It’s holiday entertaining season! My formula for a no fail holiday entertaining menu will help ensure all your holiday get togethers will be a success! Sharing my favorite tips and tricks to make your event a success!

This post is sponsored by I Love Ice Cream Cakes. As always, all opinions are my own.

I have people ask me all the time, “what should I serve at my party?” and I realized that perhaps many people have this question so I thought I’d share my formula for a no fail holiday entertaining menu. I use this formula for all non meal time parties or get togethers. So if you are inviting people over for dinner, this is not the menu you want to use, but if you are having people over for cocktails, appetizers, gift exchanges or other holiday festivities, this is the perfect formula to ensure no one leaves hungry!

Before I get into my no fail formula, let me share a couple tips and tricks that I use for every party. First, I never try a new recipe for entertaining. I make sure it is something that is tried and true and that I feel comfortable making. Second, I never make more than three things homemade, anything more than that, and things get stressful! For me, the cheese and cracker platter and the dessert are my two easy, store bought items, and with the quality of store bought dips improving, sometimes I go the store bought route there too!

So here is my no fail formula that works for the holidays, birthday parties, girls’ nights, etc. I use this formula for any non meal time party and it works everytime! I am (relatively) a non-stressed host and I have happy, full guests! I am excited to share this post as part of a Virtual Cocktail Party with my friends Jennifer and Vicki over at Two Bees in A Pod! Check out all the other great posts at the end!


No Fail Holiday Entertaining Menu Formula:


 Cheese and Cracker Platter

Meat Based Appetizer

Bread Based Appetizer or Finger Food

Dessert (One a main, one a snack)


Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Ranch Dip

Dip: Pick either a hot or cold dip, depending on what your crowd likes. Some favorites include Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Ranch Dip , Loaded Baked Potato Dip, or Jalapeno Corn Dip. Serve with tortilla chips, veggies, or potato chips. Seriously everyone loves dip. It seems to be the place where everyone congregates! I know its my favorite spot to hang out! If you have a big crowd, choose one hot dip and one cold one!

Cheese and Cracker platter for the holidays

Cheese and Cracker Platter: I love to pick up 2 types of cheeses and a variety of crackers. I usually go with a more gourmet cheese and then a classic, like a sharp white cheddar. Don’t forget the mustard! I love to add sprigs of rosemary for the fragrance and grapes for a pop of color! It instantly dresses up a cheese platter. Use a cutting board to display your food. It adds warmth and texture to your table.

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Skewers

Meat Based Appetizer: To make sure everyone leaves full, serve at least one meat based appetizer. Meatballs are usually my favorite option! Chicken Parmesan Meatball Skewers are always a hit at any gathering, and people love food on a stick! If the food is on a stick, you will save money and clean up on plates and forks!

Bread Based Appetizer or Finger Food: This option is probably my favorite. I love thinking up new finger foods. Bruschetta and crostini are my favorite. Herbed Ricotta Crostini with Marinated Tomatoes looks fancy, but is so easy. I also have a meat version with steak on it which is perfect for New Year’s Eve! Cranberry Feta Pinwheels or BLT Pinwheels are also easy, but taste great and are easy to eat while mingling! You want to keep the food compact and not super messy! People may be wearing their holiday best!

Christmas Cookie Dip

Dessert: I’ll let you in on a secret, dessert at my house is almost always the easiest item that I serve. I always do two sweets. One will be super easy and is either a dip like this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Dip or Christmas Cookie Dip, and some cookies, store bought or homemade. Make a few batches of cookies in November and freeze them for easy serving later.

For the main item, I almost always go the store bought route. My favorite to pick up is an  OREO®  Premium Ice Cream Cake found in the bakery section or freezer aisle at grocery stores nationwide.

When a store bought cake tastes as good as this, there is definitely no reason for me to bake! This cake is from I Love Ice Cream Cakes, who carries delicious frozen ice cream cakes for all occasions, and their yummy and indulgent flavors are perfect for holiday entertaining!

I picked mine up at Giant Eagle and they had many different styles and sizes in the freezer aisle. The OREO®  Premium Ice Cream Cake is vanilla-flavored ice cream blended with OREO® cookie pieces, plus whipped frosting topped with a large OREO® cookie wafer and even more OREO® cookie pieces.

I love that both kids and adults go crazy for this sweet treat and it is definitely my go to for whenever I need a quick, but impressive dessert for a party.

Check out their website for more fun cake offerings like Ice Cream Cookie Cakes, Birthday Cakes and Snowman Cakes, and use their Product Locator to find a store with these cakes near you.

There is so much to do during the holidays and things can get stressful. I want the focus of this time of the year to  be on creating magical memories for my kiddos. I want them to remember the fun traditions, fun times, and definitely the food, but not mommy being stressed out. I love sticking to my no fail holiday entertaining menu formula to ensure I stay stress free! I know you will love this formula too!

So tell me, do you have any secrets to stress free holiday entertaining? I could always use a few more suggestions! And don’t forget to check out the entertaining ideas from my friends!

An InLinkz Link-up

Sharing all my holiday tips and tricks, including my formula for no fail holiday entertaining!

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49 thoughts on “No Fail Holiday Entertaining Menu

  1. You are absolutely right – you can’t go wrong with any of those things. I am hosting Christmas dinner for my family and need to start putting together my menu!

  2. What a great menu. I always find I try to do too much when hosting and just end up a stressful mess. I’ll definitely be following your formula for my next gathering. Cheers

    1. I used to do way tooooo much! Now that I’ve paired it down, I’m a much better hostess!

  3. Great overall plan! I have to say though, a homemade cake takes about the same amount of time as running to the store! 🙂 I am in love with Southern Living’s Christmas Cake of the Year. I always make it for my Christmas Day dessert.

    1. I agree, you can definitely make a homemade cake quickly, but this cake is an Oreo Ice Cream Cake! Definitely above my baking skill level! I haven’t heard of the Christmas Cake of the Year! Where do you find that recipe?

  4. Oh my kids would love this Oreo cake – me too! I love entertaining this time of the year!

  5. This guide will help any host survive the holidays! Love the dishes that you picked and I appreciate the tips very much as well. Thanks for sharing these!

  6. That Oreo cake looks AMAZING. I am hosting a party on Christmas eve this year and I can use all the suggestions I can get lol. I love easy recipes and simple ideas so I am sure I will be referring back to this

  7. That Oreo ice cream cake looks delicious. I’ve never hosted a dinner party. But I ‘ve gone to potlucks and had non-dinner parties. And many of these options seem like great things when I need to bring something

  8. I just hosted my first Thanksgiving and we went overboard with the food and most of it ended up in the trash. I need to work on menu planning. All of these options look delicious.

  9. Holiday treats are the best thing about going to holiday parties. These dips look so fun, festive and delicious. And what a unique way to enjoy a sweet treat this season.

  10. That oreo cake looks so delicious! I am sure that kids in our family will love it. I should add it to our Holiday menu!

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  12. Your recipes are always so scrumptious, the chicken parm meatballs look like they would be my favorite. Since I love meatballs. Will have to remember that recipe.

  13. These are fantastic tips! We can’t wait to make these chicken parm meatballs…yum! Need to get organized for our Christmas family gatherings. Thanks for sharing your great ideas! Wishing you and your family a fabulous Christmas!

  14. I need to tattoo these tips to my arm! I love hosting parties, but the food part always stresses me out a bit. Not anymore – I am bookmarking these so I always have them to reference! I’m also totally drooling over your delicious recipes and that amazing ice cream cake! Yum!

  15. There are so many amazing things to try Amanda, I need to get my menu together so I can decide what to try first! I love all of these no fail ideas. They are right up my alley! Hugs and Merry Christmas, CoCo

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