Brunch Like a Boss With Our 20 Top Tips

A little bit breakfast, a little bit lunch, brunch is all about relaxing with your favorite people and indulging in tasty nibbles and tipsy sips. Whether you're celebrating Mother's Day, Easter, a birthday, shower or just toasting the weekend, brunch it up with our easy recipes and tips for setting a beautiful spread.

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Jason Kisner; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Savour Imagery LLC

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

©Cheyenne Mojica Photography

Start With the Spread

Like any good get-together, a guest-impressing brunch begins with planning. First, decide which foods you'll serve and whether these are items you'll whip up yourself or purchase already made. Picking up a few items, like baked goods or desserts, at your local bakery or grocery store can reduce your pre-party stress and free up time to focus on decorating.

Serve Buffet Style

Once you've planned the menu, pick the location. We opted for the kitchen island because it's easy for multiple guests to help themselves at the same time. The island's close proximity to the fridge and stove also makes it easy to replenish brunch items as they run low.

Use the Good Plates

Ditch flimsy, disposable plastic, foam or paper plates in favor of your prettiest dishware. This is a party after all and everything tastes better off nice china — especially when there's no chance of your meal ending up in your lap.

Don't Forget a Centerpiece

Even a buffet-style spread can use a colorful fresh flower boost — but it doesn't have to be complicated. Just fill a pitcher with water and a collection of backyard blooms. For ours, we used white Veronica and golden solidago.

Serve the Sweetest Skewers

Fresh fruit skewers drizzled with honey are sure to tempt even the pickiest of palates. Tip: Pick up a marble tile at your local hardware store for an inexpensive serving tray that, thanks to the cooling properties of marble, keeps chilled fruit (or cheese or cold desserts) cooler than room temperature longer.

Go Whole Hog

Give a playful twist to the popular charcuterie board with an assortment of healthier options — like low-sodium deli meats and turkey bacon — paired with a lower fat cheese, like chevre, parmigiano-reggiano or pecorino romano. Brunch guests can help themselves to a little protein to accompany their salad or frittata for a heartier meal.

Frittata: Healthy and Hearty

Essentially, a crust-less quiche, frittatas are the way to go if reducing carbs and the associated calories are your goal. Trust us, once you've tried this tasty, savory one-pan wonder, you won't miss the crust.

GET THE RECIPE: Trisha Yearwood's Spinach Frittata

Cue the Cocktails

Brunch food + boozy sips = a match made in party heaven. For a drink that's actually on the healthy side, whip up our Tipsy Hibiscus + Green Tea Cocktail. Rich in antioxidants and full of flavor, this bourbon-based cocktail is both good for you and good for what ails you.

Get the Recipe: Tipsy Hibiscus + Green Tea Cocktail

Or, Opt for Mocktails Instead

Ensure that all your guests enjoy the party by also offering non-alcoholic options. Our Tipsy Hibiscus + Green Tea recipe, below, can be modified to be a mocktail — just leave the bourbon out and let guests add it (or not) themselves. Or, combine the same ingredients for an antioxidant-rich, delicious hot tea.

Get the Recipe: Tipsy Hibiscus + Green Tea Cocktail

A Few Carbs Won't Kill Ya

Okay, muffins and scones may not be the healthiest brunch items — but they are delicious and easy to grab and munch while guests mingle and chat.

Parfait Perfection

Layer fresh strawberries, blackberries and blueberries with nonfat Greek yogurt and granola in a pretty, vintage glass for a delicious mini meal that only looks decadent.

Take It Outside

Weather permitting, take the party outside so your guests can enjoy the scenery while they brunch. If you're short on serving space, try this designers' go-to trick: lay a hollow-core door or thick piece of plywood over evenly spaced sawhorses, cover with fabric and voila — a temporary table with plenty of serving space that can be broken down again and stored away when the party's over.

Champagne: Get Ready to Chill

If you plan on serving sparkling wine at your brunch (which we're all for!) use a large, ice-filled beverage tub or porcelain bowl to chill it to the perfect temp. Want to speed up your chill time? Put science to work and add water (an excellent conductor) and a handful of kosher salt (which lowers the water's freezing point) to the mix to rapidly bring your bottles to the ideal temp, which for sparkling wine is around 50 degrees Farenheit.

See More Photos: Spring Sips: Set Up a Sparkling Wine Cocktail Bar

Everyone's a Mixologist

For our brunch bar, we chose the 3 most popular sparkling wine cocktails: Mimosa, Bellini and Kir Royale. To ensure guests could play mixologist, we created a chalkboard sign that spelled out the ingredients — precise proportions aren't necessary, let each guest mix to suit their taste.

Or, Go Big — Big-Batch Cocktails, That Is

Seriously, what would a lazy weekend brunch be without a few cocktails? Ensure that you can kick back and relax along with your guests by premixing one of our big-batch cocktails, below, so everyone can just help themselves and you're free to get your brunch on.

See More Photos: Big-Batch Summer Cocktails That Serve a Crowd

Serve a Southern Favorite

Shrimp and grits are not only crazy delicious, they're also easier to make than you may think — especially when you use a muffin tin to create single-serve portions. Follow our recipe, below, to learn how to make them ahead, then heat up pre-party for a palate-pleasing small bite that's oh-so-satisfying.

Get the Recipe: Make Shrimp and Grits in a Muffin Tin for Bite-Sized Southern Goodness

Or, Try an Italian Twist

Basil pesto, pancetta (unsmoked Italian bacon) and baked eggs are a match made in brunch heaven. This restaurant-quality twist on standard bacon and eggs is sure to impress your guests. Get the recipe, below.

Get the Recipe: Brunch Recipe: Baked Eggs With Pesto and Pancetta

Don't Forget Dessert

Let's be honest: Even the most diet-devoted guest finds it hard to pass up a sweet bite or two to finish their meal — which makes mini bar-style desserts a perfect fit for a brunch buffet. Pair the rich desserts with fresh fruit so guests can opt for either a healthy or not-so-healthy last bite.

Tempt Them With a Tart

Whether you prefer to make it yourself or purchase from your favorite bakery, there's no denying the appeal of a glazed fresh fruit tart. Place pretty plates and a pie server nearby so guests can help themselves.

Or, Serve Cobbler Cuties

Fruit cobbler is always a favorite; bake it in oven-safe mugs with the easiest topping (surprise! it's pancake mix) so everyone can can dig into their own individual serving.

Get the Recipe: Grandmother's Mixed Berry Cobbler Recipe

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