How to throw the perfect dinner party

From canapés to cocktails, main courses to mocktails, here's everything you need to throw a unforgettable dinner party

How to throw the perfect dinner party

January has been and gone and as we all start to socialise a little more, dinner parties are a great way to spend time with friends away from the chill outside.

Whether it's to celebrate a birthday or simply for a catch-up, the best way to go is to maximise easy wins for starters, main courses, desserts and the perfect drinks to wash it all down with. This way you can prepare everything beforehand and join in the fun when the party rolls around.

Here’s how to host a super fun night in…


Fling open the doors and welcome your guests with canapès and a cocktail. The trick here is to plan light bites that can be prepped in advance and drinks that can easily be put together leaving you more time to enjoy the evening with your guests.

Party Bites…

Quick, easy canapes that you can make and chill a few hours before like these delicious smoked salmon bites are perfect for entertaining. Serve some salty treats like crispy cauliflower and Parmesan snack bites and your beer-loving friends are sorted – not to mention your vegan and veggie pals too. And because everyone loves a cheese straw, these Parmesan and poppy seed twists are easy to nibble on and keep well in a Tupperware box if there’s any left over (there won’t be!).


Cool Cocktails…

The best part about these easy cocktails (apart from the delicious flavour) is that they’ll be easy to create again and again – you could probably make up a jug and it shouldn’t be too difficult to remember the recipe! A Classic Martini requires just three ingredients: gin, dry vermouth and an olive to garnish. It's quick, easy and oh-so-sophisticated. Or, try a warming Whiskey Ginger by filling a tall glass with one shot of whisky and topping up with ginger ale to taste. Simple!


Moreish Mocktails…

For those who would prefer something soft-yet-special to drink, make the Mock-Jito your go-to. Zesty lime, lemon and mint muddled in lemonade is the perfect, thirst-quenching way to start a party – and super simple too.

Or, warm a pan of cloudy apple juice with ginger, pear, cinnamon, cardamom and lime juice for a Mulled Pear and Ginger Punch that will make your kitchen smell divine.



Like with your party drinks and nibbles, opt for something that’s the least amount of hassle on the evening itself. You want a dish that you can prep in the morning and then leave to cook itself – allowing you time to sit back, relax and enjoy the party.


For the meat-eaters…

This decadent slow-cooked lamb burger is a dish of tender lamb with smoky spiced sauce and tangy slaw. It also takes just 10 minutes to prep. The lamb goes in the oven for eight hours, meaning you don’t have to lift a finger. It’s also a brilliant meal that guests can dip into, meaning it works well as a sit-down meal or a mingle-type munch.


For the veggies and vegans…

This vegan bean burger takes a little more work, but not much. You should be done prepping within 30 minutes and then they need a good while to chill (while your lamb dish is cooking) then just a quick fry before serving. 


And now for sides…

A big tray of mac ‘n’ cheese works well as a side, or as a dish on its own. It’s also perfect for a late-night nibble when guests are peckish. This plant-based bake uses pureed cauliflower instead of cheese, meaning it’s perfect for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike. Serve up a chic, simple Bistro Salad with a mustard dressing for guests to help themselves to.



And now, for dessert. Prep just one, decadent dessert that all of your guests can enjoy, meaning less work for you and no dishing out portions. But perhaps consider whipping up a cheeseboard or a platter to have on hand for the savoury-lovers.

Sweet Treat…

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Making individual chocolate desserts is a sure-fire way of keeping almost all of your guests happy. These Millionaire’s Shortbread Pudding Shots not only look impressive, but they’re easy to put together in advance as they need a good few hours to chill. Plus, because they’re made with dairy alternatives, they’re perfect for all diners to tuck into.


The Perfect Platter…

Having a cheeseboard to delve into as dessert is another great idea. After all, a big platter groaning with different cheeses, pickles and stacks of crackers has something for everyone, especially with so many vegan alternatives available now. It's the perfect after-dinner delight!


Head to your local Asda store or online to stock up on all the ingredients you'll need for a delightful dinner party.