Try these dinner party ideas: fun inspiration for meals to impress your friends and family! Browse ideas fit for every occasion.
Hosting a gathering? Then let us be the first to suggest these Dinner Party Ideas! These recipes cover the gamut of occasions and seasons. Have a casual pizza party with friends, or a fancy meal of seared scallops. Try a cozy pot pie in winter, or breezy poke bowls in summer. These meals are perfect for entertaining and will impress everyone! Here’s our list: with side dish suggestions to pair!
And now…dinner party ideas for your gathering!
Want to make pizza that's perfect for a dinner party? Let’s make Sheet Pan Party Pizza! This style of pizza is a bit different than the standard circular variety, but it’s an instant favorite. It makes a big pan that's the equivalent of 3 medium pizzas, and it’s so easy to make. Top the thick crust with tangy pizza sauce smothered in smoked and fresh mozzarella, and everyone will be talking about it.
Serve with: Favorite Chopped Salad
This shrimp and grits will impress everyone! This restaurant-style Cajun recipe is the ideal dinner party idea. The grits are intensely creamy and savory and the shrimp is ultra tender, all covered in a luscious veggie gravy.
Serve with: Popovers
A great lasagna is a fantastic centerpiece for a dinner party, and this one is tops. The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it to over the top status. There’s no one who will turn down a piece!
Serve with: Pear Salad with Pecans
Real homemade falafel is at the top of our dinner party ideas! Eating them in sandwich form is ideal: the crunch of the fried chickpea fritters and the sauces that dribble down your chin….it’s pretty much the ultimate sandwich. This one features the crunchy fritters with ultra soft flatbread, crunchy veggies and creamy, garlicky sauces. For an easier spin, try Falafel Burgers.
Serve with: Hummus, Classic Baba Ganoush and Quinoa Tabbouleh
Here’s an incredible dinner party idea that’s impressive every time: these Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas! Tender sweet potatoes are the perfect contrast to savory black beans and tangy salsa verde. Top it off with Colby cheese, it’s the best gooey comfort food around. This one will please everyone: we guarantee it.
Serve with: Mexican Salad, chips and guacamole
Every now and then you come across a recipe that is a cut above the rest – one that makes everything you’ve made before pale in comparison. We present: this Vegetarian Meatloaf! Somehow, the ingredients meld into an appearance and texture just like a meatloaf: and it tastes AMAZING. That is: better than the meat version! It’s perfect for dinner parties when you want to impress.
Serve with: Parmesan Potato Wedges, Brussels Sprout Casserole or Parmesan Broccoli
This Hawaiian bowl of seasoned raw fish, rice and crunchy veggies has caught on here on the mainland, and everybody’s doing it! Poke bowls are easy to make in the comfort of your own home: they're a great meal for dinner parties and entertaining.
Serve with: Spicy Edamame
Here’s how to make your favorite restaurant style scallops at home: easy Pan Seared Scallops! Scallops have a beautiful, mild sweet flavor that’s easy to love: and there’s nothing better than that perfect seared crispy outside. But let’s be straight about it. Scallops are easy to cook, but they’re tricky to get right. Here's how to get that golden brown crust without under cooking or overcooking them.
Serve with: Butternut Squash Puree or Sweet Potato Puree and Perfect Roasted Broccolini
This Italian dinner party idea is all about simplicity! The vodka sauce pasta takes about 1 hour to simmer, but it’s mostly hands off. You can put it on the stove and let it simmer while you make the rest of the recipes and preparations. It’s truly all about the goodness of simple, high quality ingredients.
Serve with: Favorite Chopped Salad and an antipasto platter
Here's a dinner party idea we use often: Shrimp Tacos! These are quick and easy to whip up and they have a fun and festive vibe. The shrimp is juicy and savory, spiced with Old Bay and cumin, the cabbage is crunchy and tangy, and the creamy cilantro taco sauce brings it all together.
Serve with: Bean dip, tortilla chips and margaritas
Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish: it’s a bowl of warm white rice topped seasoned vegetables, spicy gochujang, and a fried egg. The best part: you stir the dish together just before eating it! This melds together all the zingy pickled and fermented flavors from the vegetables with the creamy egg yolk. This one is ideal for serving for dinner parties!
Here’s a meal that consistently makes everyone who takes a bite say Wow. Try this Pecan Crusted Salmon! It has an air of restaurant-style fancy, but it’s quick and easy to whip up. It takes basic salmon to the next level, coating it in a crunchy topping of nuts, seasoned breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. The flavors are elevated enough for a dinner party, but also tasty enough for kids to shovel in bites.
Serve with: Arugula Goat Cheese Salad, Brussels Sprouts with Maple Glaze or Lemony Broiled Asparagus
Is there any recipe more festive than a pot pie? This one's got a ton of veggies, pesto and Parmesan in the filling, which makes for a filling that smells (and tastes) incredibly savory and earthy. Top that with a crispy, flaky crust, and it’s crazy delicious. It's ideal for a fall or winter dinner party.
Serve with: Brussels Sprout Salad or Perfect Pomegranate Salad
Here’s a stunning one pan dinner that’s made for dinner parties: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish has thousands of variations. but it’s always rice with an explosion of colorful toppings. This one is our best classic paella recipe, based on our travels through Spain! It stars saffron-scented rice, mixed colorful vegetables and shrimp, and it’s full of traditional flavor.
Serve with: Manchego cheese and marinated olives, Pan Con Tomate, Arugula Salad or Citrus Salad, and Classic Sangria
When you've got some time to prep, try this tasty stuffed peppers recipe! The filling is seasoned irresistibly with Italian spices, pizza sauce and melty cheese. Even better: it works for many diets, with variations for meat eaters, vegetarian, and gluten-free eaters! Also try: Stuffed Green Peppers
Serve with: Easy Arugula Salad, Sauteed Green Beans or Favorite Chopped Salad
Another great dinner party idea: try these baked fish tacos! The white fish is baked until it’s flaky with a zingy dry rub of spices, then topped with a tangy slaw and a creamy fish taco sauce! It’s a spin on Mexican Baja tacos using the flavors and style of this cuisine. They’re tasty, easy to make, and ideal for dinner parties (double the recipe for a crowd).
Serve with: Homemade Refried Beans, Easy Mexican Salad, Cilantro Lime Rice or Mexican Coleslaw Recipe
This vegan shepherd’s pie is cozy comfort food to the max! Imagine: a creamy gravy filled with tender vegetables, lentils and scented with fennel and sage. Then a fluffy layer of Yukon gold potatoes, topped with fresh rosemary. It’s layered together in a baking dish and then baked until golden.
Serve with: Pear Salad with Pecans, Brussels Sprout Salad or Sauteed Green Beans
Ever tried making meatballs…with eggplant? Garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese make one insanely juicy and savory meatball. Roasted eggplant makes them moist and textured, vs dry or mushy like lots of vegetarian balls. Combine it with marinara sauce and pasta and it’s out of this world delicious.
Serve with: Arugula Beet Salad or Favorite Chopped Salad
Here’s a dinner party idea to impress: Cajun Shrimp Pasta! This one scores major points with kids and adults alike at our table. It features irresistibly seasoned Cajun shrimp, colorful veggies, and a rich garlic Parmesan flavoring that lightly seasons the entire batch.
Serve with: Classic Cornbread Muffins or Skillet Cornbread, Easy Succotash, Roasted Broccoli or Broiled Asparagus
Want one last easy dinner party idea? Here baked salmon is infused with lemon and herbs and cooked until it’s perfectly moist. Then drizzle over a silky lemon caper sauce. Just a small drizzle packs a huge punch!
Serve with: Fennel Orange Salad, Perfect Roasted Broccolini, Roasted Green Beans or Perfectly Seasoned Quinoa
More side dish, appetizer and drink ideas
The hardest part of a dinner party menu? Planning all the side dishes and appetizers to go with the main dish! Here are a few more lists of recipes that can help you to plan your party:
- Browse 35 Easy Side Dishes or 20 Best Vegetable Side Dishes
- Try the best sides to serve with Scallops, Stuffed Peppers, Stuffed Green Peppers, Enchiladas, Lasagna, Tacos and Pizza
- Go for 50 Easy Appetizer Recipes Everyone Will Love
- Browse our 30 Great Cocktail Recipes You Should Know for signature drink ideas
- Pair your meal with Easy Desserts, Chocolate Desserts or Fruit Desserts
20 Dinner Party Ideas to Impress: Party Pan Pizza & More!
- Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 12 pieces 1x
Here’s how to make the best ever sheet pan pizza! This easy method makes a big pan for everyone to enjoy with your favorite toppings.
For the pizza dough*
- 375 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 264 grams (1 cup – 2 tablespoons) warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the sheet
For the pizza toppings
- 1 ¼ cup pizza sauce (purchased or our favorite Easy Pizza Sauce)
- 1 cup (3 ounces) shredded smoked gouda cheese
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- Optional topping: 4 cups (3 ounces) baby arugula, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- Make the dough (5 minutes): In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, yeast, kosher salt, oregano and garlic powder. Add the warm water and olive oil and stir until flour is incorporated.
- Knead the dough (8 minutes): Knead the dough by pushing with the base of your palm, then reforming it into a ball. Continue kneading for 8 minutes until the dough feels pillowy and has a smooth, stretchy exterior. If the dough is very sticky, add a small amount of flour while kneading. Alternatively: attach the dough hook to a stand mixer and start the mixer on medium-low speed, then allow the mixer to knead for 8 minutes.
- Roll out and rest the dough in a sheet pan (15 minutes): Using floured hands, gently shape the dough into a boule (ball shape) by folding the dough under itself. Add a light sprinkle of flour to the boule. Then roll out dough on floured surface to roughly the shape of the 13×18 sheet pan. Brush 3 tablespoons olive oil on the bottom and sides of a standard 13″x 18″ sheet pan. Add the dough and brush it lightly with oil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and rest for 15 minutes to relax the dough.
- Rest the dough again (45 minutes): Press the dough back into the corners of the pan so it evenly covers the pan. Cover and rest 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500F.
- Bake the pizza dough* without toppings: After the 45 minute rest, bake the pizza dough for 6 minutes without sauce and toppings.
- Add the toppings and bake again: Remove the dough from the oven. Add the pizza sauce, smoked mozzarella, fresh mozzarella (torn into pieces), and Parmesan cheese, and top with a few pinches of kosher salt. Take care, since the pan will be hot! Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly brown.
- Serve: If using, in a small bowl, mix the baby arugula with the olive oil and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle the pizza with torn basil, then add the arugula on top. Cut into pieces with a knife (a pizza cutter doesn’t get all the way to the pan edges) and serve immediately.
- Category: Main dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian inspired
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Dinner party ideas
Let us know if you have any questions!