Skip the Big Dinner and Enjoy a Thanksgiving Brunch Instead
No hate on Thanksgiving dinner, but it takes forever. You spend the entire day prepping in the kitchen instead of spending time with family. Brunch, on the other hand, is instant gratification. This year, why not kickoff Turkey Day with a meal instead of waiting all day for it. We've rounded up the best breakfast bites and top-rated brunch dishes for the ultimate Thanksgiving morning feast. And don't worry: We didn't skimp on iconic flavors and ingredients. We've incorporated classic Thanksgiving sides and desserts into a brunch-friendly format. There's even a biscuit riff on green bean casserole. Read on for our full menu of Thanksgiving brunch recipes, from whipped pumpkin coffee to buttery mashed potato waffles.
Thanksgiving Brunch: The Sweets
Instead of cranberry sauce, try cranberry scones topped with cream and orange zest. This scone recipe even has a hint of orange just like most cranberry sauces. In fact, you could top your cranberry scone with cranberry sauce if it's your favorite Thanksgiving side.
Pumpkin Pie French Toast
German Apple Pancake
No brunch would be complete without pancakes, but you don't need a stack of them. A Dutch Baby is one giant pancake made in a skillet that you cut up and serve like pie. And this apple version is perfect for fall. You could even use apple pie filling instead of fresh-cut apples for a twist on a classic Thanksgiving dessert.
Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting
It's not Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes or yams. And while a traditional sweet potato casserole could totally work for brunch, we love the idea of these sweet potato cupcakes. And that's not icing on top. It's toasted marshmallow fluff.
If the nut vs. no nuts debate is strong and divided in your home (or if there's an allergy), you could set toasted pecans off to the side for sprinkling on top.
Thanksgiving Brunch: The Drinks
At dinner, you might pick wine, iced tea, or even water as a way to wash down the bites of turkey and stuffing, but for a Thanksgiving brunch, creative drinks are expected — no, required. You don't have to drink cocktails or sparkling wine. This list of brunch-ready drinks offer a variety of flavors, and you can pick from iced or hot, alcoholic or mock, spiced or sweet, depending on the Thanksgiving brunch vibe you're going for.
Classic Bloody Mary
Why spend an hour chopping celery for cornbread dressing when you can just stick it in a Bloody Mary? Brunch isn't brunch without this classic cocktail. And in recent years, the toppings have become half the fun.
You could keep it simple with a lime or skewered olive. Or go big and fancy with tiny triangles of grilled cheese. But for a Thanksgiving-inspired Bloody Mary, we'd suggest a celery stalk and a thick slice or two of turkey bacon.
Cranberry Spritzer Mocktail
It's always nice to have a mocktail for friends and family not drinking so that they have something special to sip on, too. (Young diners too can feel special with their own version of the adults' special drinks.) This cranberry mocktail is super easy to make and also budget-friendly as you really only need juice and sparkling water. For a garnish, add an orange peel twist for a fall color and flavor palate. And, of course, you can always add vodka to make this a boozy sipper. It's a nice, light alternative to a hearty Bloody Mary.
Pumpkin Spice Whipped Coffee
Don't forget the coffee! Sure, you could just keep a pot warm for brunch. Or you could have a little barista fun at home with whipped coffee. The DIY trend took the internet by storm earlier this year, but this recipe goes beyond the basic whip and incorporates pumpkin spice flavor three ways.
Hot Cinnamon Apple Brandy Cider
If you love the idea of a warm cocktail for a cold November day, this hot apple cider will fit the bill nicely. It comes together quickly and simmers for just 10 minutes, so if your crew keeps sipping this libation, you can easily whip up more and keep their mugs full.
Thanksgiving Brunch: The Savory
Even if your main Thanksgiving brunch dish is a sweet French toast or a stack of pumpkin pancakes, there's room on your brunch plate for some savory choices. And if you don't like your brunch to start off with a sugar surge, then look for fantastic main dish options like the potato waffle or an air-fried hash. Don't skip the bacon!
Turkey Sausage Breakfast
Instead of roasted turkey, have turkey sausage. We love a good breakfast casserole at Allrecipes and this one doesn't disappoint. It's a no-fuss bake that only takes one hour and 15 minutes—as opposed to hours and hours spent checking and waiting on a roasted turkey.
If waffles are your go-to brunch item, try this savory twist with mashed potatoes. They taste amazing on their own, but you could also top with smoked salmon, caramelized onions, or crumbled turkey bacon. And if you have a mini waffle maker ($10; target.com), you could make turkey breast sliders with cranberry sauce or eggs Benedict with these waffles as a base.
Mini Green Bean Casseroles
Green beans for breakfast? Yes, really. These mini casserole cups are made with canned biscuit dough so it totally counts. Each tiny bite is packed with that creamy mushroom and green bean combination that you know, love, and expect on Thanksgiving day. They're guaranteed to disappear the minute you set them out.
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Hash
For a spin on basic breakfast potatoes, try sweet potatoes with a kick of pepper. The best part of this five-star recipe? The air fryer does all the work for you. It's ready in just 25 minutes. You could also use this crispy hash as a base for a Southwestern-style egg or tofu scramble. Top with peppers, sour cream, and salsa.