Host an Appetizers-Only Dinner Party: Finger Food Ideas & More

Partygoers gravitate to the food. Finding appetizers and finger foods that serve as the main course can be easy, cheap, and low stress. With this guide and our free Appetizers Quantity Guide, finding great ideas and making delicious finger foods in the right quantities is simple.
The Party Plan

Create Your Guest List

The Party Plan - Appetizers

Tasty finger foods and easy appetizers work well as a delicious dinner party spread. Your appetizer choices should mimic a traditional dinner menu. Follow these steps to create a satisfying, stress-free appetizer party.

The Guests: The number of people attending is the primary element in determining the amount of food you need. When developing an appetizer dinner, increase the number of appetizer selections, not just the quantity of each, as your guest list increases.

In a large party, you should expect guests who are vegetarian or have dietary restrictions. Provide an assortment of appetizer selections in a number of categories to ensure a satisfying dinner mix for each guest. For a smaller group, ask about guest preferences so your more limited choice of foods is still pleasing.

Base the number of appetizer selections on your guest count:

  • 10-12 guests = 5 appetizer selections
  • 25 guests = 9 appetizer selections
  • 50 guests = 13 appetizer selections

The Invitations: Send out invitations about a month before the party to give yourself time to plan the menu with ease. Make sure the invitation makes it clear that you're serving enough party food to stand in for dinner. Otherwise, guests may eat beforehand or make dinner plans afterward, leaving you with an unmanageable amount of leftovers.

 
Continued on page 2:  The Party Food