Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the amazing moms in our lives, and what better way to show your appreciation than with a delicious homemade lunch? But who wants to be stuck in the kitchen all day? This menu offers a stress-free solution, with dishes that can be prepped in advance, leaving you free to relax and enjoy quality time with Mom. From crispy cheese straws to elegant cold lemon soufflés, these recipes are guaranteed to impress without requiring last-minute scrambling.

Easy and Elegant Make-Ahead Dishes for a Perfect Mother’s Day Lunch

Mom always loved getting a little spoiled on Mother’s Day. After church, it was a family tradition for me, my brother Jim, and Dad to lend a hand in her garden, cleaning up and getting everything ready for spring planting (Denver’s late-season snow means annuals wait until after Mother’s Day to go in the ground!). After a few hours of work, we’d treat Mom – and ourselves! – to a delicious lunch. Since the schedule meant everything had to be prepped ahead, make-ahead dishes became a Mother’s Day staple. While Mom is no longer with us, I put together this scrumptious, make-ahead menu in her honor. It’s perfect for serving in your dining room, on the patio, or even for a picnic spread. So go ahead and show your love with this easy and elegant Mother’s Day lunch!

Mother’s Day Lunch Recipes

a glass holding cheese straws atop a white platter, with a few cheese straws in front and dipping sauce on the side

Crispy Cheddar Cheese Straws – Easy Recipe!

These savory treats combine the rich flavors of Cheddar cheese, chili powder, and cumin with a delicate, flaky dough, resulting in a crispy mouthwatering delight that is both elegant and alluring in its simplicity. For a unique twist, serve spicy pepper jelly alongside as a dipping sauce!

Close up of two glasses showing individual portions of Easy Gazpacho Recipe

Easy Recipe for Gazpacho

This easy recipe for Gazpacho is fresh, vibrant and tastes like summer. A tomato-based, chilled soup traditionally accented with a blend of cucumbers, peppers, onion, garlic and vinegar, Gazpacho is a refreshing starter for a summer dinner. And, this Gazpacho recipe is tried and true, having been passed down to our friend Jeanne from her mother.

Single serving of tuna salad nicoise on an ivory plate

Tuna Salad Niçoise Recipe

Tuna Salad Niçoise is an easy, elegant and impressive entrée that’s perfect for a refreshing lunch or light dinner, especially in spring and summer months. There are numerous takes on this iconic dish from southern France; my version includes tips and tricks to enhance each element, without overpowering or making the dish rich. While bursting with diverse flavors, colors and textures, this Niçoise Salad recipe is elegant but not fussy!

Wicker basket lined with a green napkin and filled with Easy Drop Biscuits, with more biscuits on a cooling rack in the back

Quick Homemade Drop Biscuits – Easy Recipe!

Craving a warm, buttery biscuit straight from the oven? Our Easy Drop Biscuit Recipe is all you need! Crafted with pantry essentials and ready in less than 25 minutes, you’ll be well on your way to biscuit perfection.

Champagne coupe glasses filled with Chilled Lemon Souffles, topped with blackberries and blueberries

Cold Lemon Souffle

Cold Lemon Soufflé is an impressive and refreshing dessert. Adding gelatin allows these individual desserts to be prepared ahead of time, so no last minute whipping and folding to create this refreshing and impressive dessert!

More Mother’s Day Recipes

Looking for other Mother’s Day recipes? Check out these posts:

Note: this menu was originally posted in 2015, then updated in 2024.

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collage of 5 dishes from a Make Ahead Mother's Day Lunch Menu

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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