Making Breakfast Quick and Easy

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stay organized and cook breakfast quickly

Making Breakfast Quick and Easy

I just finished writing a future newsletter about breakfast and I realized one of the reasons we don’t often eat breakfast is because we have difficulty managing time. Not only is it important to time things to get them done quickly but, when it comes to breakfast preparation, it is important to get everything done at the same time, too. This can sometimes be a big challenge to a beginning cook, but practice makes perfect.

Here are some helpful tips along with a simple menu I will use for my example:

Eggs, scrambled

If time is truly tight, then get as much done ahead of time as possible.

Things to do the night before:

(All of this should take not more than 5-10 minutes.)

  1. Put the coffee and water in the pot.
  2. If it comes in a roll, slice the sausage into patties.
  3. Put the eggs in a bowl, mixed and ready to go.
  4. Set the bread and butter by the toaster.
  5. Place the pan or griddle on the stove ready for sausage and eggs and stage the oil for cooking by the pans.
  6. Set the table.

Things to do in the morning:

  1. Start the coffee.
  2. Put the sausage patties in the pans and start cooking them.
  3. Pop the toast in the toaster.
  4. Flip sausages and start cooking the eggs.
  5. Butter toast, stir eggs, dish up sausages and dish up eggs.

Voila! You’re done!

Of course, this process can vary from person to person. I’m sure some of us do it differently and I do it differently on some days, too. The point is to think through the order in which you will do things.

  • Start your longest cooking items or things that can be just popped into a pan and need no attention first.
  • Look for areas where you can save time. For example, don’t make trips back and forth to the refrigerator. Get everything you need out at one time and put it all back at one time.
  • Mix and stir items as closely to the things you are cooking on the stove so you don’t have to run back and forth. For example, if you are cutting up a bowl of fruit, cut it near the stove area so you can easily stop and flip the bacon.
  • Write down a list of quick and easy breakfasts to make. For example, place oatmeal in the crock pot overnight, have Egg McMuffins ready to warm and have homemade waffles made and ready to pop in the toaster.
  • Again, do as much as you can ahead of timelike having the table set the night before.

Most breakfasts for a family of 4 can be made in 15 minutes or less if you are organized. You might find everyone more excited about getting up in the morning and getting dressed if they wake up to the smell of something yummy cooking in the kitchen.


Photo By: Justin and Elise


  1. Rachel says

    Jill, I grew up with these massive dinners on the table every night. My grandmother lived with us and did the cooking. she also transferred every thing to serving dishes and put on the table. My mom would always cook a big Sunday dinner since she was off. We had the main dish, several sides and bread, also dessert. I thought this was how all people eat, and I killed myself for years to do the same. I learned early on that transferring to serving dishes makes more to wash, so i don’tdo that any longer. I serve from the stove. I have also cut back on sides. We always had lots of vegetables on the table, and in the summer there was a dish of sliced cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes. I try to keep it to the main dish, two sides, and I don’t even do bread every night. I only make a couple of desserts a week, my husband does not care for sweets. I noticed a lot of food was being wasted, and I am now getting to almost zero waste!

  2. Karen Nunes says

    Dear Jill,
    While I was in nursing school, I worked as an attendant at a rest home. I’d get in at 7 am and have eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee on the table for 10 ladies at 7:30. It can be done, just takes a little practice!


  3. Jan says

    I too grew up will all kinds of serving dishes on the table and dessert with every supper/dinner. After I married and there were only the two of us, I found that I was throwing a lot of food away and we were really putting on the weight(my husband never ate a leftover in his life). There were never any leftovers at his house, there were 10 of them in his family. Now after going from 2 to 6 and back to 2 again, I no longer serve bread unless we are having company and spaghetti. I only have dessert on the weekends, or if we have company. We have a meat dish during the week with either potato or vegeatble not both. I really thought something was wrong with me when I couldn’t keep up with cooking all that food.

  4. Liz says

    Hi, I had to laugh when I read this. Just the other night I was teaching my son to make chili (no meat, just beans. I made a joke about how I could get it all assembled in 5 minutes, instead of a “30 minute meal” like the TV show. He didn’t believe me so we set the timer. In 5 minutes I got the chili started and a pan of doctored up cheesy cornbread into the oven. Now granted I was hustling! LOL But I did it! My son was amazed. The next night all I cooked was rice and made a salad. I poured leftover chili into the rice and we ate that with salad. Now that was an easier meal, but even on most nights I can get a nutritious meal thrown together in about 15 minutes. This doesn’t count cooking time, just prep. Ladies I work with can’t believe I cook most nights, because they envision standing rib roasts or something. LOL The truth is, I rarely make more than 3 items in a meal. Main dish, a starch if the main dish is not starchy, and a hot veggie or salad. I also have no problem putting a one dish meal with no sides on the table, especially if it has all the food groups in it. An easy thing I do, is cut up a big salad and top it with a can of tuna, with crackers or sliced bread on the side. That’s really fast too.

  5. jill says

    Liz you just said what I have been wanting to explain to everyone and that is stop thinking fixing dinner for you family involves all this time and dishes like you see on TV. I have never been able to figure out why people on TV act like making a meal in 30 mins. is quick. If I spent 30 mins. on each meal I would never get anything done.

    So thank you for you good story. Once again too, time yourselves whether it is cleaning or making meals these really don’t take as long as you think. It usually is just an excuse not to do something. I know because I have used that excuse “I don’t have time” many a time myself.


    PS Confession is always good for the soul. : ) : )

  6. Elisabeth says

    I love this site because there are so many DUH! moments. That’s so OBVIOUS why did I never think of it? I’ve only recently begun “reconstituting” leftovers, or even better cook meat once, and serve it several ways over the next few days. My favorite tip from today was to make my own “cake mix.” I LOVE to bake, and this is so obvious, but I never thought of it! HA! Thank you Tawra! I agree with Liz (I think it was), there’s no shame in putting 1 (ONE!!!) dish on the table, if it has everything you need in it. I’ve started inventing one-word names for my oft-served meals that sound very mysterious and old-worldy. It adds fun! For example a family favorite of ours is: Blemmidge. No it doesn’t mean anything, except in our family – when it is a concoction of meat, gravy and rice (boring until you refer to it as: BLEMMIDGE!) Don’t forget to have fun while you live on a dime!

  7. laine says

    Jill, One question…….you mentioned you put your butter and bread beside the toaster the night before…and another comment about butter stored beside the toaster in it butter boat…..I am confused… don’t refrigerate your butter???? I thought you had to keep it cold……this would be wonderful…..thanks for explaining…

  8. jill says

    Laine, you don’t have to keep your butter cold.First it doesn’t spoil like meat does where it will make you sick. The only thing happens is after 2 weeks or so (I’ve never had mine out longer because I use it up before then)it could turn rancid which means it has an off flavor to it.

    Even that won’t hurt you it just makes things taste funny. What I normally do is buy large amounts of butter and freeze it. I keep a pound of butter in the fridge and take out a stick and put in the butter dish and leave it sitting out on the counter to use.

    In the winter I use my butter dish as usual but in the summer since I don’t always use my a/c my butter can really melt and seperate so I place the stick in the top of the butter dish (the deep part) and use the bottom for a lid.

    Just a few weeks ago for my birthday Tawra got me a butter boat. I had never used one before but I love it. It’s a divided dish with a section to put water in then place the butter in another section and set it in the water part to keep it cool.

    You don’t have to change the water but about once a week or so and what this does is it keeps the butter from separating in the summer and the butter at a perfect softness.

    Any type of oil you don’t need to keep in the fridge. The only thing which will happen is after several weeks and in some cases months it will get an off flavor and then you will want to throw it out although it can’t hurt you.

    To get a butter boat or butter crock they may have them at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I think Tawra got mine from amazon. Mine was $11 but some are only 7. I just love mine and it is one of those small things to make my life easier. Perfect soft butter every time.


  9. Lisa says

    Jill- Breakfast at your house sounds fabulous! I wanted to share an idea I read about this week at Attainable Sustainable for oatmeal on the go. Using a small canning jar for a single serving, fill it a third of the way full of old fashioned oats. Add your form of sweetener, dried fruits, nuts, flax seed, etc. and put the lid on it. The next morning heat some water to boiling and fill the jar to the lower rim. Replace the lid and give it a good shake. Grab your spoon and jar and make a mad dash out the door. In fifteen minutes your oatmeal is ready to eat…right from the jar!

    • says

      What a great idea Lisa. I was wondering do you remember or know if you could use quick cook oats instead? Just wondering. OH and this would be a least expensive version of instant oatmeal in the packets and about as easy.

  10. Erin says

    My fastest and most favorite breakfast recipe is Crock Pot Oatmeal.
    It takes 5 minutes max to prepare the evening before.
    It is delicious, hearty, and inexpensive.
    I do not put apples, raisins, nuts, etc in it the night before – my children like their oatmeal with different “condiments.”
    Instead I put out dishes the night before with dried fruit for them to sprinkle on top.
    We have nut allergies in my family; we like to sprinkle wheat germ and ground flaxseeds on top for a nutty flavor.
    Finally, if I have some very ripe bananas hanging around I puree/mash them the night before and include them in the recipe, excluding or cutting back on the brown sugar.
    This makes it a bit healthier.

    My other fast breakfast food is smoothie popsicles.
    I make large batches of smoothies for dinner and put the left-overs in popsicle molds.
    I use ingredients like frozen strawberries, extremely ripe bananas, plain yogurt, and orange juice.
    These are great to give the kids when they first sit down for breakfast.
    They can start eating them while you are getting the rest of their breakfast on the table.

  11. says

    My favourite quick breakfast is eggs scrambled with bacon. I cook up a couple of packages of bacon at a time, cool, drain and crumble them and store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. They come in handy for salad toppings, making quick bacon/cheese popovers for breakfast, etc, but most of all, just mixing them with some eggs in the morning for a 2 minute egg scramble.

  12. Maggie says

    My easiest dinner is a package of shrimp fried rice from Trader Joe’s. It includes rice, egg, peas and shrimp. I usually add more frozen peas or broccoli and sometimes more shrimp. You can add anything else you want. If I have leftover ham or other veggies (like peppers), I just put those in, too. It takes about 15 minutes to cook. A TBSP of oil, toss in the rice package,put a lid on the pan and while it cooks, get some fruit ready to go with the rice. Canned pineapple chunks is really good with this dish. By the time the table is set, the dinner is done. I often add some soy sauce and a little brown sugar for extra flavor. Quick and easy. I usually put this on as soon as I walk in the door from work, then run and change clothes and it is nearly ready by the time I am back in the kitchen. Even my husband likes it and he does not usually eat rice. Enjoy.

  13. Sandi P says

    After several years of regularly burning the bacon, I discovered it’s so much easier to bake the bacon! I just spread it out on a foil lined baking pan, put it in the oven at 350*, and set the timer to check it in 10 minutes. I turn it then, and if the rest of breakfast is running long, I just turn the temp down. No spatters, and as long as I have a timer going to check it, no burnt bacon!

    • says

      I will have to try that. Last time I tried baked bacon it splatered all over the oven and burned a big mess! I don’t remember what I had it one but I will try your way next!

      • Mary S says

        I cover my bacon with foil that has been sprayed.That way there are no splatters to deal with.I use a cookie sheet and don’t line it with foil,just put it over the bacon.

  14. Dee in RI says

    I like the list of steps to get breakfast done in a quick orderly fashion. This is helpful for adults like me with ADD. It can take a half hour just to get the coffee from start to finish, unless I do everything in a specific order so I don’t get distracted.

  15. Nancy says

    My fastest breakfast is a scrambled egg sandwich, on toast.
    I spray a bowl with Pam, bread an egg into the bowl, add a tiny bit of water or milk, stir and put in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. While the egg is cooking, I toast two pieces of bread. When the egg is done I salt and pepper it, and put it on the toast. I don’t even butter the toast. Less fat and calories and it tastes good. You can eat it at home or on your way out the door.

  16. Maggie says

    Nancy, I have never cooked an egg in the microwave. Does it get cooked all the way through? I love egg sandwiches and would make this for dinner at night, even. I usually have leftover bacon from Sunday breakfast so a piece of bacon on top would really make it good. Thanks for this idea. I have never had good luck making bacon in the oven but I do make it in the microwave by putting it between two pieces of paper towel and cooking for 3 minutes, check – turn it over and cook a few more minutes. The only problem is you have to keep checking it so it doesn’t burn but it is much faster than frying on the stove.

    • says

      Maggie you can make eggs in the microwave and they do fine just make sure you always break the yolk because it is one of those things that could explode if you don’t break it but of course if you are scrambling them that isn’t a problem. Be sure to stir then at least once too and don’t over cook because they can get tough like.

  17. Valarie S says

    I have begun keeping a crustless quiche in my fridge on a semi-regular basis. I use whatever meat and cheese available, along with spring onions. I pre-cook the meat, then place it in a bowl with the cut up or grated cheese and veggies. I toss it all with about a Tablespoon of flour and spread into a buttered deep-dish pie plate. I mix up 6 eggs with 2 cups of half-and-half and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over ingredients in pan, and bake at 325 degrees for approx 40 minutes until center is just set. This heats up really well in the microwave, and is great for a light lunch or supper, as well as breakfast. Great for using up bits of leftovers, as well!

  18. Marcia says

    There’s no rule written in stone somewhere that you have to have “breakfast” foods for breakfast either. My husband likes basically the same things for breakfast so he’s not hard to cook for (I’ve made breakfast, ironed a shirt, taken a dog out and packed a lunch in a half hour before now…so much for 30 minute meals!)but I’ve even had warmed up leftover soup, bread pudding (well think about it, it has bread, eggs, and fruit in it since I add raisins to it!)leftover meat loaf and potato…I realize everyone can’t eat like that in the morning but if you think outside the box it’s possible to have a good breakfast and use up leftovers at the same time.

  19. Maggie says

    I love quiche and will certainly try this easy way to make it. There is always one stalk of broccoli or a few peas or a tiny piece of ham left. I had been putting leftovers in the freezer but the tiny bits just were tossed out. The quiche will make a great breakfast or even lunch for me. Also, love bread pudding for breakfast, Marcia. My mom never, well, rarely, ate a “regular” breakfast and never made us eat one either. Manys the day, I had a slice of ice-cold watermelon, a piece of pumpkin pie, or a doughnut. As long as we ate something, and it was usually homemade, she was okay with it. I made a zucchini bread this week and have been eating a slice of that everyday this week, somedays with a little butter and warmed in the microwave to melt it, somedays with a little cream cheese, other days plain. The recipe I had only made one loaf but I doubled it and got two huge loaves. It’s wonderful. I know I will make this again. Everyone, enjoy your weekend.

    • says

      Does this mean I don’t have to feel guilty about eating apple crisp yesterday for breakfast and telling myself it was healthy because it had apples in it? :) :)

      • says

        Jill my boys ate apple crisp, johnny cake with home made syrup many times during school years.
        Kids at school were jealous that they got pudding or cake for breakfast.
        Apples oatmeal milk since you put milk on it if it was hot. What isn’t healthy.
        Toast and scrambled eggs with ham chopped into the eggs was always popular.
        Put bread in toaster, pour eggs into the frying pan with margarine melted to brown, toast pops butter toast and serve eggs. All this is done in about 3 min. tops. If I have an extra second I would use the ketchup to paint a silhouette of a dinosaur or a smiley face.
        Boys ate a hot breakfast and I only had one pan 2 plates 2 forks and a butter knife to wash up.
        Doing a hot breakfast is so much easier than a bowl of cold cereal. Since eggs don’t slop milk and nobody spills pudding or cake.

        • says

          This is true grandma. I remember fixing big breakfast all the time and the didn’t take much time or effort. I think we did things differently or maybe did things with easier methods or something. I remember I always kept a griddle or pan on the stove that I would use over and over with out washing every time I used it. I would cook things like pancakes or fried eggs and like you said if done right they didn’t stick so I could use the pan again the next day without having to wash it or that evening for something for dinner so all I had was a couple of plates and silver. I could even use the same pan for many different things at the same time like frying bacon and eggs or eggs and pancakes and still use the pan the next day. People tend to drag out 2-3 pans, lids and lots of extra utensils now to cook with and it does make a big mess and a lot of work and then wash all the pans up after each meal.

          When I first was married a neighbor owned a restaurant and he said they never cleaned their grills each day but allow the grills to become seasoned over and over. The heat kills the germs when you heat up the grill. That is why it use to be some diners didn’t serve breakfast or dinner but at certain times because they had a special grill they would heat up for breakfast foods and another one for hamburgers etc.

  20. will says

    One of my favorite sayings in my home is that whatever food you are cooking has the same nutrients no matter what time of day it is cooked and eaten. My family and I love breakfast for dinner. I have one son that will regularly reheat leftovers for himself in the morning and he prefers that for breakfast. Does it really matter? Of course not; the food doesn’t know what time it is. My biggest hurdle to a nice big breakfast is that the schools in my county all start at vastly different times. High schools at 7am, elementary start at 8:40am, and the middle schools begin at 9:30am. But I have adapted. =)

  21. Maggie says

    My mom used to use the same frying pan with the bacon grease still in it from the day before – fry today’s slices, then fry my dad’s eggs in that grease. Then, she would just put the pan into the oven (just to keep it off the stove top) and save it for the next day’s use. Now, that’s a little too much grease for me but I do use the pancake pan from breakfast – wipe it out with a paper towel and use it for dinner for the veggie or the meat, depending on the meal. Haven’t been sick yet. Why make more work for myself.

  22. Yvonne says

    Here is another fast breakfast:
    Take a slice of American cheese and put it on a piece of bread and toast it in the toaster oven or your under the broiler of your cook stove. Eat it with some kind of fresh fruit.

    • Rose Marie Moore says

      I do this, but I put it on a griddle and top it with bacon bits (fake or crumbled, cooked bacon either one will work.) I cook it just until the cheese starts to melt. Yummy!

  23. says

    here are some make ahead and freeze and grab breakfasts.
    pigs in blankets made with puff pastry phylo dough or tea biscuits. make a bunch during the weekend or slow time and freeze them. When needed pop into the microwave and go.
    breakwiches are always good and cost about $3. at the drive throughs.
    scramble a pan of eggs season to taste. place on english muffins, tea biscuits or bagels. top with cheese slice, bacon or sausage or ham. freeze and pop into microwave for a quick grab and go breakfast or meal.
    Rice pudding. using left over rice beat together milk cinnamon eggs and a bit of brown sugar. opt. is raisins or apple bits. mix together and freeze in small microwave containers. these are good for children in the car with a plastic spoon they can eat while being ferried to school. or eat them at the table but they are ready in about 3 min.
    no fuss no muss meals in a hurry.

    • says

      When you make your breakwiches and freeze them, how long do you pop them in the microwave for. I think this would be a great idea, I have 3 of my kids that are living with us and going to the local college.

  24. says

    my kids always laugh at me because when reheating things I always say 3 reheats. That was my old microwave.
    I would say about 3 min.
    I have used the defrost cycle and it takes about 3 min in that as well.
    If they are not hot then on cook for about 30 sec.
    but like they say each microwave is different so it might take some trial and error.
    but they are worth it as they are good and they do save time on busy mornings.

  25. VICKIE says

    My daughther left her george foreman grill at my house. The next morning I got out my bacon to cook, thought lets see how the grill works….
    awesome, no spatter, drains grease. Also I have always cut my bacon in half too make it go further using the grill had less shrinkage of the bacon.

  26. Mary Jane says

    Now as empty nesters, I frequently bake muffins during the week, make an extra batch, and then freeze them in Ziploc bags; usually 6 to a bag. If we have a lazy morning, a brunch or a busy morning planned, I take out a bag to serve with coffee for breakfast. Extra muffins usually get eaten up in a day or two. The trick is to make a really healthy but delicious muffin. Then you can pass it off as breakfast. Years ago, I made a really healthy but delicious version of a refrigerator cookie, sliced and baked them and took them camping. My friend and I agreed that they were healthy enough to pass off as a breakfast food as well. In other cultures, fish, cheese, even chocolate are considered breakfast foods. Keep an open mind.

  27. Rose Marie Moore says

    Avery quick breakfast my daughter and I enjoy what we call “Blueberry Bagel Breakfast”. We take a blueberry bagel (we tried other flavors, but like the blueberry best) that is split in half. Spread a generous layer of cream cheese on both halves, top with a single layer of shaved ham. Pop in the microwave a few seconds until the ham is bubbled up and the cheese is almost melted. Add a glass of fruit or vegetable juice and you have a relatively nutritious breakfast. And if you choose, you can use fat free cream cheese and low fat ham (either one or both work well, we’ve tried these versions, too.)


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