14 Tips for Hosting Brunch on a Budget
July 25, 2016
Skip the smoked salmon, but use all the eggs: Hosting brunch doesn’t have to be expensive
14 Tips for Hosting Brunch on a Budget
Going out for brunch means long lines, slow service, overpriced pancakes, and expensive cocktails. So, in the interest of saving money, and being able to enjoy a much more relaxed, laid-back start to the day, we have taken to hosting our brunch get-togethers in our own homes. However, hosting brunch doesn’t always come cheap: Smoked salmon and DIY cocktails aren’t exactly the most affordable items at the grocery store. Thankfully, we have collected our top tips, recipes, and styling tricks to help you host brunch without blowing your weekend budget.
Cook all the Eggs
Eggs are a brunch staple, and thankfully, they’re never going to be the item that blows your budget. Make sure you use them as much as possible — serve them fried, scrambled, in an omelette or frittata, in pancakes and waffles, or soft poached on top of a salad.
Serving cocktails at your brunch party is obviously an easy way to quickly increase the cost of hosting. Given that you’re serving all the food, ask your guests to provide the alcohol: It’s only fair to share the cost, and this will help your budget go a lot further.
Fill the Table
You obviously don’t want your friends to know that you’re hosting brunch on a tight budget, so make sure you hide it well by filling the table with food, drinks, and pretty tableware. A full table always looks like you’ve created the most generous offering. If you aren’t serving many dishes, divide them up into several different serving bowls so that they occupy more space.
Frittatas and Omelettes
Make your eggs feed more people by cooking a frittata or omelette. Fill them with cheap vegetables or any tasty leftovers you have in your refrigerator (ham, kimchi, cheese, potatoes) to stretch the eggs even further.
Frozen Fruit Compôte
You’re obviously going to need something to serve on top of the French toast, pancakes, and waffles, but serving bowls full of fresh berries and seasonal fruit from the farmers market may be out of your budget. Instead, buy frozen berries, place them in a saucepan with some sugar or honey, and heat until warmed through and beginning to become a sticky purée.
Fancy homemade smoothies and cold-pressed juices are going to be above budget, but water infused with your favorite fruits and herbs won’t be. We love a combination of mint, lemon, and lime, but let your tastes, or whatever fruits and herbs you have, guide you.
Make Cocktails Ahead of Time
Although it is less work and hassle to set up a self-serve bar for your guests to help themselves to, it’s an invitation for them to use as much alcohol as they can and want. Instead, mix up a pitcher of mimosas or Bloody Marys before they arrive so you can control how much alcohol gets used.
No Need for Decorations
Yes, fresh flowers and carefully laid place settings with personalized place names and napkins are a lovely touch, but they’re also totally unnecessary. If your table is filled with home-cooked food, drinks, and your prettiest tableware, you won’t have any space (or any need) for fresh-cut flowers, flickering scented candles, or monogrammed napkins.
Pancakes and Waffles
When you go out for brunch, you pay a fortune for pancakes and waffles, but they are made of such cheap ingredients — which you probably already have in your kitchen — that there’s no need to skip these weekend-perfect treats at your brunch party. Top with your berry compôte for a sweet brunch course.
Serve Filter Coffee
Don’t mess around making fancy caffeinated drinks for your brunch. Yes, your guests’ typical order may be for an iced vanilla latte, but if you only offer your normal filter coffee, they’ll be more than happy to drink it.
Skip the Fancy Items
As long as you fill your table with enough tasty food, ranging from scrambled eggs to stacks of pancakes to freshly brewed coffee, you don’t need to mess around with smoked salmon, seared shrimp, and smashed avocado. Fill your guests up with eggs and flour, and they’ll never notice the absent caviar.
Remember the Music
To make sure your brunch really is a fun, relaxed, and happy party, put some tunes on — something upbeat but still appropriate for the late morning — to make you look like the calmest, happiest, most welcoming host as soon as your guests walk through the door.