New Years Eve Party Food

Festive NYE Buffet

Finding the right New Years Eve party food is the key to a successful celebration. On one of the biggest nights of the year, you'll want your guests to enjoy your get-together, down to the last bite of food. Check out the following suggestions to make your next New Year's Eve party a success.

Simple New Years Eve Party Food

Anyone can have a party for friends that doesn't break the budget and is still classy. Offer a variety of items that satisfy all kinds of tastes - sweet, salty, crunchy, spicy and creamy. The following menu items can easily be found at your local grocery store:

  • Fondue: Choose from cheese or chocolate as a dipping sauce. Many sauces can be found pre-made in the cheese section or baking section of the store. You can also make your own cheese sauce or chocolate sauce.
  • Canapés: Everyone likes these cute little sandwiches and appetizers. A ham canapé is a delicious and easy choice, though there are plenty of other canapé recipes, including delicious cheese and olive canapés.
  • Cheese cubes: Serve a variety of cheese cubes on a tray with toothpicks. Many grocery stores will sell cheese that is already cubed, or even offer a pre-made cheese tray for their customers during the holidays.
  • Fruit tray: Serve a variety of cubed fruit, balls of melon and berries. These are fun to make, but if you don't have the time, see if your local grocery story will make them for you.
  • Veggie tray: Crudités with dipping sauces are always a hit. They are inexpensive and easy to make yourself, but they can also be purchased at most grocery stores.
  • Pastries: Fresh pastries and tartlets add variety and are decorative, too. Visit your local bakery to find out what they have to offer and order ahead to ensure you'll have enough for your guests. You can also make your own - try your hand at cream puffs, apples in pastry, a variety of other sweet pastry recipes, or even savory appetizer pastries.
  • Relish tray: Offer an assortment of olives and pickles to your guests, along with a few delicious store-bought or homemade relish choices.
  • Nuts: Salty or sweet, nuts are always popular with party guests, as are homemade roasted nuts. Be sure to include a spoon or scoop in the bowl.

Formal Fare

A formal party doesn't have to be a large one, especially if you are on a budget. Choose a few of your closest friends and wow them with an elegant menu. Individuals who don't have a lot of cooking experience can prepare the following New Years Eve party food items with little difficulty. Just allow yourself a little extra time to ensure you don't skip any steps. You may have as many courses as you like spread across an hour or several hours. A sample menu could include the following courses:

Hors D'Oeuvres

Wine and Canape

A few delicious appetizers, such as canapés or crudités, will fit the bill nicely. Serve white or red wine with this course.


The second course usually consists of soup. The soup may be served hot or cold, depending on your chosen menu. Madeira or sherry is served with this course.


The third course consists of fish. If you are serving other meat dishes, this course can be omitted, or should consist of small portions. Poached fish or lobster are popular items.


The fourth course should be the main dish. This item should wow your guests. Popular menu items include filet mignon or chicken Marsala.

Punch or Sorbet

The fifth course is intended to cleanse the palate for the course to follow. Many sorbets can be found at your local grocery, or you can make your own several days prior to the party. Punch recipes can be made of ginger ale and lime sherbet.


The sixth course is a roasted item, such as chicken or quail. Again, this course may be omitted if there are time or budget constraints.

Fruit Salad


The seventh course is vegetables. Offer something special, such as asparagus with hollandaise sauce.


The eighth course should consist of fresh fruit or a simple fruit cocktail salad. Sweet dessert wines are usually served with this course, such as Madeira or Muscatel.

Les Desserts

The ninth course should be the grand finale consisting of fresh fruit, cheese, sweet wines, sparkling wines and of course, Champagne. It is important to note that many of the drink courses can consist of non-alcoholic beverages. Sparkling juices are delicious and easy to find at the local grocery store, and they can be substituted for wine and champagne.


A hostess should have a wide variety of drinks available for the guests. Have plenty of water and soda on hand for individuals who choose not to drink cocktails or are designated drivers. The Champagne toast can also be done with sparkling juice instead of real Champagne.

Planning the Menu

A party menu begins with considering several factors - the number of people, the number of hours, and the type of party.

  • Multiply the number of guests times five. This will give you a general idea of how many appetizers you'll need per hour.
  • Set a budget before you start making decisions as your budget will dictate what types of food to choose.
  • Consider whether you will be making the food, purchasing it, or having someone cater your party.
  • If you won't have servers working throughout the event, consider a buffet so that you will be able to mix and mingle with your guests.

Plan Ahead

Whether you choose to throw a simple or elaborate New Year's Eve party, planning ahead is the key to success. Purchase drinks well ahead of the big event to ensure your favorite store isn't sold out. Buy fresh meats instead of frozen when possible. Make as many menu items ahead of time as possible. This will help you spend the most time with your guests instead of missing the party because you're cooking in the kitchen. Finally, be sure you're out of the kitchen for the toast at midnight, since this is the crowning event of any New Year's Eve celebration. Be prepared to bask in the success of your party!

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New Years Eve Party Food