Throwing a party should be a totally exciting experience. At the end of the day, bringing people together, whether it be friends, family, colleagues, or peers, should be super fun and enjoyable.
However, if you’re the host, we know full well that it isn’t always fun and games. Planning a party, and all that comes with it, can be overwhelming. In particular, making food that you think will please everyone can be super stressful.
If you’re struggling with this right now, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve made a list of the 40 best party food ideas. Every single one has been hand-selected according to how tasty it is and how easy it is to make.
Whether you’re looking to impress your guests with some fabulous culinary skills, or simply want comforting food that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, there is something for everyone! If you need some guidance on how to plan a party menu, check out our FAQ section too!
We just had to kick things off with a sharing board. They look impressive, are easy to put together, and most importantly, are delicious! They are also a great way to cater to a variety of dietary requirements.
This one, in particular, is perfect for spring or summer parties. It is packed with super tasty veggies, fresh dips, and light flavors that will have all of your guests begging for more. We recommend adding some bell peppers, they go great with the artichoke dip!
No party is complete without a desert… or two! Anything chocolatey is a great option, and brownies, in particular, are perfect for sharing.
Believe it or not, these chocolate brownies really do live up to their name. They are indulgent, gooey, and actually quite quick and easy to make!
With this recipe, you’ll be able to make perfect brownies, even if you’ve never baked before. Make sure to buy some vanilla ice cream if you want to make them extra special.
If you’re looking for some light, fresh, and super satisfying finger foods for a summer party or BBQ, you have to give Vietnamese rice paper rolls a try.
These rolls are loaded with bright, fresh flavors that work beautifully with the Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce. Although they might look intimidating, this super clear and detailed recipe makes each step incredibly simple.
They also look very impressive on the table, so give them a go if you want to wow your guests!
Whatever the occasion, whatever style of food you plan on serving, you simply have to include a crispy potato dish! They are always sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
These crispy parmesan roasted potatoes are to die for. They have an incredible, golden crust and a tender inside that just melts in the mouth.
Even though the dipping sauce is labeled as optional, we definitely recommend that you make it! It is simple but very tasty and works to bring the potatoes to life.
You cannot go wrong with a good cheese board at a party. They are so varied that there is always something for everyone!
If you’ve struggled in the past to make your cheeseboard come to life, this recipe will give you all the tips and tricks you need to make a perfect, stand-out cheeseboard every time.
They cover everything, from cheese textures to appropriate pairings. Your guests are sure to be astounded by the results!
Nachos at a party are a must. They are super low-maintenance, you can make a huge batch, and you can easily top them with whatever you think your guests will like!
These sheet pan nachos are a veritable explosion of flavor. With every bite, you get crispy, crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet, and spicy goodness. You can also choose to use plant-based alternatives for the meat and nacho cheese if you have vegan or health-conscious guests.
A good selection of dips can make or break a party spread. If you have some extra time, we always recommend making your own – they are just so much more fresh and delicious!
This crap and artichoke dip is a thing of dreams. It is super indulgent and creamy, yet somehow still classy and elegant. Your guests will be astounded that you made this yourself and will likely be begging for more, so make a big batch!
Make sure to also buy some high-quality potato chips, or even use toasted sourdough bread, to scoop up this tasty sauce.
Sliders are perfect party food. They are super tasty, easy to make, and perfect for guests to grab as they please. You can also put whatever you want inside!
This recipe calls for ham and cheese as the filling. This simple, tried-and-tested combination is sure to please everyone at the party. They are cheesy and salty, with a hint of sweetness from the buns. What more could you ask for?
Potato skins might not sound like the fanciest dish to serve at a party, but they sure are delicious! They’re particularly great for summer BBQ parties or even spring garden parties.
These bacon and cheddar potato skins are sure to satisfy any guest! They’re delicious, indulgent, and you can easily add in your favorite ingredients! They are also super simple to make, taking just 30 minutes in total. As such, they’re a good option for a last-minute party.
If you’re a fan of the ham and cheese combo, but fancy trying something a little different from sliders, pinwheels might be the answer! They also look fabulous when presented on the table.
These ham and cheese pinwheels are buttery, flaky, and full of melted cheese and savory-sweet ham. The addition of parsley and poppy seeds as a garnish adds an extra texture and flavor that you don’t tend to get from regular pinwheels and party foods.
Potato chips are always a winner. Whether you’re having a BBQ, serving buffet-style food, or are just putting out a few bits (to help soak up the alcohol), potato chips will go down well.
This blue cheese potato chip recipe is super simple but incredibly effective! You only need 5 different ingredients and 15 minutes of time to make this delicious dish. We recommend really not holding back on the blue cheese as it adds a super decadent feel.
In our opinion, quiche is the perfect party food. It is delicious, filling, easy to make, customizable, and quite economical! What more could you want?
Rather than making one large quiche, this recipe makes 2 dozen personal-sized quiches. In turn, these make for excellent finger food! However, we warn you, they do disappear quickly, so make sure that you make a huge batch.
Chicken wings are always a favorite at parties. Whether it’s a BBQ in the sunshine or a boozy evening with your closest friends, wings are always a winner!
These lemon pepper dry rub chicken wings are absolutely no exception. The lemon pepper dry rub is super light, fresh, and delicious. They are also a particularly safe option if you’re hosting a party that includes a lot of picky guests as they aren’t spicy at all!
14. Baked Arancini
Arancini is an appetizer that always gets served at fancy events, but one that people rarely feel comfortable making themselves. However, it’s far easier than you might think!
This baked arancini recipe will knock the socks off any guest you have! They are also a fabulous way to use up any leftover risotto. If you’re a fan of risotto, we recommend making up a batch of lemon risotto a few days before you are due to make the arancini.
No party would be complete without cocktails and dessert. So, why not marry the two? Pudding shots of any kind are perfect finger foods for when the party is winding down.
These pina colada pudding shots are just so moreish, they will have your guests coming back for more and more! These can also be made up in just minutes, so are a perfect addition to any impromptu gathering. Just make sure to buy a good quality pina colada mix.
Smoked salmon is perfect for parties. It is easy to prepare, tastes super fresh, and adds an air of sophistication to any event.
These smoked salmon appetizer bites are a must-do if you’re having a party. They are very quick to make, have an incredible flavor, and look absolutely beautiful on the table! They are also simple to transport, so make for a great dish to take to someone else’s party.
If you’re looking for a more inventive way to scoop up some delicious dip, rather than always using tortilla chips, you should definitely make some fresh dough balls!
This recipe is sure to impress all of your family and friends and is the ultimate sharing plate. The dough balls are filled with cheese, bursting with garlicky flavor, and work incredibly well with the simple but rich tomato-based dipping sauce. Be sure to give this one a try!
If you’re hosting a party filled with guests who love a sweet treat, you have to make this millionaire’s shortbread. It is always a crowd-pleaser!
Millionaire’s shortbread might seem a little intimidating to make, but this recipe is very simple and breaks down every step. They take just one hour to make and have the perfect balance of biscuit, caramel, and chocolate. Make sure to add the optional white chocolate topping!
Throwing a party can be stressful at the best of times. If you need to cater to vegans, things can feel even more overwhelming. However, vegan sausage rolls are always there for you!
These vegan sausage rolls are absolutely perfect for parties. Even though they are 100% plant-based, these will satisfy vegans and meat-lovers alike! Made with mushrooms, brown rice miso, mustard, and sage, these sausage rolls are super moreish.
If you’re strapped for time and looking for a simple but delicious appetizer, Bruschetta is the perfect dish. It is fresh, bright, delicious, and most importantly, so easy!
This roasted veggie bruschetta recipe is particularly great. It is a simple appetizer that elevates the wonderful natural flavors of the ingredients. This recipe uses red and yellow cherry tomatoes, however, we love adding roasted mini bell peppers as well.
Party foods and platters can sometimes feel overly heavy and indulgent. If you’re looking for something fresher, you definitely should try making a grilled veggie version.
In this recipe, there are no fancy techniques or ingredients. Rather, simplicity is key. The delightful flavor comes from the charred nature of the veggies, a drizzle of olive oil, and a hefty amount of salt and pepper. As a bonus, the colors also look divine on the table!
As we’ve previously mentioned, dips can make or break a spread. However, that isn’t to say you need to make overly complicated dips. Simple and fresh guacamole will work perfectly!
If you’re a fan of guacamole but have always struggled to make your version spot on, this recipe will do wonders. The secret is to start with a paste made from coriander, chili, and onion. This recipe also gives you tips on how to stop your guac from going brown!
23. Caprese Skewers
A Caprese salad is always a winner. However, they can be messy and difficult to portion. To fix this issue, why not try making some Caprese skewers?
These Caprese skewers are pretty much as simple as it gets – but don’t let the simplicity fool you, they are also one of the most delicious appetizers ever!
To make the skewers the best they can be, we recommend buying really good quality olive oil and super fresh tomatoes.
If you’re looking for a way to add some more veggies to your party plates, you should consider air frying some cauliflower! This is also a great dish if you’re serving vegans.
This recipe is super simple but delicious. The cauliflower is coated with a simple panko crumb that infuses it with a smoky, spicy flavor. The crunch is also incredibly satisfying! Just make sure that you really go overboard with the spices for the best results.
If you’re tired of making salads for parties and having them remain untouched, you should shake things up by using this recipe. The stilton and apple combination is addictive!
This salad is sure to get all of your guests eating their greens and demanding more! As a bonus, it is very economical, easy to make, and takes just 15 minutes to prep. It also manages to be super healthy but brimming with flavor! What could be better?
Tortillas make for really great party food. They are big, filling, simple to make, and super delicious! If you’re having a tapas-style night, we cannot recommend this recipe enough.
This spring vegetable tortilla is absolutely packed with flavor. The combination of double cream, goat’s cheese, and egg, makes for a super-rich tortilla base. This is balanced very well by the fresh red peppers, peas, and thyme. Top with cheese for an indulgent spin!
27. Pork Pies
Pork pies are a classic appetizer to have at a party. They are great for guests to grab when they fancy a snack and everyone will be completely taken back by your baking skills.
This recipe, in particular, is perfect if you’re hoping to learn something new. It teaches you how to make the perfect pastry and filling every single time. These will also keep in the fridge for a few days, so you can make them well in advance of your party!
Vegetarians can often be overlooked when it comes to party food. Putting a vegetarian spin on a classic meat dish is a great way to show your guests that you have considered them!
Believe it or not, these vegetarian scotch eggs are actually very easy to make. Rather than expending excess effort making your own veggie sausages, using a store-bought version works wonderfully. Just make sure the ones you opt for have a firm, meaty texture.
Sandwiches might not be the perfect finger food for every type of party. However, for smaller, more relaxed gatherings, fancy sandwiches are a perfect dish!
This recipe is a great option for such occasions. These steak sandwiches with arugula are juicy, hearty, and work incredibly well with a glass of wine. As a fun spin on restaurant-style food, these sandwiches are also sure to knock the socks off all of your guests.
Korean dishes have to be some of the most delicious, fun, and exciting to cook. So, why not try to make some party food using some traditional Korean flavors?
This recipe, in particular, will truly impress your guests. The caramelized beef is beautifully tender, the sticky marinade is sweet and salty, and the fresh lettuce adds the perfect amount of crunch and freshness. We cannot recommend this recipe enough!
31. French Onion Dip
If you’re sick of guacamole, hummus, sour cream, and salsa, you should give this French onion dip a try! It is surprisingly simple to make and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
This French onion dip is packed full of flavor. The richness of the caramelized onions and the splash of sherry makes it a truly special dip. It goes well with everything, but it is particularly great with toasted sourdough bread or even as a dip for some crunchy roasted potatoes.
Sometimes, party food can get a little bit tiring. If you want to jazz things up a little, why not try and turn your favorite main dish into a bite-sized appetizer?
These spaghetti and meatball nests are a super fun dish to bring out at a dinner party, and they’ll have all of your guests addicted! If you are strapped for time, you can buy the meatballs and marinara sauce, however, they’re better if you make them yourself!
If you’re catering for a group of chicken lovers, buffalo wings are a must. Believe it or not, in addition to being absolutely delicious, they are also super low-maintenance!
This recipe is ideal if you have a lot going on in the kitchen, as it suggests that you bake the wings rather than fry them. In turn, this means that you don’t have to stand over the fryer and can instead tend to the many other dishes you’re likely trying to make!
The combination of beetroot and feta is perfect for spring and summer parties. It is super fresh, light, and healthy. The deep red color of the beetroot means it also looks beautiful.
This recipe is incredibly well-balanced. The sweetness of the beetroot and the saltiness of the feta make for a mouth-watering dish. It is also very versatile. In fact, we love using this salad in burgers, or even as a filling in a sourdough sandwich!
Sometimes, kids are forgotten about when it comes to party foods. If you are looking for a dish that will please both the adults and the children, you have to try these puff pizzas!
In fact, this easy puff pizza snack recipe is absolutely perfect for such instances. They are very easy to make, absolutely delicious, and completely customizable! For the best results, make sure to use high-quality cheese and toppings, and super fresh veggies.
36. Homemade Hummus
Hummus has become a staple in most parties, and it’s likely that you’ve used a store-bought version before. However, did you know that hummus is incredibly simple to make?
If you fancy trying to make your own, you have to try this homemade hummus recipe. It is unbelievably simple but is so much more delicious than any store-bought version we’ve ever tried! By making it yourself, you can also have fun and add your own favorite flavors.
Onion rings are excellent party food, and they couldn’t be easier to make! Whether you’re having a summer party or a holiday get-together, there is always space for onion rings!
This recipe calls for coating the onions in a buttermilk and egg mixture and then dunking them into a combination of flour and BBQ seasoning. However, you can use any seasoning you would like! We enjoyed adding some paprika to our mix, as it added a nice little kick!
If you’re a little bored of regular cheese boards, you should try adding some baked cheeses to the plate. The combination of baked brie and caramelized onions is always a winner.
This recipe is absolutely divine. The shells that contain the melted brie are buttery, flakey, and work so well with the spoonful of caramelized onions. To take the pressure off on the day, make sure to caramelize the onions a day in advance and just store them in the fridge!
Stuffed peppers make for a great meal or side dish. To make them party-appropriate, you can just use mini peppers! They are sure to be an instant crowd-pleaser.
The best thing about this recipe is how customizable it is. While the recipe suggests using kale, bacon, and cream cheese as the filling, feel free to swap these ingredients out for your favorite flavors! You can quite easily make these vegan/vegetarian friendly, too!
40. Mimosa Floats
Finally, if you’re a fan of champagne and have a sweet tooth, why not combine them? Mimosa floats are perfect for pretty much any event and are sure to blow your guests away.
For this recipe, you need just four ingredients and ten minutes of time. As such, they’re perfect for parties! To make them super delicious, make sure to use good quality ingredients. However, you can use Prosecco instead of champagne if you’d prefer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good dish to bring to a party?
This really depends on how much time you want to spend on a dish.
If you’re strapped for time, we recommend making a dish that can be prepped in advance, or one that takes very little time to make. For instance, you could make a simple dip such as hummus or guacamole.
Or, you could make the pork pies we mentioned earlier, as you can make these a day or two ahead of the party.
On the other hand, if you have a bit of time and really want to wow the hosts, why not go all out and make a few appetizers?
We find that people always love the roasted vegetable bruschetta and smoked salmon bites we mentioned in the list. Although, a dessert always goes down very well too.
What foods are considered finger foods for a party?
Finger foods are essentially foods that you can eat with your fingers. For instance, potato chips, chicken wings, onion rings, and scotch eggs are all finger foods. Dishes such as spaghetti are not finger foods (unless you don’t mind a huge mess).
Planning a party menu can be an overwhelming task, especially if you have guests of different ages and with different culinary requirements.
If you are having a party and don’t really know where to start, check out the list below. It consists of everything you should consider before planning a menu.
1. Your own resources.
First and foremost, make sure that you are not overstretching yourself. If you only have a limited amount of money or time, don’t feel pressured to push those boundaries.
As a side note, from our own experience, we have found that guests are always willing to lend a helping hand in situations where you might be too busy or strapped to make an excess of food. If you need to, ask your closest friends or family members to bring a dish with them!
2. Think about the tone or theme.
If you were hoping for a themed party, make sure you decide on the theme before you create the menu. This way, you will have some broad guidelines and you might find yourself inspired by your chosen theme.
If you’re not opting for a theme, make sure you know what the tone of the party is before you make the menu. If it is super casual and relaxed, then an informal buffet-style menu will work perfectly. If you want a more high-end affair, your menu should reflect this also.
3. Consider dietary restrictions.
The absolute last thing you want is to spend time, effort, and money on creating a magnificent feast, only to find out that half of your guests are lactose intolerant, and can’t enjoy the 3 beautiful cheese boards you made.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re putting on a large bash, we generally tend to make sure that there is a variety of allergy-friendly, vegetarian, and vegan options available.
However, if this sounds like too much time and effort, simply ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions.
4. Take appearance into account.
Now, if you’re throwing a relaxed bash for your close friends and family members, this might be an unnecessary step.
However, if you’re anything like us, you absolutely love it when the food looks good on the table, in addition to tasting wonderful. If this is the case, we recommend opting for some very bright and colorful dishes.
Make sure you have some bright grilled veggies and a fresh beetroot salad amongst the bread, cheeses, and pastries.
5. Think about preparation.
As you’re reading this, you’re likely filled with extravagant ideas, and that is awesome! However, keep in mind that you don’t want to overwhelm yourself on the day. If everything you want to make needs to be made fresh before serving, think again!
Instead, make sure you have many dishes that can be made or prepared in advance. The more you can do in the days leading up to the party, the more time you will have to enjoy yourself!
The last thing you want is for your guests to arrive and find you a shell of a human crying in the corner of the kitchen (ok, so that was an exaggeration, but you get the picture).
The right food can really bring a party to life. We hope that you’ve found inspiration for your party in our list of the 40 best party food ideas. Make sure to have fun with it!
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