Hosting a New Year’s Eve party is exciting—and often stressful. Here are some tips that will help you ring in the new year with a party that will be fun for the guests and the host.
Make It Easy and Make It Ahead
Including make-ahead recipes on your menu is always the number one piece of party-planning advice—and for good reason. The food isn’t the only thing you need to get in order before your party starts, so do yourself a favor and design a menu that features recipes that can be prepared in part or in whole ahead of time. Need some ideas? View all of our make-ahead recipes.
Here’s another tip: If you do prepare some dishes in advance, write the finishing instructions on a sticky note and stick it onto the dish itself. This makes it easier to remember a recipe’s final steps and prevents you from having to go track down the recipe again.
Sharpen Your Knives
Have you ever tried dicing an onion with a butter knife? Your knives are the most important tools for recipe prep, and they can also be the biggest source of frustration (and danger!) if they’re dull. It’s important to keep your knives sharp all year long, but throwing a party is a good excuse to make sure they’re in tip top shape.
Best Electric Sharpener Chef'sChoice Trizor XV Knife Sharpener
This sharpener “purred” with perfection, consistently producing edges that were sharper than on brand-new knives from edge to tip.
Best Manual Sharpener Chef'sChoice Pronto Manual Diamond Hone Asian Knife Sharpener
This sharpener quickly and easily restores a razor-sharp edge to blades that have no serious damage. It's also small enough to easily store in a drawer.
Have Kids? Put Them to Work!
Try to include recipes that the whole family can take part in preparing. In our cookbook Cooking at Home with Bridget and Julia, Bridget Lancaster shares how much she loves making our Steamed Chinese Dumplings recipe with her kids. She recommendeds making the filling and stamping out the egg roll wrappers, then divvying up the filling and showing your young chefs how to shape one dumpling, and letting them have at it. Kids are also great at helping with other kitchen tasks, such as frosting cupcakes, kneading dough, grating cheese, rolling bacon-wrapped dates, and much more.
One Dish Serves. . . as Many People as You Want It To
Every recipe in our arsenal includes the number of people it should serve, but it’s your party and you decide how big to make each portion. Recipes like Spanish Tortilla, Pissaladiere, and Millionaire’s Shortbread can be cut into smaller pieces to serve more people, especially if you have lots of other bites on your menu.
Label Your Dishes
It might sound a little silly, but labeling your serving platters and pulling out serving utensils in advance is time well spent. Not only does it prevent you from having to dig deep into a closet or basement at the last minute, but it makes it easy for others to help you plate your final dishes.
75 Curated Recipes All-Time Best Appetizers
Featuring a our favorite appetizer recipes, from dippable options to snacks to munch by the handful to elegant two-bite treats. Most recipes offer detailed make-ahead instructions, and we also offer advice for choosing drinks and planning your menu.
What are your tricks for stress-free party planning? Let us know in the comments!