Brunch works equally well for laid-back get-togethers and special occasions, since you can dress it up or down to suit the gathering. You can also serve brunch at a time that works best for you—whether it’s a traditional morning-style gathering or an afternoon open house.

Do the Math

Confirming your guest list just before the big shop will tell you how much food to buy and allow you to double-check on any allergies, special dietary requirements or food aversions. Here’s some quick menu math to help you plan your grocery list.

  • For 4 to 6: Adults will typically drink two or three hot beverages each and a glass of water or juice. Plan for one baked good or pastry per person, plus a few extras. Serve about 1/2 cup (125 mL) cut fruit per guest, or offer a family-size green salad. Make one hearty main dish that serves four to six. Dessert is optional: Yogourt cups or a plate of squares will round out the meal.
  • For 8 to 10: Plan on serving two or three hot beverages per person and keep pitchers of water and juice on the table. Serve a dozen pastries or baked goods, two salads (fruit or green, or one of each) and one extra-large or two smaller main dishes, plus a side of bacon, sausage, deli meats or cheeses (count on three pieces per person). Dessert is still your call: Keep it simple with yogourt and fruit, or a coffee cake from our Bakery Department.

Make a Memorable Menu

Because a brunch spread can draw from a wide variety of dishes, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by choice. The first step is to choose dishes that work well together. Use these as your planning guides.

  • Flavour: Balance sweet and savoury—if you’re making Waffle Iron Hash Browns, serve them with smoked salmon, cream cheese and sliced fruit. Make spicy dishes, like our Make-Ahead Breakfast Enchiladas, on the mild side and let guests dial up the heat with hot sauce at the table.
  • Texture: Offer textural contrasts. Try our creamy Spiced Hazelnut Lattes alongside golden pastries, or set out bowls of roasted nuts with fresh grapes for casual nibbling.
  • Temperature: Offering an array of hot and cold foods keeps things interesting without tying you to the stove. Start (or finish) a warm brunch spread with chilled Crunchy Chocolate & Berry Yogourt Cups. Safety tip: Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Items such as smoked salmon, deli meats and dips should be discarded if they’ve been left at room temperature for longer than two hours.
  • Time: Choose just one make-at-the-last-minute item, like a special latte, to whip up when guests arrive. Take advantage of make-ahead recipes, and assemble most of your dishes the night before. Fill in the rest of the menu with fresh foods that are ready to serve.

Mix in Ready-Made

Incorporating store-bought items into your menu takes a ton of prep off your hands. Grab a fruit tray with a mix of colours and textures, such as melons and berries, for visual appeal. Muffins, loaves, pastries and bagels are best purchased the morning of, but in a pinch you can bring them home the night before and warm them just before guests arrive. For a big group, order up a party-size Caesar, spinach, garden, Greek or kale salad; for a smaller one, pick up a simple salad kit from our Produce Department. Finally, skip the mess of frying bacon and order a savoury deli platter instead. Guests can help themselves, and you can sit back and relax.

Scratch-ish Solutions

These recipes start with a few ready-made ingredients and clever shortcuts that save you a bunch of time. The good news: They taste like you spent hours baking or cooking!

Watch our Strawberry-Lemon Crescent Roll Wreath video to see how easy it is to transform refrigerated crescent roll dough, cream cheese and store-bought jam into this sweet cheese Danish–like treat. Or grab some pizza dough and chocolate-hazelnut spread to make a fun pull-apart Chocolate Hazelnut Monkey Bread. And French Toast Muffins couldn’t be easier, thanks to a cubed mini-baguette taking the place of a from-scratch dough!

For mains, a Broccoli, Ham & Swiss Cheese Quiche is simple to whip up; a frozen deep-dish pie shell holds all the savoury ingredients in this crowd-pleaser. Or dress up frozen waffles with style—Homestyle Waffles with Warm Caramel Apples have a gooey, fruity topping. Tip: Keep the waffles warm in the oven while you finish the sauce on the stove.

For Guests Who Love to Help

Another way to lighten your brunch workload is to let eager guests bring a dish. Yogourt Poppy Seed Dressing is delicious tossed with a green salad. Individual Blackberry Coconut Chia Parfaits can be made and chilled ahead, and then popped into a cooler to bring along. Or ask your favourite baker for a bread basket: Mini Cinnamon Roll Muffins or classic Lemon Currant Scones are great places to start, as both travel well and are ultra easy.