ATK at Home
Make-Ahead Breakfasts That Will Brighten Your Morning (and Give You Something to Look Forward To)
Try these make-ahead breakfasts to get your day at home off to a great start.
04-29-2020
Afton Cyrus
Afton Cyrus

A few things to know about me: I am not a morning person. I would love to be one of those people who gets up early to go on a run before work, or meditate over my morning coffee on the back porch as the sun comes up, but I’ve come to accept that that’s just not me. 

I love sleep! I love sleep so much! Despite any other intentions, without fail, I will sleep until the last possible minute before I need to get out the door (or, these days, onto Zoom). And frankly, with all that’s going on right now, I’m feeling extra tired, which I know some of you may be, too. Getting up can be tough.

But, I am a breakfast person! I have a deep, unabiding love for breakfast. I love breakfasts of all kinds—the glorious greasy-spoon diner breakfast, the Sunday-morning-at-home pancake breakfast, the earnest, healthy smoothie breakfast on the way to the train in the morning (remember trains, you guys?). I love them all.

And, lastly, I’m a planner. I am a famous maker of lists, which make me feel calmer and more secure. With a road map for the day/week in hand, even when it will inevitably change, I feel steadier and like I have more forward momentum (and I get to cross things off, which is the best part, obviously).

So, if there’s anything to get me out of bed and brighten up my mornings right now, it’s a make-ahead breakfast to look forward to! Planning ahead and doing some work the day before has great payoff in the morning for an impressive, even joyful breakfast at home. Here are some of my favorites:

If you're looking for low lift and high reward:

From left: Ten-Minute Steel-Cut Oatmeal, Yeasted Waffles, Popovers

Ten-Minute Steel-Cut Oatmeal

I love steel-cut oats, but I don’t love stirring them on the stovetop for 40 minutes before I’ve had my coffee. This method par-cooks and soaks the oats the night before, so they’re ready in just 10 minutes in the morning. These oats are a perfect blank canvas for whatever toppings (fresh or dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.) you have on hand! (Get a version for kids to make here!)

  • Time spent the day before: 15 minutes, plus overnight soak
  • Time spent in the morning: 10 minutes

Yeasted Waffles

Waffles can take some time to make back to back in a waffle iron, so get a jump start on the process by making the batter the night before. This yeasted batter creates supertasty, light, crispy waffles. Bonus: freeze any leftover cooked waffles and reheat them in the toaster or the oven for another (even faster!) make-ahead option. (Get a version of this recipe for kids to make here!)

  • Time spent the day before: 30 minutes, plus overnight rest
  • Time spent in the morning: 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of your waffle iron

Popovers

I’m an avid home canner, so I always have jars of jam on hand to use up, and these popovers are a perfect vehicle to do so. These have two make-ahead options: you can make the batter the night before, then bake them the next morning, and then store the leftover baked popovers for up to 2 days, and reheat them in the oven. (Get a version of this recipe for kids to make here!)

  • Time spent the day before: 15 minutes, plus overnight rest
  • Time spent in the morning: 1 hour for batter to come to room temperature, plus 1 hour 10 minutes of baking/cooling time

If you have a little more time, energy, and access to ingredients:

From left: French Toast Casserole, Sausage Strata for Two, and Baked Eggs Florentine

French Toast Casserole

This is a classic Cook’s Country recipe that I’ve made for many a brunch that I’ve hosted (remember hosting things, you guys?). You assemble the whole thing the night before, and then all you have to do is pop it in the oven in the morning. This version makes 6 to 8 servings, but if you’re at home with a smaller crowd to feed, there’s a great scaled-down version for a 12-inch cast iron skillet that serves 4 to 6 instead, and the same make-ahead option should work fine.

  • Time spent the day before: 25 minutes, plus overnight rest
  • Time spent in the morning: 1 hour

Sausage Strata for Two

I’m part of a household of two people, so this hybrid sweet-savory breakfast is a nice option for us. Similar to the French Toast Casserole, you get everything assembled the night before, and then just bake it off in the morning. For a similar type of recipe to serve more people, also check out this Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyere (it has a few other vegetable/cheese variations, too).

  • Time spent the day before: 25 minutes, plus overnight rest
  • Time spent in the morning: 30 minutes once your oven is preheated

Baked Eggs Florentine

Pretend you’re at your favorite brunch spot with these fancy individual egg cups! The day before, you make a roux-thickened spinach filling and divide it up among ramekins, then, the next morning, par-bake them, crack some eggs into the cups, and finish them in the oven. Bonus: these can be made up to 3 days in advance, so you could save them and bake a couple of them at a time for a few days, if you like.

  • Time spent the day before: 35 minutes, plus overnight rest
  • Time spent in the morning: 30 minutes once your oven is preheated

If you're ready for a project:

From left: New York Bagels and Sticky Buns

New York Bagels

These bagels are the real deal. They’re a big project, but if you have the time, they are totally worth it! Make sure to watch breadmaster Andrew Janjigian’s video with the recipe for the keys to the shaping technique. You make the dough and shape them the day before, then boil and bake the next day. And I can attest, any leftover bagels can be frozen and enjoyed later.

  • Time spent the day before: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus overnight rest
  • Time spent in the morning: 2 hours

Sticky Buns

There are few things better in this world than a pillowy-soft, ooey-gooey sticky bun. This stellar recipe gives a bakery-quality result, without having to leave home! You’ll make the dough and fill and shape the rolls the day before, then let them rise and bake them the next day. And if you really want to gild that lily, you can do the same thing with these Triple-Chocolate Sticky Buns!

  • Time spent the day before: 2 hours, plus overnight rest
  • Time spent in the morning: 1 to 1 ½ hour rise, plus 50 minutes of baking/cooling time