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Make Ahead Party Food Ideas

Make Ahead Party Food Ideas
make ahead party food art

Let’s discuss some of our make ahead party food options. Maybe you’re just attending it, as I (briefly) would be. Either way, you’ve been asked to or need to bring something! Depending on what kind of get-together it is, you could get away with a variety of things! I mean, if you’re going to a cook-out and have no idea what anyone else is bringing, you can’t go wrong with a bag of chips and a 2-liter drink! (Unless they don’t have cups already, then you might need to go get some if you’ve shown up with a 2-liter and no cups!)

But we know that, already. We’re not searching online for a “bring potato chips” response, are we?! We kinda, sorta want to impress our guests, peers or not. If not, you can easily throw together a cracker, meat, and cheese platter. Buy a block of cheese, crackers, and meat (other than cheap lunch meat, unless it’s pepperoni). Slice the cheese thick or thin, depending on how far you need it to stretch.

Make Ahead Party Food Recipe Ideas

A few of these are self-explanatory, but feel free to search the Web for some of these recipes! I wanted to make this post more for people seeking a middle-ground between “fancy” and “easy or comfortable” finger foods. I feel that it would be worthy of its own post to discuss more complex appetizers! So, what could we possibly work with, besides chips and crackers? Here are some simple, yet stretchable, make-ahead party food ideas.

  • Cheese balls or logs. Throw it on a platter, surrounded by crackers, and it’ll disappear quickly.
  • Crabmeat appetizer cheesecake. Say what? Say yes. Recipe here.
  • Salsa cheesecake. Same story. Curious? Google it!
  • Salsa. Obviously, you’ll want to make a fairly large batch for more people. Don’t be scared to buy a lot of tomatoes!
  • Pickled mushrooms. I’ve heard of marinated and fried mushrooms for an appetizer, but pickled mushrooms sound very interesting.
  • Pimento spread. Toast some high-quality bread slices or serve with crackers.
  • Pinwheels. One of my all-time favorite finger foods! A little can really go a long way, depending on what you fill them with!
  • Bean dip. I wanted to say guacamole, but unless you’ve stored it before or have special equipment, it won’t look pretty after sitting for longer than 24 hours in the fridge.
  • Chicken wings. You can hardly go wrong with wings, many people love them, no matter their social class!
  • Pretzel dip. We’ve all shown up to parties where someone has brought pretzels and they’ve barely been touched. Save that person the trouble of taking a mostly-full bag of pretzels home and make some pretzel dip! (But maybe keep one bag of pretzels in your car on standby).
  • Pickled shrimp or a shrimp cocktail. Another classic party food.
  • Fruit dip. Slice some fruit up to go with it or hope someone already brought the fruit!
  • Baguette bites. (Could possibly be served with pimento).
  • Slow-cooked meatballs. Cocktail weenies are an option, too, but more favorable around New Year’s. Many people will devour good meatballs, though!
  • Mac and cheese bites. A new favorite of mine.
  • Shish kebabs. These are meat-and-veggie skewers.
  • Vodka-infused cherry tomatoes. Do not serve these if you don’t know how old the attendees will be!
  • Brussel sprouts. If I ever host a party, please do not bring these guys with you. While a wonderful snack or side for many, I, myself, am allergic!
  • Jalapeno poppers. Save the “wrapped in bacon” part for the day of.
  • Trail mix or homemade cereal, spice, and nut mix. My grandma makes homemade chex mix at the end of the year and I could eat buckets of the stuff!

All you need to do for most of these is prepare them and freeze them safely until you are ready to use them. (Try not to prepare them months ahead of time, though, for maximum freshness). If any of the recipes use ingredients that retain moisture, consider making them only one day ahead of time! Many of these items are easily stored in a fridge, freezer, or cabinet for about a week or so. No excuse not to go to the after-work party, now!

About Brittany Davidson

Brittany is the main writer and content creator for Food Questions. She believes life is worth living if you're constantly learning, enjoying, and admiring things. Passion is her backbone and she tries not to do anything without it. Sharing information is as valuable as sharing a smile, Brittany says.

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