I didn’t grow up in a breakfast household — not in any traditional sense, anyway. It was both a requirement and an afterthought: a stop at the gas station for some packaged muffins or the Cuban bakery for a ham croqueta in a roll, often eaten in my dad’s car on the way to school. But breakfast still managed to present its own kind of thrill, a moment to bond with my dad when he was most pressed for time.
Now, as an adult, I’m a full-fledged breakfast person, someone who makes a warming bowl of oatmeal at the scandalous time of 2 p.m. — and loves it. All that to say, being a breakfast person has no rhyme, time or reason: It’s a spirit, a feeling.
These 24 recipes are meant to make you the best kind of breakfast person, someone who does it effortlessly and without a lot of thought, not someone who rises with the sun and spends hours in the kitchen. The dishes that follow are broken up into categories, with options for harried mornings and leisurely ones alike. All are simple as can be. Because getting out of bed is hard. Breakfast shouldn’t be.
Microwave cooking of the 1980s, this is most definitely not. Recalling Chinese zheng shui dan, Japanese chawanmushi and Korean gyeran jjim, these custardy eggs, with their joyful gentle wobble, come together in minutes as they steam in the machine’s lower setting. Their elegance befits a brunch spread, but they’re also fabulous slurped at the counter — the ideal breakfast for one from Eric Kim.
Recipe: Microwave Steamed Eggs
Tejal Rao’s take on this Mumbai social club classic is the best kind of eggs on toast. Mustard adds tang, while a topping of cheese, chile, cilantro and onion lends eye-opening brightness and heat to counter the mellow flavors of the eggs and bread. Ketchup is optional, yes, but always welcome.
Grapefruit for breakfast may evoke midcentury diets, but Melissa Clark adds a touch of brown sugar and salt to modernize it, letting the sugars pool as they dissolve under the broiler’s heat and counter the fruit’s innate tartness.
The union of two culinary giants, French toast and kimchi grilled cheese, this is as brilliant as it is unexpected. The tart kimchi plays off the cheesy creaminess. Take a cue from Hetty Lui McKinnon, who created the recipe, and look to easy-to-melt cheeses like American and a pillowy soft bread like brioche or milk bread, which stays soft as the outsides toast — a symphony of textures in every bite.
Recipe: Cheesy French Toast With Kimchi
Sarah Copeland’s recipe feels fit for a slow brunch, but it’s ready in the time it takes to make a quick breakfast. Nestled into heavy cream or half-and-half, the eggs cook gently despite being in a 500-degree oven. The result is luscious, creamy, warming and crowd-pleasing, as the lightly runny yolks mingle with the cream, especially transcendent when paired with the crunch of just-out-of-the-toaster toast.
Start the morning with this jewel-toned bowl, Naz Deravian’s amethyst-hued canvas built in a blender and ready for embellishment. The açaí berries are slightly tangy, hinting of chocolate, and once blended play well with sweeter items like fruit and honey, and crunchy fare like nuts or granola.
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Yewande Komolafe’s twist on waffles is richly savory from sliced scallions, black pepper and sesame oil. But what truly takes it over is a runny egg perched on top. Make the batter up to a day ahead or cook a big batch of the waffles, which can be frozen for weeks. Simply pull them out when ready to eat and reheat for the easiest big breakfast (or dinner) imaginable.
Channel the diner at home with this so simple, so filling omelet with a rich history. (It may have been a modification of egg foo yong made by Chinese laborers working on the transcontinental railroad, or a pioneer scramble.) Ali Slagle stuffs it with onion, pepper, ham steak and a heaping amount of Jack cheese for a hearty, filling breakfast you won’t soon forget.
Recipe: Denver Omelet
For the lightest, fluffiest pancakes, Genevieve Ko incorporates ricotta, buttermilk and beaten eggs into her batter. A small gesture — rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar — ensures bright citrus flavor in every bite. And, of course, you could top this with the classics (maple syrup, butter), but a simple homemade blueberry syrup is a gorgeous finish.
Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Pimento cheese and eggs are a powerful combination, especially with a supersmart trick from Vallery Lomas. She freezes the cream cheese pieces so that they don’t lose their shape when cooked, the creamy nuggets staying tender. This recipe clocks in at 35 minutes, so it may be best for a more leisurely morning. But the frittata keeps well, ready to be reheated and tucked into a pita for lunch.
Don’t let their delicate appearance fool you. These sweet crepes, a Somali favorite as interpreted by Ifrah F. Ahmed, are buttery from drizzles of melted ghee and bursting with sweet-warm cardamom, crisp at the edges and flaky in the middle. Serve them alongside an earthy tea or coffee for a light breakfast, or let them play a special supporting role in a brunch spread.
Recipe: Malawax (Cardamom Crepe)
The quintessential New York breakfast (and, for some, a tried-and-true hangover cure), this sandwich is so ubiquitous across the city that it may seem silly to cook one at home. But Ali Slagle’s version presents a worthy case. Freshly cooked eggs, crisp bacon and gooey cheese are tucked into a kaiser roll while still warmed, then wrapped in foil, allowing the residual heat to steam it ever so slightly, the perfect make-and-take breakfast, brunch or lunch.
Recipe: Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich
There may be little more to look forward to in the mornings than a breakfast taco. Here, tortilla chips are cooked into the scrambled egg for texture. But what’s extra nice about this recipe from Genevieve Ko is that it’s also great eaten out of hand. Wrap them up in foil and take them to go.
Recipe: Migas Breakfast Tacos
A Little Longer
For More Leisurely Times
You could just as easily have Zainab Shah’s take on these Pakistani eggs and potatoes for dinner, but it’s a hearty, filling breakfast. Red potatoes are boiled, then sautéed in a heady mix of ginger, garlic, tomato and spices before the eggs are added. Some chapati or naan alongside will help you scoop it all up.
That fading bag of tortillas in your fridge can still have its moment in the spotlight, thanks to these chilaquiles rojos from Rick Martínez. They’re fried (or baked), coated in a guajillo chile salsa and then layered with a fried egg and showered with garnishes — cilantro, onion and queso fresco to name a few.
Oatmeal is severely underrated. Yes, it can be watery mush, but treated right, it can also be one of life’s great pleasures, at once comforting and hearty. Melissa Clark loads this version, based on an Amish favorite, with berries — use whichever you like — and almonds for flavor and texture, and bakes it in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, all the more to share.
This recipe from the cookbook author Erin Gardner answers the all-important question: What if you made a cinnamon roll really, really big? She fills scone dough with cinnamon butter, then rolls and cuts it into wedges, and finishes it vanilla icing. It’s best served the day it’s made, shared while still warm.
Recipe: Giant Cinnamon Roll Scone
You can sleep in and have a glorious breakfast on the table at a very reasonable, still breakfast-appropriate hour with this overnight French toast from Samantha Seneviratne. It’s assembled the night before to rest in the refrigerator, then baked for an hour in the morning. No need to rush. Just like you, it loves a morning lie-in.
Recipe: Overnight French Toast
Another potential dinner that masquerades as breakfast, bò né (or “dodging beef” in Vietnamese) is a glorious spread of beef, eggs, pâté and buttered baguette, often served with an accompanying salad. It’s roadside Vietnamese fare, hearty and sustaining, and still easily prepared at home. Mix and match the options, eat one at a time, or tuck it all into a sandwich. You get to choose your own path.
Recipe: Bò Né (Steak and Eggs)
Make Ahead, and Take Anywhere
The ultimate grab-and-go recipe, these overnight oats from Genevieve Ko are easily adaptable and even, dare we say, a little healthful. This version graciously lets you swap in whatever dried fruit, seeds, milk or nuts you like, and best of all, you can refrigerate a few jars of them for up to five days, ready to grab at a moment’s notice.
Moist, tender banana bread lends itself well to sitting on the counter, perfect for slicing up and taking with you. This version, from Bryan Washington, calls on salty miso to balance the sweetness, while pecans add just the right amount of crunch. Bake a couple of loaves, slice and freeze them for your future self. Let the slices thaw out in your bag, or overnight in the fridge if you’re especially harried. But if you find yourself with a bit of time, they’re especially excellent lightly toasted and smeared with butter.
Recipe: Miso Pecan Banana Bread
The New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park is known for many things, but among them is sending you home, full after a long multicourse dinner, with the ultimate gift: this granola. It’s studded with pistachios and dried cherries, a little luxury, adapted from the restaurant’s chef Daniel Humm. Shelf-stable, it keeps at your desk in an airtight container for weeks, to enhance with milk or yogurt. Breakfast al desko.
Recipe: Eleven Madison Park Granola
These easy, fluffy muffins from Melissa Clark showcase the allure of nutty cornmeal, a sweet but not too sweet start to your day. Best of all, they keep well — a few days in the refrigerator and months in the freezer — and reheat gorgeously. Split open and toasted in a toaster oven, the muffins caramelize slightly, their sugars singeing, browning and deepening in flavor.
Recipe: Rich and Buttery Corn Muffins
Full of nut butter, honey, nuts and oats, these bars keep for days and are sturdy enough to take with you on the go. Sohla El-Waylly smartly mashes bananas with eggs to bring out their flavor. Make a big batch on a Sunday night, and eat all week.
Recipe: Banana Nut Breakfast Bars