Divine Dinner Party

Ideas for Buffet Food for a Party:
The Best Foods and Recipes

Getting ideas for buffet food for a party isn't quite as simple as it might sound. Buffets are fantastic for offering a variety of fare, and certainly make socializing simpler, but getting a buffet put together properly can be quite daunting.

What are the biggest challenges when setting up and planning a party buffet? For one thing, people have to be able to easily reach items and manipulate serving utensils. For another, they'll need to be able to access the table without maneuvering around a lot of furniture. So where do you start?

This page will give you lots of great ideas for buffet food for a party, including the best buffet food recipes for parties, and some tips on getting it all set up. But I've got lots of other resources at Buffet Central! There, you'll find practical buffet table set-up tips, ideas for decorating the buffet table, and more.

The Best Ideas for Buffet Food for a Party

Beautiful Buffet Table for a PartyThe most important part of setting up for a party is going to be the food you serve. You want to choose foods that strike the perfect balance between impressiveness, tone, and ease of cooking, serving, and eating.

What Kind of Recipes to Make for a Buffet

Choose a Theme. I'm a big advocate of choosing a theme when planning a party menu. When you choose a party theme, coming up with ideas for buffet food for a party is a heck of a lot simpler. Everything will fall right into place.

Check here for some great ideas for party themes!

Go for Simple. Some time before the big day, you'll want to gather recipes for great buffet foods for your party. When choosing recipes to serve at a buffet, you want to steer clear of complicated items-- things that have to be cut up at the table, for instance.

You also want to choose things that hold up well when setting out. Generally you don't want any food left more than two hours for food safety reasons, so portion your platters accordingly. You can always refill.

Keep it Safe. Speaking of "safety first" make provisions for your cold foods to stay cold, and your hot foods – hot. You don't need fancy equipment for this. For example, to keep something on ice, freeze water in a cake pan, turn it out and then wrap it in aluminum foil. Now you have a cold serving surface. This is also a great way to add some height variations to the buffet table.

Buffet Recipes Ideas for a Party

The actual food you serve at your party is really a matter of taste, time, and budget. Some people go with a buffet theme to help pick out recipes, while others look to the occasion or their guests for ideas.

Get creative! There's a whole world of food perfectly suited to buffet parties. Here are a couple of my favorite ideas for buffet food for a party.

Crab Cups Party Appetizer Recipe

Crab Cup Wonton SnacksCrab meat has been consumed since prehistoric times! Today, crab legs are a popular item for buffet inclusion because they're easy to pick up (however, they're messy to open).

To avoid the mess of ripping into whole crab legs, this buffet dish recipe uses prepared crab meat instead.

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1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 green onions
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. salad dressing or mayonnaise
1/2 c. fresh grated Parmesan
2 tsp. Old Bay
1 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. chipotle (optional)
1 C. crab meat flaked
1 dozen wonton wrappers
1/2 tbsp. butter melted

Instructions: 1. Dice up the green onions then sauté them in butter until soft. Add all your remaining ingredients to the onions and stir slowly so that the cheese melts and mingles.

2. Add the crab meat, cooking for two minutes longer. Set aside.

3. Next you make your "cups" using the wonton wraps. Put these into a mini muffin tin (one each) and brush them with a little butter.

4. Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven till they get golden brown. Fill with the crab mixture. May be served hot or cold.

Date and Goat Cheese Buffet Appetizer

Dates with Jamon and Goat Cheese
Among your any ideas for buffet food for a party that you might use, you'll always want to include one or two interesting twists and cultural flairs. This is a Greek-Italian twist that people will love.

The mix of sweet, salty, and tangy with the freshness of basil? Well, it's to die for. Your guests will be lucky if this one makes it to the table.

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1/3 cup goat cheese softened
20 pitted dates
20 whole fresh basil leaves
5 slices prosciutto

Instructions: 1. Cut the prosciutto into 20 long strips and set aside.

2. Next, fill the center of each date with the cheese. Wrap the date with a basil leaf, followed by wrapping with prosciutto.

3. Use toothpicks to hold everything in place.

4. Fire up your broiler and cook for about 4 minutes (the cheese will be bubbly).

Planning Your Buffet Set-Up

Step one here is definitely figuring out where the buffet tables will go. If people can go on both sides, that makes the flow of traffic for your party a lot smoother. Second, put together the buffet offerings in a logical manner. Start with plates, cups and utensils, and end with desserts. Think of the progression as similar to the order in which you'd normally serve a meal.

Read more about how to do all this right here.

Tip for Setting Up Your Buffet Party Table

You can try out your buffet table long before the day of the event. Look at your menu and see what serving items you'll need. Place these (empty) on the table in a decorative way.

Once you're happy with the arrangement, try reaching various food items on the buffet table. Did you have to reach across the table to serve your soup? Humm… that might need to move to avoid drips and spills.

Once you get an arrangement that works, make a little sketch of it to follow on party day!

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Cold Appetizer and Snack Recipes


Coming Up...

Hippity, Hoppity,
Easter's on its Way

The date for Easter falls on April 20th this year!

Take a look at Easter Dinner and Party Planning for recipes, edd dye tips, assembling Easter baskets, and more!

And plan to make this adorable...

It's so cute, it may be the best thing you do this Easter.


Share and share alike! If you have a great dinner party idea or tip, send it in!

After all, what better way to pass on your knowledge than to share it with other hosts and hostesses?

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