I grew up in a small family and have never had much practice cooking breakfast for more than a couple of people. If you come from a similar background, you may have also felt a bit lost and overwhelmed on the rare occasions that you have had to feed a large group—especially first thing in the morning, when your coffee has yet to take effect.
But the holiday season is in full swing, and with that often comes houseguests. That means this could be one of the few times a year that preparing a big, crowd-pleasing breakfast becomes a necessity in your household. Fortunately, we've got lots of dishes to help you get through the season unscathed, from scrambled and baked eggs to airy, fluffy stacks of pancakes and (crucially!) tips on how to make a ton of bacon. Keep reading for 31 of our favorite recipes for easy breakfasts to feed the whole extended family.
If you like your scrambled eggs soft and moist instead of drier and fluffy, you'll want to cook them gently over low heat, and start them in a cold nonstick skillet to keep them from seizing up. Residual heat will keep cooking the eggs after you take them off the burner, so pull them a few seconds before they look completely done.
Prefer your eggs on the firmer side, the way they tend to be cooked in diners? Start them over medium-high heat, and stir them more sparingly so that big, light curds can form. The higher heat will start to dry out the eggs just a little, but as long as you pull them off the heat in time, they should retain enough moisture.
The morning after a lively holiday cocktail party, few things feel so curative as a big plate of migas. This simple Tex-Mex treat is made of warmed corn tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, chili peppers, onion, tomato, and home-fried tortilla chips. Pre-salting the eggs and salting and draining the tomatoes keep the dish from getting too soggy. Can't face the task of frying up your own chips first thing in the morning? Try our Doritos version.
This dish feels fancy, but it's not much more work than a standard plate of soft-scrambled eggs—all you'll do is top the eggs with sumac, parsley, pine nuts, and olive oil after they finish cooking. To make this dish even easier, try toasting the pine nuts in the microwave instead of a skillet.
Homemade biscuits don't seem like they'd belong on a list of easy breakfasts for a crowd, but trust us—these fluffy, tender drop biscuits require just five ingredients and 25 minutes. We like to serve them with scrambled eggs seasoned with dill and packed with so much mozzarella and feta, they take on a texture reminiscent of queso fundido.
North African in origin and wildly popular in Israel, this homey dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce has also become super trendy at US brunch spots of late. Part of its appeal is that it's completely customizable—we make this particular version with charred peppers and onions, paprika, and cumin. Some shakshuka recipes call for finishing the dish under the broiler; we find that method risks overcooking the egg yolks, so we prefer to let the dish gently simmer and steam in a covered pan on the stove.
This dish is like shakshuka's Iberian cousin, made by baking eggs in a peppery tomato sauce studded with chorizo and topping them with sharp white cheddar and Parmesan cheese. With two serrano peppers added to the sauce, it's a little on the hot side—if your guests aren't big fans of spicy foods, seed the serranos or replace them with a single jalapeño.
Tortilla chips softened in warm salsa and topped with fried eggs—something akin to soggy breakfast nachos—may not sound that delicious, but that's exactly what chilaquiles are, and they're a winner. It's fine to use jarred salsa instead of homemade salsa verde, but you'll want to fry the tortilla wedges fresh, for sturdier, crispier chips that won't get too soggy when soaked in the sauce.
If you opt for huevos rancheros instead of chilaquiles, it's really worth it to make your own salsa—it takes only a few minutes, which you'll have time for since you won't have to fry any tortillas. We like a simple red salsa here, made of canned crushed tomatoes, dried ancho chilies, and canned chipotles in adobo, which we purée using an immersion blender or countertop blender, then spoon over tortillas and sunny-side up eggs.
Boiled eggs are easy to make by the dozen, so, although it may not be as familiar a concept to you as some of the other items on this list, this Singaporean breakfast of soft-cooked eggs, seasoned with dark and light soy sauce and white pepper, scales up well. Though boiling the eggs on the stovetop works just fine, a sous vide cooker is your best bet for nailing that incredibly soft, spoonable texture. In keeping with tradition, serve the eggs with toast and coconut-flavored kaya jam.
This meaty version of chilaquiles calls for homemade tortilla chips, chicken stock, and homemade salsa verde—but in a pinch, with lots of mouths to feed, you can just as easily pick those items up at your grocery store. Even without the homemade chips, the fresh Mexican chorizo, tangy quick-pickled red onion, and sharp radish slices make this a rich, slightly spicy, and totally satisfying breakfast for a crowd.
These sous vide egg and mashed potato breakfast jars were designed with big crowds—and holiday leftovers—in mind. Creamy leftover mashed potatoes are layered in small jars with freshly cracked eggs, and cooked in a sous vide water bath, while you drink your coffee and enjoy your morning. When they're done cooking, serve each jar to a guest, with crunchy slices of toast on the side.
Pancakes and Waffles
Making pancakes from scratch isn't a super-fast project—unless, of course, you've thought ahead and made your own mix out of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar, for keeping in the pantry at all times. With the mix made ahead of time according to our instructions, all that remains is adding the wet ingredients: buttermilk, melted butter, sour cream, and eggs. There is one slightly involved step—whisking the egg whites to stiff peaks before incorporating them into the batter—but that's what makes these the tallest, fluffiest pancakes around.
Toasted steel-cut oats are a great way to bulk up pancakes, and browning the butter used in the batter helps to reinforce the oats' earthy, nutty flavor. Because oatmeal pancakes often run the risk of being too heavy, we bump up the quantity of baking soda to keep these pancakes light and fluffy, yet hearty.
There's no rule that says pancakes have to be sweet! This recipe takes them in a savory direction, adding diced bacon, corn, jalapeños, scallions, and cheddar. Subbing in cornmeal for some of the flour gives the pancakes even more corn flavor, and using cubed (rather than shredded) cheddar means that the pancakes wind up with delightfully gooey pockets of melted cheese.
Usually we think of pancake recipes as making a whole stack, with two or three individual pancakes for each person. But this single soft, custardy cake, made with an unleavened, crepe-like batter, is large enough to feed eight on its own. Serve it however you like, but our caramelized-apple topping is especially delicious.
Aquafaba—the liquid inside a can of cooked beans—is a pretty amazing ingredient for veganizing some recipes that call for egg whites. It's not quite the universal egg replacement that some people claim, but it does whip up into an astonishingly meringue-like foam. If there's a better way to make light, fluffy vegan pancakes, we haven't found it yet.
The batter for these brown butter–infused waffles comes together in just a few minutes. The only trick is that the yeast in the batter needs 12 hours in the fridge to work its magic, so be sure you're making all the batter you'll want for breakfast. But the upside is that you'll have practically no work to do in the morning—just pour the batter into your waffle iron of choice and heat until crisp and golden brown.
One of the easiest big-batch breakfasts is—and always will be—pancakes made from pancake mix. So, we made our own mix. You can store it in your fridge for up to one year, and use it to make either light and thin pancakes or thick and fluffy ones.
This recipe takes only 45 minutes and makes a batch of a dozen muffins—plenty to feed a hungry extended family. And each muffin is utterly packed with blueberries, thanks to a 1:1 ratio of blueberries to flour by weight. That might make the batter seem a little thick, but it helps keep the berries from all sinking to the bottom. (Before getting started, be sure to read Stella's take on the best pan material and liners for muffins.)
This oversize blueberry "muffin" is baked in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, making it perfect for a slow, lazy, big-batch breakfast. A thick layer of jammy fruit covers a light and tender muffin base, scented with a pinch of lemon zest and a small amount of coriander, which offers its own lemony profile to highlight the blueberries' flavor. Cut it into wedges and serve it warm.
If you're cooking bacon for one or two people, the standard skillet method is perfectly adequate. But if you're cooking for any more people than that, the easiest route is to bake it—and whether you like yours extra crispy or a little chewier, we can help you out. Another option, for those who have the equipment and the inclination to plan ahead, is to cook the bacon sous vide. You'll still need to finish it in a pan to crisp it up, but that will take only about two minutes per piece.
Perfect French toast is all about using the proper ratio of eggs to milk, and we find three eggs per cup of milk to be just right. You can use either milk or cream, depending on how rich you want the dish to be. Either way, sprinkle a little sugar on the bread after dunking it in the batter to give the French toast a crisp, caramelly crust.
As far as I'm concerned, hash browns should be as shatteringly crisp as possible. How to do it? Squeeze as much water as you can out of the grated potatoes, then par-cook them in the microwave. Nuking the spuds dries them out thoroughly and creates an outer layer of gelatinized starch, which helps get the hash browns even crispier.
If you want hash browns that balance a creamy interior with a crisp crust, the waffle iron is the tool for you. We grate and drain the potatoes just as we would if we were making hash browns on the stovetop, but then pile them into the waffle iron, where they cook evenly and develop tons of crispy crevices. The cooking times given in this recipe are really just a starting point—the hash browns could take more or less time depending on your waffle iron and how finely you shred the potatoes.
Whipping thick, rich Greek yogurt makes it lighter and more refreshing, ideal for topping pancakes or waffles or layering with fruit and granola (see below!) for parfaits. A little cream added to the yogurt helps it aerate, while golden syrup or honey gives it both flavor and sweetness.
Few breakfast items are better suited for a crowd than a big batch of granola. This particular granola is light and crispy, with plenty of sweet clusters—the best part of any cereal. The surprising secret ingredient is buttermilk, which we use to soak the oats and seeds before baking; its acidity tenderizes them and keeps them from browning too quickly. A unique blend of dried fruit and nuts provides an addictive mix of flavors, colors, and textures.
Looking for another take on classic granola? Try our banana granola, and make a little extra to eat throughout the week and to top your ice cream with.
Sure, caramel sticky buns aren't exactly the healthiest breakfast. But the holidays come but once a year, and these gooey pastries are sure to please everyone at your breakfast table. Darkly toasted sugar or Belgian cassonade (a.k.a. candi sugar) is key to making a true caramel for both the filling and the topping.
Just like pancakes, French toast can also be great when made savory. This recipe turns out spicy and funky from store-bought green curry paste, which we fortify with fresh herbs, lime juice, and fish sauce. Soaking the bread overnight ensures that the curry gets to the core, and it means that most of your prep work is already done by the time your kitchen fills up with hungry family. That means all you have to do in the morning is cook the toast, sip your coffee, and relax.
Mixing dough and rolling buns is probably the last thing you want to think about when you have a kitchen full of guests. And that's perfectly fine, because you can prepare every element of these buns two days in advance, so all you need to do on brunch morning is slide them into the oven, sit back, and wait for them to hit the perfect golden-brown shade.
If you like the sound of making buns for a crowd, we've got options for you. Much like our chocolate-hazelnut buns, these pistachio ones can be entirely prepared up to two days in advance and popped in the oven when you're ready to eat.
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