suze Pitcher Cocktail
This easy-drinking cocktail pairs Suze—a French gentian-based aperitif—with woodsy sage and tart lemon. You can make the mixer in advance and combine it with sparkling wine just before serving to keep morning-of prep time to a minimum.