These Garden Party Food Ideas Are Perfect for Your Next Backyard Bash

Updated: Apr. 23, 2024

Enjoy good weather and even better friends with a classic garden party. And make sure there's plenty of refreshments to go around with these garden party foods.

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Salmon Sliders with Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

My husband isn't a fan of salmon burgers, but he devoured these! The combination of feta, dill and fresh salmon on the toasted pretzel bun, topped with sun-dried tomato mayonnaise, changed his mind. The pickle adds tartness and crunch to balance the flavors and textures perfectly. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Bacon-Wrapped Spam Bites

These sweet and savory bites use Spam—a favorite ingredient in Hawaii—in a fun new way. Bet you can't stop at just one! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Skewered Ravioli with Creamy Tomato Dipping Sauce

I wanted to make an easy appetizer with my favorite pasta, cheese ravioli, but didn't want the mess of frying. I used pesto and bread crumbs for a crust, and broiled them for a little crunch. —Rebecca, Guffey, Apex, North Carolina
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Cinnamon Roll Macarons

These macarons are a fall and winter staple for me. Inspired by the classic cinnamon roll, they are a delicious treat for a cold or snowy day. These pair well with a mug of tea, and can be eaten as a dessert or just a snack. Other fillings would work well with this—including custard, mousse, ganache or other buttercream. —Elizabeth Ding, El Cerrito, California
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Thyme and Fig Goat Cheese Spread

When I started growing herbs in my garden it took me a while to find a good way to use thyme, but this easy appetizer spread lets it shine. I usually garnish it with a sprig of thyme, slivered almonds and chopped figs. —Laura Cox, Columbia, Missouri
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Fruit and Cheese Board

Who says cheese and sausage get to have all the fun? Make this fruit charcuterie board a party go-to with any that are in season. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Peachy Jalapeno Guacamole

Fresh jalapenos and summer-ripe peaches give this creamy guacamole so much flavor. It's got a little kick, but I love that it's not so spicy it burns off my taste buds! —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Shrimp Scampi Spinach Salad

My husband and I really enjoy both shrimp scampi and fresh spinach salad, so I put the two together. My oldest son loves it, too, and he's only 3! —Jamie Porter, Garnett, Kansas
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Smoked Pimiento Cheese Crostini

Pimiento cheese has long been a favorite in our family, so these bite-sized appetizers are a treat! I add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to give them a little kick. Caramelized onions create another layer of flavor. You can make the cheese and onions three to five days in advance; they store well. If you need to save time, you can use premade jalapeno pimiento cheese. —Caitlyn Bunch, Trenton, Georgia
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Rhubarb Tart

The rhubarb flavor in this tart balances nicely with the honey and amaretto. The mascarpone cheese makes it rich and creamy. Sometimes I'll even double the rhubarb for really sumptuous tarts. —Ellen Riley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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Asparagus Wraps

Asparagus makes lovely finger food, especially wrapped in pastry and tasty filling. Easily assembled, it’s perfect for weeknight noshing or something a little fancier for entertaining. —Linda Hall, Evington, Virginia
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Melon-Berry Salad

The best way to cool down on a warm day is with a chilled fruit salad. Serve this one for breakfast, brunch or dessert. Yogurt and coconut milk make the creamy dressing even more decadent. Wait until just before serving to garnish the salad. Otherwise the toasted coconut will get soggy. —Carrie Hirsch, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
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Grilled Veggies with Caper Butter

We enjoy the tart, peppery taste of capers. No one likes a bland veggie, and caper butter helps peppers, squash and zucchini shine. —Danyelle Crum, Indian Trail, North Carolina
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Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola Spread

My husband first tried this recipe with plain potatoes. They were so yummy; we experimented with sweet potatoes. Dipped in Gorgonzola spread, they’re irresistible. —Kristen Minello, Macomb, Michigan
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Buttery Radish Baguette

My dad and brother are crazy for radishes, and this peppery baguette appetizer is a big-time favorite. Add a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley on top. —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island
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Pork and Balsamic Strawberry Salad

Serving this entree salad gives me hope that warmer days aren't too far off. If strawberries aren't in season yet, use thawed frozen in place of fresh. —Laurie Lufkin, Essex, Massachusetts
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Roro's Pineapple Cookies

My memories of Christmas always include my mom's pineapple cookies. The kids called her Roro, and we still make them every year to keep her memory alive. You can substitute your favorite flavor of preserves for the pineapple. —Donna Scarano, East Hanover, New Jersey
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Sweet Pea Pesto

I made a healthier spin on pea pesto by subbing in vegetable broth for some of the oil and going easy on the cheese. For use on pasta, add more broth for a saucelike consistency. —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
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Strawberry Kale Salad

This fresh, zingy salad is super easy and tastes just like the one I get at Culver's! The sliced strawberries and fresh mint give it an extra-summery feel, and crumbled bacon and toasted almonds add the perfect amount of crunch. —Luanne Asta, Hampton Bays, New York
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Healthy Greek Bean Dip

This crowd-pleasing appetizer is healthy to boot! Folks will love to eat their veggies when they can dip them in this zesty, fresh alternative to hummus. —Kelly Silvers, Edmond, Oklahoma
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Peach Crumb Bars

I had the most beautiful peaches and really wanted to bake with them. I started with my blueberry crumb bar recipe, and after a couple of tries, I was so happy with the results. My co-worker taste testers were, too! —Amy Burns, Newman, Illinois
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Balsamic-Glazed Fig & Pork Tenderloin

I have a huge fig tree that produces an abundance of figs. One year I tried drying some and developed this sweet and smoky recipe as a result. Now it's a regular at family gatherings. —Greg Fontenot, The Woodlands, Texas
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Spring Pea & Radish Salad

Winters can be very long here in New Hampshire. I always look forward to the first veggies of spring and making some lighter dishes like this fresh salad. —Jolene Martinelli, Derry, New Hampshire
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Golden Beet Curry Risotto with Crispy Beet Greens

I was delighted to find golden beets at the farmers market and knew they'd be perfect in a risotto recipe I was working on. And please, don't forget the baked crispy beet greens...amazing! Move over, main dish! This vibrant side will steal the show. —Merry Graham, Newhall, California
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Caprese Salad Kabobs

Trade in the usual veggie platter for these fun kabobs. In addition to preparing these for get-togethers, I often make these as snacks for my family. And because assembly is so easy, the kids often ask to help. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California
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Easy Berry Cheesecake Parfaits

These sweet little parfaits take everything that's wonderful about cheesecake and make it way easier. You get the rich creaminess, graham cracker crunch and bright berry flavor all in fun individual portions. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Hummus

This tasty beetroot hummus is the prettiest pink snack I’ve ever seen. The healthy recipe is handy to make in large batches and keep in the fridge for lunches and snacks throughout the week. —Elizabeth Worndl, Toronto, Ontario
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Strawberry Ricotta Bruschetta

Here's an interesting spin on bruschetta. The creamy ricotta cheese spread is an ideal complement to the sweet, minty strawberry topping. —Laura Stricklin, Jackson, Mississippi
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Pomegranate Splash Salad

The sparkling pomegranate gems make this salad irresistibly beautiful. My family loves it at holiday gatherings when pomegranates are in season. Even the children can't get enough of this antioxidant-rich delight. —Emily Jamison, Champaign, Illinois
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Peach Bruschetta

As a starter or light snack, this bruschetta is a wonderful way to savor the season with just a bite of fresh peach amid a medley of lively flavors. —Nikiko Masumoto, Del Ray, California
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Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

We eat grapefruit for breakfast and in winter fruit salads—why not for dessert? Here's a sweet-tart cake that's easy, delicious and one of a kind. It's healthier too! —Maiah Miller, Montclair, Vermont
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Teriyaki Salmon Bundles

If you're bored with the same old appetizers, give this one a try. I serve the little salmon bundles on skewers for easy dipping. Standing the skewers in a small vase filled with table salt creates a festive presentation. —Diane Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas
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Candied Bacon-Wrapped Figs

I stuffed figs with cream cheese and wrapped them in bacon and spices for an addictive flavor combo that’s sweet, salty and delicious. You can use dates, too. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Grilled Nectarine & Cheese Crostini

At our house, we love the summer tastes of sweet grilled nectarines and fresh basil over goat cheese. I can usually find all the ingredients at the farmers market. —Brandy Hollingshead, Grass Valley, California
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Mimosa Butter Cookies

You can add many different flavors to butter cookies to make them your own. Try an alternate type of citrus zest, or add an alternate liquid to change things up. —Sara Lark, Raton, New Mexico
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Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

These fun cupcakes take a favorite Arnold Palmer recipe and turn it into dessert. Add a slice of lemon on top for a puckery finish. —Jessee Arriaga, Reno, Nevada
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Green Bean-Cherry Tomato Salad

My grandmother made a cold green bean salad with potatoes for every family barbecue. Now I bring my own version of the recipe to parties. With added color and taste from the cherry tomatoes, this classic favorite is even better. —Angela Lemoine, Howell, New Jersey
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Honeyed Carrots with Citrus-Basil Gremolata

I love the scent of fresh basil. It's even better when paired with fresh citrus peel! In this recipe, the carrots are sweetened with a touch of honey, then topped with a lively citrus-basil gremolata. —Naylet LaRochelle, Miami, Florida
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Honeydew Granita

Make this refreshing summer treat when melons are ripe and flavorful. I like to garnish each serving with a sprig of mint or a small slice of honeydew. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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Maryland Corn Pops

Fresh-picked sweet corn is a big thing in Maryland. Here’s my homespun version of Mexican street corn that brings in local bay flavors. —Kristie Schley, Severna Park, Maryland
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Pesto Quinoa Salad

My daughter-in-law got me hooked on quinoa, and I'm so glad she did! I've been substituting quinoa in some of my favorite pasta recipes, and this dish is the happy result of one of those experiments. I love using my garden tomatoes and peppers in this salad; however, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers are equally delicious. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Fruity Chicken Salad Mini Sandwiches

Chicken salad ranks among the classics, and this version is a hit at parties of all kinds. Feel free to substitute green grapes for the red, or toss in extra strawberries when they're in season. The filling can also be served on a bed of salad greens. —Marcy Kamery, Blasdell, New York
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Coconut, Lime and Pistachio Cookies

Perfect for freezing, these cookies look like Christmas but taste like summer. —Barbara Crusan, Pass Christian, Mississippi
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Black-Eyed Pea Tomato Salad

Spending time in the kitchen with my late aunt was so much fun because she was an amazing cook and teacher. This black-eyed pea salad was one of her specialties. It is easy to make and is a nice alternative to pasta or potato salad. Add cooked cubed chicken breast to make it a meal on its own. —Patricia Ness, La Mesa, California
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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Vinaigrette

I'd never tried Brussels sprouts until I made this salad. It won me over and even charmed my family. Bacon and apples spruce up the flavor. —Stephanie Gates, Waterloo, Iowa
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Chicken & Bacon Roll-Ups

My children like these roll-ups so much that they ask for them every day for lunch during the summer. Whenever I have leftover chicken or turkey breast, this is a delicious way to use it up. —Patricia Nieh, Portola Valley, California
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Lemon Curd Cookies

I've made these cookies for years. I like to give them out to family and friends. —Carole Vogel, Allison Park, Pennsylvania
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Fresh Corn & Avocado Dip

I alter my sister's recipe by adding a finely chopped jalapeno pepper for a little heat. This tasty dip can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until serving. —Pat Roberts, Thornton, Ontario
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & 3-Cheese Crostini

Brussels sprouts for a snack? Oh, yes. Combine these roasted goodies with cheese for the ultimate toast topper. —Athena Russell, Greenville, South Carolina
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Shrimp in Phyllo Cups

I almost didn’t make these appetizers for last year’s Christmas party because I was running out of time, but I knew they’d be a tasty hit. Simple to make, the cups have few ingredients and look beautiful on the plate—very gourmet! This turned out to be one of the night’s favorites, and they just flew off the plate. —Terri Edmunds, Naperville, Illinois
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Lemon Pudding Dessert

After a big meal, folks really go for this light lemon treat. The shortbread crust is the perfect base for the fluffy top layers. I've prepared this sunny dessert for church suppers for years and I always get recipe requests. —Muriel DeWitt, Maynard, Massachusetts
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Antipasto Marinated Vegetables

The colorful vegetables and the tart dressing make this a lively addition to a holiday table. Serve it as a side dish or condiment—it's great either way. Refrigerate for three hours before serving to give the flavors time to blend. —Barbara McCalley, Allison Park, Pennsylvania
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Apricot-Filled Triangles

Traditionally called hamantaschen, these crisp, buttery triangle cookies truly do melt in your mouth. It's a good thing this classic Jewish dessert recipe makes a big batch because no one can stop after eating just one! —Mildred Lorence, Carlisle, Pennsylvania