Bring on the Brinner
Chilaquiles. Chicken and Waffles. Shakshuka! Change up your meals with breakfast-for-dinner recipes the whole family will love.
Breakfast: It’s what’s for dinner! Breakfast foods are big favorites, but we don’t always have the time to make — or savor — them in the morning. That’s why eating breakfast at the dinner table is brilliant. Thus, brinner: breakfast + dinner.
Brinner happens for two reasons.
1. You planned it out, because breakfast for dinner is always a hit.
2. There’s hardly any food in the house, you’re hangry and exhausted, and brinner is easy and comforting.
If you’re in the planning camp, do we have breakfast recipes (or make that brinner recipes) for you! But if you are in the latter category — the Emergency Brinner — take heart. The best breakfast for dinner ideas are frequently born of necessity. Most of these recipes are adaptable, or designed to be made with pantry ingredients. Want to pack in the veggies? Out of eggs? Don’t eat meat? No matter your needs, here’s what to make for breakfast for dinner.
Jump ahead to:
Breakfast for dinner ideas with eggs
The whole “put an egg on it” cliché exists for a very good reason: Eggs are cheap, they cook quickly, and they go with nearly everything. Turn your eggs into speedy dinners with these winners.
You’ll never find a simpler quiche recipe. This is crustless, for one. It’ll take a total of about 45 minutes for the quiche to be ready, though most of that is hands-off, which makes this less effort than a frittata. Use the pressure cooking time to throw together a salad, or even take a quick walk, since the Instant Pot is like a magic cooking robot.
Leftover pizza has always been an unintentional savory breakfast idea, so why not make it intentional…fresh and hot for the evening. Plus, what’s one way to make pizza even more fun? Grill it. With refrigerated pizza dough, this pizza comes together swiftly. It calls for bacon as a topping, but ham, sausage, or any version of your favorite breakfast meat would work. This recipe offers directions for the oven, if you’re not in the mood for grilling.
Start with a bag of refrigerated hash browns to cut down on prep time. Line the muffin tins with the shredded potatoes, bake them until crispy, and then add a veggie-cheese-egg mixture spiked with bacon crumbles. These aren’t super eggy or packed with veggies, so consider serving them with a hearty green salad. Leftovers make great to-go meals, or snacks. You can even freeze them!
It’s not a proper full English breakfast (no black pudding, no bacon), but with the ease of a single sheet pan in the oven, who cares? This streamlined version means way fewer pans to wash. Pop a few slices of bread in the toaster and brinner’s ready! You may be skeptical of baked beans at breakfast, but when combined with eggs, tomatoes, and sausages, you’ll be a quick convert.
Traditionally served for breakfast throughout the Middle East and especially in Israel, shakshuka is amazing at dinnertime, too. You’ll make a flavorful tomato sauce with bell pepper, onion, garlic, and spices; poach eggs in it; and then shower the works with feta cheese and parsley. Be sure to have a baguette or toast handy for dunking.
Breakfast for dinner pancakes, waffles, and fritters
This category can go sweet or savory…and sometimes both!
This recipe is a classic example of mehlspeisen, a sweet, flour-based dish that serves as a meal. Think of it as Austrian brinner. Kaiserschmarrn, or emperor’s pancake, is a luxe version of a lovingly thrown-together pancake supper. What makes it puffy? Separating and beating the egg white and egg yolks. What makes it special? Breaking the cooked pancake into small bits and frying those in butter. It’s traditional to serve this carb delight with stewed plums, but applesauce or a generous dusting with confectioner’s sugar will do just as well.
It’s quite the undertaking to make chicken and waffles from scratch. To make them accessible for weeknights, use convenient frozen mini-waffles (which, let’s admit it, are good!) and funnel your energy into frying chicken tenders for these bite-size temptations. Topped with honey butter, they’ll knock out breakfast, dinner, and dessert all on one plate.
As lovely as syrupy breakfast for dinner pancakes are, they can leave you feeling a bit in need of further sustenance. Adding some green veg bumps up the nutrition and begs for savory accompaniments. When I was growing up, we called fritters like these zucchini pancakes. Whatever the name, I could devour them for any given meal. Try them with salsa and sour cream on the side, and add browned ready-to-eat chicken sausage to round out the meal.
A Dutch baby is always a minor miracle. A quick whisk in a bowl or whizz in the bender and the batter’s ready! And its rise in the oven is so dramatic, different every time. This one has Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs in the eggy batter. What goes on top is up to you. A fried egg? A salad? Leftover sauteed bell peppers or roasted sweet potato? Bacon, chorizo, or smoked salmon? Why, yes! If you’re more of a sweet Dutch baby person, read on.
The classic sweet Dutch baby needs nothing more than some maple syrup and a big spoonful of fresh berries to highlight its perfection, but you could definitely cook up a pan of bacon or sausages while this easy recipe is in the oven.
Easy skillet breakfasts for dinner
An easy dinner isn’t always about prep time. There’s also cleanup time, which is why cooking a whole meal in one skillet is a win-win situation.
Omelets are a brunch fixture, though to be honest, I eat them almost exclusively for lunch and dinner. If you love them, too, but they never emerge from the pan all in one piece, this is your salvation — it’s landing in a bowl! If it’s torn, who cares? Instead of the ham, use any leftover cooked meat: steak, chicken, even salmon. If you’re looking for Keto breakfast for dinner ideas, this is it.
A free-form breakfast burrito without the floury wrapper means there’s no assembly line getting between you and a hot meal on the table. This cheesy riff calls for Southwest-style hash browns, but you can use plain ones and just add a little onion and minced jalapeño. Brown breakfast sausage, dump in the hash browns, add beaten eggs, and pop the skillet in the oven to melt the cheese. Pure comfort!
In the mood for the flavors of breakfast tacos, but as a one-pan meal? Mexican chilaquiles were traditionally a way to use up not-so-fresh corn tortillas, but this recipe cuts to the chase and starts with tortilla chips. You’re going to simmer them in a homemade spicy, smoky guajillo chili sauce, which is totally worth the few minutes it takes to make. Add fried eggs, and maybe a side of refried beans on the side if you’re extra hungry. Heaven!
Healthy breakfasts for dinner
Here are some vegetarian breakfast for dinner recipes — plus, if you’re out of eggs, these both fit the bill!
Tofu scrambles are not just for vegans, or just for breakfast! Think of a tofu scramble as its own thing instead of a stand-in for scrambled eggs. This vegan, easy breakfast for dinner is essentially a hash with broken-up clusters of firm tofu resembling feta cheese in texture. But like an eggy scramble, tofu scramble’s biggest selling point is its versatility — add the veggies you have on hand. Plus, tofu scrambles come together in a flash. Salt makes or breaks a tofu scramble; tofu is bland, and you need to have a generous hand with the seasoning to make those add-ins (cherry tomatoes and spinach, in this case) pop.
Breakfast for dinner, without eggs? It’s well within your reach, thanks to avocado toast! Adding tomato, fresh basil, and creamy cottage cheese makes for a dream open-faced breakfast sandwich combo. There’s no need to smash the avocado or make guacamole; just slice the avocado right onto your whole-wheat toast.
Breakfast for dinner casserole recipes
Casseroles can almost always be either assembled or baked in advance, which is like having money in the bank.
A meal of full-blown biscuits and gravy can be quite a production, but this casserole has some tricks up its sleeve. Use canned or frozen biscuits, for one. The sausage gravy you’ll make from scratch, but it’s about the easiest gravy you can make.
Festive French toast casserole ushers in a breakfast for dinner party! Apples are fruit, and fruit is good for you, so this sweet mess of yumminess can’t be all that bad for you, right? You can assemble the casserole in the morning, refrigerate the insert, then pop it in the slow cooker later in the afternoon. Add bacon or sausages to serve on the side, and you’re set.
Cooking sausages, bacon, eggs, and toast or English muffins for the whole family and serving it all hot at the same time can be a challenge. Make the meal easy on yourself with this strata, which re-envisions the big breakfast as a casserole that you can assemble up to a day ahead — and serve for brinner.
More breakfast for dinner ideas
Once you get on the brinner bandwagon, you'll want to make it a regular habit.