Ideas for hearty party foods that don't require silverware?

Every year I throw a cocktail party -- to keep it less stress/mess, I serve foods that are hearty enough for dinner but don't require silverware. Last year I did little baguette sandwiches and smoked salmon with rye along with typical snack foods. Do you have new ideas of what I could serve?

  • Posted by: TMG
  • November 3, 2018


Pegeen November 7, 2018
I'm so happy to have this new recipe - kind of a Cubano sloppy joe! I can see using it for so many things: empanadas, tacos, pasta. Added it to my grocery list for this week. Thanks & happy holidays!
Dona November 7, 2018
Here’s a pic of the empanadas I make. I serve these with Peruvian Green Sauce from that same skinnytaste site.
Dona November 7, 2018
You’re welcome! I hope you love them!
Pegeen November 7, 2018
Dona, thanks so much for mentioning Goya's empanada rounds. Those will be a huge time-saver. Also, I just checked out the recipe you mentioned ( and it looks delicious, a good, classic beef filling for an empanada. Thank you for your tips!
Dona November 7, 2018
I use Goya frozen empanada discs and fill them with Cuban Picadilla. Mine are baked, not fried. Everyone loves these. Recipe from
These frozen empanada discs are so fun and can be filled with savory or sweet.
Pegeen November 6, 2018
Empanadas! One of my favorite party foods.
- You can make them regular-sized or mini, vegetarian or un-veg.
- I like baked empanadas vs. fried, and baked will probably minimize your party prep a bit.
- And to further save time, don't hesitate to use store-bought pizza dough (or store-bought pie dough) instead of rolling your own. I find people are more into the filling than the crust. Just use a beaten egg wash on the dough for color before baking.
- And don't worry about learning the traditional twisted edge for the crust, just crimp the edges with a fork dipped in water, as if you were making little hand pies.

Believe me, these will vanish!

Here are some recipes I like plus there are many more out there if you have a specific flavor profile in mind (beef, seafood, veg, a particular herb, etc.). I always recommend reading the recipe comments for helpful insights before deciding on a recipe, though :-)

Butternut squash, sage, goat cheese

Butternut squash, mushroom

Chicken, chorizo, olives (and raisins are added in traditional recipes)

Classic beef

Have a great party!
Ella Q. November 6, 2018
Hi all,

I rounded up a few more ideas here, inspired by this question!

Lori T. November 5, 2018
Yakitori chicken skewers, or just about any bite-size bit of meat and sauce on a wooden skewer, you could use some of the vegetarian meat chunks for those who forego meat. Crabsticks and shrimp go well on skewers as well. You can intersperse the meat with cut veggies as well.
PHIL November 5, 2018
You can do a spaghetti pie. there are many recipes on line. cut it into bite size squares and serve with sauce on the side. Giada has a good one: Mini meatballs mentioned by BerryBaby is always a good choice. there are really so many choices. are you looking to be casual or fancy? Pull pork sliders / ricotta toasts with mushrooms? Any theme in mind?
BerryBaby November 5, 2018
A rustic board (use a big cutting board) sliced Italian meats, cheeses, pepperocini, roasted red peppers with a basket of sliced baguette. Marinated olives, marcona almonds or mixed nuts. Or Stuffed Italian Bread (easy and many recipe ideas online). Cheeseball, dips, chicken wings, asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto and roasted in the oven, chicken satay skewers, cocktail meatballs...or cocktail franks in a tangy sauce are always a cup brown sugar and one cup ketchup heated until sugar dissolves...hope these help.
Alyssa November 4, 2018
Focus on what people really want: Delicious, quality, abundant food! I have found that everybody loves a baked taco dip, no matter how unsophisticated it may seem. Layer black beans, cotija or Monteray Jack cheese, spinach, roasted veggies (sweet potatoes, onions, etc.), salsa, cilantro, and anything else you think would fit in a 9x13 pan and bake until bubbly and hot. Serve with quality corn tortilla chips. People love it and it satisfies the "drunchies" once the cocktails are served. ;)

Also, last winter I was introduced to this cranberry dip, which is truly to die for:
Nancy November 3, 2018
Ravioli, fried or baked.
Dip the cheese ones in tomato sauce; meat ones in Dijon mustard.
Ella Q. November 3, 2018
A savory galette or puff pastry pizza (or saucy focaccia!), sliced into two-bite pieces. Deviled eggs. Open faced biscuits topped with sliced apples, ham, and melted Gruyere. Sliders with caramelized onions and tomato jam.
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