Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 02.07.2023

5 Funeral Food Ideas For Planning A Perfect Reception

5 Funeral Food Ideas For Planning A Perfect Reception

Reviewed By: William Prout

Cross Checked By: Joshua Siegel

Funeral Food Menu Ideas

When you lose a loved one, the grief you experience can be devastating. Yet, in the midst of it all, planning a funeral for the deceased is the best way to pay tribute to their life, and offering them a befitting funeral will help you process the grief better. Of the many factors you must consider during funeral planning, the food you will serve at the funeral reception is a significant component to consider. The kind of funeral food you will offer guests and family members will depend on a wide range of factors, including the time at which the funeral is scheduled, the budget you are working with, and even the complexity of the menu you wish to offer. 

Questions to Consider When Deciding a Funeral Menu

When deciding what food you wish to serve during your loved one’s funeral reception, you must factor in the following questions first:

  • Where exactly is the funeral reception being hosted? Does the venue have adequate seating capacity?
  • What is the overall funeral cost that you are working with? Does it leave you with enough to arrange for food as well?
  • Do you wish to engage a caterer to provide food, or will you and your family members be arranging the same?
  • How long will each component of the funeral reception last? (Based on the time it takes, you can decide what kind of food to serve)
  • Does the food you are offering require cutlery, or is it just finger food that you are serving?

After you have factored in each of the questions listed above, you can proceed to make arrangements with local caterers and restaurants or even think of DIY options.

Funeral Reception Food Ideas

Listed below are some of the most commonly opted-for funeral food ideas:

  • Potluck: One of the most commonly opted-for choices, potlucks serve the dual benefit of avoiding expensive catering services while also giving family members and guests the feeling of being included in the funeral reception. If you wish to opt for a potluck, all you need to do is inform the guests of the same and request them to make their (or the deceased’s) favorite food items. Some of the most common potluck dishes include drinks (such as coffee, tea, punch, juice, or soda), pasta, casserole dishes, salads, and desserts (such as cake, cookies, or brownies).
  • Breakfast/Brunch Items: If in case you are opting for a funeral reception earlier in the day, then arranging a breakfast or brunch spread is a great option. Some of the most common food items you can offer include pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, fresh fruit salads, yogurt parfaits, donuts, bagels, pastries, eggs, omelets, bacon, sausages, juice, tea, and coffee. Opting for a breakfast/brunch spread will also prove to be economical, given that most of these food items are relatively cheaper.
  • Comfort Food: As the name rightly suggests, comfort food is a great option, especially for a funeral reception. Some of the best comfort food options that you can opt for include mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, casserole dishes (green bean casseroles, scalloped potatoes, meatball casseroles), bread rolls, pot roast, stew, apple pie, and cookies. In addition, if you are looking for southern comfort food, you can opt to serve sweet potato pie, potato salad, grits, and biscuits.
  • Salads and Sandwiches: One of the most convenient finger foods to offer, sandwiches offer the dual benefit of not arranging for cutlery and being easy to clean up. Some of the most common sandwich options include ham and cheese sliders, roast beef sandwiches, club sandwiches, egg sandwiches, and tuna sandwiches.
  • Italian Buffet: Italian buffets are ideal for a funeral reception, given that they tend to have a wide spread of food and are ideal for large gatherings. Some of the most popular items you can offer include pasta, lasagna, meatballs and sauce, salad, pastries, and tiramisu.

Can I Cater the Funeral On My Own?

Yes, you can always also choose to serve food made by yourself and your family to avoid overspending on caterers and restaurants. However, in order to do so, you must factor in the following:

  • Budget: Before you finalize the menu, make sure you allocate a certain amount of the budget to the food and do not exceed the total funeral cost.
  • Create a Plan: Start by planning out the menu, the number of attendees, the number of dishes and cutlery required, and the ingredients you will require.
  • Seek Help: Cooking for such large numbers can be overwhelming. Make sure you seek help from family members and friends for both cooking and serving.
  • Research Recipes: If in case you are unfamiliar with certain food items that will be served at the funeral reception, make sure you take time to research the dishes and arrange for all the ingredients.