How to Throw a Moroccan Dinner Party in Your Backyard

This Moroccan Dinner Party idea is the perfect way to switch up your weekend routine! Step into your own mini Morocco with family and close friends — from the decor to the food, to the refreshing atmosphere, you’ll become a dinner party pro in no time.

I know that travel and adventure and generally leaving the house has been much more difficult over the past year, but instead of being discouraged, get inspired! I absolutely love throwing dinner parties — both small and intimate, or large and loud. It’s a great excuse to decorate, throw together a new outfit, and cook food that I wouldn’t normally experience. It’s an at-home staycation that feels like you walked into another world, what’s not to love?

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So throw yourself and your family a Moroccan dinner party inspired by the colors, flavors, and cultures in Northern Africa. After all, you’re all overdue for a much-needed vacation at home. It doesn’t have to be super fancy or expensive, just a small but special dinner party with all the magnificence of the Sahara or the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea.

What to Serve at Your Moroccan Dinner Party

Morocco is known for so much great food! Beef, lamb and chicken are all fairly common and usually roasted or cooked in a tagine. And for a side dish, you have to serve couscous — everything in Morocco, it seems, is served with these little round grains.

Here are a few key flavors to look out for when deciding on your Moroccan dinner party menu:

  • Use fun spices and herbs.

  • Nuts and dried fruit are common additives.

  • You can’t go wrong with a great mezze board to snack on all night.

  • You should definitely have a batch (or several) of Harissa olives.

  • Homemade flatbread and naan are staples!

  • Plums, boiled eggs, dates and lemon are all common ingredients in Moroccan food.

  • Spiced orange is a popular treat! Consider serving my Spiced Honey Orange Cocktail with dinner.

Whatever you choose, the exotic flavors are sure to please both the pickiest and most adventurous of eaters.

How to Make Your Moroccan Dinner Party Happen

At the end of the day, you really only need three things for a great dinner party: food, atmosphere, and fun. Here are a few of my Moroccan dinner party essentials — they’ll ensure you have less stress and more fun when planning your at-home vacation!

Cooking with a Tagine

A Moroccan tagine is a cone-shaped, ceramic cooking vessel that has been traditionally used in North Africa for generations. A traditional tagine is cone-shaped and sits on top of a round base. When cooking, the lid traps the heat and steam, which then allows the liquid to return to the pot. This leads to an incredibly moist dish packed with amazing flavors.

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Protein dishes, slow-cooked stews, and other savory dishes are commonly cooked in a tagine.

The Perfect Decor

When decorating your home or yard, you’ll want to keep a few aesthetics in mind:

  • Aim for an indigo-colored tablescape to showcase the beautiful beaches.

  • Think intricate carvings and colorful mosaic tiles!

  • Moroccan fabrics are rich in color and often feature busy patterns and detailed textures.

  • Food is generally eaten family-style in Moroccan homes, so a similar setup will help your dinner party feel more authentic.

If you have a beautiful tapestry, velvets, or silks, now is your opportunity to showcase them!

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Final Tips for Your Moroccan Dinner Party

  • Start with mint tea. Most authentic Moroccan meals being with a refreshing mug of hot mint tea steeped with fresh mint leaves. It’s the perfect way to put your guests in the right atmosphere as soon as they walk in the door! I like to use green tea as a base, but you can also use black tea if you’d like something stronger.

  • Buy a lot of olives. I guarantee you will go through tons of green Harissa olives. Even without a Moroccan theme, they’re delicious, but they’re also perfect for snacking on, adding to hummus and veggie platters, or garnishing your dishes.

  • Don’t forget the wine. A nice Cabernet (red) or Sauvignon Blanc (white) both pair perfectly with the flavors of Morocco.

  • Atmosphere. Remember that for any dinner party, it’s up to the host to fully commit to the atmosphere — the sounds, the smells, the decor, AND the outfit. Keep it simple with a few candles and Moroccan music, or go all out with jewel tones, bright colors, and long flowing clothes.