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Party Food Ideas and Tips for Feeding a Crowd

Party Food Ideas


Whether it's a big family get-together, game night at home with your friends, or a party with co-workers, having a bunch of people over can be stressful. And when you're stressed about food and cooking, sometimes it feels like it's easier to just order pizza (and then feel guilty about all that cheese). But let me tell you: making these party foods are really easy and will make your guests happy. The best part? You don't have to cook! If you need some inspiration for what kind of food is best for parties (or just want an excuse to not cook), here are some ideas:

What to serve for a crowd when you don't want to cook.

There is a reason that brunch has become so popular in recent years: it's great! You can serve breakfast food at any time of the day, whether or not it's brunch. For a big crowd, you may want to consider making pancakes, French toast, and egg dishes like quiche or frittata. If you're feeling ambitious (and have access to a kitchen), try baking your cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns for an impressive finish.

  • Finger foods: Finger food is any small dish that doesn't require utensils—the perfect option for parties where there might be people who don't have time to eat or who forget their forks at home! Your options are limitless here: think simple salads made with vegetables like carrots and cucumbers; olives; nuts; breadsticks cut into bite-sized pieces; cheese cubes wrapped in prosciutto or bacon; roasted potatoes sliced into wedges; chips & salsa...etc., etc., etc.
  • Party food ideas for feeding a crowd when you don't want to cook: easy finger foods that aren't too messy but still delicious enough for guests who are looking for something more substantial than just crackers & cheese (although those would work too).

Pesto Parmesan Cheese Straws

These pesto Parmesan cheese straws are the perfect party food. You can make the dough ahead of time and then pull them out to bake right before your guests arrive. They're also great for kids' parties because they're fun to assemble and eat.

You can use crescent rolls or pizza dough for this recipe, but I prefer using my favorite homemade pizza dough recipe from The Pioneer Woman (which also makes a delicious classic cheese pizza). If you want to switch things up, you could also try a different herb pesto-like basil or arugula instead of the more traditional basil variety in this recipe!

Spicy Baked Zucchini Chips with Yogurt Dip

  • To make the dip, place yogurt in a medium bowl. Add cilantro, lime juice, and salt to taste. Stir well until blended.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Slice zucchini into 1/4-inch slices; cut each slice into 1/4-inch strips lengthwise (you should get about 30 pieces per zucchini). Place sliced zucchini on prepared baking sheets; spray lightly with cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil if desired. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes until crisp but not browned yet; turn over each piece and bake an additional 5 minutes or so until crisp but not browned yet again. Serve immediately while warm!

Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread

This cheesy pull-apart bread is a crowd-pleaser for sure. It's the perfect thing to make if you're having people over for dinner and want to feed everyone at the same time. Everyone can grab their piece of this delicious bread!

This recipe makes enough for 8 people, so it's great if you have an extra person or two coming over. If not, just half or quarter the ingredients depending on how many mouths you'll be feeding!

This recipe calls for cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream—so it's relatively simple but has tons of flavor. Make sure to get some good quality cheeses too—the more pungent ones will give your dish more depth of flavor!

Olive Tapenade and Tomato Bruschetta

We do not recommend tapenade unless you’re already familiar with the dish. It requires some time and effort to make, but it’s worth it! To make this appetizer, you will need:

  • 1 cup pitted olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers or pickles
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion or shallots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (you can also use canola oil)

Once you have these ingredients ready, place them in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. This may take a few minutes depending on how powerful your machine is. Once they are combined, add salt and pepper to taste before serving on top of sliced French bread rounds or crackers. The tomato bruschetta can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until ready for serving.

Fast & Fancy Shrimp Cocktail

For a shrimp cocktail that's both fast and fancy, start with a batch of cocktail sauce and small skewers. You can use wooden or metal skewers—just make sure you soak the wooden ones in water so they don't burn on the grill.

For each person:

1/2 cup cocktail sauce (recipe below)

2 large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail intact

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

1-2 pounds asparagus spears, stems removed and peeled (optional)

1/3 cup olive oil

3 ounces prosciutto or pancetta sliced into thin strips (you can also use bacon)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the asparagus on the sheet in a single layer, drizzle with the olive oil, then sprinkle with pepper and toss to coat evenly. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tender but still firm, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly while you prepare your prosciutto wraps (this will help prevent them from falling apart). In a small skillet over medium heat cook the prosciutto until just crisp; set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease. Serve immediately while warm! Wrap each spear of asparagus in a piece of prosciutto; place onto a serving platter or individual plates and garnish with additional black pepper if desired. Serve immediately while warm!

Order Grazing Boxes

If you're hosting a party and want to serve a crowd, grazing box delivery is an easy way to make sure people have something to eat. If you don't think you'll be able to feed everyone at once, it's best to plan out the food ahead of time and keep it simple: there's no need for fancy garnishes or complex spreads if you're only going to be serving one dish at a time.

You can order grazing boxes from caterers or make them yourself; they usually come with several small dishes (like sushi rolls or sliders) that are perfect for several bites in between chatting with friends. Or you could find some recipes online, buy all of the ingredients yourself and assemble your grazing box! You can even try making some of the dishes yourself: if nothing else works out as planned (or if having too much on your plate makes it hard for anyone else), remember that having food available is better than not having any!

The Best Hummus Ever!

  • Use fresh garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil for the best hummus ever.
  • Don't use canned chickpeas. They're too soft and don't hold their shape when blended with all the other ingredients.
  • Don't use tahini unless you like sesame seed flavor, which is great if so but not necessary for this recipe—the flavor of tahini can be overpowering in small amounts (and yes it's spelled with one "t" since it's a proper noun). We do not need any more super strong flavors in our already very garlicky hummus!
  • Don't add salt until right before serving because some people shop-bought hummus that has been sitting around too long might have gotten overly salted at some point during its life cycle (fun fact: foods go bad faster when they're kept cold).

Citrus Fennel Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing

Fennel is a unique vegetable, combining the texture of an onion with an apple-like taste. It works well in this salad because it's crunchy and refreshing, which makes it a great accompaniment to heavier dishes like steak or chicken. The dressing adds just enough sweetness to balance out the fennel's flavor.

Slow Cooked Beef Sliders with Chipotle Aioli and Grilled Onion Marmalade

This recipe calls for a slow cooker, so if you don't own one, it's time to get one! Before you make this recipe, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to cook the beef. You'll also need some extra hands to help pull out the cooked beef and assemble your sliders once they're ready.

The marinade is what gives this dish its flavor so make sure you spend some time making it. The other ingredients are straightforward and can be prepared in advance when possible.

Cooking time will vary depending on how many pounds of meat you decide to cook (a pound per person), but generally speaking, it will take about 8 hours for medium rare or 10 hours for well done.

Sliders are best with toppings like lettuce and tomato or cheese—add whatever suits your fancy! You could even serve these with fries or macaroni salad as a side!

Chopped Thai Salad with Sesame Lime Vinaigrette

  • Ingredients
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice noodles (vermicelli) or cooked quinoa
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts, chopped roughly if desired
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped roughly if desired

Firecracker Meatballs {Slow Cooker}

There’s a bonus in this recipe: You can make these meatballs ahead of time and freeze them, then just thaw and cook them when the party rolls around. To make them, you will need:

  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken (you can also use beef)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten together with 2 tablespoons water to make an egg wash
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (or regular if making gluten-free)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except for the cilantro. Mix until just combined; do not overmix! Form into 1 1/2 inch balls using about two tablespoons per ball. Roll each ball in your hands so that they are round on all sides—this helps them cook evenly and keeps those pesky wrinkles from forming during the cooking process! Place onto a plate until ready to cook.

These are great finger foods that are also healthy and delicious.

These are great finger foods that are also healthy and delicious. The best part is that they can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them, which makes them perfect for parties!

These recipes are easy to make, require few ingredients, and come together in no time at all.

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