If you’ve ever wondered what time brunch is served exactly, the answer is: it depends. While many countries honor brunch as a regular tradition, the time at which everyone gathers around to drink and celebrate depends on that country’s eating schedule.
Generally, brunch starts between 10-2 PM. That being said, the time you choose to serve brunch can vary depending on where you are, who you’re with, and what you hope to accomplish with the remainder of your day.
Be sure to keep on reading to learn a bit of history on the meaning of the term brunch, plus a list of the socially acceptable hours in a handful of countries where brunch is served. Who knows, you might even find a recipe or two to take with you to your next brunch shindig.
A Brief History of Brunch
Despite common belief, brunch has not always been a thing. The term was coined in 1895 by Guy Beringer in Hunter’s Weekly where he wrote “Brunch: A Plea.” In this plea, Mr. Beringer presented the common problem of needing a light, yet satisfying meal to finish Sunday morning church, preferably with alcohol to combat the negative effects of a long Saturday night.
This was his idea, to combine “breakfast” and “lunch” into one meal that encapsulated the best of both worlds. It was to have the satisfaction of a hearty breakfast, with the afternoon treat of a cocktail.
Thankfully for the rest of us, this term caught traction, and by the 1930s America was all over it. Today, brunch is commonplace in most of the world, though many countries offer their own unique flare on the meal.
What Time Is Brunch in the United States?
Of all the countries that have adopted brunch, America by far has adopted the tradition as its own. Since the typical American breakfast is eaten around 8-9 AM, brunch most commonly occurs between 11-2 PM.
Nowadays, even the smallest of American towns boast some sort of brunch menu. The most common brunch menu will feature sweet options like french toast, along with more rich, savory options like biscuits and gravy.
When it comes time for cocktail hour, Americans don’t disappoint either. Mimosas are a go-to choice for most, with Bloody Marys following a close second.
What Time Is Brunch in Spain?
Spain is most well-known for tapas, or small plates of food snacked on throughout the day. Generally, breakfast doesn’t begin until at least 10 AM, meaning that brunch is usually served between 11-2 PM.
Lunch is considered the biggest meal of the day and usually happens around 2 PM. Therefore, brunch usually consists of bread and pastries, meant to hold one over until lunch and a period of afternoon rest.
Popular brunch items in Spain include churros, croissants, sandwiches, and the classic tortilla Espanola, or an omelette cooked with egg, potato, and onion.
As for beverages, expect plenty of cafe con leche (coffee with milk) as well as sangria.
What Time Is Brunch in India?
India is another country known for amazing, aromatic, and downright delicious cuisine. Thankfully, brunch does not disappoint. A typical brunch in India will be served between 11-3 PM.
Brunch in India consists of many of the same dishes that are present throughout the rest of the day. Either rice or flatbread, with chutneys, relishes, and lentil dishes are all common accompaniments.
One notable difference is dosa, or crepes made from lentil and rice batter. Eggs are common too for brunch, though they’re usually baked into other dishes.
When it comes to beverages, India is famous for its delicious chai.
What Time Is Brunch in France?
Unlike in Spain, France starts the day early with pastries and espresso, usually between 6-8 AM. This means brunch, or grazing, usually happens between 9-2 PM. In France, small bites throughout the day are preferred to fewer larger meals.
Because the French prefer to eat small meals throughout the day, those meals are usually rich and wonderfully satiating. A typical brunch in France would consist of both sweet and savory crepes, croissants, pastries, and cheeses.
When it comes to beverages, you can’t forget about Champagne, plus espresso.
What Time Is Brunch in Italy?
Of all the countries covered, Italy has the latest breakfast schedule, not usually beginning until 10:30 or later. This means brunch is typically served between 12-3 PM. Similar to Spain, Italy’s biggest meal is lunch, though the Italians certainly don’t skimp on brunch.
A brunch in Italy typically consists of small, sweet treats such as pastries, bread and jam, croissants, and cheeses. That being said, you don’t have to search far to see more Americanized brunch options, including eggs and potatoes.
As for beverages, espresso, cappuccino, and the occasional Aperol Spritz can be expected as the ideal afternoon pick-me-up.
Regardless of where you are in the world, one thing is for certain, and that is that brunch is an amazing way to celebrate with friends and family. Whether or not there are libations, just having a simple stack of pancakes with friends can become a full-on brunch event.
For a meal to be considered brunch, it should be eaten in the hours between breakfast and a late lunch. It should consist of filling (but not super heavy) foods that are either typical breakfast foods or a combination of breakfast and lunch foods. Often, there will be cocktails present.
A typical brunch can be as quick as an hour in a busy restaurant, or it can be an all-day affair. The flexibility you get with brunch is why it’s an excellent way to celebrate with friends and family.
Olivia has been in love with all things food and libations for nearly a decade. When she’s not cooking up new recipes, she enjoys bikepacking, wine tasting, crocheting, and traveling in her camper van up and down the Pacific Northwest.