40 Graduation Party Food Ideas That'll Get an A++

These graduation party foods are at the top of their class.

ham and cheese pinwheels
Joel Goldberg

School's out, which means it's time to party. Toss your cap in the air and whip up some of our favorite party-ready graduation foods. Whether you plan on gathering with a crowd or just a small group to celebrate, we've rounded up our favorite appetizers, main meals, and desserts to help you pull off the best graduation party ever.

The future (and these delicious party foods) are newly on your graduate's horizon, but that doesn't mean it should be hard work getting your party ready. What could be easier than making a batch of sliders? It doesn't get any better than chicken Parm sliders, French dip sliders, and of course, cheeseburger sliders. We even have chicken and waffle sliders, for a fun, low-effort version of chicken and waffles.

Celebrating for high schoolers or younger? We have tons of fun non-alcoholic party drinks and mocktails perfect for pouring up for your graduates. Our virgin cranberry basil "sangria" is bright and refreshing, no matter your age. And if you're congratulating the 21+ crowd, we have plenty of big-batch cocktails that will be sure to please any crowd. Sangria slushies are at the top of our list for trying this summer (and a genius way to use up any leftover wine).

On a time crunch? Try some of our favorite super simple last-minute appetizers. And if you need something extra special to finish off the meal, try one of these show-stopping cakes.

classic bruschetta
Parker Feierbach
1 of 33
Classic Bruschetta

We know it may sound strange, but rubbing the toasted bread with garlic will help impart tons of flavor into your tiny toasts. Top them with simply marinated tomatoes for the ultimate summer snack. The brighter and juicier your tomatoes, the better your bruschetta will be. If you've got smoked mozzarella or burrata around, you can absolutely add that to the sliced baguette while they finish toasting.

Get the Classic Bruschetta recipe.

sour cream and onion dip
Andrew bui
2 of 33
Sour Cream & Onion Dip

Letting the onions caramelize properly is key to the flavor of this dip. Going low and slow allows them to develop color while breaking down and becoming sweet and jammy. Stir them into this easy dip with some chives and you have a simple appetizer that's crazy addicting. It will stay good in the fridge for a few days, so it's great to make ahead of time.

Get the Sour Cream & Onion Dip recipe.

cheese ball bites
Ethan Calabrese
3 of 33
Cheese Ball Bites

These easy bites are perfect for literally any occasion. We love their little pretzel handles, but feel free to leave them out! If preparing them the night before, refrigerate until 1 hour before serving, then remove from fridge and let come to room temperature.

Get the Cheese Ball Bites recipe.

Cheeseburger Sliders - Delish.com
Parker Feierbach
4 of 33
Pull-Apart Cheeseburger Sliders

Everyone loves little mini cheeseburgers. But have you ever made them? Flipping a dozen (or more) little patties is maddening. Enter: our brilliant hack. Instead of forming each individual slider, we go pull-apart style, using a loose cooked ground beef mixture that's seasoned like a good, juicy burger.

Get the Pull-Apart Cheeseburger Sliders recipe.

pull apart garlic bread pizza dip
Parker Feierbach
5 of 33
Pull-Apart Garlic Bread Pizza Dip

We wanted to make sure this dip was absolutely perfect, so we tested it over and over and over again until it was. (The Delish team wasn't complaining.) Make this and it'll be gone in 10 minutes flat— we can guarantee it. Need more dip inspiration? Our Greek Feta Dip never lasts long either.

Get the Pull-Apart Garlic Bread Pizza Dip recipe.

spicy apricot glazed wings
Andrew bui
6 of 33
Spicy Apricot Glazed Wings

If you’re looking to expand your horizons beyond classic buffalo wings, this recipe is a great place to start. They’re just as spicy, but also super savory, sticky, and juuust sweet enough. With a sauce like this, you don’t even need blue cheese dressing. (Then again... we're not stopping ya!)

Get the Spicy Apricot Glazed Wings recipe.

ham and cheese pinwheels
Joel Goldberg
7 of 33
Ham & Cheese Pinwheels

We'd take a buttery, flaky crescent roll over sandwich bread any day. So with that in mind, we developed these ham and cheese pinwheels using store-bought crescent dough. They are full of melty cheese and savory-sweet ham and topped with fresh parsley and toasty poppy seeds for texture and flavor that you might not find in your normal pinwheels. Try our French dip pinwheels next!

Get the Ham & Cheese Pinwheels recipe.

Giant Party Sub Vertical
Ethan Calabrese
8 of 33
Giant Party Sub

The trick to creating this giant-sized party sub? A bundt pan! This sub is the definition of a crowd-pleaser and might be our new favorite way to dazzle a party. 🙌

Get the Giant Party Sub recipe.

Pickle Sliders
Chelsea Lupkin
9 of 33
Pickle Sliders

Pickles might as well be a food group for us, especially when it means these adorable bite-sized sliders.

Want even more pickle-inspired bites? Try our chicken n' biscuit sliders next.

Get the Pickle Sliders recipe.

icebox cake
Parker Feierbach
10 of 33
Classic Icebox Cake

Few desserts are as easy as an icebox cake. (Okay, we see you 3-ingredient sugar cookies.) If you can whip cream, you're basically halfway there. For a chocolate version, add 1 to 2 tablespoons cocoa powder into your whipped cream mixture. Or, for a zesty variation, swap out chocolate cookies for vanilla cookies and add 2 tsp citrus zest to your whipped cream, or go rogue with a peanut butter icebox version!

Get the Icebox Cake recipe.

perfect vanilla cupcakes
Ethan calabrese
11 of 33
Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

We wanted a cupcake that was better than any bakery or box, with strong vanilla flavor, and a perfectly soft and fluffy texture. The recipe includes cornstarch which makes them lighter and mimics the characteristics of cake flour. Cupcakes this perfect deserve our Perfect Vanilla Buttercream.

Get the Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes recipe.

virgin piña colada
Emily hlavac green
12 of 33
Virgin Piña Coladas

Celebrate the end of the school year with a non-alcoholic piña colada that's basically a tropical milkshake. The classic version might be a bit more smoothie-like in texture, but we're obsessed with this slightly richer and creamier version. It definitely makes you wonder why piña coladas never had ice cream in the first place.

Get the Virgin Piña Colada recipe.

hot crab dip
Emily hlavac green
13 of 33
Hot Crab Dip

This creamy, cheesy crab dip belongs on the dip Mount Rushmore. It's packed with melty cheese and tender, sweet crab meat that makes the perfect opener to any party.

Serve with plenty of toasted bread or buttery crackers! Or you can do what we do and shamelessly go at it with a spoon.

Get the Hot Crab Dip recipe.

cheesy mini meatball skillet dip
Andrew bui
14 of 33
Cheesy Mini Meatball Skillet Dip

Part cheese dip, part mini meatballs, this skillet dip is not only delicious but a fun activity for the whole family. To keep the dip as melty and creamy as possible, we recommend using freshly shredded American cheese. You can substitute it with any other freshly shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack for a stronger flavor.

To cut through the rich dairy, a little dose of pickled red onions is an essential mix-in. The fresh crunch and splash of vinegar really brightens the dip and gives it a burger dip vibe.

Get the Cheesy Mini Meatball Skillet Dip recipe.

cake balls with rainbow sprinkles
Parker Feierbach
15 of 33
Chocolate-Covered Cake Balls

Making dessert for a group can be hard, but these poppable bites couldn't be easier. Feel free to use any type of cake for this recipe. Our classic vanilla would be wonderful here, but truthfully, we love starting with boxed mix. For the homemade buttercream, chocolate coating, and festive sprinkles, people will be too busy eating these to notice.

Get the Chocolate-Covered Cake Balls recipe.

mac and cheese pizza bites
Lucy schaeffer
16 of 33
Mac & Cheese Pizza Bites

A pizza lover's dream: creamy mac, pepperoni, and plenty of Parm. What's not to love? Want to skip the macaroni altogether? Try these pizza pepperoni bites!

Get the Mac & Cheese Pizza Bites recipe.

nacho cheese
Parker Feierbach
17 of 33
Nacho Cheese

There is something so enticing about nacho cheese from concession stands: silky smooth, pleasantly tacky, clings to every chip, fry, and bite. Even if you aren't hungry, it's impossible to pass up. Now you can make it at home anytime the craving hits. We even dedicated a nacho casserole to the sauce! Serve this cheese with homemade chips, soft pretzels, or top your favorite nachos with it!

Get the Nacho Cheese recipe.

Giant Chipwich — Delish.com
Ethan Calabrese
18 of 33
Giant Chipwich Cake

The most annoying thing about a great chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich is how small it is (am I right?). This chipwich cake busts right through that problem.

Better yet? Set up a DIY ice cream sandwich bar with any of our ice cream sandwiches!

Get the Giant Chipwich Cake recipe.

Ham & Cheese Sliders
Ethan Calabrese
19 of 33
Ham & Cheese Sliders

The homemade poppyseed dressing on these sliders makes them *extra* special. We like using yellow mustard for its bright, punchy flavor, but dijon or whole grain mustard would be just as delicious. In terms of buns, we tend to reach for sweet Hawaiian rolls. The sweetness of the rolls pairs beautifully with the salty ham and cheese, but potato rolls are another great choice.

Get the Ham & Cheese Sliders recipe.

dish, food, cuisine, sundae, frozen dessert, ice cream, ingredient, dessert, dairy, frozen yogurt,
Courtesy of Ethan Calabrese
20 of 33
Banana Split Lasagna

This no-bake dessert is hands-down the most fun way to eat a banana split. A buttery graham cracker crust meets layers of rich, whipped creamed cheese frosting, sliced bananas, and all our favorite sundae toppings (extra maraschino cherries, please!).

Get the Banana Split Lasagna recipe.

food, dish, cuisine, ingredient, dessert, cream pie, cream cheese, meringue, whipped cream, cake,
Courtesy of Ethan Calabrese
21 of 33
S'mores Icebox Cake

The toasted marshmallow whipped cream is everything in this no-bake icebox cake. You just might find yourself wanting to top everything with it.

Get the S'mores Icebox Cake recipe.

grilled ranch potato skewers vertical
Jonathan Boulton
22 of 33
Grilled Ranch Potatoes

We take these spuds to the next level with two levels of ranch goodness. The seasoning adds some salty, umami flavor, while the dressing provides that cooling, tangy creaminess. Toss these on the grill alongside some chicken bacon ranch foil packets for the perfect summery, ranch-packed cookout.

Get the Grilled Ranch Potatoes recipe.

lasagna roll ups
Ethan calabrese
23 of 33
Lasagna Roll-Ups

Classic lasagna, as much as we adore it, can be extremely time-consuming. These spinach and ricotta roll-ups come together quickly and couldn't be more delicious.

Get the Lasagna Roll-Ups recipe.

oven baked bbq chicken
Parker Feierbach
24 of 33
Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken

Fact: We don't all have a grill, but sometimes we just don't want to stand outside, either (ya feel me?). And let's be honest, half the reason why we love BBQ chicken is because of the sauce, right? Though a lot of folks opt for boneless and skinless chicken, we recommend getting bone-in and skin-on for extra flavor and texture.

Get the Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken recipe.

25 of 33
Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

The spice mix here is what sets this crispy popcorn chicken apart: five-spice heightened with some white pepper, Szechuan peppercorns, onion powder, and mildly spicy gochugaru.

Get the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken recipe.

chicken parm sliders
Ethan Calabrese
26 of 33
Chicken Parm Sliders

These sliders might be mini, but they deliver mega flavor. If you're anything like us, you love a dipping sauce, so definitely serve these along some more marinara sauce. Just try and eat only one.

Get the Chicken Parm Sliders recipe.

27 of 33
BBQ Lime Cauliflower Bites

These little bites are packed with umami: hot and saucy, then cool and creamy once you dip 'em into homemade ranch. For the crunchiest texture, cut your florets into a smaller size—this will help them cook faster during the bake and give you crispier edges with sauce-clinging power. The sweet sauce and crunchy cauliflower will make you feel like you're eating popcorn chicken.

Get the BBQ Lime Cauliflower Bites recipe.

skillet pizza bbq chicken
Ethan Calabrese
28 of 33
BBQ Chicken Skillet Pizza

Recreate the California Pizza Kitchen fave with this insanely delicious (mostly) homemade pie. To save on time, use store-bought pizza dough. Or, better yet, pick some up from your favorite pizzeria!

Get the BBQ Chicken Skillet Pizza recipe.

giant oreo cake
Bryce johnson
29 of 33
Giant Oreo Cake

Are you one of those people who thinks that even double-stuffed Oreos don't have enough filling? Well, have we got the cake for you. We love how pressing a large fork around the cookie layers helps to make indentations similar to Oreos.

Get the Giant Oreo Cake recipe.

Giant Cheeseburger Vertical
Chelsea Lupkin
30 of 33
Giant Party Cheeseburger

A large round loaf of French-style boule bread was destined to become a crusty giant burger bun. We baked the XXL burger patty in the oven to make sure it cooks evenly and stays super juicy. Trust us, this burger is not for the faint of heart.

Get the Giant Party Cheeseburger recipe.

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