We are having a cookout
Appetizers/Snacks,  Desserts,  Entertaining at Home,  Recipes

Summer Cookout Food Planning Tips

Disclaimer Box

Are you planning a dinner party or cookout this summer despite the pandemic?

Many areas allow small family gatherings.

If you are planning a get-together, there are many moving parts like invitations, activities, guest lists, and decorations.

One of the most stressful parts of a party, though, is the food.

Whether you are preparing the food yourself or arranging to get it from somewhere else, there are many things you will need to consider to make sure the food is exactly what you need it to be. 

Please note that I may earn a small commission from purchases made through product links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

butcherbox has all your cookout needs

What time will your cookout start?  

First, you will need to decide when do you want people to arrive, this will influence how much food and what kind of food you will serve. 

If it is a longer party or food will not be served until later, then you may want to consider serving an appetizer.

Some light snacks are perfect for holding everyone over until the main meal is ready to be served.

It also is a great way to provide your guests with something to do while they are mingling with each other.

You could do a fruit and veggie platter, a soft pretzel, or cheese and crackers. Something easy to serve and eat is perfect. 

ingredients for an easy chicken cheeseball recipe



My Chicken Cheeseball Recipe is the easiest appetizer ever!







How much will your guest want to eat?

You also need to know how much food to serve.

You don’t want to run out and have people leaving still hungry, but you also don’t want to be drowning in leftovers.

This will also depend on whether you are serving a meal or not, but a good rule of thumb is to have one pound of food for each adult and half of a pound for each child.

The more options for food that you have, the less of each you will need to provide.

Does anyone have dietary restrictions?

When inviting guests into your home for a meal, you should also take into consideration any dietary restrictions.

If there are food allergies, you should be especially careful to make sure that everyone is able to enjoy themselves safely.

Other issues like gluten sensitivity or diabetes should also be considered when planning the menu. 

Promo banner for Apple & Brussels Sprout Salad

What are the ages of your cookout guests?

perdue farms promo blue backgroundYou should also consider the age and backgrounds of your guests.

If you are having small children attend the party, then you aren’t going to want to only serve smoked salmon.

Likewise, a party composed of adults is not going to be impressed with dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.

Be sure you are taking into account the demographic you are serving and adjust accordingly.

Don’t forget beverages and dessert

Providing beverages for your guests is very important.

You will need to have plenty of water for all of your guests.

If you are serving other beverages as well, you will want a wide variety that suits the people attending. 

You also don’t want to skimp on dessert!

It is better to wait for a little while after a meal before serving dessert, but having something sweet to end the evening will put your cookout over the top.

Strategic dinner party planner

For a summertime cookout, this will be a hit with kids and adults alike.


Custard and pudding dessert that when combined with Oreo cookies, resembles dirt.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword desserts, Oreo, Pudding
Prep Time 15 minutes
Refrigeration Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 10 servings


  • 1 Large Oreo cookie package
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Lg. package of vanilla instant pudding
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavoring
  • 12 oz tub of Cool Whip


  • Crush one large pkg of Oreo cookies in a zip lock bag. Place as the bottom layer in a serving dish. Reserve some crushed cookies as a topping.
  • Cream together the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar.
  • Whip together the instant pudding mix, milk, vanilla flavoring, and Cool Whip.
  • Fold the pudding mixture and cream cheese mixture together.
  • Pour over the crushed Oreo cookies.
  • Top with the reserved Oreo cookies.
  • Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm.

Give me your thoughts...