Buffet Party Food Ideas for Adults



Last Updated: Nov 2, 2021

What does buffet party food entail?

It refers to mostly gourmet dining where guests select a meal from a vast array of food, arranged in trays on a buffet sideboard or table. Guests stand in line and serve themselves and sometimes opt for more than one serving. Some restaurants offer buffet-style fine dining. Buffet dining is also popular at weddings, parties, and corporate events. Buffets originated in France in the 18th century.  

Great buffet party food ideas for adults

If you’ve been thinking about hosting a buffet party, but don’t know what foods to serve, have a look at the following food ideas:

1. Pork loin

This juicy, flavorful meat is tender and a popular buffet main course. Roast your pork loin and serve with some figs, or add a cherry port glaze or sage to this scrumptious meat. 

2. Roast beef fillet

Oven-roast this tasty meat. Add zest to this beef fillet with a homemade gravy of black pepper and mustard. Then garnish with some fresh thyme leaves before slicing the meat and arranging it in trays. You can also pair this with roast potatoes. 

3. Chicken dishes

Chicken wings cooked on asian style recipe.

You can serve a variety of chicken dishes at your buffet. Some of the most popular buffet chicken dishes include butter chicken, fried chicken, and grilled spatchcocked lemon chicken. 

4. Buffet salads

Salads have fast become a staple for buffets, as they can be used as fillers or to complement other main dishes. With its sauce comprising parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, and basil, Pesto salad is just as popular as Greek salad at buffets. 

5. Roast duck

Buy a whole frozen duck and serve as a roast at your buffet. You can serve this with potatoes and Brussels sprouts. You may also serve this with sweet potato, butternut squash, and porcini. 

6. Decadent veal

Roast your veal, Mediterranean style. This involves adding ingredients such as Taggiasca olives, capers, and pine nuts to your roast. You may also pair this with your Greek salad.

7. Glazed ham

Buy smoked ham and glaze it with a marinade containing orange marmalade, dry sherry, lemon juice, and an orange. Pair your glazed ham on its tray with some onion rings, celery, and garden peas. 

8. Prawn curry

Purchase some frozen prawns on Instacart and add this as the main ingredient for this tasty dish. Add some coconut and cashews to make this more flavorful, guaranteed to make your guests salivate, and beg for more. 

9. Oysters

Baked Oyster Rockefeller on a large plate.

Place chilled oysters in half shells or Baked Oyster Rockefeller on a round buffet dish, served with crushed ice. You can crush the ice with a food processor. This dish wouldn’t be complete without a sauce, so add lemon juice, horseradish, or mignonette sauce to yours. 

10. Lobster tails

Grill or bake some lobster tails with finely chopped garlic, fish spice, lemon juice, and cream. You may garnish the tails with parsley and serve with corn on the cob, fries, or baked potato. Or use your lobster tails to make a delicious lobster bisque comprising coconut milk, lobster, and shallots. 

11. Crab legs

Serve your crab legs cooked with some lemon wedges and parsley. This healthy seafood treat can also be dipped in some butter and paired with cheddar bay biscuits. 

12. Poached salmon

A bona fide gourmet food, poached salmon can be served with some grilled sweet potatoes. You can also place some roasted asparagus or chickpea salad in your salmon buffet tray. 

13. Lasagna 

Keto lasagne with palm heart.

Lasagna is indeed one of those all-time buffet party favorites. You can buy this ready-made, or make your own from scratch if you have time. A cheesy vegetable lasagna or chicken and spinach variation with a creamy white sauce make great buffet choices. 

14. Buffet Soups

One of the best party food ideas for adults, soups are a great idea for any occasion. Some of the most popular buffet soups include black bean tortilla soup, salmon chowder, and butternut soup. These soups are also great served with croutons and herbs. 

15. Sandwich buffets

These are ideal for lunch buffets. Buffet sandwiches are usually cut into triangles and served with cocktail tomatoes. Fillings are mostly made with tasty sliced deli cheese and meats.  You can also place these fillings on croissants or brioche.  

16. Chocolate buffets

Chocolate has always been a mouthwatering choice for a dessert table. Add a chocolate mousse, cream-decked chocolate log, or chocolate fudge cake to your buffet table for a sumptuous touch your guests will appreciate. 

17. Muffins

Buy these premade or fresh. Muffins are ideal buffet party food, as they cater to a variety of tastes. For the guests who prefer something more savory, opt for savory bacon, quinoa, corn, or zucchini muffins. For something sweeter, select chocolate, poppy seed, or blueberry muffins.

18. Apple crumble pie

This lip-smacking classic dessert with cinnamon, brown sugar, and stewed apples, is a buffet must-have. To get that perfect sweet and savory combination, pair your apple crumble pie with a few slices of cheddar cheese. 

19. Brownies

Homemade chocolate brownies shot from above

These buffet delicacies come in an array of flavors. You can use butter pecan, applesauce walnut, fruitcake, or cream cheese brownies.

20. Petit Fours

The French name given to this delicacy translates to “miniature cake.” Petit fours come in several flavors and are elegantly decorated. Some popular flavors to serve at your buffet table are strawberry Champagne, chocolate, and lemon berry. 

Buffet party food ideas that cater to every adult

Buffet foods are ideal for the host who wants to add a bit of everything to their sideboard. You can start preparing your buffet with starters like some different soups. Guests can then proceed to the meat, seafood, and poultry section. If they prefer something else, they can always opt for a pasta dish or sandwich before finishing their meal with a savory or sweet dessert or cake. You can find all these food types via Instacart



Instacart is the leading online grocery platform in North America, partnering with more than 700 beloved national, regional and local retailers, including unique brand names, to deliver from more than 65,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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