The 2020 Oscars are nearly here, and while they’re forgoing a host for the second year running, you can be the best Oscars host in your own home when you throw a fabulous Oscars cocktail party. Create some memorable nibbles and swanky sips for a couture-caliber Oscars party, but keep it real too. After all, you are just watching an awards show on TV.
Sure, you could just order a pizza and call it a night, but there’s a happy medium between low effort and megawatt glitz and glamour, which we think we’ve captured.
These recipe ideas wink at classic Hollywood but honor casual comfort since most of us will be tuning in from our couches. Frenchy cheese puffs, macarons, and orange truffles are kinda glamorous. But then nuts, hummus, and buffalo cauliflower are more couch-snacking worthy. While the stars sashay down the red carpet, sip a sparkling cocktail from the comfort of your living room and judge their fashion choices with your friends.
Don’t forget to bring your Academy Awards knowledge A-game: pull out trivia about the first Oscar menu and quiz your friends about the best food scenes in past Best Picture winners. Have an interesting origin story on hand to whip out during the most boring speech of the night. And also, be sure to set up your room so everyone gets a good seat (and easy access to all your wonderful snacks and drinks)!
Now, on to the noms:
The miniature nature of these appetizers (and the fact that they’re topped with precious little quail eggs, which are easily found at Asian grocery stores) makes them seem super fancy—but really, they’re just bite-sized French comfort food, and what’s more humble than a ham and cheese sandwich? Get our Mini Croque Madames recipe.
How do you make cheese even more heavenly? Make it like a fluffy cloud. These gougères—French-style cheese puffs—are livened up with parmesan, Manchego, and pepper, and perfect for sipping with a glass of Cava. Get our Black Pepper–Manchego Cheese Puffs recipe.
Okay, caviar might feel like too much of a splurge, but you can get cheaper (and still delicious) fish roe from non-sturgeon species that’ll make you feel fancy without breaking the bank. Besides, caviar connoisseurs would say you shouldn’t drown out the good stuff with crème fraîche and smoked salmon anyway—but use more affordable eggs and it’s a seafood symphony. Get our Cornmeal Blini with Caviar recipe.
Caviar Restaurant Delivery
This kind of Caviar is probably a lot more affordable.
This crowd-pleasing party snack is the best of both worlds (like enjoying the benefits of a fancy Oscars gown without getting out of your sweatpants, if that was possible). You feel like you’re eating deep-fried buffalo wings, but the cauliflower reality is much less effort. And while it’s not quite keto, it’s close enough for us regular folks. Get our Buffalo Cauliflower recipe.
Be just like the stars and keep your svelte silhouette by skipping the potato chips, or at least supplementing them with whatever fresh vegetables you please; anything goes with this easy, tangy herbed dip studded with scallions. Just call them crudités to lend the proper cachet. Get our Easy Cream Cheese Herb Dip with Crudités.
A bowl of nuts gets schmancy when toasted and infused with rosemary flavor. Don’t even think of doing peanuts. So passé. Get our Roasted Rosemary Walnuts recipe.
Macarons are a French fad that isn’t fading anytime soon. Maybe it’s because they’re so delicate and often gluten-free. Naturally, the ganache filling doesn’t hurt either; this one uses white chocolate for a change, and they’re decorated like works of modern art. (But you can also try our French Macarons with Pomegranate Ganache recipe, which uses more traditional semi-sweet chocolate.) Get our Funfetti Macarons recipe.
Then again, if macarons seem like too much of a challenge, we hear you. In that case, just fancy up some easy vanilla cupcakes with Champagne and a little gold leaf. Even if you skip the vanilla custard filling, these will still be a smash hit. Get our Champagne Cupcakes recipe.
If you can’t get enough of the salty-sweet duo, these potato chip cookies from baking queen Jessie Sheehan are a great choice for a starring dessert at your shindig. They’re also a nice way to pay homage to classic movie snacks. Get the Butterscotch Potato Chip Cookies recipe.
Truffles add instant glamour but are actually surprisingly easy to make, and this rendition gets a triple dose of bright orange flavor from marmalade, Cointreau or Grand Marnier liqueur, and orange zest. Oh, la la, indeed. Get our Orange Marmalade Truffles recipe.
Champagne is a must for a celebratory night, and a gold leaf garnish nods to the famous golden statuettes, but the addition of tequila keeps it all down-to-earth (though we can’t promise it won’t go to your head). Get our Red Carpet Royale Champagne Cocktail with Gold Leaf recipe.
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Get the star treatment: bubbly delivered straight to your door.
This drink calls for some of that orange liqueur you’ll have left over from making the truffles, and combines it with white wine, lemon juice, and soda water, for a fantastically refreshing sip. It’s a great intro to wine cocktails, and while it’s perfect for summer, there’s no reason not to sip it in winter too. Get our Crimean Cocktail recipe.
Make sure to offer a mocktail for those abstaining from booze who still want something festive to sip. It’s fizzy, of course; a pale shade of pink often seen on Oscar gowns; and deftly balances the flavors of fruit and herbs. Honestly, it just might steal the whole show. Get our Peach Melba Cooler Mocktail recipe.
Original story by Chowhound Food Team, updated by Amy Sowder and Jen Wheeler.
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.