Looking for ideas on how to load up the perfect snack tray? Be it for a party, a family gathering, or a simple snack dinner, this is our very comprehensive guide. Read on!
Come to think of it, a snack tray is the simplest of the meals (so to speak). It doesn’t take much to arrange a tray that is both beautiful and tasty. Especially if you follow a formula. Yes, there’s a formula. We can’t say we’ve come up with it (although, why not?), but if you follow a few rules, making up a snack tray from just about anything is a walk in a park (for a picnic.)
Here’s what we’ve done. First, we lay out some simple rules of making a sack tray. It involves some general considerations of bowls and ramekins, as well as the food and snack arrangement around them. Then we go over the snack ideas that can be mixed and matched on your perfect tray (some tasty recipes included.)
Let’s do it.
We will talk about:
How to Make a Snack Tray
- Prepare a tray, board, or platter that can hold all the snacks you want to use. Wash or wipe the tray clean. If you like, you can lay the wax paper, paper towel, or clean cotton cloth to prevent contamination. This is especially important if you will be serving greasy snacks on a wooden surface. Ceramic, glass, or plastic are generally easy to clean after use.
- Prepare small bowls or ramekins for dips, spreads, nuts, and trail mixes. Place these bowls in an irregular pattern on the bowl.
- Starting from one corner, arrange the snacks around the bowls or ramekins. Fill the area until you reach the middle of the tray. Next, start from another corner and work your way to the center of the tray. Group like snacks together. Make sure that snacks are near the bowls of dips and spreads meant for them.
- Depending on the size of the tray, keep the number of bowls to a minimum. Do not overfill the tray with bowls because there will not be much room left for the snacks. If there are gaps, fill them up with smaller-sized snacks.
- Do not be afraid to use garnish and color. Use sprigs of dill or rosemary on a corner and sprinkle fruits to fill gaps. You could also sprinkle garnish on spreads. For added interest, add edible flowers.
Easy Snacks to Make
These are easy. We always love to load up the tray with finger foods that don’t take much to prepare but they bring a lot of color to the platter. Here are our favorite recipes.
Bacon Avocado Fries
- Preheat oven to 425º. Cut 3 avocados and remove the pits. Slice each half into four equal wedges. Prepare 24 strips of bacon and wrap each avocado wedge with a strip. If the bacon is too long, cut it to size.
- Lay the bacon-wrapped avocados on a baking sheet. Make sure the end of the bacon strip is at the bottom. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until bacon is crispy and cooked.
- Serve with your favorite dressing.
- Peel 2 medium-sized zucchini, then slice each into thin strips. The strips should be flat to make rolling easy. Lay the zucchini strips on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Combine 4 oz. of cream cheese, 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce, and 1 tsp. lime juice in a bowl.
- Lay 2 slices of zucchini on a plate or cutting board. Spread cream cheese mixture on top thinly. Place a small amount of crab meat, julienned carrots, diced avocado, and julienned cucumber on the upper left area of the zucchini.
- Starting from the crab meat side, roll the zucchini tightly to resemble sushi. Do the same for the rest of the zucchini slices. When done, sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.
Zucchini Parmesan Chips
- Preheat oven to 450º. Spread a thin layer of oil on a baking sheet. Alternatively, use cooking spray to prevent crisps from sticking to the pan.
- Slice 2 medium-sized zucchinis into 1/4 in.-thick rounds or sticks. Put the zucchini in a bowl, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and toss to coat the rounds.
- Put 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly ground if available) in another bowl. Add 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, 1/8 tsp. salt, and a dash of pepper (or to taste). Mix until combined.
- Take a zucchini round/stick and dip it into the coating mix. Make sure both sides are coated evenly. Press down the coating so it sticks to the zucchini.
- Lay the zucchini rounds/sticks onto the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the coating is crisp and golden brown. Best if served immediately.
Grilled Cheese Crostini
- Preheat the grill. While waiting, put 2 cups of sliced strawberries, 2 tbsps. olive oil, 2 tbsps. balsamic vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Combine and set aside for about 15-20 minutes.
- When the grill is ready, brush the top of each crostini slice with a generous amount of olive oil. Grill the bread on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool for a while.
- To prepare, put a layer of 3 tbsps. of Brie on top of a crostini slice. Spoon about 2-3 tbsps. of the strawberry mix on top. Sprinkle some black pepper and mint, then serve.
- For this recipe, you will need about 1 pound of Persian or Kirby cucumbers. To prepare, cut the ends of each cucumber and slice it into spears of your desired size. Place each spear vertically into a 16 oz. glass jar. Add 2 cloves of peeled and crushed garlic and a large sprig of fresh dill. In this recipe, you will need two 16 oz. glass jars.
- For the brine, pour 1 cup water, 3/4 cup white vinegar, and 1 tbsp. of Kosher salt into a small saucepan. Allow to boil to make sure that the salt has dissolved. Once done, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Pour the brine over the cucumber spears then seal the jar. Allow the brine to cool on the table or counter. When ready, put in the fridge for at least 2 hours. For tastier pickles, let them chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving.
What to Put on a Snack Tray
So it begins. Where do you start assembling your tray. These are the four big categories for snacks that are usually included in a well-rounded snack tray.
- Blue Cheese Potato Chips
- Crispy Kale Chips
- Beer Pretzels
- Roasted Cumin Cashews
- Ground Beef Mini Quiches
- Baked Carrot Chips
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Cheese Crackers
- Popcorn With Sea Salt
- Salty Trail Mix
Dips and Spreads
- Classic Hummus
- Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip
- Zucchini Pico de Gallo Salsa
- Layered Mediterranean Dip
- Hot Spinach Spread
- Honey Mustard Dip
- Creamy Red Pepper Veggie Dip
- Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Berry Smoothie
- Maple-Almond Fudge
- Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites
- Almond-Date Truffles
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites
- Fruits, nuts, and seeds
Meat Platter Ideas
Make a meat platter using all-meat ingredients or mix bite-sized cuts of meat with cheese and crackers. Some great choices of meat include:
- Roasted Chicken or Turkey
- Beef, Chicken, Pork, or Turkey Jerky
Fruit Platter Ideas
Choose fruits and berries that are in season, then pick the colors you want to use. You can also make a fruit platter that features fruits in all the colors of the rainbow for a more festive look. Keep fruits in bite-sized cuts and slices. For smaller fruits such as berries and grapes, serve them whole.
- Pineapples (serve as slices or chunks)
- Seedless Watermelon
- Star Fruit
- Dragon Fruit
- Pomegranate Seeds
Vegetable Finger Foods
Can’t do without the veggies. They aren’t just healthy but add all the colors to the tray. Here’s what to include:
- Carrot Sticks
- Cucumber Spears
- Radish Sticks
- Pickled Onions
- Pickled Beets
- Pickled Green Beans
- Artichoke Hearts
- Cherry Peppers With Cream Cheese Filling
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Boiled Asparagus Spears
Sandwich Platter Ideas
Sandwiches make it all so much more interesting:
- Chicken, Radish, and Mint
- Cucumber With Lemon-Herb Butter
- Roast Beef, Horseradish, and Beetroot Chutney
- Turkey, Brie, and Cranberry
- Egg, Mayonnaise, and Lettuce
- Tuna and Hummus
- Chicken and Apple
- Pulled Pork
- Sushi Tuna and Cucumber
- Smoked Salmon Rolls
Nut Platter Ideas
In a platter, arrange a combination of the following tasty and nutritious nuts:
There you have it, that’s how you make the perfect snack tray. Did we miss anything? What are your favorites ingredients?