Party Food Suggestions:
Party Finger Foods, Recipes, and Menu Ideas
If you're hosting a party soon, then you may be hunting around for party food suggestions that are simple, tasty and affordable.
As you start searching for party finger foods and recipes, though, you may find there are more selections than you originally thought... which is sort of a win-lose situation. It's great to have choices; but the more choices you have, the harder it is to decide! However, there are a few hints that can get you moving in the right direction toward a wholly successful party menu.
You'll find lots of great ideas and party food suggestions on this page. But I've got just about everything you need to plan a party right here at Divine Dinner Party. So when you're done here, also check out:
Gearing Your Menu to Your Party
First things first. What type of party are you hosting?
The best party food suggestions for your event will be impacted pretty dramatically by this key factor. A full formal dinner party
has completely different offerings from, say, a cocktail party. Of the two, you'll find the cocktail party requires less fuss in the food, and most often a higher level of socialization among the guests.
Party Finger Foods
For the sake of argument, let's say you're looking for party food suggestions for a fun and casual cocktail party, or a similar type of appetizer party. Now what? Well, cocktail parties and other casual celebrations are all about... finger food, of course!
Serving Party Finger Food. Whether you have waiters waltzing around with trays or (more likely) you simply plan set up your party finger foods on buffet tables, you'll want to choose items that are easy to serve and eat.
But "Finger Food" doesn't necessarily mean that every item has to be a perfect little self-contained morsel. Look for appetizer recipes that can be adapted for use in smaller quantities. This includes recipes for anything that can be served in/on:
- Chinese Appetizer Spoons
- Shot Glasses
- Tart Shells/Pastry Shells
- Slices of Cucumber (or other firm veggie)
- Crostini (toasted French bread slices)
My Party Food Trick!
My favorite trick for coming up with fun finger food appetizers for parties? Use the dishes you love best! When served in Chinese spoons (which are VERY cheap to buy, and completely re-usable) you can serve almost anything as a one-bite appetizer, from lamb masala curry on rice, to beef stroganoff, to tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich cubes. Get creative!
Party Food Recipes
When planning your party food menu, you don't have to have a lot of each item available. They key? Having a good variety of finger foods. A good guideline to work from is to have at least one item each of:
- A hot item
- A cold item
- A meat item
- A seafood item
- A green item (something salad-y)
- A vegetable item
- A sweet item
For some more specific party food suggestions for bite sized recipes (or recipes that are easily adaptable to small servings), read on. You'll find tons of ideas.
1. Hot Finger Foods for Parties
While hot dishes are slightly more complicated to serve and keep warm, they're also generally the most popular items at parties.
A few party food suggestions for a hot appetizer tray are: set up a small crock pot with savory meatballs, marinated mushrooms, or sliced sausage in a sauce, and invite guests to serve themselves. This idea may not be the most elegant, but it's definitely a fast, easy, and inexpensive party food idea!
Some other great recipes for hot party finger foods are:
2. Cold Party Finger Food Recipes
Some party food suggestions for cold items might be decoratively skewered fruit, some type of salad, or fanciful wraps filled with turkey or chicken salad. Or experiment with your own favorite foods in small sizes or some of these fun cold appetizer recipes: LINK
3. Bite-Sized Meat Party Foods
Party foods and finger foods made with meat are great options, as they can be served both hot (like chicken wings or meatballs) or cold (like lunchmeat wraps and tortilla pinwheels). Look for items that are natural finger-foods, like chicken wings, etc. Or try:
4. Seafood Appetizers for Parties
Lots of famous --and fabulous-- seafoods and seafood recipes naturally come in bite-size portions... so the more seafood-based party food suggestions you use, the easier your life will be. Some of my favorite seafood party finger foods are:
5. Green or Salad Items for a Party
I like the idea of having something light to eat --something salad-y, so to speak-- at a cocktail party. Good light dishes to serve can be as simple as cherry tomatoes or veggie crudites and dip. But you can also make any salad into a finger food, simply by serving it a little differently. Try:
6. Vegetarian Party Finger Food Ideas
Having a few vegetarian options available is a good party food suggestion for a few different reasons. For one, you never know if somebody attending might be a vegetarian. For another, veggie-based dishes keep better and longer, and tend to be cheaper to make. For instance, try:
7. Sweet or Dessert Bites for a Party
You've got to have something a little sweet available to your guests! While a sweet item can be as simple as bites of fresh fruit or fruit skewers, you can also have fun with other sweet dessert finger foods for a party, such as:
Holiday Party Food Suggestions
Planning your party for a special holiday, and looking for party food suggestion for the holidays? You'll also find some great ideas for holiday party finger foods on the following pages:
Calculating Food Amounts for Your Party
Above, you'll find a ton of party food recipe options to choose from-- and probably have lots of good ideas of your own to use, too! But remember that picking the menu is only half the battle. Now you have to figure out how much of each item to make, and you actually have to make them!
How much to Make? On average, if you're only offering appetizer style foods, a person will eat 5-6 "bites" (or one ounce) of food for every hour of the party. If you're serving a meal, you can plan a lot less appetizers.
More Fun Recipes for Party Finger Foods
Looking for a few more fun party food suggestions and ideas? Read on!
Sweet and Salty Walnuts Recipe
Serving nuts as a finger food is a fantastic party food suggestion no matter the theme or setting of your party. This is a recipe that you can adapt to ANY type of nut that you or your guests personally enjoy.
As written, it utilizes walnuts, which can trace their history back to Neolithic times. Walnut trees were part of the famed hanging gardens of Babylon, and the nuts were often reserved for royalty. So treat your guests like kings and queens!
3/4 C. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 c. walnut halves, unsalted (or another preferred nut)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions: 1. Place the sugar and the butter in a good size sauce pan and melt the two together. After about five minutes, toss in the nuts, the salt and thhe vanilla. Stir so the nuts are well-coated.
2. Put a sheet of parchment paper in a cake dish. Pour the nuts evenly into the cake or pie pan.
3. Cook walnuts in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes until toasted (you'll want to turn them once or twice for evenness). Remove and separate. Cool completely and serve.
Hint: you can change this recipe by altering the extract used, or even by adding some heat to the equation like cayenne, or spices like coriander and pepper.
Brush Up on Bruschetta!
Another amazingly simple party food suggestion is Bruschetta. Bruschetta comes from the central region of Italy and has so many potential variations that you're sure to find a couple you like and that your guests will appreciate.
The basic components of Bruschetta are thick sliced bread (toasted), garlic, olive oil, and fresh salt and pepper. Once the bread is toasted you rub it with the garlic, then top as desired followed by a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Potential topping blends include:
- Traditional fresh tomato with fresh basil, garlic, onion, and red wine vinegar
- Grilled sweet peppers, eggplant and tomato (minced together)
- Brie with roasted salad shrimp
- Pesto, asiago cheese and olive
- Roast beef, horseradish and cheddar cheese
- Asparagus with parmesan and a bit of lemon zest
And that's just a very small sampling. Get creative and have fun with your flavors!
Last but not least, while you're hunting down those party food suggestions remember to watch for good wine and beverage pairings. Be sure to have lots of napkins available, provide a ton of variety, and sit back and watch your great food fly off the trays.
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