Stay Brunch Ready: 18 Ingredients To Always Have Handy
While millennials have likely heard enough jokes about avocado toasts and home prices to last a lifetime, there’s a kernel of truth behind them. What is essentially avocado spread over a piece of bread can cost upwards of $12, $14, or even $16 depending on the other toppings.
With everything seeming to cost a little bit more these days, your wallet might be cringing at the idea of a weekly outing to Sunday Brunch.
So if you’re looking to save a little on brunch, why not host your own brunch when the mood hits by keeping some essential ingredients on-hand.
Whether you’re looking to have a more cost-effective brunch - or you just want to invite some friends over in their pajamas - having these ingredients will make sure you can pull off a restaurant-level brunch from the comfort of your home.
Stock Your Shelves With These Must-Have Brunch Ingredients
Below is our A-to-almost-Z list (well, throw a zucchini on there if it’s the season!) of brunch ingredients that will get you ready for breakfast, lunch, and every meal in between.
- Avocados - As important for making avocado toast as they are for making a guacamole breakfast sandwich, make sure to keep a few avocados around. Since they’ll likely be at varying stages of ripeness, consider grabbing them from the market earlier in the week.
- Bacon - A brunch can mix and match other proteins, but there is no substitute for bacon. A delicious dish on its own, as part of a sandwich, or chopped up as bits, bacon is a brunch classic. Keep an unopened pack in your freezer and you’ll stay brunch ready.
- Baking Powder & Soda - Depending on what you’re cooking up (waffles, pancakes, muffins), you’ll have need for one or both of these leavening agents. Keep them both handy, but be sure to double-check your recipes beforehand to make sure you’ve grabbed the right one.
- Butter - Thinking about going full-on fancy and prepping your own croissants? Then you’ll need more than a little bit of butter. Beyond the flaky pastries and pastry crusts (for quiches), butter is one of the tastiest fats to cook your eggs in and a must for Dutch babies.
- Coffee - An at-home brunch might not start right at 9, but since it’s likely starting after a longer night, be the hero you and your friends need and provide (bottomless) coffee. Depending on your coffee setup - looking at you, French press and Chemex users - this could mean reserving an extra bag of pre-ground beans in your freezer. Relying on your regular coffee supply could leave you coming up short the day-of, or, more painfully, not having enough coffee for yourself the day after.
- Eggs - While we don’t doubt you’ll have an egg or two lying around, remember that with brunch, you’re not only scaling up your normal recipes, you’re likely making more egg-based dishes than you ordinarily would - and many of those eggy dishes will sneak up on you. Omelets, Dutch babies, crepes, French toast and breakfast sandwiches are just a few of the dishes that have eggs in them (without the helpful reminder of having eggs in the name).
- Flour - Whether you’re battering up some chicken for fried chicken & waffles or making some wafer-thin crepes, flour - and a lot of it - is a must-have for brunch. Keeping an extra non-opened bag will make sure you’ve got enough reserves for any last-minute brunch plans.
- Fruit, Berry - Pulling off a restaurant-quality brunch means more than just having a stocked fruit bowl. Having at least one berry around (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, to name a few) will give your waffles and pancakes that delicious visual pop. In a pinch, having marmalade or jam in your fridge or berries in your freezer can help.
- Fruit, Non-Berry - From yogurt parfaits and banana pancakes to fresh-squeezed orange juice for mimosas, there are a thousand different uses for fresh fruit in an impromptu brunch. While you don’t have to have all the fruit, all the time, having a fruit or two handy will give you a solid foundation for an at-home brunch.
- Maple Syrup - While recommending maple syrup for every breakfast meal would be a bit indulgent, it can really be the difference maker for a memorable brunch. The best part? A glass bottle of maple syrup can last on the shelf for years, so grab one now and you’ll be prepared well into the future.
- Protein - Chicken for fried chicken steaks, ground beef for enchiladas, shrimp for a seafood omelet - the brunch options for salty, savory items are endless. It’s combining the savory with the sweets of a normal breakfast that make brunch… brunch. Given that there are plenty of types of proteins, we’ll just leave this as a category that you can fill how you like.
- Sparkling Wine - For a little bubbly toast or the foundation of a mimosa, sparkling wine is the perfect drink to pair with a brunch spread with a variety of tastes. While you can add in other alcohols and mixes (like vodka and tomato juice), this is where a good brunch menu starts from.
- Spinach - There are a number of vegetables a good brunch needs, and spinach tops the list. From its versatility (eggs Benedict or spinach pancakes, take your pick) to its nutritional value, spinach is essential for a balanced brunch.
- Sugar - White, Brown, Powdered - The sweet side of your brunch will likely lean heavily on some combination of sugars. White sugar will be the most versatile, powdered sugar will add those finishing touches that make for a photo-friendly brunch (while also being useful for any frostings you make), and brown sugar comes in clutch for some brunch stand-outs (like cinnamon rolls).
- Tomatoes - More than just a pop of red, tomatoes are a versatile brunch addition. Think chilaquiles, salsa for your breakfast burrito, and diced tomatoes for your omelet. With enough tomatoes, you could even start making your own Bloody Mary mix.
Whether you’re going to brunch or making brunch yourself, know that you’re living the millennial dream. Celebrate this millennial achievement (alongside other unlockable awards like ride-sharing, social media success, and choosing texting over phone calls) by treating yourself to the Millennial IRLA Pack!
Before you go, let us know what you think. What are your must-have ingredients for at-home brunch?