Choose the PERFECT murder mystery party food and menu!

The menu and selection of your murder mystery party food can make or break the event.

But no stress! We’ve drawn on our experience from hosting and attending dozens of murder mysteries to bring you pro tips and insights.

And don’t miss out on the 8 menu ideas at the end of this post!

A murder mystery party is about the game, great food is the cherry on top

When you invite friends, family, or colleagues to a murder mystery party, they read their instructions, make preparations, and arrive at your doorstep magnificently disguised as their characters.

Their aim for the night? Have fun playing the game and solving the case.

If they’re also served a delicious meal, they’ll have an even better evening.

But here’s the thing: you, as the host, set the standards.

There are no rules regarding murder mystery party food. If you don’t have much time to prepare, just cook something quick ‘n easy, or order from your favorite delivery service.

On the other hand – if you want a menu to die for, this is an amazing opportunity to show off your cooking skills. 😉

Love food? A One Table Murder Mystery fits a fine dining experience like a glove

You can easily combine a murder mystery party with a scrumptious dinner. Most games are designed with this in mind.

Let’s call these games “One Table Murder Mysteries”.

Typically, everybody sits around the table, meaning that all discussions, accusations, and interrogations are done in the same room, around the same table, within earshot of all the players. As you can imagine, this format is more suitable for small groups – ideally 4 to 10 players. (When there are more than 10 people sitting together, things get rather chaotic.)

So, if you want to combine a great menu with your event, pick a One Table Murder Mystery.

For example, you could choose a Mysterando murder mystery. Their games are designed as 3 rounds of discussions, specifically intended for one course to be served per round.

Start with a salad or a soup, then a main course, and finish with a delectable dessert for the last round, or when the murderer is revealed and the game conclusion is read out.

One Table Murder Mysteries mean you only have to cater for 4-10 guests, so you can handle the food without spending days in the kitchen.

Large murder mystery parties (10+ players) are better suited to finger foods or buffets

But what if you’re hosting 10 or more people? If that’s the case, you’re looking for a different format.

Let’s call these large format games “Mingle Murder Mysteries”.

In this format, everybody is on their feet (most of the time). The whole point is that everybody continually moves about, mingling with everybody else.

The experience is far more dynamic: you find yourself whispering with a single person, then moments later you throw a loud accusation across the whole room. Games like this can’t be played around a table. That’s why we suggest a buffet of finger foods. Set up one or more buffet areas where your guests can go grab a quick bite at any time.

The size of the buffet?

It’s your call!

Maybe just some snacks and treats, maybe a whole range of delicious options: from salads to desserts. You could also set up a few bar tables where guests can sit down for a few minutes, enjoy the food, while still taking part in the game.

You’re trying to avoid a situation where there’s one big table way off to the side with half your guests sitting and eating instead of playing.

Prepare all the food beforehand

We can’t emphasize this point enough.

Imagine you’re in the middle of the game and you want to serve some food.

What do you do?

You’d have to stop playing, run to the kitchen, frantically prepare the food. Without the host present, the game stops or slows down. Some of the guests drop out of character and start talking about non-game subjects (“How is your cat doing?”).

Avoid this scenario like the plague. Regardless of the game format you’re playing, always observe this Golden Rule: only serve food that’s easy to prepare and ready to serve before your guests arrive.

It’s fine to serve something you have to quickly heat up, but don’t start frying burger patties halfway through the game!

So then, what are your options?

What’s both delicious and really easy to prepare beforehand? Glad you asked! Check out this handy murder mystery party food table. (Table…get it? Of course you do!)

StarterMain CourseDessertBuffet
Pretty much any salad:
–          Potato salad
–          Pasta salad
–          Taco salad
–          Beetroot salad
Pretty much any soup
–          Lentil soup
–          Pizza soup
–          Broccoli soup
LasagnaTiramisuPlates with cheese, fish, sausages etc.
Selection of antipasti and breadsFondueIce cream (with fruit)Quiche
RacletteSelection of cheesesAntipasti
CasseroleFruit saladSalads
QuicheHam and watermelonTacos with dips
Chili con/sin carneSmall tacos or rolls

Our favorite?

We love combining a small One Table Murder Mystery (4-10 people) with a raclette.

We place the raclette grill in the middle of the table and prepare a selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. (The hits are usually lots of cheese, potatoes, sweet corn, and broccoli.)

Everybody can tend to their own bellies and you’ve catered for a wide range of dietary preferences. And most importantly, a raclette allows the game to flow without being interrupted by the meal.

How about barbecue?

Here’s our take. We once hosted a murder mystery BBQ. However, one person (me) was taking care of the food, turning the steaks and veggies. I found myself bouncing between the food and the game, not being able to place my full attention on either one.

As a result, I kept losing track of the state of the game – and the food was overdone.

I don’t recommend BBQ as your murder mystery party food choice, or anything that requires constant attention. Save yourself the stress of divided attention stick to the Golden Rule: only serve food that’s easy to prepare and ready to serve before your guests arrive.

Choose the food to match the theme of the murder mystery party you’re playing

Playing a murder mystery set in France? Serve frog salad and snail soup. 😀 Just kidding, don’t do that. But if you do, then please send us a picture. Okay, so – what should you do? Think about it like this: the food is a way to add to the atmosphere of the world you’re creating, just like the decorations.

For example, here are some suggestions for a French-themed murder mystery party menu:

  • Asparagus soup or bouillabaisse
  • A selection of baguettes, cheese, olives, and marinated veggies
  • Quiche (really easy to prepare)
  • Clafoutis (a French baked cherry dessert)
  • Death by chocolate cake

We’ve written an entire post on how to host a 1920s party, including lots of great food ideas. Check it out!

Playing a murder mystery party in a restaurant?

Keep what we’ve already discussed in mind: games designed for smaller groups sitting around the same table go well with set course meals, games designed so that large groups can mingle go well with finger foods.

We’ve played a few murder mysteries in restaurants. Here’s our experience: when we got too boisterous, too animated, or laughed too loudly, we drew a lot of looks from other tables. Naturally, some of our murder accusations were rather spectacular – we ended up entertaining one half of the restaurant and annoying the other half.

What did we learn?

If you’re playing in a restaurant, choose a table in the corner or pick a restaurant that has a separate room you can use.

What should I serve to drink at my murder mystery dinner?

The short and sweet answer is: anything you want.

Serving (or avoiding) alcohol is your call. Many groups like to drink while playing, and in our experience, it most certainly helps people overcome their initial shyness and step more confidently into their character roles.

Build the atmosphere by greeting your guests with a drink that goes well with the game’s theme. On the other hand, too much alcohol can lead to heated emotional digressions, totally derailing honest detective work.

Whether there’s booze or no booze in the drinks, guests usually welcome a glass to hold on to – it’s a proven psychological comfort, especially when meeting new people!

Some final tips and ideas for your murder mystery party menu

  • Not enough time? Ask your guests to each bring one or two items: Dear Friend, please bring along two large bars of chocolate. We’ll have them for dessert at our French themed murder mystery dinner party.
  • Europe is famous for its amazing food culture. If you’re keen on stunning your guests with a memorable meal, why not try an Italian, German, or French themed murder mystery?
  • Want to keep it simple? No problem: order in pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza? And what’s more, ordering pizza perfectly fits the game mechanics.
  • Ask if your guests have any food allergies or special dietary requirements. Are they vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, or lactose intolerant?
  • If you prepare a buffet, you might want to label the food. Choose a catchy font or even a frame for the label.
  • Once finalized, print out your murder mystery party menu. Style the page according to the game’s theme and pin this mouthwatering menu to wall, perhaps near some appetizers. Your guests will enjoy the anticipation!
  • To bridge the time between the arrival of your first and last guest, serve cocktails to each guest as they arrive. If you want to put the party in murder mystery party, keep those cocktails coming!
  • Want absolutely no pressure or stress? Rent a cook. Really? Yes, you can totally just rent a cook for your private event. Let the cook handle the food, you focus on the game – and on keeping your guests riveted to the ever thickening plot.

The theme, menu, and decorations go hand in hand. Here are some incredible tips for transporting your guests into an alternate reality. Try one of our themed articles: