Hosting an Iftar Party on a Budget

Ramadan not only brings in a sense of spirituality, but also encourages the culture of sharing food. In Pakistan, you will see people standing on bus stops distributing dates and water at the sound of Azaan-e-Maghreb. Neighbours send in platter full of iftar snacks when you are about to break your fast. People hosting an iftar party and inviting guests over – all of this makes Ramadan special.

After refraining from eating and drinking the whole day, people look forward to a fun iftar party. If you are a social person, not only would you be invited in different iftar events, but you would also want to host a fun iftar party yourself. But not everyone can spend a hefty amount on putting up fancy dishes. Let’s discuss some valuable tips to host an iftar party on a budget.


Before the blessed month of Ramadan starts, people start preparing their homes. Also, people start planning for an iftar party a month ahead, if they have a huge list of family and friends. For an iftar party on a budget, you shouldn’t invest a lot of your time, money and effort in preparing dishes alone. The key to hosting a successful iftar party does not only depend upon the number of dishes you serve, but also in how warm and cozy your guests would feel. First things first. Look at the seating capacity that you have available. If your living room can host 10 people at a time, then invite only 10 people. Don’t go overboard. Make more space by removing the extra sofa that is covering a lot of your area. Bring in single chairs and place them against the wall, and keep your centre table, where you will serve food, in the middle. This way, there will be more space for people to mingle.


Lighting plays a significant role in setting up the right tone of your iftar party. Use a string of golden lights on the walls of your living room or on the curtains. Fairy lights, rice lights and LED lights, battery operated flameless lights and LED balloons are a few options that you can explore. These do not require a lot of money, but they add value to the overall setup, creating a lasting impression. Create a nice, cozy ambience with these LED lights and your guests will remember your iftar party for a long time.


To host an iftar party on a low budget it is important to list down the items you will require in preparing a cracking menu. Your guests will come to your iftar party, day-dreaming about fried fritters and cheesy pizzas. You can’t offer them something that is light on your wallet but looks appalling on the table. There has to be a win-win situation, where you are happy in serving and your guests can’t deny second helpings. For a budget-friendly iftar party, strike off dishes that are too costly and add up dishes that fill up the stomach easily and also look impressive. You can divide your menu in three parts: Drinks, snacks and dinner. Focus on one course-meal for your dinner. Prepare snacks that are light and easy to digest for your iftar so that there is some room for dinner too. You should also keep in mind that there are health conscious people too who like to eat healthy in Ramadan. Keep something exciting for them on your menu as well.


Do not overthink your menu. Keep it simple and appealing. Opt for dishes that are easy on your pocket and are quick to prepare. For iftar snacks, you can make the traditional pakoray – but with a twist. Make it look fancy by making an assorted pakora platter. You can dip potatoes, spinach leaves and brinjals in the gram flour batter (besan) and deep fry them until crisp and golden. Serve them with a homemade chutney of tomatoes and garlic, blended together with dry-roasted red chillies.

You can also make samosa, which is usually filled with minced meat. But to make it budget-friendly and also tasty, you can mix some vegetables like julienne cut carrots, capsicum, green onions and cabbage along with minced chicken. Cook them all together, after adding salt, pepper and red chillies, soya sauce. Let it cool down. Keep this mixture in the freezer. You can buy ‘samosa patti’ from a bakery and fill it up with this mixture, giving it a samosa shape and deep fry them on the day of the event. This iftar snack will definitely cut down your cost as half a kg of minced chicken along with different veggies can make more samosas than the simple minced chicken filling.


Instead of serving a bowl of the regular fruit chaat, you can make a fruit bar. Keep separate bowls of diced mangoes, watermelon cubes, guava chunks, among other seasonal fruits. You can even work with just three fruits instead of buying five and mixing those up. Make a refreshing laal sherbet with a squeeze of lemon juice for a perfect ‘shikanjbeen.’ Don’t be extravagant. Choose only one drink that you think will be popular among guests.


Small bite-sized sandwiches are also attractive and result in less food wastage. You can make different kinds of sandwiches. Egg sandwiches, chicken filled sandwiches or an all-time favourite cheese sandwiches. Cut the sandwich into quarter triangles and insert a toothpick in each piece. It looks impressive on the table. You can also make bite size potato samosas or may be a few different iftar recipes like falafel (make smaller rounds).


After a delicious iftar, now is the time to serve your guests with dinner. You can save money, by making the meal yourself instead of ordering them from any catering service. It is easy to make a qorma or chicken kerahi with simple ingredients. You can also make Haleem and serve it with its condiments or if you are a risk-taker you can even make Chinese fried rice and Chicken Manchurian while remaining on a budget. A dinner is incomplete without a dessert. You can make chocolate brownies, glaze them with chocolate and almonds, cut them in small neat squares or you can serve the traditional kheer or a trifle


If you know that your guests will bring in children, you should be prepared to hand them a goodie bag they can take home. Children can be difficult guests. They might throw a tantrum if they don’t like anything and you would be caught unawares. Keeping a goodie bag ready can make the little guests happy. Be creative rather than expensive. You can keep small candies or marshmallows and a little brownie wrapped nicely. If you like you can keep a small toy for them or colour pencils and even a fancy, dinosaur-shaped rubber excites kids. These tokens of love will make your iftar party a memorable one for the guests. Hosting a successful iftar party with a low budget is easy if you follow these tips. Let us know in the comment section below.

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