Switch to Afrikaans

Recipe ideas for last-minute entertaining

For those unexpected dinner parties!
last-minute entertaining

You may be familiar with this scenario: your partner puts down the phone and announces that you’re going to have some last-minute guests join you for dinner that night. No need to stress – let these quick and simple recipes come to your rescue!

Whether you want to go all out with a three-course meal or keep things low-key, these recipe ideas are just what you need: 

Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest.


For a quick yet delicious start to the meal, these roasted tomato and ricotta crostinis are perfect. Not only are they easy to make, the gorgeous, colourful tomatoes are a feast for the eyes too.

These bread sticks are ideal for an evening around the braai. They can be prepared ahead of time or you can get everyone to make their own. Either way, these make a great start to an evening with friends. 

Beetroot carpaccio with nut-coated goat’s cheese

For something a little more fancy, this beetroot carpaccio with nut-coated goat’s cheese starter is a fresh and vibrant way to begin the evening. The nuttiness of the coated cheese complements the zestiness of the beetroot. 


Enjoy a taste of the sea with these delicious crispy fishcakes. Don’t leave out the vinaigrette, as it adds another level to this dish. If you don’t have time to fry all the fishcakes then you can put them in the oven, although they won’t be quite as crispy. Serve these fishcakes with a big bowl of chips or potato wedges.

You can’t go wrong with a classic dish like spaghetti Bolognese. Everyone will be comforted by the familiar flavours and there are bound to be a few requests for second helpings!

For something a little more adventurous, why not serve your dinner guests these delicious savoury Thai chicken lettuce wraps? They are loaded with exciting flavours and textures, and are a great opportunity for everyone to have some fun and create their own with a DIY wrap station at the table. 


This cheat’s raspberry panna cotta is so simple and quick to make! Make this four-ingredient dessert before the rest of the meal, as the panna cotta needs time to set. 

Crepe pancakes filled with caramel & bananas

We are yet to find someone who doesn’t love the combination of pancakes, caramel and bananas! This recipe will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth and is sure to leave guests wanting more, so perhaps make a double batch. 

This peach Melba sundae is refreshing and looks gorgeous too. The layering technique is so simple but effective, and the wafers add a lovely touch. 

PHOTO: iStock/svetikd


Stress-free summer entertaining

Impress your guests with a brunch bonanza!

Eat these foods to stress less

Like this?
to our Free Good Housekeeping Newsletter