If you are catering on a budget for a birthday party with lots of people, these party food ideas and recipes are just what you will need to keep the big group happy. They are all quick, easy, cost effective and delicious, which means at least the foods aspect of your child’s party will be fuss free.

Just what type of food you choose to make will depend on the theme of your party, the age of the children, and whether you are providing a meal or just some snacks.

But remember, party food for big groups doesn’t have to be elaborate – there is more to a children’s birthday party than food!

Meal Ideas

Fast food got its name because that’s what it is – fast. And that’s what you need when you’ve got a big group of people at a party. These fast food meal ideas take little preparation, and you don’t have to spend hours tending and watching the stove. For most of them you can simply lay out the ingredients, and the children can prepare their own meal. Not only does that save you a job – it means you won’t have plates full of uneaten food to clean up after the party.

Take a look at these great meal ideas for big groups.

1. Pizza

Pizza is everybody’s favourite and there are several ways you can go about making pizzas for a crowd. Either prepare a selection of pizzas yourself, or put the children into pairs and let them create their own. You’ll need to prepare some of the ingredients first like grating the cheese, chopping the onion, or slicing the salami, but then the children just stack up their favourites and you put them in the oven.

For great pizza dough recipes and topping ideas, check out our Pizzas article.

2. Nachos

Nachos can be made on one giant plate which everybody shares, or make up lots of little serves on individual plates. You can be as creative as you like with your mince, but keep in mind that some younger children won’t like it if it’s too spicy. Simply pile the mince on to nacho chips, and then cover with grated cheese. Place the nachos in the oven or zap them in the microwave until the cheese is melted, then add a dollop of sour cream and they are ready to serve.

Quick and Easy Nacho Mince Recipe

This is the absolute cheats way to make great nacho mince. The only thing you need to do is chop up the onion – everything else comes out of a packet. It’s no fail and my children love it.

You will need:

1 onion (chopped)

Tablespoon Oil

500g Mince

440g can of Chilli Beans (or refried beans if you don’t like even a hint of spice)

200g jar of Mexican Salsa

To make:

Cook the onion in the oil, and then add the mince and brown well. Add the chilli beans and salsa, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Easy peasy.

3. McTilbys Burgers

All of my children’s friends know that sleepovers at our house mean “McTilbys” for dinner. To make your very own McTilbys, (or McBrowns, or McSmiths, or McHammonds), you simply need to cook up a huge dish of oven fry chips, toast some burger buns, and prepare all the burger ingredients in separate bowls. The children then put together their own burgers using only the ingredients they like. (There’s usually a competition to see who can come up with the best burger name!)

Our most favourite ingredients to include are:

  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Cheese Slices
  • Onion Rings
  • Beetroot
  • Pineapple Rings
  • Tomato Slices
  • Gherkin Slices
  • Grated Carrot
  • Fish Cakes
  • Chicken Patties
  • Meat Patties
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chutney

4. Birthday Fried Chicken (BFC)

Making fried chicken is easy, and you can turn it into a fast food feast by adding a bowl of coleslaw, some oven fry chips and a couple of loaves of garlic bread.

There are plenty of ready-made chicken coatings available, or use this basic recipe and add your own secret herbs and spices. There are no strict measurements, as it depends on how much chicken you are coating, and what your individual tastes are. If you are unsure of how much seasoning to add, err on the bland side and spice it up with some nice sauces once it’s served.

You will need:

2 pieces of chicken for every child (Thighs are best)


Beaten Egg


Seasonings such as salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, mixed herbs…

To make:

1. Mix together your breadcrumbs with any seasonings you choose.

2. Take one piece of chicken at a time, dip it first in the flour, then the beaten egg, and finally the breadcrumb mixture.

3. Shallow fry the chicken in hot oil until the coating is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.


Snack Ideas

If you only need snacks for the birthday party, then catering for a big group is easy. Packet or heat-and-eat type snacks are a good way to bulk up the table, and you can just add a few extra special snacks if you have the time or energy.

Some great quick and easy snacks for big groups are:

  • Potato Chips and Dip
  • Vegetable Sticks and Dip
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts or Party Mix
  • Garlic Bread
  • Cherrios
  • American Hot Dogs
  • Sausage Rolls
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Vegetable Nuggets
  • Potato Pom Poms and Dipping Sauce
  • Fish Bites
  • Popcorn
  • Mini Savouries
  • Won Tons or Mini Spring Rolls
  • Cheese on Toast
  • Club Sandwiches
  • Mini Pizzas

Of course it’s always nice to add some sweet snacks as well, so make sure you check out our Quick and Easy Sweet Treats article for inspiration.

Happy Eating!

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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