What items are in a brunch buffet?

A brunch buffet typically contains a wide variety of breakfast and lunch items that allow guests to customize their plates. Brunch buffets aim to offer something for everyone and provide a leisurely, indulgent weekend dining experience.

Breakfast Entrees

The breakfast entree section of a brunch buffet often includes:

  • Eggs – Scrambled, fried, poached, boiled, omelets made to order
  • Quiche – Spinach, ham, bacon, broccoli, Lorraine
  • Breakfast casseroles – Eggs, meat, cheese, potatoes, breads
  • French toast – Thick sliced bread dipped in eggs and griddled
  • Pancakes – Fluffy pancakes, often with fruit or chocolate chips
  • Waffles – Round or square waffles, sometimes flavored
  • Crepes – Thin delicate pancakes, filled with fruit or other sweet fillings
  • Breakfast meats – Bacon, sausage, ham, scrapple, pork roll
  • Potatoes – Home fries, hash browns, roasted potatoes

Having a made-to-order omelet station is a popular brunch buffet option, allowing guests to customize their eggs.

Lunch Entrees

The lunch section of a brunch buffet may include:

  • Sandwiches – Croissants, bagels, rolls stuffed with scrambled eggs, meats, cheeses
  • Biscuits and gravy – Flaky biscuits smothered in creamy sausage gravy
  • Pizza – Mini personal-sized pizzas on English muffins or bagels
  • Baked pasta – Lasagna, ziti, macaroni and cheese
  • Quiche – Spinach, broccoli, Lorraine, other vegetable combinations
  • Sliders – Mini sandwiches like burgers, pulled pork, or crab cakes
  • Salads – Caeser, Cobb, fruit, pasta, potato, coleslaw
  • Seafood – Shrimp, smoked salmon, seared tuna, crab legs
  • Carving station – Roast beef, ham, turkey, pork

Having self-serve salad and pasta bars allow brunch guests to customize their plates.

Breakfast Sides

Typical breakfast side dishes at a brunch buffet include:

  • Breakfast meats – Bacon, sausage, ham, scrapple
  • Home fries – Seasoned cubed potatoes
  • Hash browns – Shredded pan-fried potatoes
  • Fresh fruit – Melon, berries, pineapple, grapes
  • Yogurt and granola parfaits
  • Cereal and oatmeal bar with toppings
  • Breakfast breads – Muffins, croissants, cinnamon rolls, scones

Lunch Sides

Typical lunch side dishes seen at a brunch buffet include:

  • Breads – Rolls, biscuits, cornbread, bagels
  • Rice pilaf or wild rice
  • Pasta salad – Rotini, bowtie, orzo with dressing
  • Potato salad – Diced potatoes in mayo or vinaigrette
  • Coleslaw – Shredded cabbage and carrots
  • Fresh fruit – Melon, berries, grapes, pineapple
  • Vegetables – Steamed broccoli, green beans, asparagus
  • Cottage cheese
  • Chips – Potato, tortilla

Brunch Beverages

Beverages are an important part of any brunch. Common brunch buffet drinks include:

  • Coffee – Regular and decaf
  • Tea – Hot and iced
  • Juice – Orange, cranberry, grapefruit, apple
  • Milk – Whole, 2%, skim
  • Water – Still and sparkling
  • Mimosa bar – Sparkling wines, juices, garnishes
  • Bloody Mary bar – Vodka, mixes, rimmers, garnishes
  • Beer and wine
  • Fountain sodas

Having self-serve beverage stations allow guests to customize their drinks.

Brunch Desserts

Satisfying that sweet tooth is a must at brunch. Popular brunch desserts include:

  • Pies – Apple, cherry, blueberry, pumpkin, pecan, key lime
  • Cakes – Carrot, chocolate, red velvet, lemon, coconut
  • Cheesecakes – Classic New York, chocolate swirl, strawberry
  • Tarts – Fruit, custard, chocolate
  • Trifles – Layers of cake, custard, fruit, whipped cream
  • Parfaits – Yogurt, granola, fruit
  • Mousse – Chocolate, berry, lemon
  • Fruit salad – Melons, berries, citrus, grapes
  • Pastries – Croissants, danishes, muffins, scones
  • Cookies – Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle
  • Brownies and blondies
  • Custard and bread pudding
  • Cannoli – Fried pastry shells filled with sweetened ricotta

Having a crepe station making fresh fruit or nutella crepes to order is also a popular brunch dessert option.

Example Brunch Buffet Menu

Here is an example brunch buffet menu showcasing the variety of items that may be included:

Item Options
Breakfast Entrees Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, waffles, omelet station
Lunch Entrees Quiche, bagel sandwiches, baked ziti, salad bar, carving station
Breakfast Sides Hash browns, breakfast meats, yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit
Lunch Sides Rolls, potato salad, coleslaw, vegetable medley
Beverages Coffee, tea, juice, bloody mary bar, mimosa bar
Desserts Pies, cakes, cookies, pastries, mousse, crepe station

This sample menu provides guests with a variety of hot and cold breakfast and lunch dishes to mix and match. The beverage stations and dessert spread ensure a sweet ending to the meal.

Breakfast Casserole Recipes

Breakfast casseroles are a popular brunch buffet item. Here are a few tasty recipes to consider:

Southwestern Breakfast Casserole

  • Ingredients: Eggs, Monterey jack cheese, salsa, black beans, corn, tortillas, cilantro
  • Directions: Layer tortillas, cheese, egg mixture, and additional toppings in a baking dish. Bake at 350F until set.

Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole

  • Ingredients: Eggs, sausage, potatoes, cheddar cheese, onions, bell peppers
  • Directions: Brown sausage and veggies, layer in dish with potatoes, cheese, and egg mixture. Bake until set.

Broccoli and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole

  • Ingredients: Eggs, broccoli, cheddar cheese, bread cubes, milk
  • Directions: Toss bread, broccoli, and cheese together. Add egg mixture and pour into baking dish. Bake until set.

These are just a few ideas – feel free to get creative with breakfast casserole ingredients!

Brunch Buffet Layout Tips

Proper layout is key to an organized, efficient brunch buffet. Here are some tips:

  • Place the most popular items first – This prevents bottlenecking down the line. Have eggs, meats, waffles, etc. at the start.
  • Cluster items together logically – Group breakfast foods together, lunch foods together, beverages together, etc.
  • Provide multiple stations if possible – Break up the layout into different sections like hot foods, cold foods, DIY stations, desserts.
  • Use hanging signs to label sections clearly.
  • Make sure buffet lines are wide enough for multiple guests at once.
  • Replenish stations continuously – Nothing worse than running out of the most popular items.
  • Place plates, utensils, and napkins at the beginning of the line.

A well organized layout makes the brunch experience more enjoyable for guests and staff.

Keeping Food Warm at a Brunch Buffet

Maintaining proper food temperatures is an important food safety goal at a brunch buffet. Here are some strategies for keeping hot foods hot:

  • Use chafing dishes and warming trays to keep cooked foods heated.
  • Pre-heat dishes before placing hot foods into them.
  • Use a food thermometer to monitor temperatures – hot foods should stay above 140F.
  • Replace warming pans frequently to ensure even heating.
  • Stage back-up batches in the oven to swap out as items get low.
  • Place serving utensils in heating trays to keep them warm.
  • Use insulated containers for items like baked casseroles.
  • Keep eggs cooked to order on griddles or electric skillets.

Following proper hot holding guidelines ensures food safety while providing guests freshly cooked flavors.

Keeping Food Cold at a Brunch Buffet

Proper refrigeration is also crucial for cold brunch foods. Tips for keeping foods chilled include:

  • Store perishable foods at or below 40F before and during service.
  • Use ice baths or nest serving bowls inside of larger bowls filled with ice.
  • Serve yogurt, fruit, salads, and other cold items on crushed ice.
  • Use refrigerated display cases to store and serve cold foods.
  • Frequently replace small platters of perishable items.
  • Discard any foods that rise above 40F for more than 2 hours.
  • Keep creamers and milk pitchers on ice for coffee and tea stations.

Following proper cold holding guidelines reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses from bacterially sensitive foods.

Creative Brunch Buffet Ideas

Looking to spice up your brunch buffet? Here are some creative ideas to try:

  • DIY stations – Waffle bar, omelet station, custom parfaits
  • Interactive entertainment – Live music, caricature artist, magician
  • Photo booth – Fun selfie station with props and backdrops
  • Unlimited mimosas – Offer specialty flavors like peach, strawberry, mango
  • Themed decor – Tropical luau theme, all things brunch theme
  • Pop culture inspired foods – Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Wars
  • Dessert shooters – Mini Mason jars of layered yogurt and fruit
  • Instagram worthy setups – Neon signs, flower walls, swings, unique tablescapes

Get creative with menus, decor and entertainment to provide guests with an unforgettable brunch experience.


Brunch buffets offer the best of breakfast and lunch in one leisurely meal. Typical offerings include hot breakfast entrees, lunchtime sandwiches and salads, plenty of savory sides, a delectable dessert spread, and a DIY mimosa bar. Layout is key for efficiency and flow. Cold items must be kept refrigerated while hot foods require warming equipment to maintain safe temperatures. Getting creative with interactive stations, entertainment, and decor provides guests with a fun, festive dining experience. With so many possibilities, the brunch buffet is a perfect way to bring people together for a delightful weekend dining affair.

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