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Top 10 Party Food Ideas Under $10

Homemade Pizza

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The easiest way to please every guest at your party? Serve pizza! You can customize your pie to be as healthy (or unhealthy) as you want. Plus, with this easy pizza dough recipe (below), you can afford to splurge on fresh, tasty toppings. Our favorite ingredients for the perfect pizza: whole-wheat flour, spicy tomato sauce, and low-fat ricotta.


7 cups flour

2 teaspoons sugar

5 teaspoons salt

2 ¾ cups warm water

2 packages active dry yeast

5 tablespoons olive oil

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt in your largest bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the water and the yeast until dissolved. Add the olive oil. Pour over the dry ingredients, and, using a rubber spatula, mix together. You'll have a wet, raggedy dough. Turn it out onto an oiled piece of plastic wrap and wash and dry the bowl. Brush the bowl with olive oil, and place the dough back in. (If you have a second large bowl, you can oil it and transfer the dough straight to that.) Cover with the plastic wrap and leave in a warm-ish spot for 1 hour. Then, with an oiled hand, punch the risen dough down. It will deflate. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for another 30 minutes.

When you're nearly ready to eat, ease the dough out from the bowl onto a floured countertop. Divide it into three balls, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 10 minutes. Then shape them into your desired pizza–rectangular, circular, or totally free form–using your hands or a rolling pin. Transfer the dough to parchment-lined baking sheets.

Recipe courtesy of

Baked Chicken Fingers

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Chicken is one of the cheapest meats at the supermarket, so when you split one breast into six or more strips, you can get even more bird for your buck! Serve party guests this healthier version of the classic finger food—jazzed up with flavor-packed condiments—to save major calories and cash.


1 pound chicken breast

½ cup Saucy Mama Lime Chipotle marinade

1 cup panko

½ teaspoon salt, divided

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with olive oil or cooking spray. Place the chicken breast on a work surface and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, frying pan, meat mallet, or other heavy object, pound the chicken until ½ inch thick. Remove the plastic and cut into ½-inch strips.

Place the marinade and panko in two separate shallow bowls. Season the chicken with ¼ teaspoon of salt, and combine the remaining salt with the panko. Coat the chicken strips in the marinade, then toss in the panko until fully covered in crumbs. Shake off any excess bits and arrange on the baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken fingers so they brown on the other side, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is brown.

Recipe courtesy of

Black Bean Cakes

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Black beans are a savvy party host's best friend. They're not only packed with belly-filling fiber, but there are countless tasty ways to serve them. These fancy-looking black bean cakes elevate a humble bean into an elegant bite. Garnish with low-fat sour cream and fresh cilantro for your next cheap but chic gathering.

Click here for the full recipe.

White Bean Dip

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Dips are a great way to get more out of your grocery list. For example, this white bean dip recipe (below) only calls for one 15-ounce can of beans and serves up to 15 people—with the right accompanying high-fiber bread or veggies.


1 15oz can cannelloni or white beans

Juice of ½ lemon

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or thyme leaves (optional)

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Directions: In a small food processor or blender, puree the beans, lemon juice, herbs (if using), garlic, olive oil and salt. Add another tablespoon of olive oil if the mixture is still coarse, and puree until smooth. Makes 2 cups.

Recipe courtesy of


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With a round cookie cutter, you can take a single sheet of puff pastry and turn it into 12 to 15 mouthwatering morsels. Simply choose your favorite cheese (a little goes a long way) and roast some vegetables, and this fancy finger food will be ready in a flash. Not feeling creative? Try this fast recipe for roasted fennel and Asiago tartlettes!


2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, quartered, and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 ½ cups coarsely grated young Asiago cheese

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss the fennel, olive oil, salt, and sugar together until the veggies are coated. Turn out the fennel onto 2 parchment-lined cookie sheets. Roast in the oven until caramelized, about 30 minutes, flipping the fennel slices halfway through the cooking process. Set aside. (This can be done up to 3 days in advance.) On a clean work surface, lay out one sheet of puff pastry. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut the pastry into 12 rounds, and lay flat on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the second sheet.

Place one piece of fennel on each round, top with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese, and another small piece of fennel. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tops of the tartlettes are golden brown, and the puff pastry is cooked through. Serve on platters, and expect them to disappear very fast.

Recipe courtesy of


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Make raw veggies your go-to party food when you're on a budget. Simply choose what's on sale in the produce aisle (it's usually what's in season), arrange in alternating colors, and throw together this Lemon Paprika Aioli recipe (below) for dipping. It may seem like a cop-out to you, but it's a healthy crudité to your guests.


⅓ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon salt

dash cayenne pepper

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small food processor, or whisk together by hand. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Makes about ½ cup.

Recipe courtesy of


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The quickest way to feed party guests for less than $5? Buy a baguette! It's the perfect base for healthy (cheap!) toppings like this recipe for eggplant caponata. See how quickly you go from bland baguette to savory crostini bites?

Click here for the full recipe.

Brownie Petit Fours

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When you make mini versions of classic cookies or brownies, they're perfectly portioned for guilt-free indulgence. This easy brownie recipe (below) makes about 50 small squares from ingredients you (probably) already have in your pantry.


2oz unsweetened chocolate

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

½ cup sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup add-ins: chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, heath bar bites, or chopped toasted nuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Clear a space in the freezer for the pan, and line the space with a dish towel. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a saucepan over low heat (this can also be done in the microwave). Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and optional espresso, and mix until smooth. Add the flour, salt, and nuts/chips/candy and stir until smooth. Pour into the pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is crackly but the brownies are still quite moist. Cool slightly, then put the whole pan in the freezer until thoroughly cool, or leave overnight. Cut the brownies into squares and serve.

Recipe courtesy of

Mini Meatballs

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Meatballs make it easy to serve protein without paying the (high) price. You can use a variety of ground meats—chicken, beef, pork, or veal. When rolled into tiny balls, a little goes a long way. To make your meatballs even more substantial, try stuffing them inside dinner rolls like these mini meatball subs.

Click here for the full recipe.


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Traditional potato latkes can be a pain to make, but you can prep healthier versions like these butternut squash latkes one day before your party. The best part: Just one large butternut squash makes about 100 patties! Try another version with zucchini and scallions the next time you play host.

Click here for the full recipe.


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