12 Dinner Party Menu Tips

January 02, 2020

12 Dinner Party Menu Tips

Entertaining at home is a wonderful way to spend time with your family and friends.

For some people though the thought of entertaining can give them nightmares as they worry about who to invite, what food to serve, what seating do I need etc.

Like everything, a little planning will help solve these issues.


12 Dinner Party Menu Tips


The menu generally gives people the most concern. Before we share the 12 tips for planning your dinner party menu we want to cover some important points for your Dinner Party.

Establish the Basics

Organization is key to hosting a dinner party. There are six questions to answer to get started:

  1. What is the date?
  2. How many guests will be there?
  3. What is the location?
  4. What type of party will it be?
  5. What is your budget?
  6. Will there be music or entertainment?

The Guest List

It could be a group of people you like; it may be family or even professionals you need to entertain. Be strict about the size that fits your space and try to find a mix of people who would make an interesting ensemble.

Determine the Location

Evaluate your space like a critic -- don't excuse a small oven or single bathroom -- and don't exceed the space and equipment you have. 

What Type of Party Will You Throw?

Why you are throwing the party -- a holiday, for fun --will help set the date and size. Add to that your location, budget, and equipment to determine the type. Cocktail parties are the least expensive and most versatile. 

Now that you have set the framework for your Dinner Party let’s address the menu

  1. Plan and be Strategic

It really is important to plan the menu and be strategic about it.

Choose foods that would work for your kitchen and your stove. Also, choose recipes that can be made (or at least prepped) in advance, this will help you with not being tired the day of the party.

  1. Set the Table the Night Before

Setting the table only takes a few minutes, doing it the night before really helps on the day of the party.

You can move your prepared appetizers to the table as they get ready instead of crowding your precious counter space. This really alleviates the stress and makes you feel in control.

Dinner Party Menu Tips


  1. Cheese Platter

Everybody loves cheese. Cheese platters are extremely easy to make, they look impressive, and ingredients can be bought a week or more in advance.

To make the platter unique, consider adding a jam.

They’ll add a little something extra to the cheese platter and will keep in the freezer. Serve with Dinner Rolls, which you can bake before your guests arrive. 

  1. Seafood Platter

Another platter that looks impressive and usually is one of the most popular on the table. Pile smoked salmon on a large plate, arrange a bunch of dill, thinly sliced red onion, lemon wedges, and a small bowl of capers.

This only requires about five minutes to assemble, add room temperature cream cheese and hot baguettes and no-one will be able to resist.

Maybe even consider pâtés. 

  1. Charcuterie Platter

A charcuterie platter is a platter that includes cured meats and other meat products. 

Arrange a few thin ribbons of prosciutto, slices of salami, roughly chopped links of chorizo sausage, and cubed ham on a big platter, add small bowls of various mustards and olives.

All of this deli meat can be purchased in advance, which will make you less stressed before dinner. Serve all these delicious meats with crackers and hot baguette slices.

Cheese Platter for a dinner party


  1. Salad

Don’t stress about mixing and dressing a salad. Place mixed greens in a large bowl and arrange other ingredients around it. This way the salads won’t wilt, also everyone will be able to get exactly what they want.

And it makes the dinner more communal and comfortable with everyone passing the bowls of fixings and dressing around. It’s a lot of fun! 

Guests will be able to adhere to their dietary restrictions without you needing to cook different things for everyone.

  1. Make-ahead Appetizers

Spending 30 or fewer minutes every day over the course of a week is so much better than spending a few hours a day before.

You can make pâtés and rillettes earlier in the week. 

There are so many things that can be done in advance that don’t compromise the taste or quality of the recipes:

  1. Quick Appetizers

Make simple and quick appetizers:

Bocconcini and tomato skewers, Roasted Fennel with Parmesan or some examples.

Think of appetizers that do not take up too much of your time


meat Platter for dinner party


  1. Store-Bought Appetizers

Don’t shy away from pre-made appetizers.

They are always a hit and let you enjoy your party instead of being tired after slaving for hours in the kitchen.

There are many different kinds and brands. 

Dinner PArty Menu tips
  1. Dip and Veggies or Chips

Dips can and should be made a day or more before the event.

Or you can buy some nice dips from your local store or supermarket. 

There are many kinds around there.

Serve the dip with veggies and crackers or chips.

  1. Easy Main Course and Sides 

When hosting big dinner parties, the main course should always be easy. A roast is an easy one to cook.  

With so many delicious appetizers on the table, there’s really no need for creamed this and scalloped that, so sides that are very simple: roast potatoes, roast beans, roast broccoli.

Your guests will thank you for such healthy sides without any extra cream and cheese.

  1. Easy Dessert

Layered cakes, mousse desserts, chocolate sauces, etc. 

A selection of fruit is a nice conclusion to a dinner party.



These 12 Dinner Party Menu tips will help you with your next Dinner Party. 

A little thought and planning will help you stage a successful dinner party. Buying and prepping your food early will allow you to enjoy the dinner party instead of being stuck in the kitchen missing all the fun.

Enjoy your next party. 

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