Divine Dinner Party

Summer Party Food Recipes
and Creative Ideas for Summer Party Themes

The sun is high in the sky, and it's time for your summer party food to come out of the house and into the back yard! Summer is a fantastic time for gatherings thanks to gorgeous weather, fresh and fabulous food, and --in my experience, anyway-- a near constant desire to relax and hang out.

Summer Party Food Set Up for a Buffet
So what's going to be on the menu? That depends entirely on what kind of summer party you plan to host. For one kind of party, you'll want one kind of summer food menu... for another, one completely different.

Looking for ideas? Here, you'll find lots of suggestions for food for a summer party of any kind, as well as hints for different foods for different types of summertime parties. You'll also find more food ideas, themes, tips, and more on the following pages, so check 'em out, too, when you're done here:

General Menu Ideas for Summer Party Food

When you plan a summer party, the first thing you want to do is come up with a summer party theme idea. The rest should fall right into line! Below, you'll find some great summer food ideas for lots of different summer party themes.

But what if you don't have a theme, or don't want one?

With some nice decorations and great guests --that's why you're inviting them after all, right?-- you don't need a theme to host a fabulous party. All you need is a lot of really good summer party food. Some great summer food ideas are:

Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:


You'll also find lots more ideas for great summer party food on the following pages:

Ideas for Common Summer Party Themes

Do you want to make your summer party food really special by matching it up with a summer party theme? Well, I've got some great ideas for themes for a summertime party. As soon as you set a theme for your party, the rest of it --menu, decorations, all that-- will fall right into place.

Backyard BBQ Party Theme

Of course, if you're looking to make your summer party food the central feature of your party, nothing will accomplish that quite like a backyard barbeque. A barbeque is also a fun summer party theme because it's casual, relaxed, and requires you to do nothing but sit outside in the sun all day.

Some good party food ideas for a barbeque are: Main Dishes:


Side Dishes:


BBQ Summer Party Theme Supplies

Beach or Luau Summer Party

Another one of my favorite summer party themes is a beach or luau party. With this theme, most of the summer party foods you choose will have tropical or Hawaiian themed ingredients. Think lots of pineapple!

Main Dish:


Side Dishes:

  • Grilled Pineapple
  • Coconut Rice
  • Baked Beans made with Crushed Pineapple and Ham


These are just a few ideas for summer party food for a luau theme. But have fun with it! While adding pineapple or coconut to something doesn't actually make it a traditional Hawaiian dish, it sure makes it feel tropical! And that's the whole point of choosing your summer party food for a luau or beach party, right?

Luau or Beach Summer Party Theme Supplies

Cinco de Mayo or Mexican Fiesta

If you're planning a party for the 5th of May, or cinco de mayo, then your summer party food choices will be obvious: make it Mexican! But it doesn't have to be Mexican Independence Day to celebrate the summer with a Mexican feast. Because Mexican food tastes great all year round. There's nothing like a spicy dish and a cold beer on a hot day.

You can pick any of your favorite dishes for a Mexican food party... it's one of the more flexible summer party themes out there. Add jalapeños to your favorite cheeseburger, and it becomes Mexi-fied. Spice up your usual potato or macaroni salad with a touch of cumin and cilantro. Have fun transforming your favorite summer party foods to give them a spicy Mexican flair.

Looking for a few more ideas? Some of my favorite Mexican themed party foods are:

Main Dishes:


Side Dishes:

  • Green Chile Cornbread
  • Spanish Rice (recipe coming soon!)
  • Refried Beans
  • Warm Homemade Tortillas (coming soon!)


Mexican Summer Party Theme Supplies

Cowboy or Western Party Theme

If you choose a western or cowboy summer party theme, your food choices are going to be really easy! You can decide between cowboy and barbeque style food, and more Mexican or Tex-Mex style summer party food.

If you're going to choose this for a summer party theme, you'll find great suggestions for barbeque foods and for Mexican fare above. Mix and match and choose what you like from each page to end up with the perfect party menu for you.

No matter what you choose, though, some foods are definitely a necessity! At a western or cowboy theme, be sure your party food options include:

Because some things you've just gotta have!

Cowboy or Western Party Theme Supplies

4th of July Party Theme

Planning a patriotic party for the 4th of July? Pretty much any of your favorite summer party foods will work for the 4th. What you choose is going to depend on whether your party is a picnic, a BBQ, or just a backyard buffet potluck. What recipes will be best are going to depend widely on where you're going to be eating them.

You'll find a lot of resources, recipes, and ideas for 4th of July summer party food right here, including:

Even if your party isn't celebrating American Independence Day, you'll find a lot of great summer party food recipes on the pages above, both patriotic ones and some that are just tasty for summer.

4th of July Summer Party Supplies

More Fun Summer Party Themes

If your plan to create all your summer party food around a particular theme, it can also be fun to think outside the norm. Sure, all of the ideas above are super fun-- they're considered "tried and true" for a reason. They're always great! But if you want to get a little more creative with both your summer party food and decorations, go for one of these creative summer party themes:

  • Summer Wine Tasting Party
  • Christmas in July (think Santa hats and flip-flops)
  • Superheroes and Villains
  • Circus Party (Make it a theme circus, if you want: evil circus, white trash circus, 1940's circus)
  • Nerdy 1950's Beach Party
  • Rock & Roll Party
  • Horror or Creepy Party (use some of these Halloween ideas, and adapt them)
  • Pirate Party
  • "Picnic at the Eiffel Tower" Party
  • An Afternoon in Athens
  • Zombie Beach Attack Party
  • Greek Gods and Goddesses Party
  • Spanish Tapas Party
  • Trailer Park Party
  • Jungle or Tarzan Party
  • Cuban Party
  • "Stoned Surfer" Party
  • A Day at Wimbledon Tennis Party
  • An "Underwater" Party

Let your summer party food choices follow whatever theme you choose, and have fun with it! If you choose a really creative theme and follow through with it, your guests won't be able to help but have fun! After all, who could have a boring time at a "Zombie Attack Beach Party"... even if all you serve is cocktail weenies and pickles on toothpicks.

Good luck!

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Planning a summer party and looking for more summer party food tips and idea? Check out:

Buffet Recipes and Table Setting


Dinner Party Recipes and Ideas


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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