Our best New Years Eve party food ideas include recipes for homemade dips, crackers, canapés, mini salads, cocktails, and more. If you’re envisaging a particularly boozy party this year – I think we all need a few stiff drinks after this year – we’ve also added recipes for more substantial food to soak up the liquor, from Russian hand pies to Mexican enchiladas.
As I’ve compiled this collection of our best New Years Eve party food ideas I’ve kept in mind that, due to rising Covid numbers, many of you might be in a self-imposed lockdown at home and having a more intimate New Year celebration than the big soiree with family and friends that you might have imagined a week or two ago.
I’ve also included some more solid dishes to soak up the booze – from savoury Scotch eggs to fried spring rolls – for those of you able to go ahead with that New Years Eve party you planned. And, of course, I’ve included recipes for our favourite cocktails, including Champagne cocktails to toast to a new and better year, we hope!
Wherever you are and however you’re celebrating, we wish you a very healthy and Happy New Year and thank you for your support in 2021 and look forward to seeing you back here in 2022. Stay safe! Cheers!
Happy New Year,
Lara & Terence xx
P.S. Before I tell you about these recipes for New Years Eve party food ideas, I have a favour to ask…
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Now, let’s share our best New Years Eve party food ideas including recipes for homemade dips, crackers, canapés, mini salads, cocktails, and more, so you can get prepped for your evening.
New Years Eve Party Food Ideas – Recipes for Dips, Crackers, Canapés, Cocktails, and More
Easy Cheese Straws Recipe
Our easy cheese straws recipe is one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. This recipe makes grissini style cheese sticks that are perfect for your charcuterie boards and cheese plates. Or simply serve them with a homemade olive tapenade or dish of olives, a chilled bottle of crisp white or spritzes or negronis, and you’ve got some very enjoyable New Years Eve drinks snacks right there.
Russian Devilled Eggs Recipe
This Russian devilled eggs recipe will make you a Russian retro-classic which, like chicken Kiev and beef Stroganoff, spread like wildfire around the world, featuring on formica trays of hors d’oeuvres at every swinging soirée from Sydney to San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s and it’s easily another of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. See Terence’s guide to boiling eggs if you need help in that area. You could pipe the mix into the egg white using a piping bag, but unless you dice your gherkins and purple shallots super-finely, which you should anyway, the mix will get stuck in the bag. Disguise the lack of piping with more fresh dill.
Blini with Smoked Salmon, Dill and Sour Cream Recipe
This Russian buckwheat pancakes recipe makes blini with smoked salmon, dill, sour cream, and a ‘caviar’ of gherkin and radish. These are cocktail size blini that are perfect for entertaining. This style of blini are more like pikelets than pancakes and while I’m using a ‘caviar’ of gherkin and radish that’s inspired by the Russian dish, ikra, you can, of course serve these blini with proper caviar. These are blini for those of us currently on a Prosecco rather than a Champagne budget! I ladle the batter directly into the fry pan or skillet, as I don’t mind if the pancakes look home-made and rustic, however, if you’re serving these for a New Years Eve party, you can do what Terence does and use silicon egg rings to create these perfectly round discs. You might also like to try one of these non-stick pancake pans with moulds.
Thai Miang Kham Recipe
After biting into these Thai miang kham and getting the explosion of flavours in their mouth that are quintessentially Southeast Asian – lime, ginger, coconut, chilli, peanuts, shallots, palm sugar, and dried shrimp, all wrapped up in a wild betel leaf or wild piper leaf – your guests won’t forget the food at your soiree, making this one of our best New Years Eve Party food ideas. Our recipe makes you a more elegant version of the kind of miang kham that in Thailand you buy from a local market or gourmet supermarket. While our recipe won’t make you the luxurious takes on miang kham topped with sweet lobster or plump prawns, salmon roe that bursts in your mouth, or even velvety foie gras, which you’ll find at fancy fine dining restaurants in Bangkok, this is a versatile recipe which you can easily up-style if you wish.
Easy Olive Tapenade Recipe
This easy olive tapenade recipe is another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. This recipe is based on the traditional French tapenade recipe from Provence in southern France that’s made with only four ingredients – juicy Kalamata olives, briny capers, salted anchovies, and extra virgin olive oil. You could add garlic, herbs and spices, but this Mediterranean olive dip is absolutely delicious in its original form, eaten on fresh or toasted baguette slices, pinchos or crostini.
Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip Recipe
This creamy smoked salmon dip recipe is made with cream cheese, tangy sour cream, salty capers, dill pickles, purple shallots, a pinch of paprika, and plenty of fresh perfumed dill and it’s another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. This recipe beats a store-bought dip any day. While it might cost you a bit more to make, nothing tops homemade and you’ll taste the difference in the fresh herbs and proper salmon.
Cambodian Pomelo Salad with Prawns
This Cambodian pomelo salad with prawns recipe makes a traditional dish that we’ve presented here in a more contemporary style as finger food and and it’s another of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. For our contemporary presentation, we essentially deconstructed the salad, spiking a toothpick through the prawn, a leaf of fresh mint, and the segment of pomelo (on the bottom). We then ground the dried shrimp and sprinkled that, along with grated coconut and peanuts over the individual portions.
Beef Lok Lak Recipe for Cambodian Pepper Beef
This modern beef lok lak recipe delivers a delicious traditional Cambodian pepper beef dish, made with Kampot Pepper, presented in a more elegant contemporary form than the traditional dish. This local favourite was one of the inspirations for our creative Cambodian canapés that Terence and I created for a New Year’s Eve spread some years ago. While the presentation of this dish is modern, the recipe itself is for an authentic traditional Cambodian dish.
If you’re a sourdough baker, then these next two recipes are for you. This sourdough starter discard crackers recipe makes a crispy cracker that’s a little salty, a tad spicy, a tiny bit tangy, and utterly addictive. Triangular in shape, they’re perfect for scooping up dips and they’re probably the easiest crackers you’ll ever make, so should inspire you to test out more sourdough starter discard recipes.
Spicy Sichuan Inspired Sourdough Crackers
This spicy Sichuan sourdough crackers recipe made with sourdough starter discard and Sichuan peppers makes a cracker that’s delightfully hot and numbing and incredibly moreish. Roughly shaped like a homemade corn chip, these crackers are perfect for eggplant dips such as baba ghanouj and mutabal, as well as hummus or muhammara, not to mention the dips from Thailand and Cambodia, above.
Homemade Traditional Hummus
This easy authentic hummus recipe makes a homemade traditional creamy hummus that a Lebanese friend taught Terence when we lived in Abu Dhabi in the late Nineties and it’s another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. Like our tapenade and smoked salmon dip, this recipe makes a hummus that beats a store-bought hummus any day. If you have a can of chick peas in the cupboard, hummus is one of the best dip recipes for pairing with crackers and crudités.
Russian Eggplant Caviar Called Ikra
Our easy Russian eggplant caviar recipe makes ikra, known as the ‘poor man’s caviar’ during the Soviet period. This is a deliciously-rich version of this traditional Russian dip, spread or side dish that’s somewhere in between the ikra my baboushka made that was sumptuous and velvety and the ikra popularised during the Soviet era that more closely resembled a diced salad. It’s another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. While it’s fab with the crackers, above, it can also be eaten with baguette slices.
Sichuan-Inspired Eggplant Dip
This delicious eggplant dip recipe takes a classic Sichuanese braised eggplant dish and transforms it into an amazing dip. It’s another of our best dip recipes for crackers and crudités and another of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. You could also serve it as a starter before settling down to a full meal. It’s fantastic with our spicy Sichuan flavoured sourdough crackers, above, which were literally made for this dip.
Authentic Mexican Guacamole
This authentic Mexican guacamole recipe makes a genuine Mexican guacamole that’s made table-side at good restaurants in Mexico. It’s all about the creamy luscious texture, bright green colour and full flavour of perfectly ripe avocados. It’s easily one of the best dip recipes for parties, and while it could be served with crackers and crudités, I recommend you try your hand at baking homemade tortilla chips or plain store-bought corn chips if you have time.
Chilli Con Carne Dip
While this chilli con carne recipe makes a good old bowl of chilli for those who like their chilli hot and smoky, this chilli con carne is also terrific eaten cold as a dip with homemade tortilla chips or corn chips. You’ll need to put this on the stove the morning before your party, as it takes a few hours, but not a lot of work, to make, and is another of our best New Years Eve party food ideas.
Easy Mexican Tomato Salsa
This easy red tomato salsa recipe makes a spicy Mexican salsa that we’ve been perfecting since we returned from our first big trip to Mexico and the USA way back when we first began travelling. Like the guacamole, it’s great with tortilla chips or corn chips, but it’s also another one of our best dip recipes for crackers and crudités, and it’s another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas.
Crispy Chicken Skins with Spicy Chicken Mince Dip Recipe
This crispy chicken skins with spicy chicken mince recipe makes a fantastic snack for drinks or a Southeast Asian themed dinner party and it’s another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. When the chicken skins firm up in the oven, they form a perfect ‘crisp’ and an excellent vehicle for this classic minced dip found in Cambodia and Thailand.
Cambodian Coconut Minced Pork Dip
Cambodia’s delicious prahok k’tis dip is eaten with a combination of crunchy raw vegetables and blanched or steamed vegetables. If you’re not a fan of funky flavours like fish sauce and shrimp paste, you might want to leave the prahok (fermented fish) out. If you do want to try the prahok, head to your nearest Asian supermarket. If using this ingredient for the first time, perhaps reduce the amount of prahok.
Cambodian Pork Coconut and Peanut Dip with Crispy Rice Cakes
This recipe for natang makes a Cambodian dip of minced pork, coconut cream and peanuts that’s made to be eaten with homemade crispy rice cakes, which in turn are intended to use up the rice that sticks to the bottom of a pot or any leftover rice, however, you can use store-bought rice cakes. This is another one of our best dip recipes for festive parties and social gatherings, especially if you want to serve something a little different.
Thai Rice Cakes with Chilli Prawn and Pork Dip
This Thai khao tang na tang rice cakes with chilli prawn and pork dip recipe makes a popular Thai snack or starter of homemade crispy rice crackers used to scoop up this creamy, slightly sweet, a little salty, and gently-spiced dip. A cousin of the Cambodian dip, above, it’s typically served with rice cakes but would also work with crackers and it’s another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas.
Thai Nam Prik Num
This Thai nam prik num recipe makes a smoky green chilli dip that’s one of the best known Northern Thai specialties – so much so that it’s often called Chiang Mai chilli relish. Made from local chillies, it’s grilled on a barbecue with garlic and shallots and typically served with crunchy pork crackling and sticky rice, but could also be paired with crackers. It’s easily one of the best dip recipes to make if you have spice loving friends.
Thai Nam Prik Ong
This Thai nam prik ong recipe makes a spicy pork and tomato dip from Northern Thailand. Served with fresh or steamed vegetables or sticky rice, which you dip into the bowl, nam prik ong is the most approachable of the Thai relishes and dips, not being as pungent or fiery as some. It’s another of our best New Years Eve party food ideas for fans of spicy food, although this is gently spiced.
Traditional Khmer Raw Fish Salad Recipe for the Cambodian Style Ceviche
This traditional Khmer raw fish salad recipe for phlea trei makes a wonderful, light, refreshing, and fragrant fish dish that is Cambodia’s ceviche. It’s one of my favourite Cambodian recipes, one of our best salmon recipes, and one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. The Khmer word trei, also written as trey, means fish, and phlea – also written as phlear, plear, ph’lea, and plea – is a type of raw salad where the fish or meat is generally ‘cooked’ in citrus juice. It’s usually made with a local firm white fish ‘cooked’ in citrus juice, but we use salmon for this dish.
Classic Prawn Cocktail Recipe
This classic prawn cocktail recipe makes my take on the retro appetiser popularised in the 1970s that will never go out of style and it’s another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. Tiger prawns boiled quickly in their shells so they’re just done are peeled, tossed in a creamy tangy seafood sauce, and served on a bed of lettuce salad, dressed with the same sauce. For the seafood sauce, use a good quality tomato sauce (ketchup) and mayonnaise – or make your own. A good drizzle of lime or lemon juice before digging in really makes a prawn cocktail for me.
DIY Russian Mimosa Salad Recipe
My Russian mimosa salad recipe is presented a little differently to the layered salad recipe you might recall your parents or grandparents serving in a big glass bowl – almost like a savoury trifle – or as a kitschy salad cake in the 1970s. This more elegant version is easily another of our best New Years Eve party food ideas. While you could certainly serve this Russian mimosa salad recipe in a big glass with a spoon, I like to provide wooden bowls and an array of condiments and encourage guests to upend the glass of salad into the bowl and add condiments and adjust the seasoning to their liking.
Grilled Eggplant Sandwich Recipe with Goats Cheese, Nduja and Sweet Red Capsicum
This grilled eggplant sandwich recipe with goats cheese, ‘nduja and sweet red capsicum is our take on legendary Australian chef Christine Manfield’s iconic eggplant sandwich with goats cheese, pesto and red capsicum and it’s yet another of our best New Years Eve party food ideas if you’re looking for something small yet filling. In this version, we swap out Northern Italian basil pesto for Southern Italy’s ‘nduja, the spicy spreadable sausage paste from Calabria. If you’re not familiar with the Calabrian sausage, you can read all about ’nduja here.
Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
This spicy chicken lettuce wraps recipe makes a Southeast Asian take on the Chinese lettuce cups from Southern China and Hong Kong, popularised in Chinese-Australian restaurants. Our minced chicken lettuce cups take inspiration from northern Southeast Asia, from both savoury larbs (minced meat salads) and the local custom of wrapping street food snacks in lettuce. Light yet filling, this is perfect finger food for your New Years Eve soiree.
Vietnamese Fresh Prawn and Pork Spring Rolls
This Vietnamese fresh prawn and pork spring rolls recipe is a classic recipe for traditional gỏi cuốn – which is a cold spring roll of cold cooked prawns, unseasoned pork belly, cold vermicelli noodles, and fresh aromatic herbs, wrapped in damp dry rice paper sheets. They’re light, zingy and refreshing and make for excellent appetisers for your New Years Eve soiree.
Vietnamese Pineapple Omelette and Prawn Summer Rolls
This Vietnamese pineapple omelette and prawn summer rolls recipe makes the fresh spring rolls found in tropical Southern Vietnam, the Mekong Delta and Southern Cambodia that can be served as filling finger food for your New Years Eve soiree.
Cambodian Fried Spring Rolls
This classic Cambodian fried spring rolls recipe makes a crunchy deep-fried egg roll filled with minced pork, dried shrimp, carrot, garlic, and daikon radish or taro, seasoned with fish sauce, Kampot pepper, sea salt, and palm sugar. We also have a Cambodian fried spring roll dipping sauce recipe to go with it, below.
Cambodian Fried Spring Roll Dipping Sauce
This Cambodian fried spring roll dipping sauce recipe makes the quintessential condiment for the classic Cambodian fried spring rolls with pork and shrimp called teuk trei pa’em in Khmer. This sweet fish sauce-based dipping sauce is made with fish sauce, vinegar, palm sugar, shallots, garlic and carrot and it is an absolute cinch to make. This is one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas if you’re looking for fried food to soak up booze.
Thai Corn Fritters
Our Thai corn fritters recipe makes tod man khao pod in Thai – crunchy, chewy corn fritters that we gently spice with a little chilli paste. Eaten as a snack in Thailand and neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, you could serve these Thai corn fritters as finger food or as an appetiser. They’re fantastic dipped into our homemade Thai sweet chilli sauce.
Traditional Scotch Eggs with a Thai Twist
This traditional Scotch eggs recipe for the classic British picnic snack has a Thai-influenced twist inspired by the Thai stir-fry favourite, pad kra pao or pad gaprao. Scotch eggs are traditionally made with a boiled egg wrapped in seasoned sausage meat, which is crumbed and deep-fried. Here, Terence has given the minced pork a pad kra pao flavour. These are perfect for lining the stomach if you’ve got a big New Years Eve ahead.
Russian Piroshki Minced Meat-Filled Hand Pies
This Russian piroshki recipe makes perfect savoury minced meat-filled pastries, also known as Russian hand pies. Eaten as a snack or with borscht, my baboushka also served piroshki as one of an array of Russian dishes for family gatherings. While we preferred deep-fried piroshki, these can also be baked. They’re another of our best New Years Eve party food ideas if you’re looking for solid dishes that will soak up the liquor.
Chili Con Carne and Cheese Quesadillas
Like cold pizza, these chilli con carne and cheese quesadillas taste just as delicious cold or even luke warm, if you keep them warm until you’re ready to eat. This is easily another one of our best New Years Eve party food ideas if you’re looking for solid dishes for soaking up booze. And they’re super easy to make after you’ve done all the hard work preparing the chilli con carne and our red tomato salsa recipe (recipes for both above).
Classic Champagne Cocktail Recipe with a Tropical Fruit Twist
A classic champagne cocktail recipe calls for Champagne, Angostura bitters, sugar cubes, and brandy or Cognac, and has traditionally been garnished with a maraschino cherry. You pop a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters onto a sugar cube. Drop it into champagne flutes. When you pour the Champagne in, it’s the process of the sugar slowly dissolving that will create that joyful fountain of bubbles in the flute that brings a smile to everyone’s face.
Classic Negroni with Spices Recipe
When it comes to festive cocktails, it’s hard to beat this classic negroni with spices recipe. You need a really good reason to mess with a classic negroni recipe and there are few better reasons than Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Terence has mixed a classic negroni with subtle spice and fruit that – in keeping with the spirit of the season – has warmed the drink up. You’ll spot a single spherical ice cube in the glass: the ice cube melts slower and keeps the drink cold. There’s nothing worse than a negroni that’s weak and warm. We use these spherical ice cube makers. http://grantourismotravels.com/classic-negroni-with-spices/
Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe
This classic Aperol spritz recipe makes the original Aperol spritz cocktail. The bittersweet Italian aperitif is sipped all over Italy, most famously in Venice. It’s super easy to make too – so easy that after a couple of times mixing this sunny Italian aperitif you won’t even need a recipe. In Italy locals sip spritzes everywhere from morning markets to early evening drinks that Italians enjoy together before heading off to dinner, but they’re also perfect for an early New Years Eve gathering.
White Peach Bellini Recipe from Chef Peter Gilmore
This White Peach Bellini recipe is courtesy of one of Australia’s best chefs, Peter Gilmore, who helms the kitchens of Quay and Bennelong in Sydney, two of Australia’s finest restaurants. Chef Peter Gilmore shared his super easy but very delicious White Peach Bellini recipe with us a few years ago. Making white peach bellinis is a festive tradition of the Gilmores. I like to use champagne flutes, although apparently the traditional Bellini glass was like a stemless champagne flute or highball glass. You can use yellow peaches or store-bought peach juice. The drink won’t be the same pretty colour, but it will still taste wonderful.
Watermelon Mint Cooler Recipe
This watermelon mint cooler recipe makes for a refreshing light cocktail to drink during the festive season in the southern hemisphere. If you’re in the chilly northern hemisphere, turn up your heating and pretend you’re some place warm. If you’re looking for a headier cocktail, skip the coconut water, and go for sparkling wine or Champagne with vodka, gin, white rum, or tequila, which can also go in the blender. Whatever you do, garnish with fresh mint for extra zing.
Margarita Recipe for Mexico’s Quintessential Cocktail
We learnt this classic Margarita recipe on our first trip to Mexico many years ago and make it wherever we are in the world. Use a dedicated Margarita glass or Champagne coupe. A classic Margarita requires only a rub of fresh lime on the rim before dipping it into quality salt. This Infused Margarita Lime Salt, supposedly made from the finest sea salts and real fruit, is fun. If you must use a Margarita Mix, go for something organic like the Tres Agaves Margarita Mix or this handcrafted small-batch Margarita Vintage Original Cocktail Mixer by Powell & Mahoney, which they claim is made with all natural ingredients to the original 1937 recipe.
Classic Pina Colada Recipe
This classic pina colada recipe does not contain any Malibu, a coconut flavoured rum that was invented for bartenders to simplify the classic piña colada recipe. The original piña colada recipe is simple enough, especially if you’re not making your own coconut cream and sugar syrup. I serve our pina coladas in tall vintage crystal tumblers or highballs with kitschy swizzle sticks and paper umbrellas. If you really want to go all tiki you could chop your pineapple in half, hollow out one half, and pour your pina colada into the pineapple. We recommend using bamboo straws instead of plastic. They’re in theme and they’re better for the environment.
Michelada Recipe for A Spicy Mexican Beer Cocktail
Our michelada recipe makes the spicy Mexican beer cocktail that has a kick of chilli and it’s another one of our best festive cocktail recipes. It’s a fun, fantastic, thirst-quenching drink that is perfect for the beer drinkers who aren’t big on bubbly. Yes, they exist! You can make your own homemade chilli salt (this infused lime salt also works) and we recommend a big glass tumbler, preferably a recycled glass Mexican tumbler like the one pictured for authenticity.
Cuban Mojito Recipe with a Cambodian Twist
This classic Cuban mojito recipe is based on the mojitos we sipped in Old Havana on our first trip to Cuba way back in the mid-Nineties. As we live in Southeast Asia, we gave it a local twist and made it even more aromatic by adding kaffir lime leaves and a lemongrass stalk. Note that the limes and mint should only be lightly muddled. If you add kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass, just crush one kaffir lime leaf slightly and only bash the base of the lemongrass stalk – you want to release the aromas and flavours without smashing your ingredients.
Caipirinha Recipe for Brazil’s National Cocktail
Unlike drinks such as Italy’s limoncello, which is best sipped in the late afternoon southern Italian sun after a long slow lunch and doesn’t travel so well if you live in cold climates, the caipirinha does, as long as you take a bottle of proper Brazilian cachaça home with you. This cocktail is all about the Cachaça. There are two main types, industrial and artisanal. It’s easy to tell the difference as the industrial Cachaça is generally clear and cheap and the artisanal Cachaça is darker and relatively more expensive.
Please do let us know if you make any of our best New Years Eve party food ideas, as we’d love to know how they turn out for you. Happy New Year! Cheers to a happier and healthier New Year in 2022!