What You Need to Know About Cooking Iftar for a Crowd

published Jun 16, 2017
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Saffa Khan)

Ramadan is a time for reflection, prayer, growth and charity. It is also a time for gathering with family, friends and neighbors for iftar, the end of fast meal at sunset. It can be challenging to prepare an elaborate dinner while feeling the fatigue of fasting, but with these tips you’ll have all you need to host an iftar without a hitch.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

1. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time.

I’ve hosted several dinner parties, many of which take place during the month of Ramadan. One of the most important aspects of hosting, regardless of the time of year, is being present with your guests. This means preparing as much as possible before the dinner. My general game plan for a large dinner party is shopping on one day, prepping on the second, and cooking on the day of the party. This simple game plan has allowed me to go from frazzled and stressed to super calm and collected. Not only am I more present with my guests, but I also approach the meal more thoughtfully.

2. Keep the apps simple.

If you’re serving appetizers, skip over complicated finger foods and plate up a simple dip or hummus with crudité as a simple appetizer for guests to munch on between prayer and breaking fast. Dates stuffed with almonds and walnuts are a great appetizer and are very simple to put together and can be done in big batches ahead of time.

Get a recipe: Creamy Avocado Dip

3. Don’t underestimate the power of freezer meals.

Big-batch pasta dishes are a great way to feed a full table for iftar. Best of all, you can do most of the work in advance. By chopping your vegetables early in the day, or even the day before, putting it all together at dinner time will be much easier. You can load up your pasta dish with vegetables and cheese and have a complete dish ready to be reheated for your iftar dinner.

Soups with a broth base can be frozen and reheated to help make putting your iftar together easier and less time-consuming.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

4. Set up a dessert bar so guests can serve themselves.

A fun and easy way to have dessert for a large group is to make a dessert bar. Start with your favorite brownie recipe and create a DIY sundae bar. Set out an assortment of ice creams, nuts, sprinkles, and fruit and everyone will be able to make their own unique dessert! You will most definitely impress your guests without having to spend several hours putting it together!

(Image credit: timquo)

5. Don’t forget take-home containers.

Despite your best efforts not to overcook, you will likely find yourself with leftovers at the end of your dinner. I like to have take-home containers for the guests to pack up their favorite dish to take home and enjoy for suhoor or iftar the next day. This will help eliminate food waste and you won’t have to worry about not getting your favorite dinner plate back!