You’re excused if you’ve forgotten what it’s like to throw a party—or even attend one. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for some simple party food ideas to get you back into the festive spirit. (Hey, our social life are on the upswing, but our culinary ingenuity petered out around the same time as Tiger King.)
4 Simple Party Food Ideas for All Your Summer Get-Togethers
Good food draws people together, whether you’re throwing a party at your home or need a dish to bring to a friend’s get-together. And, especially if you’re preparing for a party, keep in mind that “good” doesn’t always imply “fancy”: Instead of show-stoppers, seek for dishes with wonderful flavors and, most importantly, ease.
Popcorn chicken from Korea
Sue Pressey, the founder of My Korean Kitchen, seems to have an endless supply of ideas for small-bites of perfection. Fortunately, she narrowed them down for us, starting with her Korean popcorn chicken, a Korean take on the KFC original. Pressey explains, “These are boneless chicken nuggets deep-fried and coated with Korea’s peculiar sticky, spicy, acidic, and sweet sauce.” “They’re crunchy, tasty, and addicting.” They’re also a great game-day snack, she says, because guests are likely to be inebriated and want to focus on the game rather than table manners.
Bulgogi kimbap (bulgogi kimbap)
Bulgogi kimbap—seaweed-wrapped Korean rice rolls stuffed with crisp veggies and bulgogi (savory, slightly sweet, and acidic marinated and barbecued beef)—is another of her faves. The rolls can be eaten whole like seaweed burritos or chopped into sushi-style rounds. “Kimbap is a favorite picnic food, but it’s also regularly offered as bite-size portions at parties,” explains Pressey.
Cookies that you can mix and match
You can’t go wrong with cookies, regardless of the host, guest list, or party theme. Lara Gelmetti, a baker, adds, “Cookies are my favorite treat and they make for a super-easy party dish.” “There’s nothing like a warm, fresh-from-the-oven cookie. They’re a crowd-pleaser for all ages, and they’re easy to create in under 30 minutes.” Gelmetti suggests preparing your cookies with soft, almost entirely melted butter to make them more chewy. Add a touch of salt to bring out their sweetness. The best thing about cookie recipes is how adaptable they are. Gelmetti describes them as a “blank canvas.” “The most basic cookie recipes may be improved with almost anything to create a wide range of flavor variations.”She’ll start with a basic cookie dough and add nuts, dried fruits, sprinkles, pretzels, or even pieces of other cookies, or she’ll start with a basic cookie dough and swap out regular chocolate chips for different varieties, or she’ll add in nuts, dried fruits, sprinkles, pretzels, or even pieces of other cookies. (Here’s another tip: Try our no-effort chocolate chip cookie recipe.)
Cupcakes with a piata
If you’re looking for something other than cookies to satisfy your sweet craving, cupcakes are just as versatile—and just as tasty. (Especially when the icing-to-cake ratio is just right!) “Cupcakes are another simple party food,” Gelmetti says. “They’re one of the first things I learnt to bake, and they’re quite simple to prepare from scratch.” Most of the cupboard ingredients are likely to be on hand. Since most of us have been eating cupcakes since we first started going to birthday celebrations, there’s room for improvement: “Use fillings to add a surprise element,” adds Gelmetti. Cut a little circle from the center of the cupcake with a sharp knife and fill it. (Detailed piata cupcake directions can be found here.) “Jam, lemon curd, chocolate spread, nut butter, caramel, or cream are some of my favorite fillings,” says Gelmetti. “Alternatively, you can stuff them with sprinkles, little chocolates, or candy.”
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