25 recipes and tips on How to Host an Easy Tapas Party! From patatas bravas to delicious cocktails and everything in between.
If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good tapas party.
Perhaps it’s the delicious, perfectly portioned two-bite finger foods. Maybe it’s the heavy use of olives or cheese (Manchego, be still my heart), two of my absolute favorite things.
It is entirely possible the free-flowing sangria could also have something to do with it.
So many miraculous things all in one room.
My love for tapas began, like many of my great loves, in college.
My best friend and I would go to a local Spanish restaurant near our university. We were huge foodies. We definitely started young in that department. We would both go on to graduate culinary school in New York City and work in the culinary industry. But, at that time, we were just two 18 year olds eating tapas at a fancy Spanish restaurant where everyone around us was sipping sangria.
Even though I couldn’t drink, I felt happily buzzed off of the atmosphere. It was busy, loud, and filled with Flamenco guitar and wafts of Paella and salty cured meats. To me, for an hour, I was transported to a restaurant in Spain. And that’s what I love most about food. The way that it can seamlessly shift you into another world.
Tapas restaurants are still my absolute favorite. But what I really love is recreating them at home, which is why I decided to put together some tips on how to host an easy tapas party.
The keyword here is easy. Even though tapas are small plates, they can be very detailed and time consuming. We don’t want that today. Today, we want more time spent with friends, and more time for sangria.
Tips on How to Host an Easy Tapas Party
Choose 3-5 small bites (out of the recipes below)
Having 3 to five options, along with a charcuterie board, will be more than enough variety and food. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to create ten different dishes. Instead, choose around 4 and make them really well. When it comes to the small plates, mix it up. Go for at least 1-2 proteins (marinated flank steak, garlic shrimp, pork meatballs). Then, choose a vegetarian option (like the vegan beans below). Also think about texture. I like to include at least one thing fried (patatas bravas, fried cauliflower, or fried seafood cakes) and some type of spiced nuts. Finally, include a salty bite such as bacon-wrapped dates and a dip such as beet hummus.
Place out a meat and cheese board
The best part, am I right?! How to host an easy tapas party? Throw together some meats and cheeses. It’s no-cook, no-fuss, and instantly makes everyone happy! Include Spanish meats such as Jamon Iberico, chorizo, and Serrano ham. Then, add a nice variety of some different soft and hard cheeses. I like to include Manchego, Spanish blue cheese, and Mahón. Then, some citrus-marinated olives and spiced Marcona almonds work beautifully. Finally, add in some crusty bread or crackers, and quince paste and honey as condiments.
Pick one cocktail
Choose one cocktail (either sangria or one of the cocktails featured below). For other options, include sparkling water and both Spanish red and white wine. Spanish wine such as Tempranillo and Garnacha are very affordable, readily available, and pair very well with food.
How to Host an Easy Tapas Party: 25 Recipes!
One recipe I always must include in my tapas party is patatas bravas. So delicious, easy, and vegetarian. Usually, patatas bravas are served with a garlic aioli. Below, I’ll show you how to make a crazy easy cheat aioli with quality store-bought mayo.
I love using fingerling potatoes for patatas bravas because they are so perfectly dip-worthy. It is much easier to pick up a fingerling than a diced potato, so it makes a really great party food. No fork necessary!
Patatas bravas are a classic tapas addition. Here, we cheat a little when making garlic aioli for a super easy, delicious dish!
- 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper
- Fresh thyme and parsley
- Spanish paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1/2 cup high-quality mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Make the Garlic Aioli: Combine the pressed garlic, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt and pepper to taste in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Allow the aioli to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. This can be made ahead.
- Make the Patatas Bravas: Boil the fingerling potatoes in salted water until they are just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let dry.
- Carefully slice the potatoes in half lengthwise once they are cooled.
- Heat a cast iron pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil until very hot. Work in batches (don’t overcrowd the pan) and fry up the potatoes until each side is crispy and evenly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the potatoes to drain on paper towels, and while they are still very hot, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, paprika, and fresh thyme.
- Serve the potatoes immediately while still warm on a bed of fresh parsley, sprinkled with additional parsley and thyme. Serve with the aioli. Enjoy!
With the tips and easy patatas bravas recipe you will be on your way to hosting an epic tapas dinner. Add in some of these delicious recipes below, and it’s a party!
How to Host an Easy Tapas Party Continued: 24 More Delicious Recipes
- Lavender Lemon Bourbon Sour: This sweet, unique cocktail looks awfully pretty and is very easy to make. A lavender simple syrup pairs with citrus and bourbon for a bright, show-stopping libation that will pair nicely with salty and spicy flavors. via Champagne Tastes
- White Wine Marinated Steak with Blue Cheese: To appease the meat lovers at your tapas party, this Spain-inspired dish is bursting with flavor, including garlic, mustard, and white wine. Blue cheese adds a welcome, sharp bite to the steak. Slice the steak and serve as a one-bite portion on toothpicks, or in terracotta ramekins as shown. via Caroline’s Cooking
- Pan con Tomate Garlic Bread: Not only is this recipe easy and delicious, it’s also incredibly cost-effective. Win win. Think: the Spanish version of pizza! via Three Olives Branch
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Marcona Almonds: I could never write a post on how to host an easy tapas party without including bacon-wrapped dates. No tapas party will ever be complete without these, in my whole-hearted opinion. via Platings and Pairings
- Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms: Stuffed mushrooms are always a good idea when it comes to finger foods. This vegetarian version is extra tasty, topped with crispy breadcrumbs and balsamic glaze. via Peas and Crayons
- Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms: If you prefer a little meat in your mushroom, this chorizo version fits the bill beautifully. Spanish chorizo, red wine, and Manchego: be still our hearts. via Culinary Ginger
- Spicy Halibut Ceviche with Casera Style Tortilla Chips: What’s easier than ceviche? There’s no cooking involved! This halibut version has a welcome spicy kick. via Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers: The marinade for this recipe is only 3 simple ingredients, but it’s bursting with flavor. Bonus: they also look really pretty served. via Salt and Lavender
- Easy Spicy Pork Meatballs: ‘Easy’ is right in the title! These meatballs are full of flavor and a little heat, too. Serve them individually on toothpicks. via Pinch and Swirl
- Gambas Pil Pil: An authentic tapas shrimp recipe that’s easy to boot. Only a handful of ingredients, simple, but oh so tasty. via Sprinkles and Sprouts
- Vegan Spanish Potato Salad: Have some vegan guests coming to your tapas shindig? This easy recipe uses a homemade vegan mayonnaise made from aquafaba. via Cilantro and Citronella
- Pan Fried Spanish Cauliflower: Fried food of any kind is always welcome at my tapas parties. This recipe is “low stress” and delicious and we’re all about it. via Just a Little Bit of Bacon
- Maple Chipotle Cashews: Nuts are a great (and easy) addition to any charcuterie board, especially these sweet-and-spicy chipotle cashews. Yum. via Create Mindfully
- 10 Minute Creamy Vegan Bean and Aubergine Casserole: Easy. Check. Vegan. Check. Delicious. Also, check. This casserole is another awesome vegan recipe, spiced with smoky paprika and chili. via Lauren Caris Cooks
- Olive and Gruyere Puff Pastry Tartlets: Frozen puff pastry is such a great way to create a fabulous, easy appetizer. Especially when it’s these tasty little tartlets. via The Life Jolie
- Mini Salmon Cakes with Sriracha Lemon Aioli: These salmon cakes may sound complicated, but I promise they’re not. The recipe also uses a delicious ‘cheat aioli’ and it will definitely impress your guests. via Taste and See
- Riesling Peach And Cherry Slushies: Slushies! Such a fun and boozy addition to any tapas party, and a great choice for anyone looking for something a little different than sangria. via Living Sweet Moments
- Trio of Crostini: What’s better, one crostini or three? Definitely three. Especially when they’re as easy as these! via Lemon Blossoms
- Bacon Jalapeño Cheese Ball: Listen, you can never go wrong with a cheese ball. They’re easy, delicious, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like one. Especially this spicy bacon version. via Spend with Pennies
- Spicy Citrus and Mango Shrimp Cocktail: If you want a little extra heat to your shrimp cocktail, this sweet-and-spicy version is a must. via Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Whipped Goat Cheese Pomegranate Bites: Pretty, easy, and incredibly tasty? Sign us up. We love the refrigerated pie crust cracker idea! via Nutmeg Nanny
- Pisco Sour: A classic Pico Sour cocktail is the perfect addition to any tapas party. Or party, in general, really. via Compass and Fork
- Mango Jalapeno Margarita: For a unique and spicy cocktail, look no further. Make a big batch in a pitcher to serve guests instead of individual cocktails. via Easy Cooking with Molly
- Roasted Beet Hummus: And the award for the prettiest hummus goes to… This easy and delicious dip destined to be included in your tapas night. via The Organic Kitchen
I hope that you’ve enjoyed these tips on How to Host an Easy Tapas Party! What are some of your favorite tapas recipes? Let us know in the comments below!