When organizing a party, it can be difficult to provide a full-course meal for all of your guests – especially if the list of invitees is pretty long. You don’t only have to think about their dietary restrictions when choosing the meals, but also their preferences – and that’s the easy part, as after you’ve chosen everything, you still need to prepare it.
But what if you don’t have time to prepare food in bulk and using catering services is not an option? Well, then you might consider preparing a buffet. While the portions on it are smaller, there’s room for more variety, so your guests can pick exactly what they want on their plate.
But what can you include in your buffet? Here are some of our favorite buffet food ideas for a party!
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Popular Food Buffet Ideas
Having an array of hot and cold foods on your buffet table can be a great substitute for the main meal. So, here are some buffet party food ideas for adults – we’re sure your guests will love them. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to make some arrangements so that the food can stay fresh for the whole duration of the function.
Pasta is, without a doubt, a classic meal choice for any event – and with so many types of pasta available, creating a selection to fit everyone’s preferences shouldn’t be that much of an issue, which is why we couldn’t not include it in our list of buffet food ideas for a party.
Bolognese, carbonara, arrabbiata, amatriciana, marinara, pesto or aglio e olio are just a few of the pasta sauces you can prepare. As for the pasta itself, spaghetti is always a favorite, but some other types you might want to consider include penne, pappardelle, fusilli, or rigatoni. For more variety, you can also add tortellini and ravioli with different fillings (e.g., vegetarian and with meat).
Skewers are truly a versatile choice, as you can put almost anything on them. They’re a great choice when you have guests who are vegetarian or vegan, and since you can make them both sweet and sour, they’re good for both main meals and desserts.
Some skewers options include:
- Meat and vegetables – Add pieces of chicken or beef alternately with vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, or onions.
- Only vegetables – Same as above, but instead of meat, add more vegetable pieces.
- Tofu and vegetables – Instead of meat, you can use tofu, making it a good choice for the guests who are vegan.
- Sweet skewers – Putting candy, such as gummies, marshmallows, and chocolate bars, or fruits covered in chocolate means you can serve them as dessert rather than a main meal.
Another great option for hot buffet food ideas are DIY tacos. Serve a few different meat and filling options so that your guests can make their tacos to their liking. Some common ingredients include:
- Meat – chicken, chorizo, beef, pork, steak (carne asada), fish, prawns
- Others – black beans, beans and rice, mushrooms, roast pumpkin, zucchini, corn, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, avocado
- Toppings: cheese, lettuce, olives, red onion, white onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, baby spinach, mixed salad greens, pineapple, radishes, poblano slices, corn
- Salsas: sour cream, tomato salsa, corn salsa, salsa verde, guacamole
For a sweet version of a buffet, you can prepare a selection of pies – both vegan and regular. Some of the most liked pie types include apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, peach pie, strawberry pie, blueberry pie, and cherry pie.
Other Buffet Style Party Food Ideas
We talked about a hot food buffet selection, now let’s talk about some cold food buffet ideas. There are many you can choose from, but here are some of our favorites that we think your guests will enjoy too:
- Sandwiches – Another classic in the culinary world, sandwiches are not only very easy to make, but since there are plenty of fillings you can use for them, they are also great for when you have a few people who can’t or don’t want to eat certain things (e.g., they might be vegan or lactose intolerant). You can either prepare a few different variations of sandwiches or make a DIY station with different fillings and bread types, allowing your guests to make them as they please.
- Fruits and vegetables – This is one of the easiest things you can make for a buffet. Just cut up different fruits and vegetables, add a few different hummus options next to them, and you’re good to go! For fruits, you can add a chocolate fountain if you have one.
- Cocktail tray – While not really a food option, having a cocktail tray with a few different spirits and drinks can be a good way of allowing your guests to make custom drinks without having to hire a bartender.
- Soup bar – If you’re having your party during the colder months, there’s probably no better choice for a buffet than a soup bar to warm you up.
The Bottom Line
When you’re organizing a party, especially a large one, choosing a buffet type of serving rather than a traditional sit-down three-course meal might prove to be the better idea – especially since there’s an abundance of foods that will be perfect for a buffet.
So, next time you have a function, definitely consider it as an option – your guests will be able to enjoy whatever they want whenever they want to, and you won’t have to worry about whether they’re happy with the food they received and if everything is going according to plan. Sounds good, doesn’t it?