Easy Outdoor Entertaining Tips and Ideas

Outdoor Party Food Prep and Menu

Outdoor Party Food Prep

Keep food for your outdoor party fresh and serve it efficiently with our helpful tips.

Outdoor party food prep

  • Protect outdoor party food with a clean, unused outdoor cover, which is normally used to protect garden plants from frost; anchor it on the sides with canned goods.
  • Keep unwanted pests away from individual dishes using wire domes, sometimes called flywalks, which are available at kitchenware stores.
  • Serve drinks in glasses or clear bottles rather than cans, which can hide bugs in the openings. Avoiding red or yellow drinks, which can attract bugs, is another way to keep your party pest-free.
  • Follow the two-hour rule: Never serve food that's been out of the refrigerator, off the stove, or out of the oven any longer than two hours. On warm days, follow the one-hour rule.
  • Sit down to eat for an intimate gathering, and pass the food in bowls family-style. For a larger crowd, set up a buffet table and stack dishes at one end so guests can help themselves.


Easy Outdoor Entertaining Menu

Try some of these fun and flavorful recipes the next time you entertain outdoors.

Roasted Cheddar Potatoes: Frozen potato wedges become spicy, thick-cut fries in just 35 minutes and are a perfect appetizer for guests to munch on before the outdoor party buffet is ready.


Greek Spinach-Pasta Salad with Feta and Beans: Serve this tasty pasta salad, made with fresh spinach, olive oil, feta cheese, and canned beans, as a side or main dish for your outdoor party.


Herb Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing: Mix lettuce and fresh herbs with a lemony sour cream dressing for a simple salad that's easy to make for a large crowd.


Caramelized Onion Pizza: These individual-size pizzas get a smoky flavor when cooked on a grill; let guests customize each single-serving pie with their favorite veggies.


Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Glaze: A sweet watermelon glaze used for this chicken recipe tastes like summer and is perfect for an outdoor grilling party.


Toffee Bars: These decadent chocolate-and-toffee dessert bars are ideal for a crowd (they serve 36) and easy to make.