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Teenage Party Food Ideas – A Guide

If there’s one thing you can count on when planning a teenage party, it’s that the kids will be hungry. You’ll need to organize foods they’re familiar with, yet serve some more adult dishes for this adventurous stage in life. 

Typically, teenagers love finger foods that they can eat up in a few bites. Offer bowls of standard chips and packaged snacks by all means, and provide some dips to go with them, but think also in terms of protein foods that look attractive on a platter and satisfy that huge teenage hunger.

Keep in mind that some guests may have food sensitivities or choose to eat only vegan foods. Ask if any of the kids have allergies or other food issues, and make sure that the ones that do know which foods on the table are safe for them to eat. 

Chickpea-Topped Toasts

Vegan snacks featuring fresh vegetables, like these chickpea-topped toasts, will get snatched up, vegan or not, so make plenty.

For teenagers with gluten sensitivity, spoon the chickpea topping on rice crackers.

This recipe makes about 10 toasts.

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 loaf of rustic bread, or 10 rice crackers

2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves, plus extra for garnish

6 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, peeled

¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a medium bowl, mash the chickpeas coarsely with a potato masher.  Add the parsley, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Cut the bread into diagonal slices about 1/2 inch thick. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle a thread of olive oil over the slices. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 ° F until crisp.

Rub the garlic cloves over the toasts. Top with the chickpea mixture.

Garnish the toasts with finely chopped parsley. Serve right away.  

If using rice crackers, add ½ teaspoon of garlic powder to the chickpea mixture. Don’t attempt to rub garlic on the crackers.

Spicy Cauliflower Bites

Spicy Cauliflower Bites

This is another vegan finger food. No milk or eggs in these delicious little veggie bites.

Ingredients:

1 medium head of cauliflower 

For the batter:

⅓ cup alternative milk such as almond or soy milk

1 teaspoon bottled hot sauce

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

¼ cup all-purpose flour or rice flour

3 tablespoons cornstarch, potato starch, or arrowroot 

½ teaspoon baking powder

Cooking oil spray

For the hot sauce:

1 tablespoon oil 

¼-½ teaspoon cayenne flakes, according to heat desired 

½- 1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar 

1 teaspoon sweet paprika 

2 tablespoons bottled hot sauce

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning 

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

Chop the cauliflower into florets.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Whisk together all the batter ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the cauliflower florets to the batter. Toss well to coat. 

With a spoon, drop the cauliflower on the baking sheet. Spray cooking oil on top. 

Bake for 35 minutes. 

Mix the hot sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Double the hot sauce recipe if the cauliflower is especially large.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and cool for 5 mins. 

Add the baked cauliflower to the sauce bowl. Toss to coat.

Lower the oven temperature to 400° F

Drop the cauliflower back into the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes longer.  

Serve with dips like vegan yogurt garlic dip, or tahini, recipes below

Snack Platters With Great Dips

teenage party food ideas

Put out a big platter loaded with pita and tortilla chips, high-quality crackers like Triscuits, rice crackers, and toast triangles. An alternative is a platter with sturdy dippable snacks like pretzels, breadsticks, and Pringles.

Don’t forget a platter with lots of cucumbers, celery, and carrot sticks, strips of bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, big olives, thinly sliced raw white mushrooms (raw mushrooms have to be very, very fresh), and slices of green apples. 

Set bowls of various dips around the platters. Watch the teenagers snack away.

Vegan Yogurt Garlic Dip

Vegan Yogurt Garlic Dip

Yield: 1 ¼ cup 

Ingredients:

1 cup of coconut yogurt

¼ cup grated cucumber measured after grating and draining the juices

1 large crushed garlic clove, 

2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Coarsely grate the unpeeled cucumber. Put it in a mesh strainer over a small bowl and squeeze out the excess water.

Mix the coconut yogurt with the grated cucumber, crushed garlic, dill, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Mix well.

Taste the dip. Adjust salt, lemon, or garlic to taste if needed. Chill the dip for an hour before serving.

Pizza Dip

Pizza Dip

Yield: About 4 cups of dip

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning, separated

1 14-ounce jar of pizza sauce 

8 ounces of shredded mozzarella 

¼ cup of Kalamata olives (optional)

1 teaspoon of parsley

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.

Spread the olive oil on the bottom and sides of a round baking dish.

Beat the cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of the Italian seasoning.

Spread the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish.

Pour pizza sauce over the top.

Sprinkle the cheese and optional olives over the top.

Spoon the second tablespoon of Italian seasoning plus the parsley over the top of the cheese.

Bake until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. 

Let the dip rest a few minutes before serving.

Tahini

Tahini

Classically served with falafel, tahini sauce takes 5 minutes to make in a blender.

Ingredients:

 1 cup tahini sesame seed paste 

¾ cup very cold water

3 cloves garlic

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves

Instructions:

Blend the sesame paste, cold water, garlic, lemon juice, and salt together. The sesame paste will separate at first, but keep blending until you have a creamy sauce. 

Add more water by tablespoons if the sauce is too thick to pour from a spoon. It should not be runny, however.

Taste and adjust salt or lemon juice, if needed.

Sour Cream Dip

Sour Cream DipMix the sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and paprika. Add salt to taste, then chill.

Scatter the remaining ½ tablespoon of sesame seeds over the wings.

Serve the wings with the sour cream dip. 

Protein Snacks

Protein Snacks

Here’s a protein-rich snack that a teenager can eat out of hand while roaming around the room talking to friends. It’s healthier than packaged snacks, and is vegetarian, too.

Roasted Nut Mix

roasted mixed nuts

Ingredients:

¼ cup cashews

¼ cup almonds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup walnuts

¼ teaspoon of sea salt

1 tablespoon peanut oil

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. 

Mix all the nuts. Spread them in one layer on a baking sheet.

Roast the nuts until toasted, five – 10 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn.

Another vegetarian protein snack: falafel. You can make the balls from packaged ingredients, fry them, and serve hot, drizzled with tahini sauce (recipe above).

Place bowls of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers seasoned with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice on the table next to the falafel balls. 

Cut pita breads in half and show the kids to stuff the halves with falafel and chopped salad, Middle Eastern style.

Beef, Bacon, and Cheese Sliders

Beef, Bacon, and Cheese Sliders

For small servings that yet satisfy teenager hunger, you can confidently turn to sliders and hamburgers.

Serves 12

Ingredients:

1 lb. lean ground beef 

Salt and pepper

1 sliced small onion

8 slider buns, halved horizontally

1 tablespoon butter

8 small slices of cheddar cheese

8 slices cooked bacon 

1 sliced tomato

2 cups leafy greens like lettuce and packaged mixed baby leaves

Instructions:

Cook the bacon until crisp.

Divide the beef into 8 patties.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the beef patties.

Fry the patties in a skillet with the onion slices for 2 to 4 minutes.

Turn the patties over and cook until done.  Take them, and the onions, out of the skillet.

Melt the butter in the skillet.

Add slider bun halves to the skillet, cut side down, for about 1 minute. Turn the buns over and fry them lightly so that both sides are lightly browned. 

Place greens and sliced tomato on the bottom part of the buns.

Place the cooked patties on top of the tomatoes. Place the bacon, onions, and cheddar cheese.  On top of the patties. Top each slider with the other half of the buns.

Reuben Sliders

Reuben Sliders

These little sandwiches make a very grown-up platter for hungry teenagers.

Yields 12 portions

Ingredients:

12 mini pretzel buns, sliced horizontally in half

½ cup Thousand Island dressing

½ lb. thinly sliced corned beef

1 lb. well-drained sauerkraut

¼ lb. sliced Swiss cheese

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 jar sliced hamburger pickles

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.

Grease the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with a little oil.

Place the bottom halves of the rolls in the dish, cut side up.

Spread half of the Thousand Island dressing onto the bottoms.

Place slices of the corned beef on the rolls.

Spoon sauerkraut on top of the corned beef.

Lay the Swiss cheese over the sauerkraut.

Put the pickles on top of the cheese.

Spoon the remaining Thousand Island dressing on the cut side of the roll tops.

Add the tops to the sandwiches in the dish.

Brush the melted butter evenly over the top of the sliders. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Sticky Honey-glazed Chicken Wings

honey-glazed chicken wings

If you’re making this recipe for a teenager party, make at least a double recipe.

Make sure to have plenty of napkins and a package of wet wipes on the table. These wings are delicious and sticky!

Yield: 6 snacks

Ingredients:

2 lbs. chicken wings

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

½ teaspoon cayenne flakes and more to taste

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, divided

For the dip:

½ cup sour cream

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons lemon juice

A pinch of smoked paprika

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 430 °F. 

Line a roasting pan with baking parchment. Put the chicken wings in.

Mix the honey, soy, cayenne flakes, and ½ tablespoons of sesame seeds. Pour the mix over the wings.

Turn the wings over in the sauce several times to make sure they’re all well coated.

Roast the wings for 25 minutes until they’re cooked through and golden.

Crispy Chicken Nuggets

Crispy Chicken Nuggets

Serves 8 as a nibble. 

These little chicken tots will have the teenagers crowding around to pick them off the platter. You’ll probably eat some yourself before you set them out on the table. 

This recipe can be doubled easily, and you’ll probably want to double it. 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs

Olive oil cooking spray

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Optional: ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes, or to taste

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons milk or alternative milk like soy or almond 

1 lb. chicken breast without skin, cut into 1” pieces

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Have ready a large baking pan lined with baking parchment.

Spread the breadcrumbs evenly in the pan.

Spray cooking spray on the breadcrumbs. Toast them for 2 minutes, then stir them and bake a further 2 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Remove the baking pan but do not turn the oven off.  

In a medium bowl, blend the breadcrumbs with salt, black pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, and optional cayenne pepper.

Whisk the eggs and milk in a separate bowl.

Place a wire metal oven rack over the baking pan. Spray cooking spray on the oven rack.

Dip each chicken piece into the egg mixture, then toss each piece in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure each piece is completely coated with the breadcrumbs.

Place the coated chicken pieces on the wire rack, using tongs. The pieces should be about 1” apart. 

Spray the chicken nuggets with nonstick spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

Use a meat thermometer to judge when the internal temperature of the chicken pieces has reached 165° F.

Serve with ketchup.

Casseroles

We recommend serving at least one of the following casseroles at your teenager party. These familiar dishes attract teens who hesitate to try anything new.

Casseroles also have the advantage of being easily made ahead, and reheated, covered in foil, before serving. With a casserole, you can count on having a large, handsome dish for the teenager party without much effort.

Three-Cheese Baked Mac N’ Cheese 

Three-Cheese Baked Mac N’ Cheese

Yield: 8 servings. 

Ingredients:

1 lb. cooked elbow macaroni noodles

12 slices white American cheese

4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs

½ cup milk

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Prepare a casserole dish by spreading a film of butter inside it. Add about half of the cooked noodles.  

Layer over the noodles, in this order: six slices of American cheese, two cups of the Monterey Jack cheese, and one cup of the shredded Cheddar cheese. 

Pour the rest of the noodles over the cheese and repeat layering with the remaining cheese. 

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs on top.

Pour the milk down the sides of the casserole. Do not pour the milk on top of the noodles. 

Cover the casserole and bake for 30 minutes. Carefully uncover, and bake an extra 15 to 20 minutes to obtain a crisp topping.  

Beef Noodle Casserole

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

12 oz. uncooked egg noodles 

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 ¼ lbs. lean ground beef

1 finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

16 oz. canned tomato sauce

15 oz. can diced tomatoes 

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

cooking spray

Instructions:

Cook the egg noodles according to package instructions. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Cook the ground beef in the pan for 4-5 minutes. Break up any lumps of beef while you cook.

Add the onion and garlic. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

The onion should be soft and the beef cooked through. Season to taste.

Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning to the beef, stirring.  

Drain the noodles. Add them to the pan and mix well.  

Pour the beef and noodles into a greased casserole or baking pan. Top with the cheddar cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle parsley over all, and serve.

To prepare this casserole ahead of time, cook the beef sauce, and mix it with the noodles. Cover and chill. 

Sprinkle the grated Cheddar on generously. Bake the chilled casserole for ½ hour.

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