How to Make Mother’s Day Brunch Special
Creative tips and 16 delicious Mother's Day brunch recipes for a festive Mother's Day 2021
Mother’s Day is going to be a little different this year — again. Unlike last year, though, where COVID-19 restrictions made hunkering down the primary option, your plans this year may be evolving day to day. But it’s an asset, not a bummer, because, while you might not be ready to make brunch reservations, the best Mother’s Day brunch near you is right at home — even if you’re celebrating via video chat. Think of this Mother’s Day as a creative opportunity. COVID-19 might still thwart some of your favorite traditions, but it also gives you a chance to shake things up, show Mom a good time, and maybe even start some new traditions.
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Creative Mother’s Day brunch ideas
If the mom you’re celebrating can be in your same house, the sky’s the limit for your creativity. If that’s not possible, you still have options Mom will love, and the connection you’ll get from innovative togetherness can bring a real lift. Don't forget a Mother's Day card!
“Go out” to brunch — on the deck.
Spread a picnic. Lay a blanket on the living room floor and pretend you’re on a picnic.
Go glamping — in the backyard. Set up a tent, and if you have a fire pit, get it going! Think of this as the perks of camping without hauling equipment and coolers. And coffee that’s immeasurably better.
Make a special delivery. If your mom lives nearby but you can’t gather with her, what about packing up brunch to leave on her doorstep? Maybe FaceTime as you, too, tuck into brunch at your home.
Host a virtual brunch. If distance or social distancing make it impossible to gather in person, invite Mom to brunch via Google Hangouts or Zoom. You won’t be dishing up the same food (though maybe you can share recipes), but you can still connect across your virtual tables.
Tips for an easy Mother’s Day brunch
Keep these ideas in mind for a celebration that's easy on everyone.
Get Mom’s opinion. Surprises are great, but you can also just ask her what she’d like on her special day.
Prep in advance. However you’re gathering, brunch is about leisure, not stress. Knock out as much prep as you can the day before and everyone will be able to enjoy Sunday together.
Make a feel-good playlist. Turn off the news and turn up the happy tunes.
Ditch the perfection. Be flexible. You might not be able to find all the ingredients you wanted. Your finished recipe might not look as pretty as the recipe photo. It’s fine. The point of the brunch is togetherness.
Keep it manageable. You don’t need to dream up an elaborate Mother’s Day brunch menu. Just pick out a few appealing things — maybe something eggy, something fresh, something a little sweet, and a beverage — and go with it.
Clean up. The best Mother’s Day gift? Not having to clean the kitchen.
16 favorite Mother's Day brunch recipes
What to make for Mother's Day brunch? We rounded up plenty of make-ahead options, healthy Mother’s Day recipes, and fun versions of trusty brunch favorites so you can make the day memorable…your way. Choose from classic breakfast carbs, eggy brunch recipes, side dishes, and festive drinks. You'll find Mother's Day brunch ideas to mix and match for a brunch spread or to feature on their own.
The classic make-ahead Mother’s Day brunch food. What makes this version unbelievable is its crumbly-crunchy streusel topping. Assemble it the night before, using your choice of sourdough French bread or challah. Make it for a crowd or a small group, because guess what? Leftovers freeze well for future indulgent breakfasts. Serve with a fruit sauce or fresh fruit on the side.
Brunch is a meeting ground of sweet and savory. A Monte Cristo is a mashup of a ham and cheese sandwich with French toast; jam comes on the side. These crepes take it one step further, moving the jam inside with a dab of Dijon and lots of Swiss and Gruyere. You’ll need a basic crepes recipe to go with it. Do yourself a favor and make the crepes the day before so you don’t have to wake up extra early on Mother’s Day.
If you’ve always wanted to make donuts but don’t have special cutters and are terrified of deep frying, try these. They’re the waffle version of raised glazed donuts, but with more surface area for that sugary glaze to nestle into. Make the batter the night before and add the eggs before griddling (beat the whites for extra-airy waffles). You can serve these warm or at room temperature. No vanilla bean? Use vanilla extract in the glaze instead.
There are few more welcoming weekend breakfast sights than a platter of warm scones. A food processor helps these come together with very little effort, and for easy shaping, they’re cut into squares. If you don’t have raspberries around, either omit them or substitute fresh blueberries, diced strawberries, or a handful of your favorite dried fruit.
Standard eggs Benedict are nestled on Canadian bacon, but try smoked salmon for something different. Never made eggs Benedict before? While there are several components to wrangle at once, you can keep the hollandaise warm over a pan of hot water while you poach the eggs and toast the muffins. (And while you can drain the poached eggs on paper towels as the recipe recommends, I like to drain them on stale bread instead to be extra-sure they’re not soggy.) On the side, consider a simple spring salad with vinaigrette.
Omelets are great for customization, but you need to make them one-by-one on the spot. To feed the whole family at once, so you can enjoy brunch together, try this light baked omelet. It’s perfect for folks who always have a hard time getting omelets out of the skillet. Just whisk eggs with milk, pour into a baking dish, and a giant puffy omelet emerges half an hour later.
A quiche is a lovely brunch centerpiece as well as a make-ahead champion. Use a refrigerated pie crust and bake the quiche a night ahead, if you like. To reheat, let the quiche sit on the counter as the oven preheats to 350°. Then pop it back in the oven in the pan you baked it in until it’s heated through, about 30 minutes.
If baked eggs sound prosaic, you’re in for a surprise. White cheddar and heavy cream work magic to make these decadent, and spinach helps cut the richness. After only 15 minutes in the oven, they’re ready. If you don’t have large ramekins, try large custard cups, or bake the whole recipe in an 8-inch square baking dish.
Frittatas are appealing hot, warm, or at room temperature — so they’re just right for a brunch where people will be chatting over coffee and nibbling on food for a long while. The key to getting one out of the pan easily is letting it rest five or ten minutes after broiling it. That helps the bottom steam loose from the skillet so it’s easier to portion and serve.
Break away from the traditional Mother’s Day egg recipes with this gloriously messy, gluten-free and sharable breakfast main. Top your favorite tortilla chips with pinto beans or black beans, shredded cheese, scrambled eggs, corn, and jalapeño chili. It’s more a template than a recipe; you can omit the meat to make it vegetarian, and make other substitutions as you like.
That essential kiss of citrus is the difference between a bowl of blasé chopped fruit and an enticing fruit salad you want seconds and thirds of. Use whatever fresh fruit you can get your hands on, and assemble the salad shortly before serving so the fruit doesn’t get soggy.
A tray of candied bacon does not last very long. With these, a pinch of black pepper and cayenne offsets the salty-sweetness so all the flavors come together even better. You bake them in the oven so the bacon gets extra-crisp. And if you’re doing bloody Marys, serving them with the bacon will take them totally over the top.
Planning a vegan Mother’s Day brunch? This low-carb hash is an asset on any table. Full of delicious veggies (turnips and sweet potatoes yes, potatoes no), it’s also got rosemary and the zest and fresh juice of an orange to brighten it up. The brilliance of hash is how permissive it is with substitutions, so if you’re missing ingredients, make a swap or increase the amount of veg you do have.
The day wouldn't be complete without a special Mother's Day dessert. This one has an Oreo-walnut crust (pecans would be amazing, too), cream cheese-Greek yogurt-chocolate chip filling, and silky chocolate ganache topping.
As delightful as mimosas are, sometimes you want a change from the simple combination of sparkling wine and orange juice. This version gives you similar flavors but more luxe results. It’s just what the name implies: Spoon sorbet of your choice (here, mango) into glasses 30 minutes before serving, then top off with dry sparkling wine. It’s a Mother’s Day brunch drink recipe sure to make an encore in years to come.
For active, health-conscious moms, consider skipping the typical Mother’s Day cocktails or mimosas and creating the minty flavors of a mojito in a refreshing, alcohol-free green smoothie. Packed with power produce like spinach and green apple, it’s a satisfying drink you can whirl together any day of the week.
More breakfast and brunch ideas
Once you get on a roll (make that a cinnamon roll), creating special breakfasts can be habit-forming! How about bagels and cream cheese for breakfast in bed, avocado toast alfresco, or Parmesan, prosciutto, and chive omelets just because it's Saturday? In these next articles, explore more recipes including puffy Dutch baby pancakes and Mexican chilaquiles.