Who doesn’t love eating with their hands? From the joy of eating small bits of food from the tray of your highchair as a baby to the indulgence of devouring a few hot dogs as you watch your favorite team play, finger food is fun and carefree. So, why not include finger foods at your next party?

There are all sorts of things you can do with finger foods. Most party throwers use finger foods as appetizers because these tiny bits of food are both easy to serve and easy to eat. They can be displayed family-style on a table or can be served by strolling waiters who meander through the crowd. In general, guests love appetizers and often eat way more than they intended, leaving little room for the main meal.

So, why not consider a party that consists of a menu made up entirely of finger foods? It’s a wonderful alternative to the rather formal sit-down dinner and is ideal when you have limited space or time or are on a tight party budget. Furthermore, a finger food menu gives your caterer the opportunity to be super-creative because he or she is not constricted by the rules of a “normal” dinner party.

Include a variety of options

You may have grown up with finger foods that are pretty run-of-the-mill, but there are so many options that are quite sophisticated as well, so your party can really be anything you want it to be, from very informal to quite posh. Consider, however, including a variety of options.

  • Healthy appetizers – Just as you might start a sit-down dinner with a salad, think veggies and fruit to get the party started. Include a first round of finger foods that include raw or cooked veggies, like a tomato bruschetta, edamame toasts, or even artichoke dip, or fruity options like simple fruit kebobs, creamy fruit dips, or even a pear or apple crostini with prosciutto.
  • Some protein – Don’t forget the meat and fish! Protein-packed options keep guests’ tummies full and satisfied and will be an important part of your finger foods menu. You can choose something very traditional like wings or chicken fingers or go a little more exotic with sushi or a variety of tastes from different cultures, like chicken satay or maybe a Polynesian meatball option.
  • Starches – Starchy options are also a mainstay of finger food parties and the possibilities are endless. Again, you can go in the direction of traditional and include items such as pizza squares or finger sandwiches, or you can get a little fancier with creative flatbreads, stuffed crescent rolls, mini savory or sweet muffins, and much more. Cheese is often a component of bread-based appetizers because the two go together so well.
  • Desserts – Of course, you’ll want to include sweets among your finger foods, and this is likely the easiest category of all because there are so many possibilities for sharing bite-sized desserts. Candies, tiny pieces of cake, itty bitty cupcakes, cheesecake, cookies…it’ll be hard to narrow it down to just a few selections!

Make sure you have enough

With finger foods and small appetizer-type options, it’s hard to determine how much you should have. Unlike a formal sit-down dinner that includes pre-determined portions, sometimes it’s difficult to know how many finger foods each guest will eat.

Of course, everyone has a different appetite but, in general, the average number of small bites a personal will eat at a cocktail party is 12. However, if you’re doing just finger foods, experts say you can safely double that number and have enough.

Also, be sure that you have at least 12-15 different kinds of finger foods on the menu for a party of 40 or more. However, if your finger food party is much more intimate, figure about 6-10 varieties and try to include at least something from each of the above categories.

Really, what it comes down to is crafting a menu that includes dishes that will appeal to a variety of tastes but that also fits the mood of your party. In addition, if your party is themed, look for options that fit with that particular emphasis. A good caterer can provide you with many ideas!


Intrigued by the idea of an “all finger food” party? Talk to your caterer about your options for creating an interesting and delicious menu for your next event!