Keep the Fun Going With These Dinner Party Ideas

We think January is the perfect time to throw a dinner party. Check out our three favorite dinner party ideas, and get started planning your own event.

The holidays may be over, but fun and festive gatherings don’t have to be over too. In fact, we think January is the perfect time to throw a dinner party. We all need something to look forward to besides Groundhog Day, which we’ve never liked much anyway.

A dinner party doesn’t have to be a stodgy affair with crystal, china and silver. (Unless that sounds like fun to you — no judgment!) Check out our three favorite dinner party ideas, and get started planning your own event.

Dinner Party Ideas: Make-Your-Own Taco Bar

Who doesn’t love tacos? We don’t know anyone who’d turn down an invitation to a taco party, whether it’s on a Tuesday or not. Delicious!

The logistics of a taco bar are pretty easy. Borrow a few slow cookers from friends to hold the meat — carnitas, shredded chicken, and ground beef. You can also serve a vegetarian option, like this seasoned quinoa from Minimalist Baker or this crispy blackened tofu from Making Thyme for Health.

Dinner Party Ideas: Who doesn't love tacos? Put together a taco bar for your next gathering.

Everything else can be room temperature or chilled. We suggest offering both flour and corn tortillas and a variety of freshly shredded cheeses (cheddar, jack, queso fresco). You can do plain diced tomatoes, pico de gallo, or corn salsa (like this Chipotle copycat from How Sweet It Is). Better yet, serve all three. Whatever you do, don’t forget sour cream and guacamole.

As for drinks, we think a variety of Mexican beers and a few pitchers of sangria will do nicely. Viva la vida!

Dinner Party Ideas: Wine Tasting Party

If you and your friends love wine, this next idea might be the perfect way to banish your winter blahs.

Ask each friend (or couple) to bring their favorite bottle of wine. Be sure they tell you in advance what they’re bringing so you can avoid duplicates, just like with a cookie exchange. Make a fun sign for each bottle, along with small “information cards” with the name of the winery, the name of the wine, and the varietal.

Dinner Party Ideas: Throw a wine tasting party. Guests can move from bottle to bottle, try them all, and take information cards for the wines they especially like. It's a great way to discover new wines without splurging on a whole bottle!

Place the bottles in various locations throughout the party area, along with signs, information cards, and small cups for tasting. Make sure you have appetizers available too, like a fabulous cheese board or some savory tarts. Guests can move from bottle to bottle, try them all, and take information cards for the wines they especially like. It’s a great way to discover new wines without splurging on a whole bottle!

Plus, while everyone is exploring all the different wines, you can put the finishing touches on dinner. We suggest something hearty like lasagna that doesn’t require individual plating, along with a green salad and crusty bread. Your guests will certainly be looking forward to a delicious meal after tasting all that wine!

Dinner Party Ideas: Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast for dinner isn’t just a last resort for a family weeknight dinner. It can be a wonderfully casual way to bring friends together on the weekend too.

Start with a make-ahead casserole as the main event, like these overnight breakfast recipes. You can also set up a Belgian waffle station for another hot breakfast option. If you don’t already own a waffle maker you love, try the Chef’s Choice Classic Belgian. It can whip up a batch of waffles every 90 seconds. Speaking of whipping, don’t forget to serve waffles with fresh fruit and homemade whipped cream as an alternative to butter and syrup.

Dinner Party Ideas: Breakfast for dinner isn't just a last resort for a family weeknight dinner. It can be a wonderfully casual way to bring friends together on the weekend too.

A yogurt and granola bar is also perfect for breakfast for dinner. Offer a few flavors of yogurt, a few types of granola, and fresh fruit. Likewise, a platter of muffins and bagels with a variety of cream cheeses and compound butters will be a big hit too. No need to make bagels from scratch, but you might try a batch of muffins and a baking sheet full of homemade granola since these can easily be made ahead.

Of course, no celebratory breakfast is complete without mimosas and bloody Marys. Mix up a few pitchers, along with some decaf coffee and a selection of teas. You and your guests might have so much fun that you pull an all-nighter!

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