Looking for the best kids party food ideas? Here are 20 winning dishes guaranteed to please!
I can’t tell you the number of kids parties I’ve been to where Mum has created an amazing party food spread … only to have half of it left on the plates. Pinterest has inspired us to serve lovingly crafted cake pops and sandwiches shaped like princess crowns…but do the kids actually appreciate them? Unfortunately, the answer is mostly ‘no’.
But don’t despair, there are plenty of party foods that children love, and that I see devoured at party after party. I’ve created this list based on what I know from my own extensive experience, but also from asking for input from other mums. These foods were the clear winners.
You’ll find that, for the most part, this is a pretty basic list – many are party favourites from when we were kids, and they remain just as popular today. To satisfy the more modern mama, I’ve included some fancy serving suggestions, along with a few new dishes.
This fruit gets a listing all of it’s own, because it is always such a hit. Watermelon is sweet and juicy…and also healthy and the easiest thing to prepare. Just cut it into small slices and serve. Watermelon is also the perfect fruit to cut into star or flower shapes using a cookie cutter. Or add a popsicle stick to create watermelon pops. Perfect for a summer party.
2. Chopped Fruit
Fruit platters are a favourite with parents, because they’re healthy. Most kids will eat a piece or two, especially strawberries and grapes. You can make your chopped fruit a little fancy by threading it onto popsicle sticks or blunt wooden skewers to create a fruit wand. I will include this proviso though – most kids will only eat a one kebab at the most. So don’t get too hopeful about this healthy dish!
Pigs in blankets from The Baker Mama
3. Potato Chips & Popcorn
I’m sorry to say that a bag of potato chips will likely be one of the biggest hits on the party table. You can substitute popcorn if you must. Manage portions and pretty up the presentation by serving chips or popcorn in little paper cups.
4. Cocktail Frankfurts
Do yourself a favour and don’t look at the ingredients. Just boil them up, pop them in a bowl and voila, the kids will devour them.
5. Pigs In Blankets
If you can’t bring yourself to serve boring frankfurts, wrap them in a square of puff pastry, brushed with a little tomato sauce, and baked in a moderate oven for 12-15 minutes. Now they’re posh and yummy!
Mini pizzas from The Comfort Of Cooking
6. Mini Pizzas
Create single serve pizzas using homemade or store bought pizza dough, rolled out and cut with a large round cookie cutter or glass. Top with tomato paste, chopped ham and grated cheese – or whatever else takes your fancy. But you know the kids are not going to eat the ones with too many veggies, right? (PS – you’ll find plenty of recipes by Googling ‘mini pizza’)
A pinwheel is a sheet of puff pastry, spread with a topping, rolled up into a log, then cut into slices and baked. You can make savoury versions such as pizza pinwheels (or if you’re Australian, Vegemite pinwheels). Or make a sweet version with Nutella spread. Mmmmm. Once again, just search the internet for plenty of recipes.
8. Mini Muffins
This is one that I always slip in to my own child’s parties – mini savoury muffins. My theory is that if you make the muffins mini sized, they’ll appeal to the kids. It’s a great way to sneak in something a little healthier than chips. Just use any muffin recipe – my favorites are cheese & ham or banana muffins – scoop teaspoonfuls of mixture into a mini muffin tray, and cook for around 10 minutes at the temperature suggested by your recipe.
9. Mini Sausage Rolls
Whether home made or store-bought, these are at the top of the list of most consumed foods at kids’ parties. Serve with tomato sauce or ketchup.
10. Mini Meat Pies
And the same goes for mini meat pies. Boring, but ever so popular. Be sure to leave yourself enough time to heat up the pies, plus cool them for five minutes before serving.
11. Mini Sushi Rolls
This can be a big hit…or a miss. It really depends upon whether the kids are familiar with eating sushi rolls. I’ve been at parties where they’ve been devoured in record time, but that’s not going to be the case if this is not a familiar food. So if sushi is a common snack food where you live, include it. But if it’s unfamiliar, feed it to the parents instead. Oh, and I should clarify – I would not recommend serving up raw fish at a children’s party. Stick with fillings such as cooked tuna, cucumber, avocado and chicken.
12. Chocolate Crackles
Oh chocolate crackle, how I love thee…and so do most kids. You can make them a little fancy by adding cake sprinkles to the tops (heart shapes and pearls look great), but kids will love them at their original best.
13. Frog In A Pond
This favourite from my own childhood days has gone missing from most party tables over recent years, but it really does appeal to little children. Simply make jelly, let it set, then push in a chocolate frog.
14. Jelly Cups
I’m going to give jelly in cups an extra listing, because there’s so much you can do with them…or so little. Kids love just plain old jelly in a mini cup. You can buy some interesting shaped plastic cups from party supply stores, and stick a mini plastic spoon in each dish. Or get creative with paper sails stuck in a mandarin slice ‘boat’; Tiny Teddies relaxing on a whipped cream beach atop the jelly; or place gummy worms inside jelly filled petrie dishes.
15. Jelly Oranges
Clearly, you can never have too much jelly! Actually, you probably could, so I would stick to one jelly dish per party. This is an old favourite that’s coming back into fashion. it is a little time consuming to create, but kids love the novelty, so it’s worth giving a go. Here’s how to make rainbow orange wedges. Perfect for a Rainbow themed party!
16. Mini Cupcakes
We’re back to mini things again. Cupcakes have become beautiful works of frosting art in recent years, and kids do love them. But I can guarantee that 90% of the kids will take a cupcake, lick the icing off, take one bite of the cake, cast it aside, then reach for another cake to lick off the icing. Mini cupcakes, on the other hand, are the perfect size for just one bite of cake plus icing. And they still look decorative, especially grouped together on a cake stand. Oh, and one other note – all too often kids won’t eat sliced birthday cake. It often ends up being consumed by the adults.
17. Marshmallow Pops
Everything is more fun on a stick – marshmallows included. Not only do they look cute, they are perfectly portion-controlled. And it’s not too hard to make them extra special by dipping in melted white chocolate and rolling in sprinkles. Here’s a great marshmallow pop tutorial.
18. Ice cream
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. And so do most kids. Jazz it up by laying out a self-serve sundae station – provide bowls of mini marshmallows, sprinkles, chocolate buttons, even popcorn, scoop the ice cream into bowls and let the kids go to town. I set up sundae stations at many of my parties, and they are always an absolute hit with the kids (not to mention the easiest dessert to prepare).
19. Fairy bread
Thank to Pinterest, the rest of the world has recently discovered the wonders of Australia’s preeminent party delicacy, fairy bread. Beloved by children and adults alike, it’s incredibly simple to make. Just take white bread, butter it and sprinkle 100’s and 1000’s on top. Make it a little fancy by cutting the bread into shapes with a cookie cutter.
Photo by Silvergum Photography
While not exactly a party food, you can’t deny that kids love candy at parties. Make a display of them by pouring single coloured lollies into fancy jars, adding a cute tag, and grouping them together. One thing I have noticed is that, when you do a display like this, the kids don’t usually raid the lolly jars until you give them the go ahead. That works well if you want to keep tabs on lolly consumption – and you can package up the bulk of them to take home as a party favour.
So there you have it. Twenty kids party food ideas that, in my extensive experience, will actually get eaten at your next kid’s party. What do you think? Do you have a favourite dish that has been left out? Leave a comment to let me know.
Looking for more party how-to’s? The Essential Kid’s Party Planning Guide contains all my top tips gleaned from years of party planning experience. From choosing a venue to entertainment to party food, and including bonus party planning checklists.