Graduation Food Ideas: Snacks to Serve at a Graduation Party
Are you planning on throwing a graduation party in the near future? If so, you’re going to want to serve the right snacks. This is a major celebration, after all. Simply pouring a few bags of chips into bowls and setting them out on tables isn’t the right way to mark the occasion. You want to serve foods guests will enjoy, while also staying true to the theme of a grad party. That means considering a few different graduation party food ideas.
The suggestions here will help you come up with menu ideas that are perfect for this type of event. That said, it’s always a good idea to contact your guests at least six months in advance before the date of the party. Ideally, you should strive to accommodate the dietary restrictions and tastes of as many guests as possible. Finding out what types of foods they can and can’t eat will make the process of choosing snacks everyone will enjoy much simpler.
In the meantime, consider these graduation themed food ideas. They can turn a basic graduation party into a much more fun, memorable experience for everyone.
Chicken & Cauliflower ‘Wings’
Serving chicken wings at a party is often a smart idea. They’re easy to make, relatively affordable, and many guests will likely enjoy them.
That said, you might also have guests who don’t eat meat. In this case, you can serve cauliflower bites as an alternative. Making them is also a fairly simple process. All you have to do is chop up some cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, then toss the pieces in the same flour and spice mixture you would use to coat the chicken wings. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and cook the cauliflower pieces for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through the cook time. Next, remove them from the oven to toss them with the same sauce you would use for the wings, then place them back in the oven and cook them for another half hour. Even guests who aren’t vegetarians will love this nutritious alternative to a classic party snack.
High school and college graduations aren’t the only commencements worth celebrating. If your child is graduating from middle school, you might also throw them a party.
Middle school graduation parties are often themed. Younger children are simply more interested in organizing their parties around specific ideas or activities than older kids might be. If you do choose to theme your celebration, the theme itself can help you come up with ideas for appropriate snacks.
For instance, maybe your child plays a sport, and you’ve decided that sport should be their party’s theme. Serving the types of snacks people would find at a stadium when watching that sport is an easy way to serve food that matches the central idea of the party.
If sports aren’t your child’s preferred activity, maybe they perform on stage in some capacity, as part of a school theater or band program. You might consider this as a theme for your party. To add to the effect, serve popcorn in bags like the kind offered at theaters. You can even decorate the bags with imagery related to graduation (such as cap and gown stickers) to make the snacks perfectly fit the occasion.
Of course, not all children will want themed parties, and not all children will pick themes like the examples here. The point to remember, though, is that sticking to a theme can help you narrow down your menu. Keep that in mind when planning your child’s graduation party.
Cheese Ball Bites
A major goal you probably have when planning a graduation party menu is to come up with snack ideas that guests can easily eat with their hands. The less cutlery people need to use, the easier it will be for you to clean up after the party’s over.
That’s why these cheese ball bites make for a great addition to the menu. To make them, simply stir together two blocks of cream cheese with a cup of your preferred shredded cheese, as well as any spices, seasonings, and veggies you wish to add. Some people also choose to add cooked bacon or similar ingredients. This particular snack can be modified according to your taste, so get creative when making it, adding in anything you think will make it more appealing to you and your guests.
Once the ingredients are mixed, roll the mixture up into bite-sized balls. For texture, it also helps to coat them in something crunchy, such as crumbled pecans. Refrigerate them for an hour, and remove them approximately 15 minutes before serving, to allow them to reach room temperature. You can also stick a thin pretzel stick into the top of each one to make eating them even easier.
If you’re celebrating a high school graduation, your child might be heading off to college in a few months. That means they might find themselves having to cook their own meals from time to time. Although some kids are already experts in the kitchen, others might have less experience with cooking. They’ll benefit from learning how to make simple meals that don’t require many expensive ingredients. Thus, you can use the graduation party as an opportunity to teach them some basics.
Learning how to make mini pizzas is a good place to start. Like the options above, this snack is great for parties because it appeals to many guests, and is easy to eat without using plates, forks, or knives.
Making mini pizzas is also fairly low-effort. That means you can teach your kid how to make this snack without wasting time that could be spent making other items on the menu. Simply choose a type of bread for the dough. This can be toasted English muffins, pita bread, French bread, or any sturdy, bakeable bread option that you and your child prefer. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and top each “pizza” with a layer of sauce (you can used jarred sauce, or make your own), mozzarella cheese, and any cooked toppings you like. Place the pizzas on a baking sheet in the oven and cook until the cheese has melted.
Of course, if you want to get creative, you can make these pizzas fit the graduation theme by making designs with the toppings. For instance, you could cut pepperoni slices into graduation-themed shapes, or you could write messages such as “Congrats!” on top of the pizzas in a sauce of your choosing.
That said, if you don’t have the time for such extra steps, this is still a smart item to include on a grad party menu, especially if your grad will be heading off the college soon. Mini pizzas are easy enough to make that you can be sure they’ll know how to prepare at least one dinner when you’re not there to cook for them. Additionally, mini pizzas can be vegetarian, and even vegan, if you choose to make a batch with a vegan cheese substitute.
Nachos are also very easy to make. On top of that, they’re extremely customizable. You can often top them with leftover ingredients you had from other recipes. This helps you save money.
After all, making a platter of nachos for a party is as simple as arranging some tortilla chips on a baking sheet, and adding layers of any traditional nacho toppings you like, such as chicken, beef, beans, cheese, veggies, and more. Create a few layers so you don’t wind up with a platter where all the chips on top have toppings, while all the chips at the bottom are bare. Once you’ve added all toppings, simply cook the nachos in the oven until the cheese has melted. Serve alongside salsa and/or guacamole for a party snack plenty will enjoy. As with mini pizzas, you can also make a batch of vegetarian or vegan nachos, making it easy to cater to every guest at your party. On top of that, this is another snack your grad can probably learn to make fairly easily. Get them involved to save time in the kitchen while also teaching them some basic cooking lessons.
Sliders are simply miniature hamburgers or sandwiches that tend to be a hit at parties. You can offer a variety of options, including traditional hamburgers and cheeseburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and any other options you know how to make, such as pulled pork or vegetarian sliders.
Including this menu item also gives you a chance to serve yet another snack that matches the graduation theme. By topping each slider with a halved grape tomato and dangling some string cheese from it (use a toothpick to keep the cheese attached), you can make the top of the sliders resemble a graduation cap, complete with tassle.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Of course, you’ll also want to serve some form of dessert at a graduation party. Going the traditional route and ordering a cake is an easy way to check this menu item off your list.
That doesn’t mean you need to stick with that option. Again, many of the foods here are great party snacks because guests can eat them with their hands and even customize them in some instances. You might want to take the same approach to dessert.
Luckily, this is another snack that’s easy to prep and serve. Just bake or purchase an assortment of cookies and arrange them next to a few tubs of ice cream. Guests can eat the cookies on their own, or they can make ice cream sandwiches with them. This helps you more easily cater to people with both large and small appetites when serving dessert.
Popcorn Chicken (or Shrimp, or Veggies, etc…)
Popcorn chicken is another finger food that’s relatively easy to make. Just cut chicken breasts into small, thin strips, and coat them in flour, breadcrumbs, and spices of your choosing. You may need to coat the chicken in egg first to ensure the flour and breadcrumbs stick to the pieces. Then, simply heat up some oil in a large pot, and fry the pieces until they are cooked through completely. Serve with dipping sauces of your choice.
This recipe can also be used to create popcorn shrimp if you would prefer. The steps are essentially the same, although you may want to choose different spices and seasonings.
You can even apply this recipe to vegetables if you’re struggling to offer more vegetarian options. Instead of chicken or shrimp, use cut up pieces of zucchini or a similar vegetable.
Easy Mozzarella Sticks
Making your own mozzarella sticks for a graduation party is a lot easier than you might realize. For this recipe, get a package of mozzarella string cheese, the kind that’s typically marketed to younger kids as a snack. Each piece of string cheese essentially comes in the form of a rectangular log. To turn that log into a mozzarella stick, coat it in breadcrumbs or flour (again, you may have to use a little bit of egg to make sure it sticks), and fry it up in oil. Serve alongside marinara sauce.
To make a unique impression on guests, you can substitute typical Italian breadcrumbs with another option, such as panko breadcrumbs, or even egg roll wraps.
Looking for a slightly healthier snack that’s still easy to prepare? Making caprese bites is as simple as sticking a cherry tomato, fresh basil leaf, and chunk of fresh mozzarella on a toothpick. Top each bite with a small drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Older guests will appreciate that you served a snack geared to more mature tastes.
Of course, it’s always important to discuss menu items with your child when planning a graduation party. This is a celebration of one of the most important events in their life. They may want to have input.
Either way, you don’t need to work too hard or spend too much money to come up with your graduation food menu. From Chicken & Cauliflower ‘Wings’ to cheese ball bites, serve up some snacks your guests will love!