I spent a lot of my life intimidated by baking—I'd happily make elaborate breakfasts of eggs and potatoes and the like, but when it came to baked goods, I left it to the professionals. Eventually I got over my fear, though, and realized what I had been missing. Not only is baking easier than I imagined, but homemade baked goods make for some of the most delicious, impressive breakfasts around. Who doesn't want to start their day with gooey cinnamon rolls, tender scones, or flaky biscuits? If I can learn to bake, then you can, too, so preheat the oven and check out 19 of our favorite breakfast-friendly baked goods.
One-Bowl, Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
I'm not typically interested in a big baking project first thing in the morning, so I'm a fan of overnight recipes. Almost all the work for these cinnamon rolls—making the dough, shaping the rolls, and mixing the icing—can be done the day before. All you have to do in the morning is pop the rolls into the oven and slather them with icing.
Easy One-Bowl Coffee Cake
This one-bowl coffee cake is made with a cinnamon-y, graham cracker–like streusel and a tangy cake. Instead of the more common sour cream, we make the cake with strained Greek yogurt, which gives it a similar flavor but a much lighter crumb. The secret ingredient is a pinch of cardamon, which balances out the cinnamon and is a perfect match for a cup of coffee.
Classic Banana Bread
We use Greek yogurt in our banana bread, too—because it's thicker than buttermilk or other acidic ingredients, it gives the finished bread a nice dome. Most banana bread recipes use vegetable oil to make the loaf rich and moist, but since that can also make it heavy or even greasy, we use coconut oil instead.
Spiced Vanilla Hot Cross Buns
Good Friday comes only once a year, but we don't see why hot cross buns have to be limited to that day alone. Ours use a dough made with all-purpose flour and Greek yogurt and get tons of flavor and color from vanilla, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, candied orange peel, cherries, and apricot. With all those flavorful add-ins, you don't need a slow overnight rise; these buns come together in just a few hours.
Bakery-Style Cream Scones With Milk Chocolate
I've avoided scones for years because they're often miserably dry, but it turns out making perfect ones at home is a breeze. The right texture depends on the ratio of milk to cream—we find that a 1:3 ratio produces scones that are light, tender, and well browned. You can mix in whatever kind of chopped chocolate you'd like, but we find that a relatively dark milk chocolate is the best match for the lightly sweetened dough. (Check out our favorite easy-to-find milk chocolates to find a version that you'll love.)
Butter and cream produce pleasantly rich scones, but they can also cover up the bright flavors of fresh fruit. To let the blueberries and lemon in these scones shine, we replace the dairy with coconut oil and coconut milk, which has the side benefit of making the recipe vegan. Look for small blueberries with tight skins, since they'll have the most intense flavor.
Classic Blueberry Muffins
Muffins are often so sweet that they're basically just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. We like our muffins to feel a little rich, but too much sugar just ends up covering up the flavors of mix-ins, like fresh blueberries. If you do want the muffins to be a little sweeter, finish them with a sprinkling of crunchy sparkling sugar.
Raisin Bran Muffins
Trying to mix bran flakes straight into muffin batter is a recipe for disaster—they're incredibly absorbent and will soak up every last drop of moisture. Instead, pre-hydrate the bran before mixing it with the eggs, yogurt, flour, and other ingredients.
Honey Corn Muffins
Another healthier-tasting option, these muffins start with nutty, crunchy, slightly gritty cornmeal and are sweetened with honey. If you're looking for extra richness and a more intense honey flavor, serve the muffins with a simple honey butter.
These elegant muffins turn to a classic flavor combination—pears and cardamom—for their fruity, lightly spiced flavor. Freshly ground cardamom can be pretty strong, so we like to balance it out with a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Vegan Chocolate-Coffee Muffins
If you do want your muffin to edge into dessert territory, this is the recipe for you. Because this recipe uses no eggs or butter, the muffins come out so dense that they almost taste like fudge. We make them with two forms of coffee, though—strong freshly brewed and instant espresso powder—so they must be breakfast-appropriate.
Easy Ham and Cheese Scones
The same batter that we use for our chocolate scones can be turned into a savory breakfast—here we pack it with ham, cheese, and scallions. Before baking, we sprinkle the scones with lots more shredded cheese, which bakes into a crisp, golden crust.
One of the hardest parts of leaving New York City was saying good-bye to the bagels—the pickings out here in California are pretty slim. I've found that the only way to reliably get good ones is to make them myself. Not only are our homemade bagels better than anything I can get out here, they stay fresh longer than even the best bagels back in NYC.
Old-Fashioned, No-Knead English Muffins
Our English muffins might not technically fit into a baked-goods roundup—we cook them entirely on the stovetop. The high heat from a griddle gives the muffins a wonderfully crisp crust and ensures that they develop plenty of nooks and crannies. Coating the muffins with cornmeal before cooking helps protect them from the heat. If you're looking for equipment recommendations, check out our review of electric griddles.
Real Irish Soda Bread
Forget the dry, bland bread you see pop up on St. Patrick's Day—this is Irish soda bread done right. That means using lots of baking soda and buttermilk to create a moist, rich loaf that's simultaneously chewy and crusty. You have some flexibility when it comes to stirring the dough—the more you stir, the more it will rise and the smoother the crust will be.
The Food Lab's Buttermilk Biscuits
Making the flakiest biscuits is all a matter of technique. The first step is to cut the butter into the flour quickly, using a food processor, so it doesn't have time to melt, then mix in the buttermilk with a rubber spatula before laminating to build in even more layers. This recipe makes delicious plain biscuits, but you can also add ingredients like cheese and scallions, or honey.
Two-Ingredient Never-Fail Cream Biscuits
Don't have an hour to spend on a batch of biscuits in the morning? This recipe takes 17 minutes flat and requires only two ingredients: heavy cream and self-rising flour (which already has baking powder and salt mixed in). You can use this dough for laminated biscuits, but I think easy drop biscuits are more in the spirit of such a simple recipe.
Buttermilk Drop Biscuits With Garlic and Cheddar
These cheesy biscuits have a significantly longer ingredient list than our last recipe, but still come together in less than 45 minutes. Be sure to shred the cheddar on a Microplane or Parmesan grater—without that extra surface area, the biscuits will come out dense and misshapen.
Breakfast Sausage, Mushroom, and Cheddar Rolls
A variation on the classic puff pastry–wrapped sausage roll, these get a little bit of a beef Wellington twist from minced mushrooms cooked down in rendered sausage fat. We also add creamy cheddar and serve with a side of mustard to balance out the richness of the meat and cheese.