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Graduation Party Food Ideas

Home > Graduation Party Food Ideas

You'll want to decide if you want to cater the graduation party food or make it yourself.

Catering the food is much easier, but it is more expensive.

Planning the graduation party menu depends on the time of day you are having your graduation party:

  • Brunch Open House
  • Afternoon Open House
  • Evening Open House or Buffet Dinner
  • Dessert Open House

You can have breakfast items, appetizers, snacks, desserts, or a buffet menu.

Ask your graduate what they would like to have for food. If their favorite food is pizza, for example, serve pizza.

Some graduation party food ideas are listed below.

Brunch Food Ideas

Brunch graduation party food ideas:

  • Bagels & cream cheese
  • Donuts (order with colored frosting to match school colors)
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Coffeecake
  • Casseroles
  • Coffee (cream & sugar)
  • Juices
  • Fresh fruit

Afternoon & Evening Food Ideas

Afternoon & evening graduation party food ideas:

  • Pulled pork BBQ sandwiches
  • Beef BBQ sandwiches
  • Sloppy Joes (ground beef BBQ)
  • Grilled hot dogs & hamburgers
  • BBQ ribs
  • Taco bar
  • Pizza
  • Submarine sandwiches (make yourself or buy from Subway, Little King, Blimpie's, etc.)
  • Meatballs
  • Meat & cheese trays
  • Lasagna
  • Pasta bar (different types of noodles with 3 different types of sauce - Alfredo, marinara and meat sauce)
  • Chicken wings
  • Fried chicken

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Dessert Food Ideas, Snacks, Appetizers & Salads

Graduation party food ideas for desserts, snacks, appetizers & salads:

  • Macaroni salad
  • Potato salad
  • Cole slaw
  • Baked beans
  • Fruit salad blend
  • Relish trays and dip (olives, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes)
  • Buy prepared relish trays from the grocery store or make your own
  • How to make your own relish tray:
  • Buy lettuce leaves and relish trays from the grocery store deli (they are cheap)
  • Lay the lettuce leaves on the bottom of the tray
  • Arrange the vegetables on top (wash and cut veggies the day before)
  • Put the dip in a bowl in the middle of the tray (you can put the dip bowl in a larger bowl full of ice to keep it cold)
  • Have extra vegetables ready in plastic bags to refill the tray when needed
  • Potato chips & dip
  • Chips & salsa
  • Chips & cheese dip
  • Rotella tray (pinwheels)
  • Pretzels
  • Cheese balls
  • Fruit tray - watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes
  • Chocolate fondue fountain with pretzels, strawberries, marshmallows, apple slices, banana slices, angel food cake
  • Cookies
  • Suckers
  • Graduation cake or cupcakes
  • Call early to order the cake
  • Decide how many servings you will need
  • Have the cake decorated in your graduate's school colors and add their baby picture and senior picture, if desired
  • Graduation mints (make your own with cream cheese or buy them already made)
  • Candy bars - Save 15% on Personalized Candy Bars
  • Jelly beans
  • M&M's - Save 5% at with $40 minimum purchase. Use code CPNCD5.
  • Root beer floats:
  • Scoop ice cream into cups the day before
  • Add root beer when ready to serve

Beverage Ideas

Beverage ideas:

  • Water bottles
  • Pop/soda
  • Beer (for adults only)
  • Tea (sugar)
  • Coffee (cream & sugar)
  • Jones Soda

Graduation Party Menu

Borrow from Friends & Family

Ask your friends and family if you can borrow crock pots, roasters, etc. if you don't have them or need more.

When planning your graduation party, make sure you have enough of the following:

  • Bowls
  • Crock pots
  • Roasters
  • Serving utensils
  • Cake knife
  • Paper plates
  • Napkins
  • Plastic silverware
  • Plastic cups
  • Cups for coffee
  • Coolers:
  • Label coolers with contents
  • Cut the name of the product out of the box and tape it onto the cooler (i.e. Pepsi, Coke, water)
  • Ice (keep some in the freezer to refill later)
  • Extension cords (don't blow a fuse with too many on one circuit; plan ahead where to plug appliances in)

More advice

  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
  • Buy in bulk.
  • Prepare as much ahead of time as possible.

Ask for help

Ask a close friend or family member if they can help you the day of the party so that you can have time to mingle with the guests.

Ask them to:

  • Refill food when needed
  • Put out extra plates and napkins when needed
  • Change the towels in the restrooms when needed
  • Take out the trash

Show them where everything is before the graduation party starts. This way the party will be fun for you, and everyone will enjoy the graduation party and the food!

Graduation Party Ideas Photo Gallery