It’s been a long, long year. Slowly, but surely, the weather is starting to warm up and friends and family members are getting the COVID-19 vaccine, which means one thing: it’s party season once again. If you’re like us, it’s been a long time since you’ve gotten together with others. You may not be sure what to bring to a party anymore — or remember what a party even is. But don’t worry. Whether you’re going to a potluck, a cookout or just want to help the host, we have the 30 best foods to bring to any party, from appetizers to side dishes to dessert.
What can make perfect pigs in a blanket even better? A little bagel inspo. Puff pastry, stuffed with cream cheese and hot dogs, rolled and topped with everything bagel seasoning — it’s everything you never knew you always wanted.
You don’t have to go to one of the best Mexican restaurants in America to have high-quality guacamole. Make it at home with simple, fresh ingredients.
Though maybe best known as one of the best recipes for game day, seven-layer dip (you know, the one with refried beans, sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, black olives and scallions) is actually great for any occasion. Don’t like black olives? Don’t sweat it; here are some ideas for easy swaps.
Hummus is a deeply underrated dip. When you think about it, this salty, creamy combination of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice goes with everything. Celery and carrots? Yep. Chips? Yep. Pita? Yep. Pretzels? Yep. Serve with a selection of dippers and enjoy.
Cheese balls are one of those retro dishes nobody makes anymore (but should). This cream cheese concoction has the added benefit of highlighting one of the most beloved food combinations: bacon and cheddar.
There are a lot of unique takes on the simple meatball, but for party purposes, it’s best to keep it classic with beef and pork meatballs served in a sweet and tangy sauce. Serve in a slow cooker to keep these meatballs warm and have plenty of frilly toothpicks nearby for an old-school presentation.
Traditionally a food eaten for good luck in the new year, sauerkraut balls are an underrated fried food appetizer. The salty combo of ham, sauerkraut, pickle and potato will surely become a family favorite.
Pretzels and cheese dip are one of the best stadium foods around. You can be party MVP by bringing these to any gathering. Making your own pretzels from scratch will guarantee you a spot in the major leagues.
You know it, you love it, and everyone you know loves it, too. One of the most irresistible dip recipes on the planet, Buffalo chicken dip requires just a handful of pantry staple ingredients. Meat free? Make our bean-based vegetarian buffalo dip instead.
This take on one of your favorite comfort foods uses one of those secret ingredients that elevate mac and cheese: cream cheese. It works perfectly as a side dish for the holidays or a barbecue.
Fruit salad is a profoundly underrated party side. It can fit any occasion and adds a splash of color and sweetness to any plate, be it full of turkey, barbecue or sandwiches. Use this fruit salad’s use of vanilla as a template, but feel free to use whatever fruit may be in season.
Though it’s usually reserved for the holiday season, green bean casserole should be served all year long. After all, it is one of the best casserole recipes of all time.
If you’re going to a cookout, baked beans are an absolute must-have. This recipe uses a slow cooker to make the sauce extra thick and fragrant from the mix of bacon, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, garlic and cinnamon.
Broccoli, bacon and cheese is an iconic combination, and this vintage-inspired mayo-dressed salad uses all three for a crunchy, salty, creamy revelation.
A party classic for the ages, this mayo-based macaroni salad has a touch of tang courtesy of mustard, giving it a total best-of-both-worlds vibe.
Almost everyone loves a good cheesecake, and this easy-to-follow recipe is perfect for birthdays, holidays, cookouts, dinner parties or any time you're in charge of bringing dessert.
Chocolate is the name of the game in this gooey brownie recipe, which uses four different kinds of chocolate: unsweetened, bittersweet, white and cacao nibs.
This pretty pink cake uses a surprising ingredient for its blood orange flavor: soda! If you can’t find blood orange soda, feel free to use raspberry, grapefruit or blackberry soda instead.
This red velvet fudge is one of the best edible gifts to give during the holiday season. But really, you should share the love (and the chocolate) all year long.
Key lime pie is one of the most iconic desserts in America, especially if you’ve spent any time in Florida. This tart, cream-based pie filling is balanced with a fun new addition to this recipe: a chocolate crust.
If the gathering you’re going to is going to have a lot of little ones, it’s hard to beat a classic chocolate chip cookie. If you want to get a little creative, consider more of our all-time favorite cookie recipes.
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