Recipe Roundup

32 Recipes for a Dream Winter Dinner Party Menu

Whether you're planning a dinner for four or a 10-person feast.

October 11, 2023

Winter is the perfect time to throw a dinner party, but the reality of coming up with a menu can admittedly be daunting. With a little planning, though, you can be certain that the night will be a success. The secret? Don’t leave everything to the day of. Rather, in the week leading up to the party, figure out your menu, shop for ingredients, ensure you have enough dinnerware for all your guests, and prep any dishes that can be made ahead and reheated. Doing so will eliminate unnecessary stress and allow you to focus on what’s really important: enjoying the company of your nearest and dearest. To help inspire your next winter dinner party menu, we’ve gathered 32 of our favorite recipes for every part of your meal.


During every dinner party, there’s that period of time when guests start to arrive, but the host is still finishing things up in the kitchen. The best remedy to this inevitable dinner party woe? A selection of delicious, snackable appetizers to keep guests entertained. Winter is the perfect time of year to lean into warm, cheesy options—like baked brie or a mortadella and provolone tart—but you also can’t go wrong with a classic dip like hummus.

Main Course

Cold weather is just the time to tackle that roast chicken or whole fish recipe you’ve had bookmarked for months. Of course, pasta is also always a surefire win, especially when it’s served with tiny, adorable meatballs or a buttery braised onion sauce.


An easy way to accommodate more dinner party guests is to ramp up your side dish selection. Instead of serving just a simple, green salad with your main, try braising some chickpeas or leeks, too.


If you’re an especially ambitious home cook, you might want to consider baking bread or rolls to accompany your meal. Classic Parker House rolls are always a hit, but depending on the rest of your menu, options like biscuits, pita, or cornbread might make a better match.


What you’ll be eating is as important as what you’ll be drinking. Whether hot or cold, high-proof or nonalcoholic, these drinks all feature wintry flavors and seasonal ingredients, like citrus, hardy herbs, and warming spices.


It’s not a party without dessert. If you want to make something simple, Jesse Szewczyk’s preserved lemon crinkle cookies offer an unexpected twist on the classic, festive cookie. And if you’re trying to go all-out, you can’t go wrong with a baked Alaska or profiteroles.

Setting the Table

You’ve planned your menu and sent out your invites—what’s left to do? Choosing the right serveware and table accessories can have a huge impact on your dinner party’s mood and atmosphere, whether it’s an intimate gathering of four or a feast for 10.

More entertaining inspiration from Food52

What are your best tips for a winter dinner party? Share in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • BoulderGalinTokyo
  • Claudia
Anabelle Doliner

Written by: Anabelle Doliner

Staff Editor


BoulderGalinTokyo December 20, 2023
Please invite me to dinner, everything looks so delicious!
Claudia December 20, 2023
Please tell me about the tablecloth with bold print in the picture. Does Food52 sell it?