The concept of tapas refers to various snacks and appetizers that originate in Spanish cuisine. There isn’t a strict definition regarding the contents of tapas as they can be anything from mixed olives and cheeses to fried squid and hot chorizo. Tapas can be commonly found throughout Spain’s bars and cafés as they’re an essential part of the culture and social scene.
If you want to transform your next gathering in a tapas party, there are lots of ideas that you should incorporate to make the event a success. This kind of party is focused mainly on a varied range of dishes that can be easily shared. One nice advantage of tapas is that it encourages socialization and spending less time in the kitchen preparing complex meals. The idea is to give your guests small plates of foods that are fun to share around.
While the main focus of a tapas party is on the food, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the other elements that contribute to the atmosphere such as music and décor. Let’s explore some of the best tapas recipes to include, as well as all the other details to make your party memorable for your guests.
Given how food occupies a central spot for any tapas party, let’s see the essential items that need to be included on the menu. It’s recommended to provide multiple dishes to make the whole experience more interesting for your guests. If making everything by yourself takes too much effort, there’s always the option to buy some things at the market.
There are lots of authentic Spanish cheeses, meats, and other products that can be bought for your convenience. That being said, try to make at least a few recipes by yourself so the menu at your tapas party is varied and tasty. Check out our favorite tapas party recipes:
- Patatas Bravas
This is party food at its best. Patatas Bravas is a must-have addition for any tapas party as the sauce-slathered potatoes are easy to share and simply delicious. The key for this recipe is the sauce so make sure you follow the preparation instructions carefully to impress your guests with some tasty Patatas Bravas.
- Mushroom Croquettes
A typical addition to tapas parties, mushroom croquettes are very appreciated for their crisp exterior and creamy interior with meaty mushrooms. Pair it with your favorite dipping sauce, and you’ve got your hands on a delicious party dish. Check out the recipe for these vegan mushroom croquettes.
- Spanish Cheese Board
Going for a single, large board is often better when it comes to party food. This Spanish Cheese board has a varied range of cheeses and meats as well as other flavorful bits to delight your taste buds. It’s not essential to include everything shown here, but taking a diverse approach can be more successful when it comes to large tapas parties.
- Deep Fried Olives
This is an ideal appetizer that works well for all kinds of events, especially tapas parties. You will only need four ingredients and less than 15 minutes to create deep-fried olives that are full of flavor and texture. It’s an ideal snack for parties given its great portability and bite-sized style. Look at the full recipe to make deep fried olives for your tapas party.
- Spinach and Chickpeas
Espinacas con garbanzos is one healthier dish that can be very welcomed at a tapas party. The combination of spinach with chickpeas results in a hearty and smoky flavor. It’s often eaten on fried bread toast in Spanish bars. The spinach and chickpeas recipe offers a solid degree of flexibility so you can make your slightly altered version with ease.
- Garlic Shrimp
Shrimp is highly versatile and there are many recipes you could try for a tapas party. One of our favorites that includes it is this garlic shrimp dish that takes advantage of the zesty flavors of lemon and parsley. This is a classic Spanish recipe to add to your tapas party and it’s mainly recommended due to how easy it is to make. You can let guests savor the tasty shrimps using toothpicks.
- Chorizo, Manchego and Olive Skewers
Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. These Chorizo, Manchego, and olive skewers are incredibly easy to craft and they can be the star of the party given the multiple layers of flavors. This is a classic Spanish appetizer that you simply can’t go wrong with. As long as you keep it diverse and include salty, sweet, spicy, and crunchy tastes, your guests will be satisfied.
- Potato Chip Spanish Tortilla
If you want to stick to classic Spanish dishes, you shouldn’t forget about tortillas. This recipe comes with an interesting twist as it includes potato chips and that makes it easier to prepare. Instead of adding slow-cooked potatoes, you can try this innovative method which still retains a great taste, just in a crunchier style. Cut some pieces of tortilla and serve to your guests at the tapas party.
- Chicken Empanadas
A tasty empanada recipe can make any tapas party more entertaining. This is a relatively easy dish to prepare and if you want to simplify the work, you can also just shred a rotisserie chicken for the filling. Thanks to the addition of creamy yogurt and cheese, the filling can almost be eaten by itself. If you’re interested in trying your hand at making these chicken empanadas, here’s the full recipe.
- Blistered Padrón Peppers
With a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, you can turn these Spanish peppers into a focal point at the tapas party. Padron peppers are a bit more difficult to find, but if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on these mild peppers, don’t pass on the opportunity to create this delicious recipe. Sautee them in olive oil until they’re blistered and you obtain a simple-to-prepare appetizer.
What kind of party lacks dessert? There are many famed Spanish sweets that you should add to the table after the guests tried out the main foodstuffs. Here are the best dessert recipes for tapas parties:
There aren’t many party desserts that can compare to fresh homemade churros. This is a traditional Spanish dessert that’s sure to delight all the guests. With the help of a great recipe such as this one, you should be able to create delicious churros using only simple ingredients. If they’re tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, you know that you’ve done a great job.
- Turrón de Alicante
Turrón de Alicante is a popular treat in Spain around Christmas time. The Spanish hard almond nougat is also an excellent choice to accompany the festive atmosphere of a tapas party. There are multiple ways to craft this wonderful dessert, but we like this turron recipe which strives to maintain the authentic flavors of Spanish cuisine.
There are many torrijas variations out there and you should consider incorporating a recipe for your tapas party. This is a simple and delicious finger food that doesn’t take a lot of work to satisfy a sweet tooth. One defining element of this dessert is the French toast that’s transformed into a treat using all kinds of tasty ingredients. Check out this torrijas recipe that makes use of a flavorful combination of honey and cinnamon.
- Spanish Flan
The Spanish Flan is a very special dessert that plays with your taste buds for a memorable experience. It has a firm consistency that’s similar to custard, but once you start eating it, the Flan starts to melt and deliver its unmistakable flavors. There’s an intense vanilla taste and the caramelized sugar syrup contributes to the sweet effect. With just 4 ingredients, you will be able to impress anyone at the tapas party with an authentic Spanish Flan.
A favorite treat for any tapas party, mantecados are tasty cookies that are fairly easy to prepare. While they are traditionally made using pork lard, there’s no harm done if you use soft butter or vegetable shortening instead. Take a look at this Spanish mantecados recipe that shows you the right preparation techniques to enjoy this great dessert.
The best way to complement the excellent food at a tapas party is by including matching drinks. There are some interesting options here such as Spanish wines (Tempranillo and Cava for example) and cocktails which pair very nicely with native delicacies. We’ve collected the best drinks to bring at a tapas party so you can choose according to your preferences.
This is a must-have drink for any Spanish festive event. It’s an ideal party punch to make the atmosphere livelier and it feels particularly refreshing when it’s served cold during hot summer days. Real sangria is made with fresh fruit and high-quality wine so it’s recommended to choose an authentic recipe if you want to pull off a successful drink.
- Riesling Peach and Cherry Slushies
Slushies can act as great beverage options for a multitude of party styles. The vibrant nature of tapas parties makes it suitable to incorporate a fruity and refreshing frozen cocktail such as these Riesling peach and cherry slushies. The crisp flavor of the Riesling wine is amplified with the help of frozen fruits. Make a large pitcher of this cocktail to please all the guests at your tapas party.
- Bourbon Sour with Lavender
This is a sweet spring cocktail that’s sure to enhance the food at any tapas party. Many people can get overwhelmed by difficult cocktail recipes and that’s the main reason they exclude homemade options. This bourbon sour with lavender recipe is very easy to follow and prepare. The result is a sweet and flavorful drink that’s nicely balanced by the zesty taste of lemon.
The colorful food at tapas parties needs to match the surroundings to get everyone in a festive mood. This is why you shouldn’t neglect the décor and spice things up with tassel garlands and streamers. Take out some stylish ceramic platters to suit the delicious dishes. Wood and slate can also work well if you prefer a rustic style. Don’t forget about floral decorations, colorful napkins, and candles.
If you’re holding the party outside on the patio, perhaps you could add some Edison string lights for a more enchanting atmosphere. This set of hanging light bulbs from Amazon should nicely cover your outdoor décor needs.
The right music will definitely add a lot to the party ambiance. Try to craft a playlist that gives off some Spanish vibes. Some classical guitar tunes and flamenco represent good examples. If you’re in need of some great inspiration, check out these Spotify playlists – Spanish Flamenco Guitar and Best of Flamenco Lounge.
6. Drink Dispensers
Drink dispensers are great additions for fun events of all kinds and tapas parties are no exception. These large dispensers are not just useful for guests to grab a quick drink, they also act as beautiful displays for colorful drinks such as sangria. Letting the guests pour their own drinks means that you will have more time to mingle instead of playing bartender. Take a look at this reliable beverage dispenser from Amazon.
7. Entertaining Activities
If you want to make your tapas party more entertaining, the best solution is to incorporate some fun activities and games. Pinatas are traditional to Spain even though it’s more often associated with Mexico. Children will definitely love breaking pinatas to get to the candies and other treats inside. Adults can also have some fun with a DIY backdrop and props where they can take memorable photos.