Appetizers do more than keep guests happy until dinner is served. These starters set the tone for the evening by creating a first impression for the event.

Whether you are planning the first course for a sit-down meal or a few bites before a buffet, Nameless Catering helps hosts choose the necessary amounts and the right mix of appetizers to serve.

By following a few guidelines dinner party appetizers will be a scrumptious success.

Start with the Guest List

Know how many people will be attending your event. Look at the list and send out invitations about a month beforehand. This leaves plenty of time for responses and meal planning. Clearly state on the invitation that dinner will be served and what kind of meal it will be. Make sure guests know what to expect and what to wear so they are comfortable and do not overload on appetizers before the main dish is served.

Planning the Menu

Having a cocktail hour gives guests a chance to mingle before the meal. If the appetizers are the first course at a dinner party, choose flavors a little different than the main meal and provide the right quantities.

Select Appetizers

Think of appetizers as falling into families of foods. Balancing choices and keeping it simple is key to making them a success.

Garden: raw, cooked, and stuffed vegetables and fruits

Starch: finger sandwiches, bruschetta, breadsticks, crackers, biscotti, rolls, and buns

Protein: meat and fish dishes, like meatballs, sliced meats, skewered meats, chicken wings, fish, and cheese selections

Snacks: nuts, chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, popcorn, and other finger foods

Dips and spreads: hummus, compound kinds of butter, salsa, guacamole, relishes, and other spreads

Here is a handy appetizer quantity guide:

  • 10 or fewer guests = 3 appetizer selections
  • 10-20 guests = 5 appetizer selections
  • 20-40 guests = 7 appetizer selections
  • 40+ guests = 9 appetizer selections

Allow approximately one hour before dinner to serve appetizers and beverages. That way, guests have plenty of time to munch and mingle before the main course. Bon appétit!