Who doesn’t love a good party? Party prep, on the other hand… can be less of a blast. From cooking countless dishes to mixing pitchers of cocktails (OK, that’s pretty fun) to tidying up before and after, being a host is no easy feat. But there are lots of shortcuts you can take—and ones that appear far from simple to guests.
Our favorite hack: party platters. With the right ingredients—most of which don’t require cooking—and strategic plating, party platters can easily be the prettiest (and tastiest) way to please guests. From cheese to chocolate to dip galore, these no-fuss party platters are definitely worth celebrating.
Mezze platters are a great way to spread the (nutritious) love. Full of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and fresh produce, this is a great plate to accompany grilled meat—or a few boxes of pizza. To keep things simple, opt for store-bought hummus and tzatziki and pair with toasted pita wedges, whole-wheat crackers, and sliced veggies. And don’t worry about waste: Leftovers can be used to make a great Greek salad.
It’s hard to go wrong with a classic meat and cheese board. The hard part: picking the best pairings. We love this board’s mix of textures and flavors and pop of color from the fruit and olives. Though we love the assortment as is, it’s also fun to try different nuts (like pistachios or spiced almonds) and whatever fruit is in season. Another pro tip: Throw in homemade crackers for extra brownie points.
This brunch platter couldn’t be simpler—or more beautiful. Filled with fresh fruit and paired with yogurt, honey, and granola, it’s the perfect way to keep things healthy (and mellow) so you can still cherish your morning cup in your pajamas. For a large party, consider offering a few different types of yogurt—we love Greek yogurt and unsweetened coconut yogurt for anyone avoiding dairy—and various granolas. And since it’s so simple, we say there’s no shame in a mimosa (or two or three).
We love that this recipe keeps thing so low-key it doesn’t even take the store-bought hummus out of its package. And you certainly don’t have to when it’s topped with fresh bruschetta—which is a breeze to make—and drizzled with thick balsamic. Since the chopped veg makes such a great topper, we say put a bowl of extra to the side so people can load up as needed.
Gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan… these days, it can seem impossible to make everyone happy. This platter provides a healthy assortment that will satisfy any eater on any diet. With a whopping five dips—spicy olive tapenade and smoky artichoke hummus, just to name two—and various vehicles for dipping, even cheese and meat devotees won’t miss their staples.
Party for two, five, 10… no matter the size, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate fondue—chocolate caramel fondue to be exact. (Oh, and a cheesecake fondue too.) Add whatever dippers you fancy—fresh fruit is our fave—as long as there’s a nice balance of sweet and salty. Decorating with flowers is optional; pairing with champagne is strongly encouraged.
Who needs crackers? This meat and cheese platter uses melon as an alternative, adding all kinds of color and juiciness to a seemingly simple plate. Top with fresh herbs and chopped pistachios, and hey, if you fancy some baguette, we won’t tell. Perfect for a summer barbecue or beach party, these flavors pair wonderfully with a glass of crisp white wine or rosé.
Can’t decide between meat and cheese, hummus and veggies, or bread and fruit? We say don’t! This party platter uses a bit of everything—berries, nuts, olives, dips, cheese, meat, bread—to make absolutely everyone happy. Stick to lighter cheeses so everything blends well—goat, feta, and mozzarella work best—but feel free to go wild with everything else.
This is the perfect example of how buying your favorite snacks at the store can actually come together to create the perfect party platter. We love how the plate keep things (slightly) on the healthy side with chocolate hummus (more protein and fiber!) and plenty of fresh fruit and nuts. But don’t worry, there are plenty of meats and cheeses too.
An easy way to spice up classic crudité platters is to go extra colorful when it comes to veggies. Instead of orange carrots, opt for multi-color. Fan of radishes? Try the watermelon variety. Tzatziki goes with literally every type of veg, so pile the platter high—and with anything you’d like. We also love serving with olive tapenade and hummus to encourage even more veggie consumption—also, because they’re delicious.
Can’t decide what to make for dessert? How about serving a little bit of everything? Sliced fruit, diced chocolate, and a few simple spreads go a long way—and mean you don’t have to commit to one flavor. For some healthy options, throw in some oat crackers and slices of gluten-free zucchini bread.