Holiday Catering Menu Ideas

/ Foodservice Tips, Holiday / November 30

The holiday season comes with great food and even greater company, making it one of the busiests times of the year for caterers who can incorporate festive flavors into their dishes and stand out from the competition. If you’re not sure where to start, these holiday catering menu ideas will help you choose items that will get everyone into the holiday spirit.

Seasonal Sides

From candied yams to mac and cheese, the sides you choose for your Christmas catering menu should pair perfectly with your main dishes. If you need ideas on how to expand your food’s flavor profile, here are some suggestions:

  • Glazed Carrots – Brown sugar and honey bring out the sweetness even more, making glazed carrots the perfect side for savory main courses like salty, smoky ham.

  • Potatoes Au Gratin – The neutral flavor of white potatoes is the perfect way to showcase cheese in all of its glory.

  • Cranberry Feta Salad – In addition to the tartness of cranberries and the tanginess of feta combining very well, the red and white colors are perfect for the holidays.

  • Sweet Potato Casserole – The crunchy brown sugar and pecan topping offers a nice texture contrast with the soft, creamy interior.

Festive Main Courses

Your main course options should offer a variety of meats and flavors because having something for everyone is an important part of a successful holiday catering menu. Here are a few hearty dishes you’ll want to include:

  • Baked Ham – Nothing says the holidays like a honey-glazed ham. Although slicing the ham before the event will make serving easier, carving the ham in front of your customers will make the party more memorable. 

  • Oven-Roasted Herb Pork Loin – For those who want something leaner, pork loin is perfect. Be sure to use plenty of garlic and rosemary to make it extra flavorful.

  • Classic Chicken Parmigiana – With both fried chicken and cheese in the same dish, traditional chicken Parmigiana is the perfect holiday menu item for people who want to really indulge.

  • Shepherd’s Pie – Not much says home like mashed potatoes, vegetables, beef and gravy, so shepherd’s pie is ideal for caterers who want to give their customers a comfort food option.

Red Holiday Table Setting - Holiday Catering Menu Ideas

Classic Cookies

Although cookies are popular desserts at any time of the year, they’re ideal on a holiday catering menu because guests can carry them around while mingling at a party. To really make your holiday catering menu memorable, be sure to offer:

  • Chocolate Chip – Chocolate chip is one of the most popular cookie flavors, so it’s always in demand. To make yours special, try adding walnuts or using chocolate chunks instead of chips.

  • Gingerbread People – This nostalgic treat is sure to take your customers back to their childhood. If you want to make the catered event more memorable, bring some cookies without frosting and let guests decorate them as they wish.

  • Butter Cookies – Buttery, crumbly cookies in painted tins are a holiday favorite that’s a bit forgotten, so putting them on your menu is going to take your customers on a trip down memory lane.

  • Sugar Cookies – Nothing quite says the holidays like sugar cookies with plenty of icing, so be sure to offer cookies in a variety of shapes and colors like snowpeople, evergreen trees and other classics.

Decorative Desserts

Last, but certainly not least, is the dessert menu. When thinking of holiday catering menu ideas, don’t forget to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth with some fruity and chocolatey options like the dishes below:

  • Belgian Chocolate Yule Log – If any of your customers like chocolate, they’ll love yule log. This dessert looks extra fancy, so you can charge a higher markup than for other menu items, making it very profitable.

  • Cinnamon Apple Crisp – Not everyone likes chocolate, so make sure you offer a fruit dessert, too. Apples are still in season at the beginning of winter, so a crisp would be a perfect addition to your menu.

  • Rum and Eggnog Cheesecake – Eggnog and cheesecake are both rich on their own, so combining them and then adding rum is sure to make the resulting dessert incredible.

  • Coconut Cake – The snow-white cake layers and coconut frosting make this old-fashioned southern cake perfect for the holidays.

Holiday Drink Menu

Making a few holiday drinks for your catering menu will keep your customers impressed. Check out a few of these delicious specialties you may want to add to your menu this season:

  • Candy Cane Cocktail This drink is made with strawberry vodka, white creme de menthe, cranberry juice and crushed candy canes.

  • Cranberry Mimosa Add a new twist to this classic drink and you’ll be ready for the holidays.

  • Apple Cider – This gluten-free, vegan and non-alcoholic drink is one of the best catering items for restrictive diets since almost everyone can enjoy it.

  • Eggnog What is Christmas without eggnog? Adding this classic to your holiday catering menu is bound to get guests into the holiday spirit.

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