This year, like every year, we’re all about taking the stress out of the holiday season. We’re saying yes to shortcuts and no to the things that zap our energy. While the kitchen is arguably the center of the holiday action, we’re using all the time-saving hacks we can find to help us spend more time by the fire with friends and family. The key to a smooth sailing Christmas? It all lies in the amount of prep you can tackle beforehand, starting with breakfast. To share some inspiration for getting your to-do’s done with plenty of time left over for quality connection, I’ve rounded up my 15 favorite make-ahead Christmas breakfast ideas. Because while I’m mainly concerned with how a recipe will taste, if I can do all the hard work in advance, I’m a happy lady.
Because here’s the truth: There’s nothing better than lounging around in our pajamas with a big cup of coffee on Christmas morning. While a younger version of myself was quick to hop out of bed at 4 a.m. (that’s not a joke) and run downstairs to revel in the magic of a twinkly, present-flocked tree, I take things muuuuuch more leisurely now as an adult. You can catch me on Christmas puttering around in my slippers, happy to move about the house at a snail’s pace. In other words: slowly. Very slowly.
If “make-ahead recipes” caught your eye, I imagine the same might be true for you. The key to making your tranquil Christmas morning dreams a reality? It’s all about the prep, y’all. Whether you prefer savory or sweet, meat or meat-free, healthy or…indulgent, do I have options for you. Consider this roundup your ticket to soaking up the magic of the morning and still having a big delicious breakfast for the whole fam to devour. Just wake up, pop your dish in the oven, (or enjoy the beauty of a no-bake recipe), and get ready to dig in. Here we go.
featured image by kate lesueur
Chicken Ranch Breakfast Hash from The Defined Dish
Why We Love It: If you’re looking for a hearty start, this is your recipe. Packed with protein, healthy fats, and even two cups of spinach, you’ll feel good about starting your Christmas morning with this hash. It’s easy to throw together and bake in advance. Simply let cool, refrigerate, and warm it up in the oven when the time comes to eat.
Hero Ingredient: It’s not a hash without the potatoes. The tiny, bite-sized yellow potatoes fill this dish with starchy goodness.
Slow Cooker Cinnamon Rolls from Cream de la Crumb
Why We Love It: Just when you thought you’d seen everything, you learned that your slow cooker could make the fluffiest, doughiest cinnamon rolls you’ve ever eaten. Making anything in the slow cooker is inherently easy, but this recipe shows just how incredible the appliance can be. Mix and form your dough, spread the filling, and set to cook in the crock pot for about two hours. Enjoy your coffee, open some presents, and breakfast will be ready when you are.
Hero Ingredient: The filling isn’t holding anything back—a tablespoon of cinnamon makes these rolls beautifully sweet and spicy.
Raspberry Yogurt Chia Pudding
Why We Love It: Easy, energizing, and able to keep you full for hours, this chia pudding is a great option for a healthier Christmas breakfast. It’s as easy as finding a few spare minutes on Christmas Eve to mix your ingredients in a glass and let it set in the fridge. On Christmas morning, set up bowls with the mix-ins and toppings (yogurt, granola, and any array of berries is great) for people to pick and choose as they please.
Hero Ingredient: Chia seeds are magic. Not only are they responsible for this pudding’s lusciously delicious texture, but they supply plenty of fiber and good-for-you fats.
Vegan Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls from Minimalist Baker
Why We Love It: These delights are proof that vegan and gluten-free cinnamon rolls are very much so possible. While I’ve tried other recipes and the result has been a crumbly disappointment, these not only rival, but honestly surpass the softness of other cinnamon rolls. Because they only take 10 ingredients and can be stored assembled in the freezer until they’re ready to bake, these are a great pick for your gluten- and dairy-free family members (and, of course, everyone else).
Hero Ingredient: Cream cheese frosting is not optional when it comes to making cinnamon rolls. The vegan cream cheese in this recipe means you’re not missing out on any tangy frosting flavor.
Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole from Deliciously Yum
Why We Love It: Like the french toast you love, minus having to make each slice individually, one by one. It’s essentially a bread pudding, meaning everything gets put in your dish to set overnight. All you have to do is turn on the oven, pop in your pan, and attempt to patiently wait. The result is a crispy exterior, a soft and creamy middle, and fruity bites of blueberries dotted all throughout your casserole. Everyone’s going to be craving a few squares of this.
Hero Ingredient: Adding syrup to your casserole’s custard will make your entire home smell like maple when it bakes in the morning. There are worse things.
Sweet Potato & Spinach Breakfast Strata from The Kitchn
Why We Love It: Growing up, Stratas was a staple at every brunch. Ever the brilliant hostess, my mom cited strata as being her stress-free secret to laid-back parties. All the hands-on work is done the night before. It takes a little while to bake, but if you time things correctly, you’ll have a warm, savory casserole ready for everyone post-present-opening.
Hero Ingredient: While you can certainly spend time trying to perfect the combination of ingredients added to your strata, in my opinion, it’s all about the bread. Sourdough gives your strata a mild and tangy bite that’ll bring major flavor to your overall dish.
Meyer Lemon Blueberry Scones from What’s Gaby Cooking
Why We Love It: It’s the night before Christmas, and you can bet I have dreams of these scones dancing in my head. I love love love the pairing of fresh and bright lemon with fruity, jammy blueberries. These are great on their own, but if you really want to put things over the top, I recommend enjoying your scones with a little butter and lemon curd (because you can really never have too much lemon).
Hero Ingredient: If you’re tempted to swap the heavy cream for milk, here’s my strong recommendation: don’t! Heavy cream makes these beautifully rich, and because it adds less water to your dough, the scones will be light, tender, and flaky as flaky can be.
Pesto & Goat Cheese Frittata
Why We Love It: Making a frittata for breakfast lets you have the eggs you love without having to hover over the stovetop all morning. Instead, you can whisk your eggs and mix-ins in advance, then pop a pyrex dish or cast-iron skillet full of your frittata mixture in the oven. Pour yourself a cup of coffee while you wait—or maybe a mimosa. This frittata is worth celebrating.
Hero Ingredient: While you’re welcome to make this recipe using store-bought pesto, the toasted pistachio basil pesto gives this frittata next-level flavor.
Chocolate Banana Overnight Oats from Eating Bird Food
Why We Love It: If your run-of-the-mill, weekday overnight oats don’t seem special enough for the Christmas festivities, it’s time to make this recipe. Chocolate protein powder, cacao nibs, and almond butter makes these the ultimate oats. They’re make-ahead, healthy, and an overall deliciously creamy dream. What’s not to love?
Hero Ingredient: Hot take: There’s no better topping for overnight oats than almond butter. Nutty and smooth, almond butter makes these oats a decadent treat.
Maple Pecan Sticky Buns from Half Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: I’m always either craving cinnamon rolls (the reason this round-up includes two recipes) or sticky buns. When I’m wanting the latter, this is the recipe I turn to. They’re super sticky, extra maple-y, and swirled with cinnamon sugar. If you’re ready to go all out with a special and celebratory Christmas breakfast, these need to be on your table.
Hero Ingredient: The secret to the stickiest sticky bun sauce? Two sticks of butter. But hey, it’s Christmas.
Biscuits and Gravy Casserole from House of Nash Eats
Why We Love It: Big biscuit and gravy fan over here. Put into casserole form? Genius. This recipe is the kind of meal you have when all you want is to laze about and linger around the table for hours. While that’s the kind of breakfast I dream about every morning, Christmas is the ultimate reason to make it happen. Put simply, if you’re into southern, savory breakfasts, here you go.
Hero Ingredient: The tiniest quarter teaspoon of paprika gives your casserole a distinctly smoky flavor.
Belgian Waffles from Pinch and Swirl
Why We Love It: Sometimes when I have waffles, I’m disappointed to discover that they’re either too light or too crispy. This recipe, my friends, combines both textures with perfect ease. They’re tender and fluffy on the inside, while their exterior offers just enough crunch. These waffles are yeast-risen too, giving them gorgeous height.
Hero Ingredient: Again, the rise on these waffles is all thanks to the yeast. But more than that, the yeast gives your batter a slightly bready, nearly sourdough quality. Conclusion? While you can drown these waffles in maple syrup (which I totally support), their flavor alone is enough to savor.
Make Ahead Ham & Cheese Breakfast Casserole from The Wholesome Dish
Why We Love It: When this recipe says it takes longer to preheat your oven than it does to prep your casserole, believe it. The hardest thing this casserole will require you to do is crack open a dozen eggs. After that, it’s only a matter of stirring things up and pouring it all into a pan. Low-effort. Insanely high reward.
Hero Ingredient: Ham, cheese, and eggs for breakfast is just about as wholesome and traditional as it gets. It’s the hash browns in the casserole though, that’ll make it a hit.
Bakery-Style Muffins from Handle the Heat
Why We Love It: Time to get nostalgic: Muffins were the first thing I ever baked as a kid. While I took pride in my pre-teen skill, it’s true that muffins are also amazingly easy to make. With a few tips and tricks added in, this recipe will help you get the towering, golden-domed goods that make muffin tops so enjoyable. Want a sneak peek into the secret? It’s all about giving your batter the time to rest overnight. (Seriously, check out the recipe’s side-by-side photos—this step makes all the difference.)
Hero Ingredient: This is your basic muffin recipe, giving you the opportunity to add whatever fruit, nuts, or other ingredients you’d like. And while it’s more of a template, I’m all for its use of buttermilk that’ll make your muffins super tender and moist.
Overnight Buttermilk Pancakes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Why We Love It: As a kid, my dad would make his famous fluffy pancakes every Saturday morning. It’s likely because my sisters and I were a lot to handle before noon that he started making and mixing his batter the night before. While that definitely helped make things easier in the a.m., resting the batter overnight gives these pancakes the melt-in-your-mouth texture I always want. Similar to the waffle recipe above, these cakes include yeast in the batter, so you’ll have the lightest pancakes your fork ever met.
Hero Ingredient: I prefer using whole-wheat flour in these pancakes. While the health benefits are great, it also gives your pancakes a nutty flavor plus a rich, golden color.
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