Continental breakfast ideas

Written by sarah davis
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Continental breakfast ideas
Coffee and croissants are a popular continental breakfast choice. (Shaiith/iStock/Getty Images)

The continental breakfast is lighter than the traditional British fry-up. The continental breakfast originated in the Mediterranean and typically consists of coffee and milk, juice, sweet cakes with jams, fruit, cheeses, yoghurts, cereals and cold sliced meats. Traditional and modern continental breakfast selections are often served in hotels and restaurants as a buffet-style breakfast.

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Breads served for continental breakfast include croissants, fruit- or cheese-filled Danish pastries, coffee cakes, bagels, cinnamon rolls or fruit rolls, pastelitos with meat, cheese and fruit, muffins, French toast cut into sticks or triangles, sage and cheddar cornbread, biscuits or scones, and bagels with lox, red onion, diced boiled egg and capers. Breads are usually served with cream cheese, jams and fruit pastes.


Various fruits, depending on the season, can be used in continental breakfasts, including sliced melon or melon balls, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries and kiwi. Offer whole fruit such as apples, oranges and bananas if you expect your guests to take fruit with them.

Meat and eggs

Serve meat and cheese quiche, boiled eggs, spinach, cheese, savoury bread pudding, ham and cheddar, frittatas with ham, Swiss cheese, tomato and asparagus. Because these items are protein-rich, they will likely be popular in a continental breakfast.

Yoghurts, cereals and cheeses

Wedges of cheese and hot cereals are traditionally found at continental breakfasts. Greek yoghurt and fresh berries, muesli, yoghurt smoothies, cinnamon toast, yoghurt pudding with toasted almonds and cinnamon sugar, and sliced cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella and Brie.


Traditional drinks include latte, cappuccino, milk, fruit juices, tea and tomato juice. Coffee could include wedding cake latté with the flavours of royal icing and pound cake (add almond, butter and vanilla flavours), fruit cake chai tea latté (add pineapple juice and grenadine to chai) and sticky toffee coffee (add caramel flavour to coffee and toffee pieces to whipped topping).

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