20+ Tasty Dinner Party Food Ideas

A night in with friends or family is a recipe for fun, but figuring out what to serve during a dinner party can cause some unwanted stress. Whether you have a small get-together or a large dinner party on your hands, Instacart is here to provide you with the best suggestions of what you should make your guests for dinner.

Deciding how much and what to make

If you’re expecting a small number of people, individual, smaller options may be the best choice. If you are entertaining a large party, it may make more sense to lean toward easier, grab-and-go options.

Are the hours dwindling before the guests arrive? If so, you’ll want to ease your stress and find things that are pre-made or easy to prepare. Have the luxury of having a little more time? You can perhaps prepare a more elaborate dish!

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Dinner party appetizer ideas

Before the dinner, you may want to serve some smaller dishes to hold your guests’ appetite over until the main course! Give some of these quick appetizers a try.

1. Mozzarella sticks

mozzarella cheese sticks with ketchup

This savory appetizer consists of fried or baked battered mozzarella cheese. Marinara sauce is one of the more popular accompaniments to the snack. These apps quickly cook from a fresh or frozen state, making them a popular appetizer choice.

2. Deviled eggs

These bite-sized snacks are a hit at parties. Hard boil, then remove the yolks from the eggs. Mix the yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, and other spices, then put them back into the hollowed egg. Top with paprika, and enjoy them before your guests eat them all!

3. Shrimp cocktail

This bite-sized shellfish can be seasoned and cooked from raw. Serve the shrimp pre-peeled and with cocktail sauce, which is a combination of ketchup and horseradish.

4. Charcuterie selection

Are you looking to please as many people as possible? Put together a charcuterie platter and let your guests choose their adventure! Charcuteries contain various meats, cheeses, and crackers. Add a variety of other vegetables such as olives or red peppers for more flare. 

5. Buffalo chicken dip

This combination of chicken, hot sauce, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese makes for a savory and spicy dip. Serve with a variety of options, including tortilla chips or sliced vegetables.

6. Potato skins

Potato Skins in a Cast Iron Skillet

This starchy appetizer is a favorite in the bar food snacks category, but these can be easily made at home. Half the potatoes and serve with cheese, sour cream, and chives.

7. Vegetable tray

Often served raw, sliced carrots, cauliflower, and celery are amongst the most common veggies found on the tray. Serve with some creamy ranch dressing to add a zesty flavor to the veggies.

Quick party meal solutions

If you are in a time pinch, here are a few party food suggestions.

8. Pizza

With a myriad of toppings options, as well as crusts that can cater to keto and low-carb diets, pizza is a great versatile option. If you choose to make your pizza, wow your guests by letting them choose their toppings.

9. Nachos

Tortilla chips, cheese, and salsa are the 3 basic elements of nachos; however, the possibilities are endless. Jalapeno peppers, lettuce, and sour cream are popular add-ons. Include a protein like ground beef or chicken to make it a solid party meal choice!

10. Meatballs

This tasty combination is made up of ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, and seasoning, then rolled into small ball shapes. Meatballs can be eaten either on their own or on a kaiser roll to make for a hearty meal choice. For a unique flair, substitute a different ground protein, such as pork or chicken.

11. Hamburgers

Throw a seasoned ground beef (or turkey) patty on the grill to make hamburgers. Create a topping bar with lettuce, onion, tomato, and more. If you like cheese on your burger, add it at the end of the cooking process.

12. Hot dogs

cropped view of man and woman holding two tasty hot dogs in paper on blue

Made with a variety of meat selections such as beef, turkey, or chicken, hot dogs are a quick meal. Serve them on a bun and with a variety of condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, or relish.

13. Chicken tenders

Breaded chicken strips are a great choice if you are in a hurry. You can also find chicken strips ready to cook in Instacart’s frozen food section.

Fancy dinner party ideas

If you have the luxury of having a bit more time, these dinner party menu ideas may be right up your alley.

14. Pork or beef ribs

Using a variety of cooking methods like slow-cooking, smoking, or grilling, ribs are a tasty choice. Slice into smaller portions and serve with your favorite barbeque sauce to make a smoky and sweet meal.

15. Roasted chicken 

While a roasted chicken can look fancy, you’d be surprised how simple it can be to make. Season the chicken both inside and out, and bake in an oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

16. Steak

Depending on the cut of the meat, steaks can benefit from either a slow or a quick cooking process. If you have a tougher steak, such as a London broil or top round, cooking low and slow will make the meat more tender and appealing. This can be accomplished with a slow-cooker or sous vide. If you are serving a tender cut of beef, such as tenderloin or strip steak, cook on the grill or the broiler.

17. Baked potato bar

Baked potatoes with ham and green onion, close-up shot on a dark rustic wooden background with a place for text

Prebake the potatoes, then keep them in the oven at a low temperature to keep them warm while you prepare the other toppings. The baked potatoes can be served with pulled chicken, grilled vegetables, or chili, making them a hearty meal choice.

18. Taco bar

Similar to the baked potato bar, a taco bar lets the guests choose exactly what they want. Soft- and hard-shelled tortillas can be filled with savory protein, such as Mexican-seasoned beef, pork, or chicken. Other toppings include shredded cheese, lettuce, or sour cream.

19. Chicken wings

If you are looking for more of a bite-sized chicken dish, give chicken wings a try! This staple party food can be served baked, smoked, or deep-fried in cooking oil. Toss the cooked wings in a seasoning or sauce to cater to everyone’s unique tastes.

20. Pulled pork

Because it uses a cheaper cut of pork, such as a shoulder or loin, pulled pork becomes the perfect party food on a budget. Add the seasoned pork to a slow cooker or smoker and let it cook for anywhere from 5 to 24 hours. After the pork comes up to temperature, shred and serve to your guests on a bun.

Make your dinner party a success with these food ideas

You are now ready to host your next party with these tasty dinner party food ideas. You can find many party food items and ingredients right on Instacart. Add a few to your cart and get them delivered to your house as soon as today! 



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