When having guests over, one of my favorite go-to entertaining tricks is to put out little bowls of snacks or candy. Growing up, my mom would always place little baskets, filled with a combination of honey-roasted cashews, raisins, and M&M’s, at each guest’s place when setting the table for birthdays. I've followed her example, often serving a bowl of salted nuts, alongside some candy and chips, with a bubbly cocktail. No messy cheese to deal with, or utensils needed for serving. Plus, it only takes a minute or two to prepare.
Just as every host or hostess should have a bottle of bubbly in the fridge and some shelf-stable snacks in the pantry, they should also have an array of bowls, starting from 1-cup in capacity and going upwards to 8-10 cups. Small bowls are perfect for serving salted nuts and candy, or as a place to put pits if you’re serving olives. Larger bowls can be used for serving popcorn, potato chips, even ice cream, if it’s just you, your best friend, and a movie on television.
At a loss for what to serve in bowls? We’ve put together some of our favorite bowl-friendly snacks that you can put together in no time.
1. Salted nuts
3. Your favorite candies, like M&Ms or jelly beans
For larger snacks, opt for a slightly bigger bowl with a diameter of 3-5 inches. Look for bowls with different colors, patterns, even materials, to create a visually-appealing arrangement; these nesting olive wood bowls are particularly nice to look at.
2. Foil-wrapped candies or chocolates
3. Snack mix
4. Pretzel nuggets
Credit: Sherri Mizell
When it comes to big bowls, think big — especially if you’re serving chips. That way, you won’t have to constantly refill the bowl, and it can hold about a bag’s worth of food. If you have baskets at home, similar to this wide sweetgrass basket, you can use them, too! Just line the basket with a cloth napkin before adding the chips, so crumbs don’t get lodged the corners.
3. Potato chips