Party food can be kind of daunting to plan out. It’s always tough to please a big crowd. If you want to make sure there are a lot of options for your guests, you should try some of these food bar ideas.
Why you ask?
Because if you serve things in the “bar” format, you are allowing your guests to customize their food.
Say you want to serve tacos. But not everyone wants a carne taco. Some people want chicken. Your annoying vegan friend wants tofu.
You DON’T want to think about making that many different tacos. Tacos are a pain in the neck to fill already.
So, you go “bar” style. Let them DIY it. Fill up that taco with whatever they want.
And it works for TONS of different foods.
15 Food Bar Ideas for a Simple Party You Can Actually Enjoy
Breakfast and Brunch Food Bar Ideas
If you’re planning a breakfast/brunch type of party (I’m thinking Baby Shower or similar), then a food bar is going to be perfect for you.
It’s not the time of day when people really want to eat heavy and there’s an amazing bonus with the food bar.
It gets your guests out of their seats and mingling and talking to each other. Which isn’t always easy to do at 10am on a Sunday.
In my house there is a great divide.
Pancakes vs. Waffles
I’m 100% team waffle and so I’ve gone with a waffle bar here, but you could probably do the same thing with Pancakes. Even though a pancake isn’t nearly as good at holding syrup and other toppings.
This waffle bar from Design Eat Repeat is so pretty with that fresh fruit that it becomes a decor element, too.
This is a very difficult post for me to write because I can’t eat gluten and, well, nearly everything on the list is something I can’t eat.
I miss bagels. So.Much.
This bagel bar from Everyday Mom Life looks like heaven. I could probably make a meal of just the toppings if I was invited to this bagel party.
If you have coffee for me, then I don’t really care if everything else your serving is something that I’m not allowed to eat.
I’ll just sit in the corner and sip my coffee until I’m awake enough to talk to people.
Caffeine is a great diplomat. A bringer together of the masses. It’s like when people used to smoke cigarettes, all huddled outside under a tiny overhang. Or way back before that when people smoked cigarettes anywhere they wanted.
I don’t think that analogy makes any sense, but there it is. Try this coffee bar from Fantabulosity, ok?
Who doesn’t love donuts? Besides me? Yeah, I don’t like donuts. I’m weird, I know.
Are you aware that there is a donut bar phenomen sweeping the nation?
You can actually buy that Donut Bar Display from Etsy. And own it for ever. And have Sunday Donut Bar parties every week.
Here’s something I can definitely eat. A yogurt parfait bar from Sweet & Savory.
That looks super healthy and no where near as fun as all of the terrible for you stuff that is listed above this one, but you know there will be people that really appreciate this at your party.
It will be the friend who is slightly annoying that you never invite to lunch anymore because she eats like a bird, your friend who lives in the gym and your super annoying Keto/Paleo/Whole30 friend that will appreciate the effort toward healthy food.
Savory Mains and Appetizer Food Bar Ideas
Grilled Cheese bar from Oh Happy Day, yes, sounds like the thing that everybody will be like,
Oh, and do you know what she had? She had a grilled cheese bar with a panini maker! So clever, that one.
You want people to stuff like that about you, right? I mean if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here researching the best ever party food bar ideas.
You’d throw out a bag of nachos and some salsa and call it a day.
Not saying that might not be an awesome party, too, but no one is calling that clever.
We already discussed why serving tacos bar style like Building Our Story has done is important.
And I know you did skip right past my intro, right?
You did?! Don’t scroll back up. I’ll go over it again.
Tacos are a pain in the butt to fill. PLUS, no one ever wants all of the same things on their tacos. If you ever serve tacos, even if it’s just taco Tuesday at your house with the family, do it bar style or your nuts.
A burger is my top favorite food in the world, ever. I no longer eat it with a bun, but it’s still my favorite.
I would be thrilled to show up at a party with a burger bar like this one from Beef Loving Texans.
There are some seriously creative topics available for those burgers. My stomach is growling.
Since I’m revealing all of my weirdo food choices and restrictions today, I’m going to also let you in on the secret that I don’t like pasta.
I wish I did because this Pasta bar from Modern Mom Life looks awesome.
But, alas, I will never understand the appeal of the gooey, tasteless-ness of pasta.
I know most everyone the world over loves it, though, so there you go. Pasta Bar. Don’t invite me when you throw the Pasta Bar party. Unless there’s also coffee.
This Bruschetta bar from Olivia’s cuisine reminds me a little of the Grilled Cheese bar, but it’s a smidge fancier.
And there’s lots of vegetables involved with Bruschetta usually, so maybe it’s even a little healthier, too?
I’m not a nutritionist, it may be way less healthy. But tomatoes are there and those healthy, right?
Dessert Bar Ideas
This makes me want to throw a party right now. We do Sundae bars on random nights all the time and it’s even more special to end a party with a Sundae bar.
It feels so gluttonous. I’m trying to think of why that’s a good feeling. It may not be, but in the moment, when faced with a Sundae bar, you are over the moon excited.
I don’t care how old you are or what diet you’re on. You’re making a sundae.
Thanks About a Mom for the Sundae bar idea.
This Cheesecake Bar idea from Wine and Glue is genius.
It’s sort of a riff on the frozen yogurt idea of adding random toppings and I love that.
Also I love cheesecake. Like, LOVE cheesecake.
Caramel apples are seriously delicious. But if you’ve ever tried to eat one, it’s really not a pleasant experience. It’s insanely messy and just uncomfortable to eat.
Lauren’s Latest has completely solved that problem with this Apple Dippers Bar set up.
Instead of whole apples, she’s got apple slices (genius). You dip them in the caramel and then in your favorite topping.
Do we even need to talk about S’Mores? Is there anyone out ther that doesn’t go nuts for them?
This S’Mores bar from Mama Cheaps is a little extra special with some fancy components like Pizelle cookies and Reese’s Peanut butter cups if you feel switching things up.
I’m excited to end this list with this super unique Mini Bundt Cake Bar from Living LoCurto.
I think those little tiny bundt cakes are about the cutest things I’ve ever seen and I would really like to eat a whole bunch of them.
With a whole bunch of toppings.
Party With A Plan
Do you feel like your next big shindig would benefit from a food bar? Do you see why it might be WAY easier to serve your guests this way? And how it will get them up and moving around and laughing when they see the crazy concoctions they come up with?
Then pick one or three of these and go plan a party!