5 Simple Ideas for an Amazing Breakfast on a Boat

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mini bagel and scrambled eggs topped with cheese and parsley on a white plate

Breakfast is a big part of living onboard. It’s a relaxing time at anchor and one of the most peaceful parts of the day.

Do you prefer starting your day on the dolphin seat, enjoying a warm bowl of oatmeal underway, or indulging in a plate of eggs in the cockpit with a good book?

Whether your day calls for something you can cook underway or an extra special meal, a few go-to options will make breakfast aboard stress-free. These options will also allow you to add variety when you have fresh ingredients or make something different to mix things up.

Here are a few of our favorite ideas for breakfast on a boat that work for life aboard.


Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an excellent breakfast on board because all the ingredients have a long shelf life. Old-fashioned (or rolled) oats with the right fixings will provide everything you need for a delicious, filling bowl of oatmeal. Everything can be bought in bulk and stored long-term on a boat. Toss in some fresh fruit for an extra tasty bowl!

pile of dry oats with spoon on top

Oatmeal Fixing Ideas

Before serving, add any of the toppings below for a healthier, tastier bowl of oats.

  • ground flaxseed or flax meal
  • chia seed
  • honey or brown sugar for sweetness
  • dried cranberries
  • chopped banana or apple (they last a long time and add a crisp bite to oatmeal)
  • chopped walnuts
PRO TIP: Toast your rolled oats in a pan on medium heat for enhanced flavor before boiling. Add a splash of whole or non-dairy milk for a creamier bowl.

Granola and Yogurt

Granola doubles as a filling breakfast or snack. It’s also something you can make yourself as long as you have a few dry ingredients on hand. With a few basics, you can add what you like to change up the granola.

granola spread out on oven pan with someone holding a small bowl of granola

Combinations

  • dried cranberries, pepitas, pecans
  • dried apricot, unsweetened coconut flakes, pepitas, walnuts or almonds

Spices and Oils You Need for Granola

  • maple syrup or honey
  • extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • vanilla extract

Tips for Making Granola

  1. Make sure you use old-fashioned or rolled oats since they will bake the best.
  2. I use this basic granola recipe and change up the nuts, seeds, etc. for different granola combinations.
  3. You can make yogurt onboard as well. If you don’t have an Instant Pot onboard, you can easily make it in a small Thermos. Check out The Boat Galley’s guide to homemade yogurt.

Tortillas

Tortillas are the boat breakfast champion. When bought in the U.S., they have a long shelf life and can be used in various breakfast meals.

Here are a few of our tortilla favorites for breakfast.

Sweet or Savory Tortilla

One of my quick and easy breakfast meals is granola and yogurt with a tortilla and cream cheese on the side. The basis for either a sweet or savory tortilla option is a tortilla heated in a pan with cream cheese.

granola and yogurt in a bowl with tortilla with cream cheese on the side

SWEET – Strawberry cream cheese, with honey and chia

SAVORY – plain or jalapeno cream cheese with scallions

Add your cream cheese of choice and appropriate toppings. fold over like a quesadilla. When it’s crispy on both sides, it’s ready. Enjoy!

Tortilla with Eggs

When we get eggs, we typically stock up. Eggs are super flexible when it comes to breakfast, and we love having various options.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros are an excellent filling boat breakfast. Since a lot of the toppings are flexible, you’re free to mix it up. As long as you have cheese, beans, tortillas, and eggs, you’re good to go!

  1. Start by warming a can of black or pinto beans in a pot. I like to add a little cumin, chili powder, and onion powder for flavor.
  2. Fry your egg in a pan and set it aside.
  3. Put a tortilla in the pan (with a bit of oil) and layer with beans, the cooked egg, and a mild cheese (Monterey jack is our favorite). Cook until cheese is melted.
  4. Remove the tortilla and finish by adding any of the toppings below.
huevos rancheros with bean, eggs, veggies, and salsa on top

Options for Toppings

  • avocado (sliced)
  • white onion (chopped)
  • spinach
  • jalapenos
  • canned green chilis (chopped)
  • tomato (chopped)
  • green onions (chopped)
  • cilantro
  • salsa and/or hot sauce

Scrambled Eggs with Tortilla Wedges

Another staple but simple breakfast meal on the boat is the perfect scrambled eggs with crispy tortilla wedges.

Top your eggs with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan for a tasty, fresh meal.

scrambled eggs with cheese and parsley and toasted tortilla wedges

Tips for Amazing Scrambled Eggs

  • For making the perfect, creamy scrambled eggs, check out this video. Hint: the key is to stir, stir, stir!
  • You can grow fresh parsley easily on a boat (always harvest from the outside of the plant).
  • Parmesan is a cheese with a long shelf life, and the rinds make a great addition to homemade vegetable broth.

Bagels

Bagels are some of my favorite boat breakfast meals, especially when they are homemade. They are fun to make and can be a real treat if you are off-grid for a bit.

toasted homemade bagel with eggs and veggies

Bagel Options

  • bagel sandwich with fried or scrambled eggs and any toppings you have on hand (cheese, red onion, spinach, bell or sweet peppers)
  • bagel with smashed avocado and everything bagel seasoning
  • bagel with cream cheese and everything bagel seasoning

Tips For The Best Bagels

  1. Everything bagel seasoning is super easy to make, and we typically have it handy. If you keep the dry ingredients on board, you can whip some up or use them for other recipes. See recipe for Everything Bagel Seasoning.
  2. For breakfast, all you need to do is warm the bagel up in the pan with a little oil or butter. As another option, you can heat them on a camping toaster similar to this one.
  3. If you’ve tried your hand at pizza dough and are comfortable, you should have no problem with bagels. Here is the recipe I use for making bagels.

Pancakes

Pancakes are usually in rotation on the boat. Pancakes make a great boat breakfast because you can generally alter the batter recipe based on what you have.

homemade pancakes on plate with sliced banana on top

Pancake Substitutes

  • if you don’t have eggs, use 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed
  • if you don’t have butter, use oil
  • If you don’t have milk, substitute dried milk (we always have this dried milk onboard for cooking)

Pancake Toppings

  • maple syrup or butter
  • Nutella
  • fresh fruit – berries or banana (or sliced apple when you need provisions to last longer)

Another bonus for pancakes is they are easy to reheat and enjoy the next day.

NOTE: If you buy real maple syrup as we do, it will need to be refrigerated. Repackage it in smaller containers that fit in your fridge, and keep the extras at the back.

This is one of our favorite whole wheat pancake recipes.


How to Enjoy Breakfast on a Boat

If you’re like us, food is a big part of the experience of living on a boat. It’s typical to plan a morning around the farmers’ market, take the time to plant and care for a herb garden or plan ahead to make bread or bagels.

I hope you found a few helpful ideas for tasty, fun breakfast meals you can make your own on your boat.

For more meal ideas, here’s our post on 4 Flexible Meals to Make Onboard.


Want to learn more about cooking on a boat?

For more ideas on meals, provisioning, and how to outfit your galley, view our guide.


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