What Are Good Foods To Cater? – 20 Popular Catering Dishes

Planning a party can be a complicated and thankless process, especially when it comes to the food. Catering for a large group of people isn’t an easy task, as it can be hard to find something that pleases the masses. And it’s no secret that a sub-standard meal can leave a bad taste in your mouth. 

What Are Good Foods To Cater - 20 Popular Catering Dishes

So if you have been searching for delicious catering recipes, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we have compiled a list of 20 popular catering dishes, which include everything from savoury snacks to sweet desserts. 

These catering ideas are extremely easy to make and can be used for any occasion or celebration. All you need is fresh supplies and the right attitude.

Breakfast Ideas

When planning morning events, we recommend serving a range of breakfast foods to keep your guests fed and happy: 

1. Breakfast Bar

Breakfast Bar

Everyone loves a breakfast bar, especially when it is loaded with pancakes and bacon. This way you can feed your guests without the concern of dietary restrictions, as there should be a range of options for them to choose from. Just make sure you include some gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives.

2. Gourmet Donuts

Gourmet Donuts - popular catering dishes

Donuts are a great way to keep your guests happy. Especially, when they are filled with sweetened cream or jam and taste delicious. If you want to jazz things up, you can even serve gourmet donuts such as the artisanal cronut and cream-filled eclairs. 

3. Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie Bowls

If you are searching for a healthier option, then we recommend setting up your own smoothie bowl bar. Here your guests can combine fresh yoghurt with fruit, oats, honey, and other delicious toppings. 

Of course, if you want to offer your guests blended fruit and/or veggie options, you’ll need a good Blender. For all the latest models and prices, click here.

For more inspired suggestions, see our piece on Brunch Catering Food Ideas

Snack Ideas

Catering for events is not as easy as it sounds. When deciding what to serve, you have to as you have to consider the environment and long long the event will go on for. If your party goes on for most of the day, then small snacks and bites should be enough to keep everyone fed:

1. Traditional Tapas

Traditional Tapas

When it comes to finger food, there’s nothing better than authentic tapas, which offer a range of delicious snacks. These include calamari, potatoes in tomato sauce, or even olives with a side of crusty bread. 

2. Toast Bites

Toast Bites

A quick and easy way to make delicious hors d’oeuvres is by taking a piece of toasted bread and loading it with various toppings. This can be anything from smashed avocado and bacon to grilled cheese and authentic pesto. 

3. Seasonal Skewers

Seasonal Skewers

Do you want to serve delicious bite-sized food? If so, then you should consider making some skewers using seasonal ingredients. For the best results, we recommend combining meat and vegetables.

However, it is also possible to make dessert skewers using fresh fruit, chocolate, and marshmallows. 

4. Miniature Foods

Miniature Foods

It’s no secret that miniature food is cute. However, it can also be great for parties and easy to pass around. Almost any dish can be made into a miniature version of itself, whether that be pizzas, burritos, or lobster rolls. 

5. Finger Sandwiches

Finger Sandwiches - popular catering dishes

If you want to add some sophistication to your gathering, then you should definitely serve some delicious finger sandwiches. These simple. classy snacks are perfect for parties and are endlessly adaptable. We’re huge fans of cream cheese and smoked salmon with capers, at the moment. 

For more Finger Food options, see our piece on Finger Food Platters

Birthday Ideas

Catering a child’s birthday celebration can be even more difficult than cooking for a room of adults, as most children are picky eaters and need something that will keep them fed and entertained: 

1. Sundae Bar

Sundae Bar

While it may not be the healthiest option on our list, sundae bars are a great way to smile on your child’s face. The best sundae bars will include a range of different ice cream flavours, as well as various sauces and sprinkles. 

Flavour-wise, the skies the limit if you make your own ice Cream. And it’s easier to make that you probably realise, if you have an Ice Cream Maker. For prices and more information, click here.

And let’s be honest, we know plenty of adults who would love this as well. It just had to make our list of popular catering dishes.

2. Snow Cones

Snow Cones

Otherwise known as shaved ice, snow cones were first invented in Hawaii and make for a refreshing addition to any celebration. Just combine crushed ice with your favourite flavour and you should have everything you need. 

Have you thought of bringing in Food Trucks for your event? Read more here.

3. Healthy Dippers

Healthy Dippers

For a healthier option, you can cut cucumbers and carrots into small sticks and serve them with a dipping sauce of your choice. This can be anything from homemade hummus to an aromatic peanut relish. 

4. Popcorn Bowls

Popcorn Bowls

If you want to make something that is both delicious and fun, then why not serve customised popcorn bowls to your child’s guests. Nowadays, popcorn can be seasoned with a range of different flavours, such as caramel, cheese, and Oreo cookies.  

Not sure how much food to prepare? See our How To Guide

5. Cake Pops

Cake Pops - popular catering dishes

While it’s traditional to serve a birthday cake, it can also be a hassle blowing out the candles and making sure everyone has a slice. So to combat this issue, we recommend making individual cake pops for each of your guests. 

Love chocolate cake, but can’t cope with gluten? See our Gluten-Free Chocolate Chia Cake Recipes

International Ideas 

There’s nothing better than exploring another country’s cuisine. So why not shake things up with these amazing international dishes: 

1. Italian Food

Italian Food

Italian cuisine is the very definition of a crowd-pleaser, as it includes popular dishes such as pizza, pasta, and risotto. You can either make miniature versions of these classic recipes or serve them individually to each of your guests. 

2. Bento Boxes

Bento Boxes

Originating in Japan, bento boxes are essentially a packed lunch that features various compartments and ingredients. This often includes things like noodles, rice, sushi, fermented greens, and much more. Give it a go. We’ve found it’s one of the most popular catering dishes on our list.

3. Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

If you come from the Deep South, then why not embrace your culture and whip up some delicious fried chicken. While it may not be the most sophisticated of dishes, it is still a popular snack and will keep your guests entertained. 

4. Fermented Bites

Fermented Bites

Fermentation is a great way to keep food fresh, it also gives you a chance to experience the food of other cultures. Popular fermented dishes include kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha, which are both healthy and delicious. 

5. French Food

French Food

If you want something a little more classical, then we recommend serving some delicious French snacks. This can include anything from escargot and onion soup to creme brulee and chocolate croissants. 

6. Banh Mi

Banh Mi

This popular snack comes from Vietnam and is essentially a rustic sandwich loaded with delicious ingredients such as cilantro, chillis, and pickled daikon. Perfect for busy events, these sandwiches promise to please the crowd. 

7. Sushi Bar

Sushi Bar

Sushi still remains a popular dish across the world, so why not add some sophistication to your event by setting up a sushi bar. Just make sure to always have a bottle of soy sauce close at hand. 

Have you ever tried to roll your own Sushi Hand Rolls? It’s a really fun activity – especially with kids. Click here for a range of Sushi Making Kits.

We also have articles on Nigerian Catering Food Ideas, Thai menu suggestions and the wonderful flavours of Filipino delicacies, that may interest you.

Final Thoughts

There are many popular catering dishes you should try, with our list only covering a small selection of what you can do. If you want to impress your guests, then you should try the ideas above or find more online.

Dylan Cole
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