Can't wait to get to turkey day food? Plan to eat your way through your entire Thanksgiving? Want to be in a full food coma by the time the Thanksgiving Day Parade is over? Who can blame you!? Fortunately, Thanksgiving celebrations don't have to kick off at lunch or dinner. Brunch is the perfect place to start, and you'll find plenty of Thanksgiving brunch ideas that combine breakfast-y items with traditional Thanksgiving fare. Whether you're hosting a family breakfast on Thanksgiving morning or pre-gaming (or post-gaming) the holiday with a Friendsgiving brunch, you can put together quite the impressive spread using any combination of the more than 45 ideas below.
Hearty Casseroles for a Thanksgiving Brunch
Casseroles are made to serve (and please) a crowd. They stretch your breakfast ingredients like nobody's business, so no brunch is complete without one. They're also the perfect make-ahead option, whether you prep the night before and then pop it in the oven ahead of brunch, or you stick one in the slow cooker to practically make itself overnight. The rich and delicious options below are sure to hit the proverbial spot on Thanksgiving morning.
Ham and Egg Breakfast Casserole
If you're looking for a hearty brunch dish for Thanksgiving, you can't go wrong with a rich and delicious breakfast casserole that includes diced ham, eggs, hashed brown potatoes, and cheese, or try a slow cooker version with bacon. This savory, cheesy dish is a big crowd pleaser, and you can definitely put it together the day before the big event and pop it into the oven in the morning so that it's piping hot when your guests arrive. Of course, you can also lean into the traditional Thanksgiving theme by using turkey ham, smoked turkey, or cooked and crumbled turkey sausage in place of the ham.
Grits and Bacon Casserole
For an equally decadent (and delightful!) dish for Thanksgiving brunch, whip up a grits and bacon casserolethat's more than rich and flavorful enough to grace your Thanksgiving brunch table. It includes grits, cheese, eggs, and bacon (or turkey bacon), so it is an extremely filling option to serve.
Sweet Potato, Apple, and Sausage Bake
What's easier than a one-pan meal on Thanksgiving (other than having somebody else do the dishes)? It's so easy and delicious it may even become a non-Thanksgiving favorite. To make this very Thanksgiving-ish meat and potato dish, cut sweet potatoes and apples into chunks and put them in a casserole dish. Slice smoked turkey sausage and add to the dish. Mix well. Drizzle olive oil over the top, then toss with tongs so the food is well-coated. Add salt, pepper, and other herbs or spices as desired. Roast for 30 minutes in an oven that's been preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. For brunch, fry some eggs on the stove and add them to the casserole just before serving. Your guests will gobble it up (pun intended).
Need lighter fare so you're not weighed down for the annual family Thanksgiving football grudge match? Protein is the answer! If you're looking for a protein-based oven-baked option, quiche is a great choice. Consider making a few options, such as a vegetable quiche or one that also includes ham, sausage, and/or another type of meat. Depending on your guests' dietary needs, it may be a good idea to prepare at least one crustless quiche and/or a vegan quiche recipe. It's lighter high-protein fare that won't give you the meat sweats.
Sweet Potato Frittata
Like quiche, frittatas are a crowd-friendly egg dish that is perfectly suited for a brunch menu. This hot and sweet frittata recipe features a Thanksgiving-centric combination of sweet potatoes, turkey sausage, and fresh sweet and hot peppers. Feel free to adjust the heat level of the peppers to meet your preferences of those of your guests. You can omit the sausage if you prefer. Stir in some spinach or kale before baking for even more fall color and flavor.
Baked Corn Pudding
Ah corn. While the sunny yellow nuggets are a mainstay on Thanksgiving tables everywhere, it might be a little odd to serve creamed corn or corn on the cob at brunch. Thank goodness for corn pudding. This corn pudding recipe is a breeze to mix together and bake. It's an easy way to incorporate maize into your Thanksgiving brunch, and it'll pair perfectly with the other items on your brunch menu.
French Toast Casserole
Who has time to spend on Thanksgiving morning cooking a few pieces of French toast at a time for 20 people? Not you! But a French toast casserole is another story altogether. Preparing a sweet, custardy French toast casserole (or several) is a great way to provide the flavor of French toast to a group without being limited by the number of slices of bread you can fit in a skillet or griddle pan. This dish can be a real time-save on the day of your event because you can prepare it the day before, doing everything except baking it. Just store it in the fridge overnight and pop it in the oven so it'll be ready in time for brunch.
Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Apple cinnamon baked oatmeal is a great dish to serve at a Thanksgiving brunch. The combination of apple and cinnamon gives this oven-baked dish a distinctly seasonal fare, and it'll make your kitchen smell delicious as it bakes. Plus, it's both filling and warming, so it's a great dish to enjoy at the beginning of an action-packed holiday celebration. Replace the cinnamon with pumpkin pie spice and stir in some dried cranberries before baking for even more Thanksgiving flavor.
Sweet Potato Banana Baked Oatmeal
It's easy to alter the flavor profile of baked oatmeal by including different types of produce and spices. If you're looking to add some earthy flavors to your Thanksgiving brunch table, consider opting for a baked oatmeal variety that includes sweet potatoes. This sweet potato banana baked oatmeal dish is a decidedly Thanksgiving-y take on oatmeal breakfast casseroles. Top it with pecans for extra protein and crunch.
Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes
Can't decide between sweet potatoes and apples? Not a fan of oatmeal? Great news - we've got your back. You don't have to include oatmeal to enjoy the delicious fall flavors of apples and sweet potatoes together in one harmonious Thanksgiving brunch dish. This baked apple and sweet potato recipe is a delicious brunch option that also works great as a side dish for other meals or even a dessert. You could even use it as pie filling if you'd like or sprinkle it with oat topping before it bakes for some extra flavor and texture. To make it an even sweeter treat, include pineapple chunks along with apples and sweet potatoes.
Cranberry Delights for Thanksgiving Brunch
Want to wow your guests and your Instagram followers with photo-worthy foods? That's what cranberries are for. Cranberries are the quintessential Thanksgiving ingredient. In fact, it's pretty much mandatory to serve cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. So naturally you should include them in your brunch, too, for a pop of ruby red color and a pleasing tart and fruity flavor. They're the perfect palate refresher to go with all that rich food. The creative options below are as beautiful as they are delicious.
Baked Brie With Cranberries
You'll need to use your stove and your oven to make this recipe for baked brie with cranberries, but it's well worth appliance double-dipping. You'll simmer a batch of spiced cranberry sauce on your stove, then spoon it over a wheel of brie and bake it in the oven before sprinkling chopped pecans on the top. Serve with toast points or crackers.
Cranberry and Brie Pita Flatbreads
Some of your Thanksgiving guests might prefer brie that hasn't been baked (no judgment here - it's creamy, gooey goodness either way). For them, cut some pita or flatbread into triangles (or whatever shape you like) and sear it in hot olive oil in a pan. Place on a charcuterie board, then top each piece with a slice of room temperature brie. Spoon cranberry sauce over the top and add sliced pecans and a sprig of rosemary as garnish. These are so pretty that they'll serve double duty as part of your Thanksgiving decor.
Cranberry Dried Fruit Compote
Dried cranberries and other dried fruits provide a great way to incorporate fruit into a Thanksgiving brunch. Simmer any combination of dried fruit that you like (though cranberries are a must for Thanksgiving) in apple cider, along with a few cinnamon sticks to make this delicious dish. Use an equal amount of dried fruit and liquid, so if you have two cups of dried fruit, use two cups of cider. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature either by itself or as a part of a yogurt or oatmeal topping bar.
Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball
Cranberries and pecans really like each other, so naturally, it's a tasty marriage in an easy cranberry pecan cheese ball. It also looks super fancy, and truly, who doesn't love spreadable cheese? Add a tray of crackers and a couple of cheese spreaders, and your guests can go to town on this holiday favorite.
Cranberry Pinwheel Appetizers
These Insta-worthy appetizers are surprisingly easy to make. Spread a layer of softened cream cheese on one side of several flour tortillas. Follow up by slathering on a layer of cranberry sauce or jam and a sprinkle of dried cranberries. Tightly roll each tortilla, jelly roll style. Slice the rolled tortilla into approximately half-inch chunks, arrange them artfully on a festive tray, and sprinkle them with rosemary sprigs. Don't forget to snap a photo. Alternately, you could use the cheese ball portion of the cranberry pecan cheese ball recipe above rather than layers of cream cheese and cranberry sauce.
Grilled Turkey and Cheese With Cranberry Sauce
Grilled cheese? Yes please! It doesn't matter what season it is....gooey, melty grilled cheese is a crowd pleaser. So of course you want to give it a Thanksgiving twist. Kick Thanksgiving Day off in seasonal style by serving grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches with cranberry sauce. You can use sliced turkey from the deli or meat from a bird that you cooked. Any kind of cheese is fine; just use your favorite grilled cheese sandwich technique, but add turkey and cranberry sauce in honor of - well - turkey day. It's also approved for Thanksgiving leftovers.
Cranberry Turkey and Ham Wraps
If you like the idea of serving sandwiches at your brunch but want to minimize the amount of time you spend at the stove, consider serving cranberry turkey wrap sandwiches with ham added. Simply mix some cranberry sauce into softened cream cheese and spread over tortillas. Put some pre-cooked turkey and ham on top. Add more toppings if you want, then tightly wrap the sandwiches. You can make these a day ahead. Just store them in an airtight container until your hungry guests arrive.
Chicken (or Turkey) Cranberry Salad
Make a batch of chicken cranberry salad that guests can eat on its own, use to make sandwiches, or spread on top of crackers. If you want to be super-strict with Thanksgiving traditions, then use turkey in the recipe instead of chicken. It will taste delicious either way. If you're hosting a post-Thanksgiving Friendsgiving brunch, you could even use any leftover turkey you have from the family celebration. Otherwise, canned chicken or turkey will work just fine.
Baked Goodies for Thanksgiving Brunch
No Thanksgiving brunch is complete without at least a few (preferably quite a few) tasty home-baked treats.
What better way to get your Thanksgiving celebration off to a great start than with some warm, delicious cinnamon rolls? Whether you bake homemade cinnamon rolls for scratch or purchase some store-bought cinnamon rolls and heat them in the oven, not only will you be able to serve a deliciously decadent treat for brunch, but your kitchen will also smell like Thanksgiving.
Easy Cinnamon Cake
If you want to stay away from store-bought baked goods for Thanksgiving and find the idea of making cinnamon rolls from scratch to be a bit daunting, consider this easy cinnamon cake recipe instead. Your kitchen will still smell like Thanksgiving and your brunch will still include a delightful cinnamon dessert.
Baked Sweet Potato "Toast"
There's no bread in this uber-Thanksgiving-y brunch treat. To make sweet potato toast for a crowd, you'll need to start by slicing sweet potatoes to about a quarter of an inch thick and toast them in a 400-degree (Fahrenheit) oven on a lined baking sheet for 15 - 20 minutes. If desired, pop individual slices in the toaster to crisp them up a bit after they're cooked. Slather with the same types of toppings you'd use on ordinary toast, such as butter, jam, chutney cheese spread, etc. Or, spread with cream cheese and sprinkle with dried cranberries. Pop under the broiler for a minute or two to make sure the cheese melts to your liking.
Finally, some pumpkin spice! Is it Thanksgiving if you don't have it? Muffins are a terrific brunch item you can bake to add pumpkin spice flavor for the quintessential Thanksgiving treat. Whether you use packaged pumpkin bread mix or whip up a batch of homemade pumpkin bread, simply spoon the batter into cupcake tins or silicone cupcake cups and bake. On the off chance you have leftovers, freeze them to enjoy for breakfast in the future.
If you're looking for a seasonal cake recipe that is easy to make, you're sure to be delighted to discover this recipe for applesauce cake. This delicious cake is an example of comfort food at its finest, but it's fancy enough for a holiday brunch. With ingredients like applesauce, cloves, cinnamon, and walnuts, it smells and tastes like fall.
Apple crisp is also a great sweet, spiced option for a Thanksgiving brunch. After all, fall is the prime time for enjoying delicious apple dishes. This delicious baked apple crisp recipe is extremely easy to make. To vary the flavor a bit, consider substituting pears for some of the apples. That would provide an even more delicious fall flavor. Sprinkle dried cranberries into the filling and add a bit of pumpkin pie spice to the topping for even more seasonal flare. After all, recipe rules are made to be broken.
In a nod to traditional Thanksgiving meals served later in the day, consider adding pecan pie to your turkey day brunch menu. You could opt for a traditional homemade pecan pie recipe or prepare an updated version in the form of a vegan chocolate pecan pie.
Biscuits With Marmalade
Fluffy homemade biscuits are a delicious brunch treat any time of the year. They taste great on their own, but are even more flavorful when slathered with butter and orange marmalade. Of course, they also taste great with any other variety of jams or jellies - or even pumpkin butter. In honor of Thanksgiving, consider serving cranberry chutney or whole berry cranberry sauce in addition to marmalade.
Country Ham Biscuits
Biscuits aren't just made to enjoy with marmalade or jam. Paired with meat, such as old-timey country ham, they can become the cornerstone of a hearty Thanksgiving brunch. Set out a variety of toppings, so that there are options for guests who might like to add marmalade to their country ham biscuits, as well as for those who might prefer a strategically placed slice of cheese.
English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas
For a quick baked brunch selection, place English muffin halves on oiled baking sheets (or ones that are lined with parchment paper). Pile scrambled eggs on top of each one, sprinkle cooked sausage (ideally turkey, in honor of the occasion) on top, then a bit of shredded cheese. Heat in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.
Stovetop Selections for Thanksgiving Brunch
Your stovetop is a superstar when it comes to preparing Thanksgiving brunch. From sweet to savory and bready to meaty, fill your kitchen with the aromas of Thanksgiving as you prepare your brunch.
Cinnamon Apple Skillet
You can't have Thanksgiving without at least a few apple-based dishes. The cinnamon apple skillet is extremely easy to prepare and enjoy. Just slice some apples, melt some butter in a skillet, add the apples, and sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Stir fry until the apples are soft. You can also add other ingredients to this fried apple concoction, such as brown sugar and lemon juice. This aromatic cooked fruit treat tastes great on its own, or you can plop it into a pie crust and bake an apple pie.
Pumpkin French Toast
French toast is a fantastic brunch selection, but it's not quite seasonal enough for a Thanksgiving brunch when prepared the ordinary way. That's easy enough to correct, though. Instead of using ordinary bread, use thick slices of pumpkin bread or butternut squash bread as the base for your favorite French toast recipe. Sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice mixture on top for even more fall flavor.
Cinnamon French Toast
Cinnamon French toast is another option special enough to deserve a place at the Thanksgiving brunch table. You could use store-bought cinnamon raisin bread or bake your own. Top it with a combination of apple pie filling, raisins, and pecans.
Bring on the spuds! Most Thanksgiving meals include mashed potatoes or some other type of potato dish. And while mashed potatoes would be an unusual brunch selection, pancakes are on point. So, whip up a batch of potato pancakes instead to add a twist on tradition to your turkey day brunch.
For a Thanksgiving-y recipe that doesn't deviate quite so much from ordinary pancakes, consider whipping up a batch of pumpkin pancakes. It's not all that different from making ordinary pancakes, and you can use a pumpkin pancake recipe or slightly alter your usual pancake-making strategy. How? Stir in pumpkin pie spice to your favorite boxed mix or pancake recipe and/or replace half of the oil with pumpkin puree.
To be clear, we're not suggesting you actually put turkey in pancakes. This idea is all about presentation. Prepare your favorite pancake recipe in various sizes and arrange them to look like a turkey on the plate. Use a large pancake for the turkey body, a smaller one for the head, and even smaller ones for the arms. Arrange apple slices along the top to look like feathers and add eyes with banana slices and chocolate chips. Use cheese to form feet and a beak, then add a tongue with strawberry syrup or jam. Your guests will gobble it up.
Sweet Potato Hash
Hash browns are great and all, but you need something more distinctive for turkey day. So, don't serve boring hash browns at your Thanksgiving brunch. Get in the spirit of the season by preparing a batch of sweet potato hash. This savory dish is very different from the sugary sweet candied sweet potatoes or yams that are served at ordinary Thanksgiving meals, and it will ensure that your holiday brunch is anything but boring.
Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash
Elevate your sweet potato hash to a full-on main course by adding in some cooked ground turkey or cooked turkey sausage. Want smoky flavor? Add cooked smoked turkey sausage or stir in diced ham along with or in addition to the turkey. Sprinkle some cheese on top before serving.
Turkey Breakfast Meats
Americans eat about 46 million turkeys at thanksgiving. So naturally the holiday is the perfect time to serve turkey bacon and turkey sausage for brunch. Turkey breakfast meats are perfect companions for any other items you decide to include in your Thanksgiving Day brunch, though you may also want to include some pork equivalents for any guests who prefer that don't like to eat turkey in bacon or sausage form.
Thanksgiving Style Cold Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is the perfect make ahead addition to your brunch. Boil some pasta a day or two before your turkey day brunch and mix up a batch of your favorite cold pasta salad recipe. Dress it up for Thanksgiving by stirring in some seasonal fruits or veggies. For example, you could boost the flavor of just about any pasta salad dish by stirring in some chopped spinach, kale, cooked and cooled butternut squash, or dried cranberries and garnishing with some chopped, fresh sage.
No-Cook Thanksgiving Brunch Treats
Want to give your oven a break before the big dinner - or is it already occupied with a turkey? Thank goodness not every tasty Thanksgiving brunch treat requires cooking. Round out your Thanksgiving brunch menu with a few seasonal (and sensational!) no-cook dishes.
Prepare a lovely charcuterie board featuring various types of cured meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, crackers, jams, jellies, seasonal fruit, and more. Arrange the various food selections in an appealing way and work some Thanksgiving-focused elements into the presentation, such as mini pumpkins, gourds, or winter squash.
Honeyed Fruit and Nuts
This is a super-sweet and addictive treat that deserves a place on any Thanksgiving brunch buffet, and it's so easy to make. Just fill a glass jar with various types of dried fruits and nuts, then pour honey over the top. Shake the jar a few times to encourage the honey to work its way down to the bottom. Place this decadent mixture near your charcuterie board-- it's delicious drizzled over cheese and crackers. It also tastes great as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal.
Green Salad With Kale and Cranberries
Brunch is almost lunch, so it's a good idea to add a green salad to the menu along with whatever else you are serving. To keep the salad super-seasonal, opt for kale or other cold weather greens, such as mustard or spinach. Since it's Thanksgiving, dried cranberries are a particularly good topping. For an elegant finish touch, consider topping your salad with spiced pecans and goat cheese.
For a simple sweet treat for your Thanksgiving brunch table, whip up a batch of - well, pumpkin whip. All you'll need is heavy whipping cream and pumpkin pie filling. As a matter of fact, this is a great thing to do with any leftover pumpkin pie filling you might have on hand. You'll need two parts of whipped cream to one part of filling. Simply whip the cream until it takes on a whipped cream consistency, then fold in the pie filling. Top with whipped cream and nuts. Serve chilled.
Not every Thanksgiving dish has to be rich and heavy. Yogurt has a natural tanginess that serves as a lovely palate cleanser. So for your brunch, make your yogurt a bit fancier by creating parfaits. Alternate layers of vanilla yogurt, store-bought granola, and berries (including cranberries!) into quarter-pint Mason jars so that you can store them with properly fitting lids while they're waiting for guests to select and eat them. Put the chilled jars in a big bowl filled with ice without worrying about water seeping in.
Thanksgiving Brunch Beverages
All that food is going to make everyone thirsty, so don't forget to include some seasonal beverages in your Thanksgiving menu. You'll want to include coffee (pumpkin spice, anyone?) and fruit juice for sure, as well as some Thanksgiving cocktails and mocktails. Get creative with hot and cold drinks with a distinct Thanksgiving feel.
Not everyone is going to want to load up on the food, so having smoothies available is the perfect option. Pumpkin smoothies may seem a bit on the nose, but they are delicious for pumpkin spice lovers everywhere. You could go as simple as adding some pumpkin puree to a basic smoothie or shake made with vanilla protein powder or go all out with a unique and flavorful vegan pumpkin spice protein smoothie made with tofu.
For a sweet, warming beverage that tastes like the very essence of autumn, prepare a nonalcoholic wassail recipe to serve at your Thanksgiving brunch. You can prepare it in a pot on your stove, in a slow cooker, or even in a roaster pan set on a very low setting. If you'd prefer not to serve it from the container in which it was made, transfer it to some insulated beverage containers.
Hot Apple Cider With Cinnamon
Hot apple cider with cinnamon is a delicious hot beverage that is extremely simple to make. For the easiest option, just pour some apple cider into a slow cooker and let it heat on low for 4-6 hours. If desired, sprinkle a little cinnamon into the mixture when you begin heating it. Place a ladle next to the container so guests can serve themselves. Place cinnamon sticks next to the cups so guests can use them as flavored stirring sticks.
Where to Begin for Thanksgiving Brunch
Feeling overwhelmed? Don't be! You can make your Thanksgiving brunch as simple or as complicated as you wish. Set a pretty Thanksgiving table and pick dishes that work for you, or invite guests to bring their own for a potluck brunch. Then, gather and enjoy. But pace yourself (or don't) - you have a long day of eating ahead of you.