What is typically on a brunch buffet?

Brunch has become a popular weekend tradition for many. Unlike breakfast or lunch, brunch combines the best elements of both meals and is served in the late morning hours. Brunch often consists of breakfast foods like eggs, pancakes, and pastries as well as lunch fare such as sandwiches, salads, and soups. The brunch buffet in particular offers diners an all-you-can-eat assortment of these tasty morning and midday treats. With so many delicious options to choose from, it’s no wonder brunch buffets are a top pick for weekends and special occasions.

But what exactly can you expect to find on a brunch buffet? The selection can vary greatly depending on the restaurant, chef, and cuisine. However, there are certain staples nearly every brunch buffet offers. Here’s an overview of what is typically included on a brunch buffet menu.

Breakfast Favorites

No brunch buffet would be complete without classic breakfast items. Here are some of the breakfast foods you can usually find on a brunch buffet:


Eggs are a breakfast staple, so they will be prepared in a variety of ways on a brunch buffet. Scrambled eggs and over-easy fried eggs are common. You may also find eggs mixed into dishes like omelets, frittatas, and breakfast casseroles. Eggs Benedict, a poached egg atop an English muffin with ham and hollandaise sauce, also frequently makes an appearance.

Bacon and Sausage

Look for crispy bacon strips and sausage links on the buffet as well. Turkey bacon or sausage may be available for a lighter option.

Pancakes and French Toast

Fluffy pancakes and cinnamon-swirled French toast are brunch favorites. Buttermilk, blueberry, chocolate chip, and other flavored pancakes are popular picks. Thick slices of French toast may be topped with fruit, whipped cream, or syrup.

Waffles and Crepes

Waffles and crepes are deliciously crispy and tender choices. Belgian waffles can be customized with fruit toppings and whipped cream. Paper-thin crepes might be filled with sweet fruit spreads or savory ingredients like spinach and mushrooms.


On the sweeter side, expect to find muffins, scones, danishes, cinnamon rolls, and croissants. Mini quiches can also often be found.

Cereal and Oatmeal

For a lighter start, help yourself to cold and hot cereal options. Old favorites like Cheerios, granola, and oatmeal are brunch buffet staples, along with a topping bar of fruits, nuts, and brown sugar.

Yogurt and Granola

Finally, yogurt stations allow you to craft a custom parfait. Layer your choice of yogurt with crunchy granola and fresh fruit.

Lunch Favorites

Once you’ve filled up on breakfast goodies, head down the buffet line for these lunchtime delights:


Sandwiches are a convenient handheld choice for brunch. Look for deli and grilled options like BLTs, breakfast sandwiches, and croque monsieurs. Finger sandwiches with petite slices of bread and fillings are also popular.


Crisp mixed greens, spinach, and Caesar salad provide lighter fare. Toppings like nuts, seeds, cheeses, and dressings let you customize your salad creation.


A cup of hot soup provides warmth and comfort on a chilly morning. Broccoli cheddar, potato, tomato basil, and chicken noodle are crowd-pleasing soup bar picks.


Smoked salmon, seared scallops, shrimp cocktail, and ceviche liven up the brunch scene. These seafood starters pair nicely with bagels, crackers, and crostini.


For those craving something savory, pizza is an unexpected but welcome brunch buffet treat. Slices of pepperoni, veggie, or breakfast pizza satisfy any cheesy craving.


Carb load with made-to-order omelet and waffle stations. Choose your own toppings and watch the chef prepare it fresh.

Carving Station

Some buffets offer a carving station with juicy roast beef, turkey, pork, or ham. Sliced meats can be put on sandwiches or enjoyed on their own.

Brunch Beverages

With so much decadent food on offer, you’ll need something to wash it all down. Here are some beverages often included on brunch buffets:

Coffee and Tea

Perk up with regular and decaf coffee, brewed hot tea, iced tea, and tea bags. Add fixings like sugar, cream, and lemon. Fancier coffees like lattes and cappuccinos may be available as well.


Choose from a variety of fruit juices like orange, grapefruit, apple, and cranberry. Tomato and vegetable juices provide savory options too.

Milk and Water

Round out your meal with Refreshing and hydrating milk, chocolate milk, and water.


For the 21+ crowd, nothing says brunch like a mimosa made with equal parts fresh orange juice and bubbly champagne or prosecco. Other popular alcoholic drinks at brunch are Bloody Marys and screwdrivers.


Blend your own fruit smoothie for a nutrient boost. Mix and match fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, milk, protein powder, and more.

Brunch Buffet Desserts

Always save room for something sweet! Here are some desserts that finish off the brunch buffet menu:


Whether it’s chocolate, vanilla, lemon, or carrot cake, you can’t go wrong with a slice of cake. Sheet cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops provide individual servings.


Warm fruit pies like cherry, apple, and peach taste like heaven with a scoop of ice cream. Cream pies and custards like banana cream or chocolate pudding are also crowd-pleasers.


Chewy, chocolate chip cookies satisfy any sweet tooth. You may also find specialty cookies like snickerdoodles, sugar, or oatmeal raisin on the dessert table.

Brownies and Blondies

Fudgy chocolate brownies and dense blondies layered with chocolate chips make for decadent treats. Bite-sized or mini versions allow you to sample more than one.

Puddings and Mousses

Silky smooth chocolate, vanilla, or fruit puddings in shot glasses are easy to grab and go. Light and airy mousses come in similar flavors, from raspberry to mocha.

Ice Cream

Nothing’s sweeter than a scoop of ice cream – the perfect topper for pie or brownie. Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry are standard, but you may see more unique flavors like cookie dough or mint chocolate chip too.

Chocolate Fountains

Finally, the chocolate lover’s dream – dip an array of bite-sized fruits, marshmallows, or pretzels into a flowing chocolate fountain. Bananas, pineapple, and strawberries fresh off the stick make a healthy dessert option.

Thematic Brunch Buffets

While the items above represent typical brunch buffet offerings, some restaurants get creative with themed menus. Here are a few popular themes you may encounter:

Italian Brunch

An Italian-style spread includes antipasto like prosciutto, salami, and caprese; pastas like lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs; and Italian desserts like tiramisu, cannoli, and biscotti.

Food Item Details
Antipasto Prosciutto, salami, caprese salad
Pasta Lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs
Dessert Tiramisu, cannoli, biscotti

Mexican Brunch

Spicy Mexican dishes like huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and tacos take center stage. Finish off with churros, flan, or tres leches cake.

Food Item Details
Main Dishes Huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, tacos
Dessert Churros, flan, tres leches cake

Southern Brunch

From shrimp and grits to chicken and waffles, Southern cuisine shines. Biscuits, fried chicken, and cornbread muffins are served up too. End your feasting with pecan pie or banana pudding.

Food Item Details
Main Dishes Shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, biscuits, fried chicken, cornbread muffins
Dessert Pecan pie, banana pudding

Timing Your Brunch

With so many temping dishes to taste, it’s important to strategize and pace yourself when tackling a brunch buffet. Here are some tips:

Come Hungry!

Don’t eat breakfast beforehand – you’ll want to save your appetite for the buffet.

Take a First Lap

Walk the entire buffet first to see everything on offer before filling your plate.

Start Light

Pick lighter proteins and vegetables for your first round so you have room to spare for multiple trips.

Leave Dessert for Last

If you fill up too quickly on sweets first, you may miss out on all the savory dishes.

Take Breaks

Sit down and enjoy each plate before going back for more. Don’t overload your plate with too much at once.

Stay Hydrated

Drink water between trips to help digestion and leave room for tasty beverages too.

Wear Comfy Clothing

Don’t constrict your stomach with tight outfits. Opt for stretchy materials and fabrics.

Bring Ziploc Bags

If you can’t finish dessert, bring containers to wrap up sweets to go.


With an endless array of eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, salads, seafood, carving stations, desserts, and more, the brunch buffet offers a little something for everyone. Themed buffets like Italian, Mexican, or Southern provide new twists on brunch favorites as well. Just don’t forget to come hungry and pace yourself. With the right strategy, you can sample all of the delectable breakfast and lunch delights the brunch buffet has to offer. So next weekend when you hear the words “all-you-can-eat brunch buffet,” you’ll know exactly what culinary treats await you.

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