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Top 12 Breakfast Foods, Ranked by Popularity

Check out America’s favorite breakfast food with our list.

The age-old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day rings true on so many levels. As its name suggests, breakfast is the first meal we eat to break the night’s long, slumberous fast.

Fried rice Sausage, and two sunny side up eggs

After a good night’s rest, our minds and bodies are refreshed and ready for action. Whether you’re a morning person or not, a delicious breakfast will give you an incentive to jump out of bed and take on the day. The smells of coffee brewing and bacon sizzling are enough to wake even the laziest sleeper. 

Since you’ll be awake for the next 12 hours, you’ll metabolize the day’s first meal throughout the day. Consequently, dieticians and medical professionals alike encourage a hearty helping of carbs, proteins, and fats for a complete breakfast.

Breakfast foods range from sweet to savory, greasy to doughy, and can be as simple or elaborate as you have time for.

Whether you want to enjoy a decadent weekend brunch or fry up a quick breakfast at home, the most popular breakfast foods to fuel the day ahead are below.

Best Breakfast Foods 

Check out our list of the most popular breakfast food, from classics to new favorites.

Bacon

Perhaps the most beloved breakfast food in the world, bacon deserves the first spot on the breakfast food list.

Its crunchy, salty, and utterly savory flavor is unparalleled and instantly upgrades any dish or meal.

Bacon has always been the star of the show and a crucial centerpiece of breakfast dishes that run the culinary gamut from continental breakfasts to breakfast sandwiches to doughnut toppers.

You can even use bacon drippings to fry eggs, grits, potatoes, or veggies.

Even if you don’t eat pork, turkey bacon and veggie bacon are popular breakfast products that allow any dietary preference the opportunity to enjoy bacon’s distinct and decadent flavor and crunch.


Pancakes

Pancakes are the ultimate comfort food and a fun, easy breakfast food project for a lazy Sunday morning.

Most of us can probably recall participating in making batter and attempting to flip a pancake under the supervision of Mom and Dad.

Pancakes are also a versatile breakfast food that you can make with many ingredients, from the classic buttermilk recipe to savory potato or cornmeal cakes.

In addition, health-conscious eaters or vegans have created delicious two-ingredient banana and oat pancakes.

Plus, you can throw any fresh fruit, nut, protein, or dessert into the mix. So whether you want blueberry-pecan, chocolate chip-banana, or mascarpone and lemon, the sky is the limit.


Eggs

Eggs are the most versatile breakfast food and a key source of protein, fat, and nutrients.

It’s also a crucial foundation ingredient for many other breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles, and other baked goods.

Every culture on earth makes use of eggs as a beloved breakfast centerpiece.

Whether it’s Shakshouka, corned beef hash, eggs bennies, vegetable frittata, or huevos rancheros, eggs are light and a fluffy blank slate for any spice, sauce, or vegetable.

Furthermore, there are countless ways to prepare eggs that can be as simple or challenging as you want, conveying the broad range of textures eggs can assume.

Whether scrambled, baked, poached, boiled, or fried, eggs are wonderful in every iteration.


Avocado Toast

A more recent trend in breakfast foods, avocado toast, is now a nationwide craze.

Avocados have a creamy and indulgent texture, a gorgeous green hue, and a mellow flavor that pairs well with many flavors.

Avocado toast is a great vegan and vegetarian option, and a great source of cholesterol-free fat and protein.

It’s also a versatile and easy breakfast food to prepare at home. You can make various versions throughout the week.

Monday’s avocado toast can be a simple slather of avocado mash with sea salt over toasted sourdough, while Tuesday’s version can be toasted whole-grain toast with avocado mash, sunflower seeds, cotija cheese, sprouts, and sriracha drizzle.


Home Fries

Home fries have many names and are a staple side dish in most cultural breakfast dishes.

Also known as cottage fries or house fries, home fries are cubed or chunky potato pieces sauteed or deep-fried. 

In the U.S., some surmise that the term home fries came about to differentiate this savory fried potato from the classic French fries.

It’s customary to fry home fries with chopped onions or dust them with spices for added flavor.

However you like to prepare them, they are a comforting and filling side dish that tastes great with eggs and meat or stuffed into a breakfast taco or burrito. 


Sausage

Sausage takes on many forms and encompasses many types of proteins and flavors.

Whether it’s stuffed into a tube of casing or pounded into a circular patty, sausage is a beloved breakfast food that can be the main dish or a flavorful side.

While you may associate sausage with pork products, you can make sausage out of any meat or vegetable-based protein.

You can also create a wealth of flavor profiles by adding any combination of seasonings and chopped ingredients.

Sausage, like bacon, has long been a favorite item on continental breakfast plates, breakfast sandwiches, and my personal favorite, savory breakfast pastries like pigs in a blanket or kolaches.


Toast

Toast checks all the boxes for breakfast on the go, as an afterthought, or as an extravagant creation.

There’s only one ingredient, and it’s probably the most widely available and used ingredient in the world.

A toaster is ideal, but you can make toast in the oven or on the stovetop. It’s a budget-friendly, foolproof breakfast that can be as bland or rich as you want it to be.

Even if your bread is going stale, throwing it in the oven or toaster will rejuvenate its texture and mask a stale taste.

You can make toast sweet by adding nut butter and honey, savory with a slather of butter and a sprinkle of salt, or sweet and savory with a double spread of cream cheese and apricot jelly.


Cereal

With hundreds of popular cereal brands to choose from, cereal is perhaps the most utilitarian breakfast food and most varied option on the list.

Eating cereal is a fun and revolutionary experience, starting with a delightful crunch that transforms into a soggy, sweet porridge.

You can eat cereal hot or cold, adorn it with fruit slices, nuts, dried fruit, or even mix multiple kinds of cereal in one bowl.

There is now an increasing array of milk options as well, so dairy and non-dairy eaters can savor every sip of cereal flavored milk left in the bowl.


Breakfast Burrito

Burritos are a Northern Mexican creation that is now more popular in the States than they are in Mexico.

Breakfast Burritos involve a large flour tortilla stuffed with any combination of breakfast proteins, rice, beans, and vegetables; all wrapped neatly into a handheld meal.

You can eat them soft, throw them on a grill to crisp up the tortilla, or deep fry them to create a famous Chimichanga. 

The breakfast burrito craze started in California and spread quickly throughout North America as a staple of Mexican and Tex Mex-style breakfasts.

They are as hearty and filling as can be and wholly customizable. Breakfast burritos are highly caloric and will leave you full till lunch.


Chicken and Waffles

A beloved southern-American soul food dish, Chicken and Waffles have quickly garnered national acclaim.

You can now see this sweet and savory pairing featured on breakfast and brunch menus at hole-in-the-wall joints and fine dining restaurants alike.

The classic Chicken and Waffles dish features breaded and fried chicken tenders or wings over Belgian-style waffles, smothered in copious amounts of maple syrup or dusted with powdered sugar.

You can get this dish at any Southern diner and most fast-casual breakfast chains.

Fine dining and hip brunch spots have put creative twists on this classic dish, like using sweet potato waffle batter or tempura panko breading with novel spices for the fried chicken.


Bagels

A classic New York staple, bagels are beloved and unique baked goods that are now as ubiquitous as toast.

Bagels are boiled before they’re baked, giving them that unmistakable dense, doughy chew on the inside. 

Bagels come in many different flavors, from cinnamon raisin to Asiago cheese.

They also use different flours like pumpernickel and marbled rye. You can eat them whole or sliced and toasted with a hearty helping of shmear.

Everyone knows that you order a baker’s dozen from your local bagel shop because no one can resist eating a hot, fresh bagel right from the bag on their way out.


Doughnuts 

I couldn’t finish this list without including the most special breakfast treat of all: doughnuts.

The only food better than doughy baked goods is doughy fried goods. Doughnuts are the cream of the breakfast crop, their light and fluffy innards surrounded by a decadent, sugary glaze or crust.

They can be glazed or caked, cream-filled, jelly, streusel, or sprinkled with powdered sugar.

The best part is that you can mix and match flavors for the ultimate party pack. 

Doughnuts are a true art form and the height of breakfast luxury. Without them, no slumber party, early morning road trip, or birthday breakfast is complete.


Best Breakfast Foods 

  1. Bacon
  2. Pancakes
  3. Eggs
  4. Avocado Toast
  5. Homefries
  6. Sausage
  7. Toast
  8. Cereal
  9. Breakfast Burrito
  10. Chicken and Waffles
  11. Bagels
  12. Doughnuts 

Final Thoughts

Breakfast foods run the culinary gamut and encompass every flavor and texture imaginable. You can enjoy them as quick, utilitarian meals on the run or delight in a luxuriously heaping plate of griddle cakes and a cup of artisanal coffee at your favorite breakfast diner.

From simply seasoned scrambled eggs to a decadent apple fritter doughnut, breakfast foods will satisfy savory and sweet cravings alike. So rise and shine with the most popular breakfast foods listed above.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.