28 Smart Party Food Ideas To Please A Crowd

Whether it’s a small gathering or an outdoor barbecue, having some food ready to serve to your guests is something you should certainly think ahead of inviting them.

28 Smart Party Food Ideas To Please A Crowd

If you are not quite sure of what to prepare for your next gathering at home, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. These 28 yummy snacks and foods have all been tried and tested and will not fail to impress.

As the best party food plates are always aimed at pleasantly surprising these guests, trust us when we say that the following ideas will make them ask for more. That is not because they are too complex, fancy, or anything of that sort.

These party food ideas will catch your guests’ attention and entice them, making them think, “I want to try THAT!” Once they do taste it, they will not be disappointed. Indeed, even though all the foods on our list are tiny, one-bite finger foods (see also ‘33 Sweet And Savory Finger Food Recipes For Parties‘), they are flavorful.

1. Spinach Artichoke Dip

What could be a better party appetizer than the iconic Spinach Artichoke Dip? This sour, creamy dip sauce is such a crowd-pleaser that it may disrupt your interactions with guests when served (#sorrynotsorry).

Add some pita chips on the side for everlasting dipping opportunities. Bread, crostinis, and crackers can also serve as dipping “boats” for this dish.

Even sliced veggies like carrots can work, so feel free to use your imagination on how you will treat your guests to this dip!

There are two versions to this dip: a hot and a cold one, so it’s up to you to decide how you will serve it.

2. Deviled Eggs

They might have been named ‘deviled,’ but they taste like heaven! Deviled eggs are so easy to make and so tasty to eat that they simply cannot be missing from your party buffet.

Using hard-boiled eggs that are cut in half, you then take the yolk out to replace it with a creamy mix of mustard, mayo, sweet pickle relish, and salt. The result is a tangy, salty, and slightly sweet “yolk” that is rich and creamy.

You can top the deviled eggs with anything you want, even though spices and seeds work best. Try some paprika, celery seeds, or even some chilli flakes if you have guests that love spicy food and you will see them cry with joy once they taste these eggs!

Try these Taste of Home’s recipe.

3. Stuffed Mushrooms

Searching for a delicious party food suggestion? Stuffed Mushrooms are delicious! These little bites have it all: they are savory, juicy, and smell of herbs, with a tender exterior and a crunchy stuffing.

Even better, there’s no need to sauté the stuffing ingredients, so it will only take you 10 minutes to get these shrooms out, and probably only one minute till they are gone from the plate!

Even better, there’s no need to sauté the stuffing ingredients, so it will only take you 10 minutes to get these shrooms out, and probably only one minute till they are gone from the plate! hop them up, stuff them, and put them in the oven!

Try these recipes next time: Vegetable Stuffed Mushrooms With Cheese, Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms, or Stuffed Mushrooms With Clams.

4. Quesadillas

No need to stand in front of a stove all day long to make a batch of quesadillas. The oven-baked quesadillas are a big hit and there’s a good reason for that.

This recipe transforms the casual go-to dish into a delicious finger food option, yielding a large batch together at once.

All the quesadillas are cooked simultaneously and have a splendidly crunchy exterior. Indeed, it feels like a completely new edition of the classic: Quesadillas 2.0.

Add some toppings like mozzarella and chopped tomatoes and onions and you’ll see everyone’s faces lighten up with enjoyment!

Try the following: Ground Beef Quesadillas, Vegetarian Quesadillas, or Mushroom Quesadillas.

5. Black Bean Hummus

The black bean hummus is a unique twist on the traditional chickpea hummus! It’s garlicky with a hint of lime and oh-so-creamy!

This twist on the traditional hummus may sound appealing, but there’s a catch. It tastes better than it sounds, not to say better than the chickpea one.

All you need to make this recipe is some garlic, lime juice, tahini, olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, and, of course, black beans.

And, if you want to fuse cuisines together, we suggest you serve the black bean hummus dip with those quesadillas you have added to your party buffet. That will definitely surprise your guests and make this party food the best they’ve ever had!

Choose this 5 Minute Black Bean Hummus recipe.

6. French Onion Dip

Simple to make and yet so wholesome, the French onion dip is an all-time favorite for so many people. Caramelize some onions, fold them into the cream, add some salt and pepper and everyone will thank you later.

7. Tacos

Whatever is wrapped in a tortilla becomes a top-level and delectable snack (even a meal if you eat a bigger quantity). Yes, tacos are street food that is here to stay, and party hosts love them. Why? Because guests do too!

There are plenty of alternatives and things you can add to make your tacos stand out.

Whether you stuff them with ground beef, chicken, or shrimps, or if you go for vegan eggplant and vegetarian lentil tacos, the result is the same: a party crowd pleaser that will keep everyone snacking.

Check out these extraordinary taco recipes: Beef Soft Tacos with Mango Salsa, Eggplant Tacos, and Fish Tacos.

8. Guacamole

You can’t spell Mexican without guacamole!

If you decide to go for the tacos or the quesadillas (or both) and treat your guests with some Mexican dishes, then guacamole has to be on the buffet. This avocado dip is a classic and can even go with some breadsticks or sliced veg.

If you want to make a guac with a twist, check out these Kale Guacamole and Tropical Guacamole recipes.

9. Potato Skins

Russet potato halves stuffed with ham and cheese, oven-baked until soft and fluffy, and then finished with cream cheese and spring onions. Could there be a nicer hors d’oeuvre for a party than that? I find that hard to believe!

None of us can say no to these incredible potato skins with their matching tastes and aromas from the spuds, ham, cream cheese, and melted cheese.

And guess what? They are unbelievably simple to make! Simply toss all of the ingredients over the sliced potatoes and bake until tender.

Have a look at this loaded potato skins recipe or this pepperoni one.

10. Chicken Empanadas

Empanadas are prevalent in Portugal, South America, and the Philippines, but they are also widely known as one of the best party food snack bites!

What’s not to like about that? The marinated chicken inside a crispy crust smelling of butter that is deep-fried to perfection. These half-moon bites will offer a palatal explosion and will undoubtedly amaze your friends and family.

While it might sound too simple to excite, the chicken empanadas are also filled with chunks of potatoes, carrots, and peas. With the final touch of raisins, they become a next-level food that can become the star of the buffet.

You can also try these Argentinian Chicken Empanadas or these homemade chicken empanadas recipe from The Novice Chef.

11. Jalapeno Poppers

At every party you go to, jalapeno poppers are a popular snack. They are the ideal combination of rich, salty, and peppery flavors. They’re fantastic!

These bite-sized poppers are an addiction. Fresh jalapenos are cut in two and stuffed with rich creamy cheese before topping them with a crunchy Panko crust. To finish this top-notch party snack, bake these poppers till golden.

Keto Jalapeno poppers or Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers are also great recipes to try!

12. Caprese Skewers

Rather than serving a Caprese salad that will be hard to eat – having to eat with a fork whilst standing is not the best thing ever – preparing some Caprese skewers is a much wiser option to include some fresh Italian snacks on the buffet.

These Caprese skewers are a bite-sized version of an Italian Caprese salad that relies on the main Caprese ingredients: mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Try these Caprese skewers with balsamic drizzle or these mozzarella-marinated ones.

13. Bacon-wrapped Pineapple

These bacon-wrapped pineapple nibbles are proof that the combo of sweet, salty, and charred aromas couldn’t ever go wrong. They’re also the simplest snacks to prepare! All you have to do is wrap pineapple pieces in bacon and put them in the oven.

You can even wrap the pineapples with the bacon slices ahead of time and store them in the fridge so that whenever your guests start arriving, you can simply cook them and serve them fresh and warm!

A piece of advice here: the fresher the pineapple is, the crispier the result. So, if you can make these wraps with a fresh pineapple you bought on the same day, you’re a pro!

More recipes: Sweet and spicy bacon-wrapped pineapple, Bacon-wrapped pineapple bites.

14. Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella sticks will immediately impress the party attendees. They’re crunchy on the outside, smooth on the inside, and delicious all over!

Who doesn’t love to tear mozzarella sticks in half and watch that creamy mozzarella getting stretched inside out?

Mozzarella sticks are also simple to cook. They are also a snack that is quite flexible – literally and figuratively – so if you don’t have any mozzarella (see also ‘23 Delicious Yet Simple Burrata Recipes‘), you can always replace it with string cheese.

Because string cheese has the ideal shape and size for these cheese sticks, you’ll have them ready in 10 to 15 minutes!

Alternatively, use any other type of cheese like the ones in this recipe.

15. Mini-quiches

They are cheesy, adorable, and famous all at the same time! These ham and cheese mini-quiches are absolutely perfect.

Who could really resist a cheese, ham, and egg filling atop a buttery pie crust, covered with more cheese, and masterfully baked? Mmm!

Try these easy mini-quiches, crustless mini-quiches and these spinach and crab quiches for more variation!

16. Croquettes

We all know how croquettes are made. These deep-fried balls filled with mashed potatoes and ham that have some melted cheese for topping are simply irresistible. They obviously hold the first spot when it comes to wicked delights.

Alternatively, you can make cheese croquettes and skip the ham to have more vegetarian options available on the buffet.

Unless some people are lactose intolerant, it is impossible to only eat one, so make sure to fry a whole batch as people will keep nibbling on them.

Check out these recipes: Spanish Ham Croquettes, Squid Ink Croquettes, and classic Ham And Potato Croquettes.

17. Pigs In Blankets

Pigs in blankets are basically sausage rolls and they are worthy of all the drools! 

Instead of filling some pastry dough with sausages, pigs in blankets are bite-sized sausages wrapped with bacon. Next to the croquettes, they are also a next-level sin that no one’s ever regretted.

However, if you want a slightly healthier option, make these sausage rolls with puff pastry instead of wrapping them in bacon.

The warmth of the pastry “blanket” and the taste of it will make your guests jump right off their seats and probably head to the buffet area for more!

18. Shrimp Cocktail

This 1960s snack may appear dated, but it is a classic food idea that really hasn’t ever gone out of fashion!

Instead of buying one of those mediocre supermarket trays, we suggest you try making your own shrimp cocktail at home. Nothing can top homemade dishes, and in this case, it’s probably truer than ever.

Boil some shrimps and make a tomato-based cocktail sauce to dip them in. It is that simple, yet so delicious. And, with a modern classic like this one, you can please even the most ‘difficult’ palates.

19. Gyro Cups

Time for some Greek delicacies! If you’ve tasted the Greek gyros then you know that you must absolutely have it at your party. 

Try these healthy gyro lettuce cups for some healthy, Gyros treats!

20. Popcorn

You can never go wrong with popcorn, so why not get some for the party?

Of course, you don’t have to keep it simple. Salty, sweet, colorful popcorn… you can play with tastes and colors to spice things up.

Try this Rainbow Popcorn recipe!

21. Freeze Dried Fruit

It’s easy, it’s time-saving, and it’s another snack everyone can enjoy at a party while dancing around. 

Freeze dried fruit is exactly what it sounds, but if you want some recipe and instructions, check this one!

22. Jello Shots

Let’s face it: a party isn’t the same without some alcohol. And, while craft beers and wines are always safe bets, you can surely get more inventive.

We’ve all partied as teenagers and college students, so most of us probably know (but might have forgotten) how fun jello shots are.

Get some vodka and boxes of flavored Jell-O gelatin mix (see also ‘28 Simple Homemade Jell-O Recipes‘) and get ready to have tons of fun with these colorful shots!

Try this Pina Colada Rum Jello Shots Recipe or this Mermaid or Unicorn Jello Shots.

23. Carrot Cake Shots

Here’s another tasty alcoholic beverage for you. The carrot cake shot combines 3 different varieties of liqueurs to create a delectable cocktail drink.

In case you are wondering why it is named as such, it is because the mixture of Irish cream, cinnamon, butterscotch schnapps, and coffee (see also ‘20 Of The Best Coffee Cocktails‘) liqueur gives this cocktail a carrot cake flavor. So, if you don’t want to make any dessert snacks, you can always use this cocktail as your last ‘treat’!

With a rim of cream cheese frosting dipped in walnuts, this glass of carrot cake will be the ultimate surprise! Check out this layered carrot cake shot recipe too.

24. Brownies

Here is another sweet snack that’s sure to please those guests with a sweet tooth. There seem to be millions of brownie recipe ideas online, so you can choose whichever you like the most.

Even a three-ingredient brownie recipe can be more than enough to get your guests smiling, so don’t feel the need to go with the hardest option or the one that’s got the most ingredients (although, if you’re up for that, we bet they’re not going to say no!).

How so? Because a brownie achieves that amazing flavor balance: it’s got a sweetness that is, however, not overly strong. The texture is crunchy around the corners and chewy and fluffy in the middle.

Try the following for some extra surprises for the guests:

25. Cookie Dough Dip

This is not a typing error! Yes, of course, it’s not the dip you will see at all parties, but it’s difficult to find a guest who will not appreciate the ingenuity of this food idea. Try either of these recipes from Just A Taste or The Cookie Rookie.

For extra points, cream cheese, butter, toffee, and chocolate chips, are all combined in this cookie dough dip that some might say is even better than the cookies themselves.

Crispy graham crackers are ideal as a dipping snack for this delightful dip, but some standard spoons can also do the work. Alternatively, you can also go with some pretzels like the ones we have right below!

26. Pretzel Bites

Even though you can always get some store-bought pretzels or make pretzel sticks, making some pretzel bites of your own is something that the guests will remember.

These bite-sized pretzels follow the original pretzel recipe but can be eaten like popcorn. And while you might think that some melted cheese is the only dip you can serve with it, try dipping a couple in the cookie dough dip and you’ll be surprised when you realize how tasty this combo is!

27. Chocolate Orange

You might have seen this before, but it might even be the first time you’ve heard of it. Slices of orange coated in sugar syrup, and dipped in chocolate could be the best thing you’ve ever tried.

If you have ever tried chocolate bars with orange or even a chocolate dessert with orange essence, then you know how amazingly good this combination is.

The orange slices are easy to make and even easier to eat, so don’t think twice about them. However, if you don’t fancy getting into the trouble of making them, there are probably some patisseries which you can buy them from.

Check these recipes for more inspo:

28. Mini Cheesecake Cups

No introductions are needed here. Mini cheesecake cups have become a big trend over the past decade and are here to stay.

Rather than making a big cheesecake tray, simply prepare all the ingredients and split them into small cups to make these small cheesecake desserts that all your guests can eat while standing.

They are easy to carry around and can even be eaten throughout the party. A bite of cheesecake, some jello shots (check out our favorite boozy popsicle recipes), and then another bite? Sounds like you’re back in college, and, let’s admit it, we all need to let loose sometimes!

Frequently Asked Question 

Is It Rude To Bring Food To A Dinner Party?

You might think it’s polite to accept their demands, but don’t. It’s always a good idea to bring something to a dinner party rather than showing up empty-handed. This doesn’t have to be extravagant, and can even be a gift for the host to enjoy outside of the party.


These are the 28 party food ideas (see also ‘32 Smart And Delicious Graduation Party Food Ideas‘) you can try making for your next party. If you decide to buy some ready-made food, that’s cool too, but try to make some of them on your own and your guests will leave the party happier than ever!

28 Smart Party Food Ideas To Please A Crowd

28 Smart Party Food Ideas To Please A Crowd

Recipe by Jenna

Organizing a graduation party can be difficult enough, so here are 17 graduation party food ideas to make it easier for you in the kitchen!

Course: Appetizers
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