54 Sweet 16 Food Ideas You’ll Definitely Want to Steal

Planning a teen's birthday party can be stressful, especially when it's their 16th. We've made it easy with these tasty sweet 16 food ideas that even picky teenagers will love.

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Rainbow Cupcakes

I’ve been making these colorful cupcakes with my mom since I was in high school. The cheery sweets are as fun to make as they are to eat. —Tammy Quinn, Lynden, Ontario

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Slow-Cooker Cheeseburger Dip

This fun dip recipe uses ingredients that I always have in the fridge, so it's easy to throw together on short notice. —Cindi DeClue, Anchorage, Alaska
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Mango Fudge Refrigerator Ribbon Cookies

I’ve always thought that a ribbon cookie is especially nice. Although it’s a single cookie, it really seems like two or three different cookies because of its lovely layers of flavor. These refrigerated ribbon cookies have a rich chocolate layer balanced by a bright orange-mango layer—a very special combination. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Slow-Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas

As a busy teacher, I think it's so nice to come home to a warm meal after a day in the classroom. I'm not the only one who thinks so: These slow-cooker flank steak fajitas go fast at potlucks, too. —Mary Holmgren, Mackinaw, Illinois
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Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

For my kids' birthdays, I like to top this ice cream birthday cake with jimmies. —Becky Herges, Fargo, North Dakota
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Marshmallow Fruit Dip

You can whip up this sweet and creamy dip in just 10 minutes. I like to serve it in a bowl surrounded by fresh-picked strawberries at spring brunches or luncheons. —Cindy Steffen, Cedarburg, Wisconsin
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Chicken Parmesan Slider Bake

Sliders are the perfect finger food for any get-together, and this flavorful chicken Parmesan version won’t disappoint. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
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Homemade Pizza

This recipe is a hearty, zesty main dish with a crisp, golden crust. Feel free to add your favorite toppings. —Marianne Edwards, Lake Stevens, Washington
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Easy Strawberry Lemonade Freezer Pie

Three simple ingredients mixed together and spread into a graham cracker crust make magic while your freezer does all the work. Prep this pie ahead and freeze it overnight or even longer. Feel free to vary the fruit if you'd like! —Debbie Glasscock, Conway, Arkansas
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Bacon Roll-Ups

This family recipe dates back to the 1930s, when my grandmother started making these tasty bites. Now I’m proud to serve them to my loved ones. They’re terrific for brunch, too. —Janet Abate, North Brunswick, New Jersey
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Three Cheese Artichoke & Spinach Dip

Grated Parm, shredded mozzarella, cream cheese, mayo and butter make this dip as decadent as it gets. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Maple Pulled Pork Buns

Maple syrup is the sweet secret to these irresistible buns. Slow-cooking the flavorful pork couldn’t be easier, and the buns are quick to roll up. We love them for parties because they serve a packed house. —Rashanda Cobbins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Mini Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies

I love baking cookies to give as gifts to my family and friends. I created this recipe for my annual holiday cookie platter and it received rave reviews from both children and adults. If the buttercream doesn't come together after all of the butter has been incorporated, add some shortening one tablespoon at a time until the mixture starts to transform. —Julie Thomas, Saukville, Wisconsin
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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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Strawberry Ladyfinger Icebox Cake

This cake is inventive and yet familiar. Be sure to use a springform pan so you can easily remove it from the cake. If it breaks while you're transferring it to the serving plate, just push the pieces back together, pressing gently. —Stella Ohanian, Porter Ranch, California
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One-Bite Tamales

Clever little meatballs deliver the flavor and rich sauce of a traditional tamale in a bite-sized portion. They’re a delightfully different addition to a holiday spread. —Dolores Jaycox, Gretna, Louisiana
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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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Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I created this recipe based on our family's love of chocolate-dipped ice cream cones. Red heart-shaped sprinkles make them fun for Valentine's Day. Vary the color to match the occasion. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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Spaghetti & Meatball Skillet Supper

I developed this one-skillet spaghetti and meatball dish to cut down on cooking time on busy nights. The beans, artichokes and tomatoes bump up the nutrition factor, while the lemon and parsley make it pop with brightness. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Pretzel Bread Bowl with Cheese Dip

Our town is known as Pretzel City—even our local sports teams are known as The Pretzels. I came up with this dish for an annual community recipe contest. People couldn’t believe that the delicious bread had pretzels in the mix! For variety, try using different flavors of pretzels. —Andrea Johnson, Freeport, Illinois
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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Years ago, I added some zucchini to a peanut butter bar I had created, and this time I wanted to try adding it to a cake. The zucchini makes the cake super moist but doesn’t get in the way of the chocolate and peanut butter goodness. —Marilyn Blankschien, Clintonville, Wisconsin
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Gougeres

I brought the recipe for these gougeres back from a trip to Nice, France. The original called for Gruyere cheese, but I found that Gouda is a more budget-friendly alternative. These puffs are a wonderful bite-sized treat. If you have leftovers, float a few of these gems on a bowl of soup in place of croutons. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Apple-Gouda Pigs in a Blanket

For New Year’s, I used to make pigs in a blanket with beef and cheddar. But now I like apple and Gouda for an even better flavor celebration. —Megan Weiss, Menomonie, Wisconsin
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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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Behr Track Cookie Bars

The holidays are the perfect time to indulge in these ooey-gooey, salty-sweet peanut butter bars. A lot of people comment that the pretzels in the filling are a pleasant surprise. Just make sure to cut cookie bars small—they're super rich. —Megan Behr, Marion, Iowa
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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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Roasted Chicken and Brie Holly Mini Bites

I got the idea for these appetizers from my favorite sandwich at a local restaurant—a symphony of sweet fig, roasted apple, melted brie and tangy garlic mayonnaise. I re-created this delectable combination in a quick appetizer with bright red cranberries and green spinach to give it a holiday twist. These scrumptious bites only take about 20 minutes, but taste like you spent hours; you can also make them a few days in advance, then warm them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds before serving. They're the perfect party appetizer! —Terri Gilson, Calgary, Alberta
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Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

My husband's love for classic peanut butter and jelly inspired this recipe. The strawberry buttercream and peanut butter frosting are a delicious combination. —Kelly McCrea, North Kingsville, Ohio
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Quick Hawaiian Pizza

Our family never quite liked the taste of canned pizza sauce, so one time I tried mixing some barbecue sauce into spaghetti sauce to add some sweetness. I’ve made my pizzas with this special and easy sauce ever since, and my family loves it! —Tonya Schieler, Carmel, Indiana
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Grilled Banana Brownie Sundaes

My niece Amanda Jean and I have a lot of fun in the kitchen creating different dishes. One of us will start with a recipe idea and it just grows from there—and so does the mess. In this case, the happy result was our Grilled Banana Brownie Sundae. —Carol Farnsworth, Greenwood, Indiana
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Warm Chicken Tortellini Au Gratin

I have a number of easy, planned leftover recipes in my arsenal, which are especially useful when I'm busy. This is one of my favorites: pasta from Monday plus roasted chicken from Tuesday equals this delicious dish on Wednesday. When paired with a green salad and toasty bread, you have a meal that's fancy enough for company. —Brenda Cole, Reisterstown, Maryland
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Dill Dip

Be prepared—you'll likely need to make a double batch of this delightful dill dip recipe. One batch is never enough when we have a get-together! It tastes fantastic with just about any vegetable, so you can use whatever you have on hand as a dipper. —Kathy Beldorth, Three Oaks, Michigan
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Old-Time Custard Ice Cream

I think my most memorable summertime dessert for get-togethers has always been homemade ice cream. This recipe is so rich and creamy and is the perfect splurge on a hot summer afternoon. —Martha Self, Montgomery, Texas
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Barbecued Meatballs

Grape jelly and chili sauce are the secrets that make these meatballs so fantastic. If I’m serving them at a party, I prepare the meatballs and sauce in advance and reheat them right before guests arrive. —Irma Schnuelle, Manitowoc, Wisconsin
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Turkey & Swiss Biscuit Sliders

One of my favorite things to whip up in the kitchen is homemade buttermilk biscuits. Simple sandwiches are a wonderful way to showcase these melt-in-your-mouth treats. —Cindy Esposito, Bloomfield, New Jersey
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Confetti Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream

This simple and tender cake has been celebrated in my family for years. Dressed up with tinted frosting and confetti, it becomes pure party fun. — Karen Berner, New Canaan, Connecticut
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Jimmy's Bang Bang Chicken Sliders

I simmer chicken thighs in a spicy-sweet sauce, shred them and then pile 'em high on pretzel buns to create an incredibly addictive party food. —James Schend, Dairy Freed
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Yellow Cupcakes

Nothing is better than homemade cupcakes. This yellow cupcake recipe makes delicious and fluffy treats. To top them, choose whatever frosting you want. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pasta Fagioli al Forno

The name of this Italian-inspired dish means "baked pasta with beans." But my busy family translates it as "super satisfying dinner." —Cindy Preller, Grayslake, Illinois
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Focaccia Sandwiches

Slices of this pretty sandwich make any casual get-together more special. Add or change ingredients to your taste. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
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Broccoli-Cheddar Beef Rolls

My grandma's recipe for beef rolls is easy to change up. Load them with ham, veggies, or even olives, as you like! —Kent Call, Riverside, Utah
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Bacon Cheeseburger Slider Bake

I created this dish to fill two pans because these sliders disappear fast. Cut the recipe in half if you want one batch. —Nick Iverson, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Mini Burgers with the Works

I started preparing these mini burgers several years ago as a creative way to use up bread crusts accumulating in my freezer. They're delicious. —Linda Lane, Bennington, Vermont
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Red Velvet Marble Cake

I watched my grandma prepare her red velvet showstopper many times for family get-togethers. The fluffy butter frosting perfectly complements the flavor of this gorgeous cake.—Jodi Anderson, Overbrook, Kansas
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Chicken Caesar Pizza

Dressed greens on top of warm pizza may sound a little strange but trust me, it's fantastic. —Tracy Youngman, Post Falls, Idaho
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Swiss Chicken Sliders

Friends came over for a spur-of-the-moment bonfire, and I dreamed up these quick chicken sliders so we'd have something to eat. Bake them till the cheese is gooey. —Sara Martin, Whitefish, Montana
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Mediterranean Hummus Nachos

My husband once piled all the Middle Eastern dishes I'd made on top of pita chips. It was delicious and fun, so we've kept doing it! We love this combination with ground lamb, too. I am half Lebanese, so we usually call these Lebanese nachos. Whatever you call them, you can't help but like them! —Gina Fensler, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Blackberry Sriracha Chicken Sliders

Dump everything in a slow cooker and then watch these spicy-sweet sliders become an instant party-time classic. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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Super Chunky Cookies

Chocolate lovers will go crazy over these cookies that feature loads of chocolate! When friends ask me to make "those cookies," I know exactly what recipe they mean. —Rebecca Jendry, Spring Branch, Texas
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Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze

These smoky-sweet meatballs are a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty. I like setting them out when folks come to visit. —Janet Zeger, Middletown, Pennsylvania
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Meat Buns

On the outside, these golden buns resemble ordinary dinner rolls. But one bite reveals the tasty, cheesy beef filling inside. —Sharon Leno, Keansburg, New Jersey
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Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

Pack on the flavor with just a few ingredients! These meatballs hit the spot. —Mary Poninski, Whittington, Illinois

Caroline Stanko
Caroline has been with Taste of Home for the past seven years, working in both print and digital. After starting as an intern for the magazine and special interest publication teams, Caroline was hired as the third-ever digital editor for Taste of Home. Since then, she has researched, written and edited content on just about every topic the site covers, including cooking techniques, buzzy food news, gift guides and many, many recipe collections. Caroline also acts as the editorial lead for video, working with the Test Kitchen, videographers and social media team to produce videos from start to finish. When she’s not tip-tapping on a keyboard, Caroline is probably mixing up a killer cocktail, reading a dog-eared library book or cooking up a multi-course feast (sometimes all at once). Though she technically lives in Milwaukee, there is a 50/50 chance Caroline is in Chicago or southwest Michigan visiting her close-knit family.