Hosting a dinner party takes a certain finesse. You must be able to gather not only the right people, but accomplish a gorgeous tablescape, and pull together an unforgettable menu. But serving a group of people is always a challenge, especially when the guests are a unique blend of friends.
To help you host the perfect dinner party, we compiled a flawless menu that will impress guests and keep you sane while hosting. Check out our great dish ideas here:
Appetizer: Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Play around with ingredients — forgo cream cheese for a béchamel from scratch, add a kick of cayenne, a bit of lemon for brightness, and lots of spinach and artichokes.
Appetizer: Avocado Crostini
We've all been there — you need an appetizer that will make a great impression but doesn't require you to slave away in your kitchen. This crostini is sure to deliver on both accounts. The creaminess of the avocado, saltiness of the prosciutto, and nuttiness of the Parmesan combine to create the perfect bite.
Salad: Classic Caesar Salad
Romaine lettuce is the foundation for our Caesar salad, which almost everyone seems to like. Caesar salad dressing was one of the first salad dressings chef Mark Miranda learned how to make in cooking class (back in middle school) and it is one he continues to make at home today.
Main: Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Herbs
This is a great version of brick chicken. If you don't want to split the chickens yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you (or try our Vegetarian Baked Ziti Casserole Recipe for your vegetarian friends at the table!).
Side One: Marinated Asparagus
The true sign of spring in the food world is the abundance of many fresh vegetables. Asparagus is one of the quintessential spring vegetables. This cherished culinary pleasure is so flavorful that you’ll find it in all kinds of dishes.
Side Two: Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips
Mashed potatoes make a hearty honest dish. It has sometimes been referred to as comfort food because it evokes memories of both big special-occasion dinners and the simple, family dinner intended for no other reason than to share a good meal. This version of mashed potatoes tastes so good because it's dense with the mildly sweet flavor of parsnips and just enough butter to please, but without the extra calories you usually find in mashed potatoes.
Dessert: Mini No-Bake Cheesecakes
Sure, there are a lot of healthy things you could do with strawberries. But when strawberry cheesecakes are an option, why on earth would you make a healthy dish? Especially when all you have to do is pop them in the freezer for a few hours! These tasty bites are decadent and perfectly portioned for a lightly indulgent treat.
17 Easy Dinner Party Recipes for Stress-Free Entertaining
We love hosting our friends and family for dinner parties&mdashtruly, there&rsquos nothing better than seeing our loved ones gathered around our table. But we don&rsquot necessarily love the stress that goes along with it (planning menus, shopping for ingredients, spending the whole day cooking) or the last-minute frazzle to get everything done when we&rsquod really rather be hanging out with our guests. But over the years, we&rsquove mastered our technique. The secret to our success? Crowd-pleasing dishes that look super impressive but are actually so easy to pull off. Here are 17 of our favorites.
Best ever crowd pleaser recipes
Check out our veggie buffalo wings with cauliflower and creamy blue cheese dip. Make these easy wings for a moreish veggie snack.
Cheesy garlic dough balls
Give our tear-and-share gooey cheese-filled dough balls a go at home with step-by-step help from the olive test kitchen. They’d make a great starter for the kids or something to kick off a laid back dinner party. See our platter recipe ideas for a dinner party spread.
Baked sweet mustard gammon with deli potato salad
A baked gammon or ham is one of the easiest ways to feed a crowd and this maple-glazed one can be eaten cold for days after.
Vincisgrassi (pasta baked with parma ham)
Vincisgrassi, a type of baked pasta, comes from the region of Le Marche in Italy. It’s attributed to both General Windischgrätz (who fought Napoleon at Ancona), and to princisgrassi (meaning fat for the prince). In either case it’s very rich – some versions being even richer with the addition of sweetbreads and a pasta dough made with vin santo or marsala.
Beef shin rendang
A great excuse for some Saturday night feasting between friends, this aromatic, slow-cooked beef curry makes enough to serve 12. If you find yourself with some leftovers then waste not want not because it’s freezable too
Barbacoa lamb carnitas
These gluten free, slow-cooked lamb tortillas are great for a feast between friends. It’s easy to make and everyone can get stuck in and make their own.
Make a batch of this Italian veggie classic to feed a crowd, or make two smaller dishes and freeze one for later. Plus, it’s gluten free
Classic cottage pie
This is our take on a classic cottage pie. With rich beef and creamy mash, it’s a long-standing family favourite and a good one to have in the freezer for emergencies!
Smoked aubergine and pepper salad with pomegranate molasses
Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe for sweet and smokey aubergine salad would make the perfect addition to a generous sharing spread. Infused with the flavours of Persia, it’s a little bit of middle-Eastern magic for you and your friends to enjoy
Hot and smoky beef chilli
Best beef chilli fit for a crowd. Made with chipotle chilli and fresh green chilli this is both warming and with a kick. Serve with guacamole and rice.
Mix and match mac ‘n’ cheese bar
Put the mac ‘n’ cheese out with a serving spoon then put the toppings in little bowls and let everyone add their own. You’ll need to use your biggest baking dish for this or split it between 2 smaller ones
Winter fish pie
A comforting white fish, smoked haddock, prawns and leek pie, topped with fluffy mash, that you can make in advance and freeze. A classic family dish special enough to serve to guests too.
Fall-apart vindaloo with red onion mint chutney
If you love curry, you’ll love this vindaloo. Originating from Goa, our version is easy, made with pork and full of authentic spices. Serve with rice and homemade mint chutney at a dinner party for friends.
Milk chocolate and malt mousse cake
Satisfyingly smooth and indulgent, this chocolatey malt mousse cake topped with crunchy salted pretzels is a perfect pudding to make for the holidays
Tres leches cake with rum and toasted coconut
Tres leches cake, translated from the Spanish as ‘three milks cake’, is a speciality of central and south America. Sponge is soaked in a mix of cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk. Although it may sound unusual, the soaked-sponge method is similar to a British trifle or Italian tiramisu. This cake keeps well, chilled in the fridge, for 2-3 days.
Baked raspberry cheesecake
We know you love this classic olive magazine recipe – it’s been one of our most popular recipes for years! A classic and really indulgent dessert, baked cheesecake is a crowd pleaser. The fresh raspberries on top cut through the rich body of the cheesecake.
We know you love this classic olive magazine recipe – it’s been one of our most popular recipes for years! Banoffee pie is a much loved family-favourite. This delicious dish is packed with banana, cream and an oaty-biscuit base, decorated with a drizzle of dark chocolate.
Dinner Party Idea #2: Use Tried-and-True Recipes
Chelsea | Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Most Reliable Dinner Party Recipe: I LOVE sharing this Healthy Italian Salad at a dinner party it’s always a hit!
Heidi | Foodie Crush
#1 Tip: Dinner with friends and family isn’t a time to impress, it’s a time to connect. That’s why my favorite tip for easy entertaining is to make a tried and true, make-ahead recipe you know by heart and you won’t mess up and that everyone loves.
That way, you spend more time with your guests visiting and enjoying one another rather than in the kitchen stressing over the food or doing the dishes. And always leave the dishes ’til after your guests have left.
Sarah | Sidetracked Sarah
#1 Tip: Keep a list of easy-to-make recipes on hand for times like this. For me, it’s about getting together and enjoying both food and company, but I don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen, exhausted before the party even begins. If I have several easy recipes to choose from, then I can pick one or two to go for every time.
Most Reliable Dinner Party Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos — I can throw a huge batch in the slow cooker and get it all shredded ahead of time and just add a toppings bar for everyone. It’s really simple to pull together and delicious!”
Courtney | Neighbor Food
#1 Tip: Make at least one recipe that’s tried and true, then experiment with the others if you want to.It’s always great to know you have an ace-in-the-hole, so if one recipe doesn’t quite work out as you imagined, it’s no biggie!
Most Reliable Dinner Party Recipe: I absolutely love making soup for dinner parties. Creamy Chicken Sausage Tortellini Soup is easy and fuss-free, but makes the house smell amazing. It’s just the coziest of meals, and if you add some good bread and a tossed salad on the side, you’ve got a complete meal! This is a standby of mine and always a hit.
Amber | Dessert Now Dinner Later
#1 Tip: Use family favorite, tried and true recipes. Hosting a party isn’t the best time to try something new.
Kate | Hola Jalapeno
Big Recipes For Large, Family-Style Dinner Parties That Won't Make You Crazy (PHOTOS)
We have the only the best intentions when we invite as many friends as we can over for dinner. We love feeding people, hanging out with people, cooking big meals and drinking big drinks. But sometimes, inevitably, more people will RSVP with an emphatic yes than you'd originally prepared for, and that is when some well-meaning host and hostess hair can occasionally get pulled out. Don't panic. We've got some ideas.
The trick to feeding a big dinner party crowd -- we're talking 10 people or more -- is to keep your menu low cost, and low-maintenance. Think big pots of soup or stew, lots of small bites, slow-cooked whole roasts, ingredients that stretch really far like rice and beans. If you plan just a little in advance and do whatever you can ahead of time, feeding 10 or more people is just as easy as feeding three or four. All the recipes below are either built for ten, or easily multiplied to feed the hungry hordes.
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Strawberry & Cream Croissant French Toast For Your Weekend Brunch
Those with a creative eye know firsthand that inspiration is all around us. Whether you're energized by the earth tones of nature, a color-filled walk through a local farmer's market, or even by a quick scroll through Instagram, you never know what might spark a new creative project.
In the spirit of inspiring your next masterpiece, we're excited to partner with Bounty to fuel the next generation of artists and designers forward by launching a national design competition. We're calling on graphic designers to apply for a chance to see their work featured on a new Brit + Co and Bounty paper towel collection, set to launch in 2022.
Aside from the incredible exposure of having your illustrations on paper towels that'll be in stores across America next year, you'll also receive $5,000 for your art a scholarship for Selfmade, our 10-week entrepreneurship accelerator to take your design career to the next level (valued at $2,000) and a stand alone feature on Brit + Co spotlighting your artistry as a creator.
The Creatively You Design Competition launches Friday, May 21, 2021 and will be accepting submissions through Monday, June 7, 2021.
Who Should Apply: Women-identifying graphic designers and illustrators. (Due to medium limitations, we're not currently accepting design submissions from photographers or painters.)
What We're Looking For: Digital print and pattern designs that reflect your design aesthetic. Think optimistic, hopeful, bright — something you'd want to see inside your home.
How To Enter: Apply here, where you'll be asked to submit 2x original design files you own the rights to for consideration. Acceptable file formats include: .PNG, .JPG, .GIF, .SVG, .PSD, and .TIFF. Max file size 5GB. We'll also ask about your design inspiration and your personal info so we can keep in touch.
Artist Selection Process: Panelists from Brit + Co and P&G Bounty's creative teams will judge the submissions and select 50 finalists on June 11, 2021 who will receive a Selfmade scholarship for our summer 2021 session. Then, up to 8 artists will be selected from the finalists and notified on June 18, 2021. The chosen designers will be announced publicly in 2022 ahead of the product launch.
For any outstanding contest Qs, please see our main competition page. Good luck & happy creating!
Recipes for a Crowd
Hosting friends and family has never been easier. or more delicous. These recipes make enough for the whole gang!
Beef Pot Stickers with Dipping Sauces | 1 hr 45 min
Beef Pot Stickers with Dipping Sauces
Ground Beef, mushrooms, garlic and green onions inside a wonton wrapper—served with your choice of sauce.
Beef Tenderloin with Easy Cranberry Balsamic Sauce | 1 hr 15 min
Beef Tenderloin with Easy Cranberry Balsamic Sauce
You're sure to keep your stamina during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with this Tenderloin Roast recipe. Served with a cranberry balsamic sauce to make it that much more delicious.
Grilled Beef Tri-Tip with Tropical Fruit Salsa | 1 hr
Grilled Beef Tri-Tip with Tropical Fruit Salsa
Tri-Tip Roast is grilled and brushed with a lime-honey glaze during cooking. A quick salsa including papaya, jalapeno and lime brightens up the finished dish.
Mini Meatballs with Apricot Dipping Sauce | 45 min
Mini Meatballs with Apricot Dipping Sauce
Bump up your meatball mojo. Gently form this tried-and-true blend into bite-sized balls, then broil and slather in a spicy, sweet and too-good-to-be-so-simple sauce.
Beef Rib Roast with Chocolate-Port Sauce and Goat Cheese Potatoes | 3 hrs
Beef Rib Roast with Chocolate-Port Sauce and Goat Cheese Potatoes
The ultimate special occasion recipe! A classic bone-in Ribeye Roast gets an impressive finishing sauce and kicked up side dish.
Setting the Scene
You don't need Chinese heritage to appreciate this vibrant culture, and you can use readily accessible items to set a proper scene. Here are some ways to easily include authentic elements in your party setup:
- Paper Lanterns: Hang Chinese paper lanterns and decorate the table with paper Chinese folding fans, which you can purchase online or at import stores. Red lanterns are aesthetically pleasing and are believed to keep bad luck at bay!
- The Color Red: In Chinese culture, red symbolizes good fortune and happiness. It's featured prominently in Chinese New Year celebrations. Decorate the table with a red tablecloth and suggest that guests wear the color.
- Place Settings: Fold napkins in the shape of fans and provide chopsticks as well as flatware for each guest. Include a card at each place setting with a different Chinese proverb, preferably written in Chinese script with the English translation on the back.
- Party Favors: Package fortune cookies or almond cookies in a Chinese food takeout box, available from craft and party retailers. They make for delicious party favors.
Soups for Large Families and to Feed lots of folks!
Soups are always a great for large family meal ideas. They are frugal, filling, and be even be made super scrumptious with leftovers and odds and ends.
Large Family Healthy & Cheap Stockpot Soup This is one of those kitchen sink meals, toss all of those vegetables in there and a tasty soup comes out!
Instant Pot Low Carb Jalapeno Popper Soup Are you tired of feeding your large family the same thing over and over? This Instant Pot Low Carb Jalapeno Popper Soup is so tasty and delicious, your kids will love it.
Ham, Potato, and 5 Bean Soup Your family will love the comfort of ham, potato, and 5 bean soup. Hands down, you will love how easy it is to put together. This is a dump and go recipe at it’s finest.
Low Carb Taco Soup for the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker, Keto, THM too! This recipe gives you the warmth and flavor of family favorite tacos in a soup. You can top with sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, olives, peppers, salsa – any of your taco favorite flavors!
Low Carb Broccoli Cheddar Soup This soup is thick and creamy with a delicious cheesy taste.
Low Carb Cheesy Cauliflower Soup I’m a big fan of cauliflower so this recipe is a favorite around here. Even my 6-year-old requests it!
Turkey Noodle Soup A super easy and filling soup!
Quinoa Tortellini Sausage Soup This soup does not fail to please with the savory sausage goodness, various vegetables, and cheese tortellini treats.
Hamburger Soup This soup comes together fairly quickly and it’s so super easy to make. You can literally use whatever you have on hand!
Vegetable Beef Soup This classic Vegetable Beef Soup is sure to be a winner at your house. Serve alongside a big green salad or a hot grilled cheese sandwich if you’d like.
Homemade Potato Soup There is just nothing as comforting as some homemade potato soup.
Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe Perfect to make for a large crowd.
Fifth Course: Dessert
Any spring dessert should incorporate strawberries, both Hall and Strain agree. Strawberry shortcake—such as this strawberry shortcake with Meyer lemon cream—is a classic spring treat. But Strain recommends roasting strawberries. "There is such a short window when strawberries are perfect," he says, "so you have to take advantage while you can. And I love the notion of really fruit-forward desserts that don’t need cake or baked items to shine."
You can roast strawberries in the oven with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar the night before your dinner party, then serve them alongside raw strawberries and a store-bought crème frahe. "This dessert is all about highlighting the jam-like flavor of slow-roasted strawberries with the more textured, slightly acidic punch of raw strawberries," he says.