Best Food to Serve at an Outdoor Party


Hosting an outdoor party soon and slowly realizing there’s a lot more factors to consider than planning a regular, indoor party? This is completely normal—especially if you’re second guessing the perfect menu for your outdoor affair. Today, we’ve got the best food to serve at an outdoor party, crowds and shelf time considered. After reading this, feel free to plan an outdoor party in a tropical event space Singapore or in a spring time event venue in Europe!

It doesn’t matter since you have an outdoor party menu cheat sheet like this one. 😉

  1. Tapas and Charcuterie

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Tapas and charcuterie boards were meant to be shared by groups of people, no matter the climate or the location. Believed to be made to “keep flies out” of drinks, tapas have grown to be a loved bar snack across all countries.

Moreover, tapas and charcuterie more often than not are already cured meats. You don’t have to worry too much about cooking them for a certain amount of time—they come cooked! They’re a simple get-and-serve type of dish; perfect for a crowded outdoor party. (A bonus? They keep the utensil use low too. Just use toothpicks or your fingers!)

Still, be wary of the tapas you serve. Compared to charcuterie, tapas are more often served hot. These are not the types of tapas you can just pick up and leave with—so be sure to know what you’re serving!

  1. Chicken: Fried Chicken Tenders and Fingers or Grilled Chicken

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You don’t have to be a wizard to know that chicken is a hit at parties. Fried chicken, to be exact, is enjoyed by anyone—no matter their age, and no matter where they come from. Thus, having fried chicken tenders or chicken fingers at your outdoor party will never be a mistake (unless you’re serving a room full of vegans!).

What’s the difference between a chicken tender and a chicken finger? They’re both generally made the same way, but they come from different parts of the chicken. Tenders are made with the pectoralis minor whereas fingers are strips of chicken meat from the breast.

If you’re planning a party with more calorie-conscious individuals, grilled chicken is a great alternative too. Chicken grilled to perfection does not go stale, and can pretty much survive an afternoon of festivities. Not to mention, grilled chicken makes way for a lot of flavors and spices too!

  1. Bacon-Wrapped Anything! (Shrimp, Chicken, Vegetables)

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In the same breadth as chicken, you can never go wrong with bacon. Some outdoor parties have an added layer of distance from the kitchen (where the food is), so it’s best if the food you’ve prepared is enjoyable to everyone.

Bacon-wrapped anything will work wonders at your outdoor party. Get your children to eat vegetables by wrapping asparagus in bacon, or take the balanced route and wrap it in shrimp. Some even like creating a morning glory breakfast with bacon wrapped eggs! The safest option includes the safest ingredients—bacon wrapped chicken. Serve this and you’ve got a party of happy people.

  1. Skewers (Meat, Fruits, Vegetable)

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Having meat, fruit, and vegetable skewers at your outdoor party is also not a bad idea. For meat skewers, you can make them fresh with an outdoor grill. Your guests don’t have to get plates to enjoy the meat; all they need to do is pick it up!

As for the fruits and vegetables—while they will be quite challenging to prepare—you’ll reap its benefits in no time. Guests will use less plates if most of the food can be picked up with their hands. (Children will find this fun too, as they will be “responsible” for their own food—yet another way of tricking them into eating their vegetables.)

  1. Salad (with Pasta) Bar

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This one has limits, especially if you’re serving fresh vegetables under the summer heat. However, once done under spring-like weather conditions, this salad bar can turn your outdoor party into a memorable event.

Think about it this way: guests will be in charge of the food that they eat. They will gather as many cherry tomatoes or as little kale as possible, depending on what they want in a salad.

Moreover, outdoor events often have outdoor activities tied in them. Providing a salad bar (with pasta, because people need their carbs too) is a sure-fire way to give people filling but light meals.

  1. Tex-Mex Favorites: Nachos, Guacamole, Quesadilla, Corn

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There’s a reason why tex-mex cuisine has made waves all around the world: it’s just so good. It is the perfect balance of soul, spice, and community. While this food can be rich, they are undeniably easy to enjoy wherever, whenever.

More and more tex-mex cuisine is breaking the glass ceiling, but for your outdoor party, you can stick to old favorites: nachos, guacamole, quesadilla, and elote. Make sure you serve these per table though, and not through a buffet, as that will attract not only flies but also improper guest hygiene (dipping is big with this food group).

  1. When in Doubt—Sandwiches, Sweet and Savory

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Tale as old as time. Outdoor tea parties always warranted tea sandwiches—small sandwiches perfect for eating with your fingers, and even more perfect in keeping you

prepared for dinner. (Think clubhouse sandwiches, egg and mayonnaise, cucumber cream cheese sandwiches, and even your reliable PB&J!)

These don’t get soggy or bad fast in the summer heat, especially if you have dry fillings like ham and cheese. Thus, these make a perfect finger food to serve at an outdoor party—it saves a few plates from being used and your food maintenance budget, all while tasting absolutely satiating.

Did you find food you want to serve at your next outdoor party? We understand that it can be quite daunting to set-up an entire social event outdoors—but with proper planning and perspective, you can turn your outdoor party into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Final tip? Don’t underestimate the food. Outdoor parties can be heavily built on aesthetics, but will sometimes have nothing to show for. Plan your food ahead! You need food good for sharing and fit to your party’s climate. Hopefully this list has shed a light on the fail-safe food you can serve!