Make Ahead Party Foods

Sometimes even an introvert like myself decides to take on feeding a number of guests. While I both love to cook and enjoy time with my people, it is much simpler when the majority of the food is made ahead of time. This list of make ahead party foods also comes in handy when you are charged with bringing something to an event outside of your home. Pick and choose your favorite recipes so that you can spend more time enjoying company and being present with them.


Up your wow factor with these prosciutto wrapped stuffed peppers. They are easy to make for any holiday or event but they sound so fancy that they’ll make you seem more sophisticated. Plus they’re gluten-free, which your celiac friends can surely appreciate.

Prosciutto Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadews
Goat cheese stuffed peppadews wrapped in prosciutto are a great holiday appetizer that can be prepped ahead. They come together in just 15-minutes, are simple to prepare with just four ingredients, and are gluten-free.
Check out this recipe

It doesn’t get simpler than this. Only two ingredients are required for this mouth-watering and satisfying vegetarian appetizer. Honestly, it’s hard for me to pass up a chance to eat mushrooms, doubly so when cheese is involved.

Parmesan Mushroom Appetizers
Parmesan Mushroom Appetizers with only 2 ingredients and ready in 15 minutes! Meaty, tender, juicy, make ahead recipe that travels well.
Check out this recipe

It is hard to go wrong with a classic like hummus. It’s flavorful, you get to dip things into it, plus it’s vegan. It has the added benefits of being really easy to make and traveling well.

Authentic Hummus Recipe – Cooking Gorgeous | Professional Chef Gone Blogger
You will never want to eat shop-bought hummus when you start making your own homemade version using this simple and authentic hummus recipe.
Check out this recipe


Bring some brightness to your party with this lemony kale salad. It’s healthy, light, and will make you feel better about eating a gallon of cheesy mashed potatoes. Life is about balance.

Crunchy Kale Parmesan Salad – Easy – Healthy – Lemon – EmilyFabulous
This Crunchy Kale Parmesan Salad is bright and citrusy with lemon juice and olive oil that makes a perfect healthy side dish or meal.
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This is the other end of that balance scale. These potatoes have plenty of cheese and caramelized onions. They’re creamy, comforting, and crock pot friendly.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
Learn how easy it is to make Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes from scratch! This recipe has decadent caramelized onions in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce with simple seasonings. It’s make-ahead and Crock Pot friendly.
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No dinner party is complete without a nice loaf (or five) of bread. Crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, this bread is sure to impress. Serve it alongside just about any main dish.

Crusty French Bread
Perfectly crusty french bread. Slather it with butter, dip it in a stew, drip the crumbs all over everything you own!
Check out this recipe
A piece of buttered French bread and a heel of bread leaning against a full French loaf.

Main Dishes

This zesty “macaroni” and cheese is easy to scale up for a group and customizable to meet the needs of your audience. It is a little spicy and a lot creamy on the inside, with a crunchy breadcrumb coating over the top.

Baked Buffalo Mac and Cheese
Comforting, creamy, and crunchy – this baked buffalo mac and cheese is just the thing for a stressful day.
Check out this recipe
A close up of buffalo mac and cheese on a plate.

Sometimes it can be hard to think of a fully vegan meal that scales up well for guests. This sweet potato soup is sure to please vegan, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike. Serve it with some French bread for dipping.

Sweet Potato Cream Soup With Crunchy Nuts – Daring Kitchen
Get ready for the creamiest vegan soup recipe! Full of delicious spices and root veggies, this soup will fuel you through the coldest winter days.
Check out this recipe

Who says that stuffing is just for thanksgiving? Everyone knows that stuffing is among the best holiday sides. Serve it up a new way in this chicken stuffing casserole. It doesn’t get any more Midwest than this.

Chicken Stuffing Casserole
This Chicken Stuffing Casserole dinner is the perfect comfort food and SO easy to make too! Click over to see the step by step instructions.
Check out this recipe

Sometimes what your guests need is a hearty red sauce, some starchy pasta, and a boatload of cheese. Especially during Christmas, Hannukah, and other winter solstice based celebrations. It may be cold outside but this pasta dish will warm your guests from the inside out.

Baked Mostaccioli Recipe
Baked Mostaccioli is made with a delicious combination of hearty tomato sauce, Italian sausage, spices, and cheese. Make-ahead or freeze for later, this classic mostaccioli is a prefect comforting party meal.
Check out this recipe

This roasted squash salad is perfect for a fall party. It’s a little lighter than the other meals in this list but full of flavor with hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds, and a sweet and tart maple dressing.

Acorn Squash Salad with Maple Dressing
Roasted acorn squash salad is a must for all the fall and winter holidays, especially drizzled with creamy maple dressing!
Check out this recipe


If you’re looking for an easy holiday dessert, look no further than these dark chocolate toffee bars. Simply layer the ingredients and pour condensed milk over it and you’re off to the races. In addition to being decadent and delicious this recipe is easily customizable.

Dark Chocolate Toffee Bars
Condensed milk oozes through layers of dark and milk chocolate, toffee, and flaky coconut, wrapping them all in a blanket of caramelization.
Check out this recipe
A zoomed in shot of one layer bar laying on top of another on a white plate with blue and gold edges.

Don’t forget the vegans in your life, they like chocolate too. Booze plus chocolate ganache? I’m in.

Chocolate Amaretto Truffles (Vegan) – Addicted to Dates
With amaretto chocolate ganache, these boozy truffles are perfect if you’re looking to indulge or as a Valentine’s gift for a loved one!
Check out this recipe

Gingerbread cookies are an amazing fall dessert. This recipe is crisp and chewy and both vegan and gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
These gingerbread cookies are crisp around the edges and chewy on the inside. They’re vegan, gluten-free, and perfect for Christmas!
Check out this recipe

Love pecan pie but hate making pie crust? These bars are for you. Besides, it’s hard to say no to a shortbread crust, especially when it’s covered in caramelized sugar and pecans. Dessert bars are the definition of make ahead party foods.

Pecan Bars With Shortbread Crust
Pecan pie the easy way. They're simple, tasty, and great for a party treat or to just eat at home.
Check out this recipe
make ahead party foods: pecan pie bars stacked atop each other.

Entertaining a group of friends or family doesn’t have to be stressful. Choose make ahead party foods pop them in the oven as needed. Spend more time enjoying your party and less time worrying about the logistics. Remember to savor your connections with your favorite people and be safe this party season.

Holidays have you stressed and depressed? Take care of yourself with these depression friendly meals.

Keep your belly full, your mind engaged, and your heart open.


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