Never Serve These 17 Foods When Hosting A Party

Written By Jill Taylor

When you throw a party, the last thing you want is for people to not like the food. Choosing the right menu is crucial as some dishes can turn your party into a disaster. Here are 17 foods you should think twice about serving at your next party.

Raw Shellfish

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It might be a good idea to steer clear of serving raw shellfish! Shellfish is one of the most common allergens, as “approximately 2% of the U.S. population (around 6 million people) has a shellfish allergy,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Spicy Foods

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Spicy foods are another risky dish to serve at a party! Some of your guests might not be able to tolerate spice, and it could cause discomfort for those with sensitive stomachs. Spicy dishes might also overpower other flavors on your menu.

Complex Dishes

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Complicated recipes can increase the time it takes to prepare your food, causing stress and potentially meaning you won’t be ready on time. Intricate dishes are also not ideal for a buffet, as they are difficult to pick from and might look a bit messy after a few people have taken their servings.

Strong-Smelling Cheeses

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You don’t want your party to stink, literally! Some cheeses can have a strong smell that would be off-putting at a party. They also have quite a dominant flavor that could overpower the other items on your menu. You should also consider guests who are unable to eat cheese due to dietary restrictions.


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Known for its strong, often unwelcome odor, Durian fruit might not go over well if you served it at your next party. Verywell Health describes the smell of Durian as “a polarizing and pungent odor.” Its creamy texture is also not to everyone’s liking, and its flavor is famously divisive.

Foods with High Cross-Contamination Risk

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It’s important to avoid serving foods that are highly susceptible to cross-contamination, as this could put your guests’ health at risk. Always follow best practices when handling your food, and ensure all preparation and cooking areas are clean and hygienic!

Dishes That Require Last-Minute Preparation

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Serving dishes that require last-minute preparation can keep the host away from their guests if cooking is required during the event. This can seem pretty rude! Preparing dishes last minute can also lead to potential mistakes due to the added time pressure.

Foods That Require Utensils

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If you’re planning a stand-up or cocktail party, as opposed to a seated dinner, serving food that requires utensils is a no-go. It’s pretty difficult to hold a plate, cut up your food, and handle cutlery while you’re standing up – a recipe for disaster!

Dishes With a Lot of Garlic and Onion

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Serving dishes with a lot of garlic and onion can contribute to bad smells at your party and may leave your guests with a bad aftertaste in their mouths. Nobody likes garlic breath! Dishes that are heavy in garlic and onion can also cause some people to have upset stomachs.

Beans and Cruciferous Vegetables

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Beans and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower, “contain raffinose – a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in your gut ferment it, which produces gas,” Time Magazine points out. You definitely don’t want gassy guests at your party, so it’s best to avoid these foods!

Exotic Meats

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When making the menu for your party, it can be beneficial to skip unfamiliar tastes like exotic meats. Some guests might not be adventurous eaters or refuse to eat exotic meats due to certain ethical or religious beliefs. With a growing number of people being vegan or vegetarian these days, it’s not a good idea to overwhelm the dinner platter with meat, let alone unusual ones!

Nut-Based Dishes

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To avoid your party ending with someone being taken to hospital, don’t include any nut-based dishes. There’s a very high risk of severe allergic reactions to nuts, so it’s best not to chance it. Even if you keep nut-based dishes separate from other foods, it’s difficult to control cross-contamination.


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It’s incredibly important to handle sushi correctly to eliminate the possibility of foodborne illness, and you probably are not willing to take this risk with your party guests! Sushi must also be made with the freshest fish, which is hard to guarantee.

Alcohol-Infused Foods

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Alcohol-infused foods aren’t suitable for all guests, including children and those who avoid alcohol for religious or personal reasons, so it’s best not to serve these dishes. Foods with alcohol in them can also lead to guests consuming more alcohol than they intended and things becoming messy!

Caffeinated Foods and Drinks

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If you’re hosting a party, it might not be wise to serve foods or drinks containing caffeine, as the Mayo Clinic says that “caffeine, even in the afternoon, can interfere with your sleep.” Guests may have varying tolerances to caffeine, and some might not be able to have caffeine due to health conditions.

Very Rich Desserts

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Everybody loves a sweet treat, but desserts that are overly rich can be too heavy after a full meal and can lead to discomfort. Desserts with a high sugar content also may not be suitable for all guests due to dietary preferences or restrictions.

Foods With Common Intolerances

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Food intolerances, such as gluten or lactose intolerance, are very common, so it’s crucial to consider this when choosing your party foods. To cater to everybody, make sure you have gluten—and lactose-free alternatives available for guests with intolerances.

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