Summer Dinner Party Menu Ideas

From refreshing lemon sorbets to peachy sangrias, there are many summer preparations that are ideal for a party. However, putting together a menu for a summer dinner party requires a bit of planning. Here are our recommendations that will help you to get your stuff together and save some time.
A summer dinner party should be laid-back and fun and your menu should reflect this. Try to have food and courses that can be made well ahead of time so that on the day of the dinner party, you are not slaving over a hot saucepan. Prepare a good mix of cold and hot items and remember to also focus on the drinks. Remember to keep an equal number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Getting a combination of some classic cocktails, as well as punch makes sense as your guests will be thirsty on a hot summer morning, noon, eve, or night. Here we present to you some menu ideas for different cuisines. But, before that you can go through some important tips on how to to organize a successful dinner party.


Things to Keep in Mind

When you are looking for menu ideas for a summer dinner party, try to opt for food that can be prepared well in advance.
  • Appetizers are a very important part of a dinner menu and you need at least five to six varieties of both hot as well as cold appetizers for your guests.
  • If you are having a sit-down dinner party with 7 to 8 intimate friends, it is a good idea to make a refreshing summer soup or a cold gazpacho. A simple soup that is garnished elegantly with mint sprigs or a dollop of fresh cream makes a great impression on the guests.
  • Another great dinner party idea is to serve salad with a tasty dressing. You can wash and tear the salad leaves well in advance and also make the dressing beforehand. When your guests arrive, it will take you only a couple of minutes to toss and dress the salad just before serving.
  • On the other hand, if you are having more guests in your dinner party then you will need to make bite-sized appetizers that guests can have without the help of any cutlery. Good examples of such appetizers are mini tartlets, crab cakes, deviled eggs, and tomato bruschetta.
  • For the main course, try to incorporate as many seasonal and fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. Summer vegetables like artichokes, snap peas, asparagus, and watercress pair well with any meat and poultry dishes and you should make the best of it.
  • One-pot dishes like pot roast, paella, chicken casserole, beef stroganoff and chili are excellent make-ahead entrées that require very little effort on your part to prepare. All you have to do is brown the vegetables, sear the meat, and pop the dish in the oven for a couple of hours and the dish is ready.
  • Whatever you prepare, do not experiment with new dishes for your dinner party. Stick to dishes and preparations that you know well and are sure to pull off with minimal stress.
  • For the dessert course, keep it simple with just two to three desserts like chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, a light custard bread pudding, or just homemade ice cream with fresh fruits.
  • Do not forget to provide some side dishes, like grilled asparagus, steamed baby carrots, and garlic mashed potatoes to make your summer dinner party menu complete.

An Asian Banquet

Drinks and Cocktails
  • Kumquat Mojito
  • Lychee Martini
  • Singapore Sling
  • Asian Pear Martini
  • Pomegranate Soda
  • Watermelon Lemonade
  • Red Apple Sangria
  • Ginger Sparkler
  • Mimosa
  • Mai Tai
  • Steamed Chicken Dumplings
  • Mini Spring Rolls
  • Salt and Pepper Squid
  • Spiced Coconut Prawns
  • Spicy Tuna Rolls
  • Chicken Satay
  • Minced Chicken Samosas
  • Pork Pot Stickers
  • Curry Puff
  • Sweet Potato Balls
Main Course
  • Thai Green Curry
  • Chinese Barbecued Roast Pork
  • Roasted Teriyaki Spareribs
  • Roasted Duck with Tangerine-hoisin Glaze
  • Soy-glazed Chicken Thighs
  • Pork Vindaloo
  • Japanese Hot Pot
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Massamam Curry
  • Red Cooked Pork Belly
  • Mango Sorbet
  • Coconut Custard
  • Korean Sweet Rice Balls
  • Rice Pudding
  • Coconut Cream Cupcakes
  • Apple Dumplings with Rum Sauce
  • Banana Pancake
  • Chinese Almond Cookies
  • Pineapple Pie
  • Lychee Pudding
A Mediterranean Feast

Drinks and Cocktails
  • Fresh Mint Margarita
  • Sangria
  • Damascus Affair
  • Bellini
  • Rosemary Gin Fizz
  • Santorini Sunrise
  • Greeka-Rita
  • Fig Martini
  • Pomegranita
  • Corfú Dè Jávu
  • Skewered Rosemary Shrimp
  • Prosciutto Wrapped Melon
  • Gazpacho
  • Warm Marinated Olives with Herbs
  • Crab Cakes
  • Prosciutto-basil Crostini
  • Baked Feta Filo Fingers
  • Zucchini Fritters
  • Grilled Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Marinated Feta, Yogurt, and Aubergine Rolls
Main Course
  • Seared Mediterranean Tuna Steaks
  • Seared Scallops with Lemon Orzo
  • Lamb Chops with Pistachio Gremolata
  • Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper
  • Red Mullet with Tomatoes and Olives
  • Beef Daube Provençal
  • Greek-style Meatloaf with Olives
  • Steamed Mussels with Bell Peppers
  • Tunisian Braised Short Ribs
  • Shrimp Saganaki
  • Pear Strudel
  • Chocolate Amaretto Soufflés
  • Lemon Tart
  • Caramelized Peaches with Mascarpone
  • Rustic Fig and Raspberry Mini Crostatas
  • Baklava
  • Roasted Figs with Caramel
  • Orange and Hazelnut Cake
  • Mint Ice cream
  • Pasteli
A Classic American Menu

Drinks and Cocktails
  • Vodka Gimlet
  • Miami
  • Peach Granita
  • Strawberry Margarita
  • Long Island Iced Tea
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Manhattan
  • Cape Codder
  • Flirtini
  • Chartreuse Swizzle
  • Buffalo Wings
  • Marinated Shrimp
  • Goat Cheese Tart
  • Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Mini Crab Cakes
  • Sweet Potato Tartlets
  • Mini Meatballs
  • Meat Pies
  • Waldorf Crudités with Onion Dip
Main Course
  • Grilled Salmon with Grape Relish
  • Grilled Porterhouse with Potatoes
  • Herb Stuffed Chicken Breast
  • Mushroom Ragout
  • Beef Wellington
  • Grilled Flank Steak with Garlic Sauce
  • Braised Beef Brisket
  • New Orleans style Gumbo
  • Spice-rubbed Roast Beef Tenderloin
  • Herb Marinated Braised Lamb Shanks
  • Boston Cream Pie
  • Raspberry Tart
  • Strawberry Ice cream
  • Blueberry Cheesecake
  • Poached Pears with Raspberry Coulis
  • Cherry Tart
  • Almond Tea Cakes
  • Lemon Curd and Ginger Fool
  • Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake Pots
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding
Essence of Italy

Drinks and Cocktails
  • Watermelon Bellini
  • Limoncello
  • Americano
  • Bicicletta
  • Aranciata Cocktails
  • Negroni
  • Mango Spritz
  • Fruit and Herb Carafe
  • Lime Ginger Coolers
  • Strawberry-ginger Caipirosca
  • Tomato Bruschetta
  • Mini Smoked Salmon Pizzas
  • Caponata with Garlic Crostini
  • Fried Calamari with Aioli
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Endive Spears with Avocado and Lobster
  • Fried Mozzarella
  • Red Pepper and Olive Canapés
  • Marinated Olives
  • Roasted Peppers with Anchovies
Main Course
  • Classic Chicken Cacciatore
  • Penne with Vodka Sauce
  • Lobster Ravioli with Tomato Sauce
  • Risotto with Arugula and Toasted Garlic
  • Tomato, Spinach, and Mascarpone Gnocchi
  • Spinach and Feta Cannelloni
  • Short Rib and Dried Porcini Lasagne
  • Roasted Squash and Polenta Torta
  • Polpettone
  • Spezzatino di maiale
  • Strawberry Shortcake with Mascarpone
  • Passion fruit Soufflés
  • Tiramisu
  • Double Espresso Tart
  • Torta di riso
  • Peach Melba
  • Bellini Granita
  • Peach Zabaglione
  • Strawberry Macaroons
  • White Chocolate and Pistachio Panna cotta
Caribbean Delight

Drinks and Cocktails
  • Spiced Pineapple Cocktail
  • Watermelon Margarita
  • Pineapple and Mango Rum Cocktail
  • Cherry Mojito
  • Watermelon Basil Margarita
  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Spearmint Juleps
  • Blue Hawaii
  • Coconut Margarita
  • Classic Caipirinha
  • Fried Cheese Balls
  • Pork Kabobs
  • Cod Fish Fritters
  • Jamaican Beef Dumplings
  • Hot Pepper Shrimp
  • Caribbean Meatballs
  • Jamaican Hot Wings
  • Spicy Sweet Potato Cubes
  • Fried Plantains
  • Sausage Cheese Triangles
Main Course
  • Coconut Crusted Salmon
  • Jerk Chicken
  • Caribbean Shrimp and Banana Curry
  • Beef Picadillo
  • Spicy Pork Chops
  • Grilled Tuna Steaks with Mango Salsa
  • Traditional Chicken Asopao
  • Grilled Fish with Caribbean Salsa
  • Fish Stew
  • Pepper Pot
  • Coffee Flan
  • Chocolate Bread Pudding
  • Guava Fool
  • Coconut Rum Cake
  • Mango Meringue
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Churros
  • Coconut Rice Pudding
  • Coffee Pecan Brownies
  • Tropical Cheesecake
A Taste of Spain

Drinks and Cocktails
  • Sparkling Wine Sangria
  • Sherry Spritzers
  • Melon Mint Sangria
  • Kiwifruit Caipiroska
  • Rasmopolitian
  • Rum Punch
  • Raspberry Spritzer
  • Paloma Cooler
  • Peachmopolitian
  • Pear Lemon Fizz
  • Salt and Pepper Shrimp
  • Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp Salad
  • Grilled Seafood Salad
  • Steamed Clams in Garlic Saffron Broth
  • Stuffed Peppers with Goat Cheese
  • Stuffed Fried Sardines
  • Garlicky Shrimp with Olive Oil
  • Marinated Baby Artichokes
  • Gazpacho
  • Tuna Empanada
Main Course
  • Paella
  • Pork in Adobo Sauce
  • Braised Beef Cheeks
  • Mussels in Tomato Vinaigrette
  • Tuna and Potato Stew
  • Rack of Lamb with Baby Potatoes
  • Leek and Potato Hotpot
  • Marinated Salmon
  • Partridge with Pears
  • Stuffed Eggplants
  • Custard with Peach and Meringue
  • Churros with Hot Chocolate
  • Lemon and Berry Dessert
  • Spanish Apple Pie
  • Almond Ice cream
  • Strawberry Flan
  • Crema Catalana
  • Orange Cake
  • Magdalena
  • Lemon Sorbet
If you follow these easy dinner party ideas, you are sure to have a very successful party.These were some menu ideas that you can take inspiration from for your next dinner party. You can also mix and match items from all the menus given above. Just make sure that the taste of the variant dishes do not clash wildly with each other. Every course should complement each other. Go on, make the most of these ideas given above and do let me know how they worked for you.