The Best Christmas Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

Unwrapping gifts isn’t the only thing to look forward to.

Megan Zhang

By Megan Zhang

Updated on December 20, 2022

Rise & Dine is a SAVEUR column by Senior Editor Megan Zhang, an aspiring early riser who seeks to explore the culture of mornings and rituals of breakfast around the world.

Many Christmas songs herald the early morning of December 25th as the absolute peak of the winter holiday season. Families rock around the Christmas tree, tiny tots open presents with their eyes all aglow, and we hope to receive 12 drummers drumming from our true love. But truth be told, I think what comes after the early-morning rowdiness is even more special: sitting around a table with loved ones, sharing a memorable feast. It’s the denouement, if you will, that follows the climax—the moment the energy and anticipation surrounding the season gives way to a comfortable, more relaxed pace. Keep the prep work simple by using up leftovers from Christmas Eve in a savory porridge or breakfast casserole. Or, make eggs the star of the show with an easy and elegant quiche, or a hearty shakshuka. For a sweeter option, treat loved ones to a Swedish rice pudding or pecan-chocolate sticky buns that double as desserts. As SAVEUR’s resident breakfast correspondent, I’ve made a list of our best Christmas recipes that not only fuel the day’s activities, but also evoke the spirit of the season. 

Lighter than most rice puddings, and not quite as sweet, this Swedish specialty can be both a dessert and a breakfast food. Short-grain rice, such as arborio, lends itself beautifully to creating a deliciously creamy consistency. Get the recipe >

Have sourdough starter left over from holiday baking sitting in your fridge? Mix some of it into classic waffle batter to lend a brightness, airiness, and satisfying crunch that non-yeasted versions simply can't match. Get the recipe >

Pancakes are a brunch classic, but holiday mornings call for something extra special. This thick yet fluffy rendition from chef Francis Mallmann is full of creamy bananas, hints of pear, and crunchy pine nuts, topped generously with cool crème fraîche. "This is good with any ripe banana," says the chef, so use whichever varieties you have on hand. Get the recipe >

In a classic Danish treatment, sweet red apples are roasted with onions, caramelized in bacon fat, and served under thick steaks of smoked belly bacon. Apple varieties like Braeburn or Gala are best for the job—they’ll hold their shape while getting tender and caramelized. Get the recipe >

These traditional Polish pancakes are lighter, fluffier, and cheesier than the batter-based standard. Served with sour cream and dill, this savory dish is a rich, creamy alternative to sweet pancakes. Get the recipe >

Caramelized brown sugar adds an irresistible layer of sweetness to crispy bacon in this recipe from late chef and food consultant Gene Hovis. Get the recipe >

Soft, tart apples balance a bittersweet caramelized crust in this giant flapjack with a perfect scorch. Rich dulce de leche is the ideal partner for the pancake’s sour and caramelly notes. Get the recipe >

The blue cheese in this velvety quiche lends extra creaminess, balanced perfectly by the nutty, buttery spelt-and-whole-wheat crust. Get the recipe >

Think of the foundation of this skillet cake as torn pieces of pancake—topped with oozing lingonberry or cranberry sauce. Not only is the dish a cinch to make, but the deep-red berries and dusting of powdered sugar make for a downright festive presentation. Get the recipe >

Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin of Ovenly bakery shared the recipe for these blackberry scones with us, which rely on frozen fruit so you can make them even when blackberries aren't in season, perfect for Christmas breakfast when fresh isn't an option. Get the recipe >

Many would say it isn’t brunch without a serving of eggs. Keep it texturally exciting with add-ins like hazelnuts and chanterelles—and fry the eggs with a splash of water to keep them from burning. Get the recipe >

This savory danish with country ham gravy is a glorious mash-up of pastry and homey Southern comfort—and an excellent way to use up extra coffee. Get the recipe >

This classic Israeli breakfast, a dish of Libyan origin starring eggs and whole peeled tomatoes, is a gorgeous and filling main course for any meal of the day. Get the recipe >

This easy one-pan breakfast comes together in the blink of an eye—and makes for a verdant, savory addition to your holiday brunch table. Get the recipe >

This classic French meal of baked, cream-soaked toast and eggs is deceptively simple (and scalable) yet lavish. As it bakes, the cream soaks into the bread and thickens into a rich sauce right on the platter, resulting in a savory French toast. Get the recipe >

In Denmark, many bakeries stock upwards of five or six varieties of nutty, rich, nutritious rye bread, or rugbrød. When crumbs fall off while you’re slicing it for smørrebrød, don’t toss them—save them (and soak them in beer) to make this tangy, earthy breakfast treat. Get the recipe >

Don’t just drink your coffee—you can eat it, too. Espresso powder and almond flour help give a bittersweet edge to these waffles, which are glossed with a decadent sauce of coffee, condensed milk, and dark chocolate. Get the recipe >

Rich, chewy laminated dough puffs up in the oven to suspend kimchi, bacon, and baked eggs in the center of these savory breakfast pastries. You can also swap in ingredients like cooked mushrooms and greens, or grated cheese and herbs. For the best texture, be sure to drain the extra liquid from cooked vegetables before adding. Get the recipe >

This hearty Azeri egg dish—which can be served in small pieces as an appetizer or side, or cut into larger wedges as a main—is loaded with ground walnuts, onions, and eggplant, giving the meal a nutty, meaty consistency. Get the recipe >

Baker and cookbook author Bryan Ford cooks these over-the-top sticky buns in a large cast-iron skillet. To prevent messes, line the bottom of your oven with a layer of aluminum foil before baking. Get the recipe >

These buttery scones are an indulgent example of how sweet and savory can go hand in hand. Studded with smoky ham, cheddar cheese, and fresh chives, the breakfast pastries also happen to not have even a pinch of wheat. Get the recipe >

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