Fast, Fun Party Fare for Last Minute Entertaining

Hacks for Impromptu Entertaining That Let You Enjoy the Party

It's Saturday night, or New Year's Eve. You got a promotion, your best friend got engaged. Maybe it's just a random Wednesday and you're in the mood for a party. These almost-instant, improvisational "recipes" will help you throw together tasty fare for impromptu get togethers -- and leave you plenty of time to enjoy your guests. 

  • 01 of 05

    Pop Open Some Bubbly

    Champagne. Credit: Getty Images

    Nothing says "festive" like popping open a bottle of bubbly. And Champagne isn't the only game in town. Keep a bottle or two of Prosecco or Cava on hand to drink solo or as a base for quick cocktails. Fizzy is always fun. 

  • 02 of 05
    Hummus. Giora Shimoni

    Spreads and dips -- whether homemade or store bought -- are easy, tasty, and ideal for last minute parties. Just transfer them to nice serving dishes, break open the crackers, pita, chips, or baguette, and watch your guests dig in. Think variety -- offer Israeli Hummus, guacamole, salsa or matboucha, and babaganoush. And don't forget some low maintenance crudities, like baby carrots or celery sticks, pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.

  • 03 of 05

    Cheesy Is Good

    Feta with Olive Oil, Herbs, and Olives
    Feta with Olive Oil, Herbs, and Olives. Credit: Andrew Rowat / Getty Images

    Grab a few hunks of cheese (go for different styles, types of milk, and degrees of aging -- say a soft goat cheese, Brie or Camembert, and an aged cheddar or pecorino. Set them out on a platter with dried fruit or grapes and apple slices, some nuts, and a dish of honey. Or go even simpler and drizzle some feta with olive oil, a sprinkle of oregano and some olives. 

  • 04 of 05

    Eat with Your Hands

    Pizza with carrots and asparagus
    Pizza with carrots and asparagus. © Miri Rotkovitz

    Grab some pre-made refrigerated pizza dough, your favorite jarred sauce, cheese (if you want), and your favorite veggies. Turn out custom pizza or focaccia that's far tastier (and quicker) than take out or delivery -- and perfect with beer or wine. Need ideas? Try a White Pizza with Kale, or Quick Focaccia with Olives and Goat Cheese


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  • 05 of 05

    Take It Easy, Sweetie

    Cherry Bourbon Compote, served atop a Citrus-Soaked Butter Cake. © Miri Rotkovitz

    Pick up some great ice cream, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles, and set up a DIY sundae bar. Or grab cookies or pizzelle for instant ice cream sandwiches. 

    Want something a little more extravagant, but still super easy? Layer cubes of cake (store bought pound cake is ideal), fruit, pudding, and whipped cream for a decadent trifle. Sprinkle the cake layers generously with Cointreau, Amaretto, or rum, or use this Cherry Bourbon Compote in place of plain fruit.