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Whip up this tropical party menu, slide on your sunglasses, and pretend like you’re on vacation. Starting with Pineapple Salsa, spiked with a Blue Hawaiian cocktail, and ending with Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, this easy party menu is almost too cool.

A table setting for a tropical party.

Cue up a beachy music playlist, slip on a floppy hat and flip-flops, and say “ahh…” This tropical party menu will practically make you feel like your toes are in the sand!

Featuring fresh fruit salsa, crunchy shrimp, a blended rum cocktail, a creative pasta salad, and my favorite retro dessert, this island-inspired party plan oh-so maika’i loa (Hawaiian for “good”). Any time your next vacation feels a bit too far away, invite your pals over or assign out dishes potluck-style for a sunny soiree featuring these tropical recipes.

Table of Contents
  1. Coconut Shrimp
  2. Pineapple Salsa
  3. Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
  4. Pineapple Upside Down Cake
  5. Blue Hawaiian

Coconut Shrimp

Love the fried shrimp appetizer or entrée from your local seafood restaurant? This deep-fried treat is a copycat recipe of that exact creation. No need to fear if you don’t have access to a fancy fish counter near you; this easy shrimp recipe is designed to be made with thawed frozen shrimp.

Coconut shrimp on platter.
Coconut Shrimp
This restaurant-style Coconut Shrimp recipe is a cinch to make at home with freezer and pantry staples. My shatteringly crispy Coconut Shrimp appetizer is good on its own, and even better once dunked into the zippy Sriracha-chile sauce.
VIEW RECIPE
Someone dipping coconut shrimp in sauce.

More island-inspired seafood recipes


Pineapple Salsa

Few of the classic fruit salsa recipes you’ll find online or by the jar at the supermarket include the most common fruit for salsa-ing: tomatoes. (Yes, it’s technically a fruit, not a vegetable!) My easy Pineapple Salsa features the tropical fruit, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and so much more. The zesty blend works beautifully as a snack or a condiment.

Pineapple salsa in a hollowed out pineapple on a platter.
Pineapple Salsa
This easy Pineapple Salsa recipe is loaded with fresh pineapple, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeños, and cilantro. This is fruit salsa is dreamy scooped up with chips as a snack idea or pile it atop your favorite protein for dinner.
VIEW RECIPE
Pineapple Salsa in a brown bowl.

Serve this fruit snack alongside…


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian Plate Lunch is a concept that gives a nod to the Japanese bento box; a mix of crowd-pleasing, affordable food offered in separate compartments. Plate lunches were first sold in the late 1800s, feeding immigrant workers in sugar cane and pineapple fields. Along with a meat entrée and white rice, you’ll often find creamy, vegetable-loaded Hawaiian Macaroni Salad as an option. I can’t resist ordering it any time I see it, which is why I knew I had to recreate the unique pasta salad recipe at home.

A table setting for a tropical party.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
This beloved recipe for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, aka "mac salad," has soft noodles, creamy dressing, and lots of shredded carrots. It's perfect for a plate lunch, a luau, or a barbecue. 
VIEW RECIPE
Hawaiian macaroni salad in a blue serving dish.

More sides with a hint of tropical flair


Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Admittedly more of a retro dessert idea of the mainland than a tropical dessert recipe, this pineapple dessert is a hit at every gathering I’ve ever served it. In 1925, Dole held a pineapple recipe contest, and “Mrs. Robert Davis” from Norfolk, Virginia won with this showy yet simple cake recipe. What I love almost as much as the caramelized pineapple topping? The hands-on time: a mere 10 minutes.

Pineapple upside down cake on a platter.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
My classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake recipe is a retro dessert idea that's a sweet option any time of year. Using fresh or canned fruit, the easy cake recipe calls for just 10 minutes of prep time.
VIEW RECIPE

Bonus tropical fruit dessert ideas


Blue Hawaiian

Fruity, tropical, and no-sweat to make, this Blue Hawaiian cocktail is my go-to drink recipe for any adult summer party (or any party I want to feel a bit more sunny). This frozen drink recipe comes together in your blender for easy party prep. And the gorgeous blue hue, courtesy of Blue Curaçao, offers dreamy “ocean views.”

A table setting for a tropical party.
Blue Hawaiian
This tropical Blue Hawaiian cocktail is made with pineapple, coconut, rum, vodka, and Blue Curaçao (for that lovely blue color). It's the perfect signature cocktail for your next summer soiree!
VIEW RECIPE
A Blue Hawaiian cocktail surrounded by pineapple and maraschino cherries.

More cocktails to try

Spirit-free tropical drinks

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Iā€™m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Meggan Hill

Iā€™m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. You have the most amazing recipes never stop cooking you have a great gift!!! My family owned a restaurant for years, so I love that you always have recipes that I haven’t tried and so many great tips!! Thank You Megan

  2. Your recipes are wonderful. Thank you for sending them they give me great ideas. Keep doing great. Thank you