Mystery Dinner Ideas With Menu Items

Updated on December 29, 2017
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Nail Down the Basics

A mystery dinner's bare bones are this:

  • The menu is known only to the hostess/host. You, the host or hostess, are the only one who knows what is on the menu.
  • The menu's items are mysterious. Your menu's items should have obscure names. The names might have some relation to what the dish actually is, but the idea is to confuse the guest. Here's an example: You might call pancakes "potholders"!
  • Everything's delicious! Your food, of course, should be delicious. Try not to select anything that will repulse your guests. You most certainly want them to enjoy themselves.

A variant is to have the "mystery" part of your dinner be to guess the theme. A prize could be given for the first one to guess it correctly.

Mystery Dinner Sample Menu Ideas

Here are a few items that I came up with. Feel free to use them if you wish! And if you want to spice things up some more, I've included several themes you might try on for size after the sample menu.

Beverages

  • Coffee = Go, Go Juice
  • Milk = Teat Treat
  • Chocolate Milk = Muddy Teats
  • Water = Unfrozen Snow
  • Tea = Boston’s Best

Fillers

  • Potatoes = Irish Eyes Are Smiling
  • Pasta = Confucius says...
  • Rice = Seeds From a Stem
  • Baked Beans = Gas 'n Go

Entrées

  • BBQ Ribs = Glossy Bones
  • Fried Chicken = Your Goose Is Cooked
  • Bourbon Chicken = Foul and Drunk
  • Polish Sausage = Foreign Pig
  • Country-Style Ribs = Hillbilly's Bones
  • Hamburgers = Cow Patties

Vegetables

  • Peas and Carrot Sticks = Sticks and Stones
  • Corn = Just Passing Through
  • Broccoli = Trees With Branches
  • Asparagus Spears = Arrows

Desserts

  • Grapes = Seeds of Wrath
  • Apple Slices = Adam's Nemesis
  • Banana Split = Monkey's Iced Twin
  • Brownies = Fairy’s Apprentice
  • Chocolate Cake = Devil's Advocate
  • Angel-Food Cake With Chocolate Syrup = Tilted Halo

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Literary Theme

Giving your dinner a theme is fairly easy. Are your guests big readers? Then how about a literary-themed dinner? Each food item served might be a book title or each food item's (or part of it) might be in the book's title. For example, you could serve grapes on your menu and call them "Seeds of Wrath."

Once the guests name the theme, then they may have to guess the author. How much more fun could this get? Have them guess the genre. Prizes for the winners! They don’t have to be expensive prizes. Having a lovely centerpiece could be the prize for that table. Maybe a gift card to Barnes and Noble.

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Music Theme

Are your attendees musically inclined? How about throwing some music into the titles? Guessing the musical genre could be one prize and the musical group another. The prize? A gift certificate to Amazon or your favorite music store! If your grand prize mystery is Elvis, then a CD of his greatest hits would be a great prize indeed!

  • Western Omelet = All Shook Up
  • Potatoes = Smiling Irish Eyes

Source

Movie Theme

If your people are move buffs, throw some movie titles into the mix. You might also have guests guess the director. The grand prize in this case could be copy of the DVD/BluRay of your choice.

  • The Wizard of Oz = Apples (Remember the scene where Dorothy tries to eat one, and they get thrown at her?)
  • Conan the Barbarian = Chicken legs… (Why? Because you eat chicken legs with your hands like a "barbarian.")

A Sample Mystery Dinner Breakfast Menu

And who says it has to be dinner food? I have created a mystery breakfast menu as well.

  • Boiled Eggs = Soft Rocks
  • Fried Eggs = Easy on the Eyes
  • Scrambled Eggs = Messy Babies
  • Western Omelets = All Shook Up
  • Sausage Patties = Ground Pies
  • Sausage links = Smart Fingers
  • Pancakes = Pot Holders
  • Bacon = Tight-Skinned
  • Hash Browns = Shredded Roots
  • Waffles = Road Kill
  • Syrup = Sappy Attitude
  • Butter = Greased Lightening

Just Have Fun!

The scope of your dinner can only be limited to your imagination!

Make your menu pleasing to the eye. If you are creative, cut out a shape that is part of your theme. Plain paper is fine, if you're more comfortable with that.

No one says you have to have a theme for your dinner either. You only need good food and great friends to have a spectacular time.

Don't Forget the Utensils!

Whatever you do don’t forget to have them order their utensils. They are part of the menu as well.

  • Fork = Devil’s tail
  • Knife = Robinhood’s Tool
  • Spoon = Lover's Cuddle
  • Napkin = Sleepy Relative
  • Toothpick = Lumberjack’s Reward

Of course, you may change these to suit your theme or your group.

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    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 2 years ago from Michigan

      Sent!

    • profile image

      Betty 2 years ago

      can you please send me your dinner menu and the names yoy have for each item, my email is byerb57@gmail.com I need ideas desperately

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 4 years ago from Michigan

      I'm not sure what you need. Food ideas or if you have a menu - names for the foods?

    • profile image

      Ruth 4 years ago

      We are going to try a mystery breakfast this weekend, any ideas would be helpful.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 4 years ago from Michigan

      I didn't write a menu, I gave Deanne an idea. As far as Christmas themed menu. You choose the type of food you want then name it to fit. I'm not sure what types of food you want to use. For instance if you wanted to serve 'porcupine balls' (meatballs with rice) I would call them "Dirty Snowball" - Chocolate covered raisins could be "Reindeer Poop". Stuffed mushrooms - (baby Portabellas) could be called "Full Mangers".

      You just take the food - then think of an association with the name of the food - then create a new name for it. Above all - have fun with it.

    • profile image

      Cms39us 4 years ago

      I'm also trying to plan a Christmas themed party and need mystery dinner ideas. Would appreciate any ideas or the menu shared with Deanne above. Thanks!

      Cms39us@yahoo.com

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      cole wife 4 years ago

      I am thinking of doing a Christmas themed party and need menu ideas. Please send to liferevolutionaryleader@gmail.com Thanks!

    • profile image

      ladymagoo 4 years ago

      gs_troop765@yahoo.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 4 years ago from Michigan

      I need an email to send it to.

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      ladymagoo 4 years ago

      I would love to have a copy of your menu and use it for my Girl Scout troop. I think we will invite their parents to a "Mystery Dinner". It should be fun! Thanks

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 4 years ago from Michigan

      So glad you enjoyed it!!

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      Matthew 4 years ago

      Very interestingand insightful article. I particularly enjoyed "just passing through" corn... tooo funny!! I think this would go over well with others in my congregation. I think I might have a hard time coming up with creative pseudonyms for dishes though. When I'm stuck for menu ideas I like starmenuupdates.com, but for literary alternatives I might need some help.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      My ideas are on the way. Whew!! cheesecake was the hardest for me!!

    • profile image

      Deanne 5 years ago

      I'm helping to host a Christmas Mystery Dinner for 11 people. We are having ham, twice baked potatoes, corn, Caesar salad, cheesecake for dessert and a bunch of other things to eat. I was just wondering if you could help me out with some Christmas names for some of these foods?

      Thanks so much!

      Schoneveldgirls4@aol.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      On it's way!!

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      Linda 5 years ago

      I am having a New Years Mystery Dinner. I have my menu and some ideas ready but would like to have a few ideas from you. Thanks.

      lbmccormick@att.net

    • profile image

      Corina 5 years ago

      Sorry e-mail is corina.landwehr@gmail.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      LOL - Stinkers!! A couple of mine did that as well. They said they wanted to maybe do it at church, I think they just wanted to take them home to study!! hehehe

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      BARBIEK41 5 years ago

      I have done many of these events at our church we have always had such a good time. The only problem last year some of the ladies took home some of the lists they got a hold of. So I am trying to come up with new ideas. We are having another one around Valentines. Loved your ideas. I may use some of them.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Oh wow... Thanksgiving mystery dinner? Hmm, sounds like fun, what are you planning on serving? I would go on the 'turkey' theme but not necessarily the regular roasted Turkey, maybe some turkey sliders and call them 'slippery fowl'? Maybe the stuffing might have a name like 'sage advice'. Cranberry sauce might be 'water logged'... (cranberries are grown near water - if they sink they are no good) The invitation Hmm, I might think of a theme and decide from there or you can just tell your invitees that they are invited to a mystery dinner!!

      Best wishes and I'm sure no matter what you decide I'm sure it will be great!!

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      ckmulkey@verizon.net 6 years ago

      I love your ideas. I'm planning on having a pre-thanksgiving mystery dinner. Do you have any ideas for menu items? Also a title for the invitation?

      Thank you for your help!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Hmmm, not off the top of my head, I would have to give it some thought. I might go either way with ideas... If it's blustery out, I might do a 'summer' theme (making it harder to guess the foods) Using the things you do in the summer as the names of the foods. For instance 'Volley Ball' might be something like meatballs.

      If I went with a Christmas theme I might use something like "Rudolph's red nose" - That could be cherries...

      Hope that gave you a kick start!!

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      Tillie 6 years ago

      Am planning one for Christmas. Got any ideas?

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      It's on it's way!! I would love to see your other menu that you used...

    • profile image

      arfmanda 6 years ago

      I am hosting a mystery menu party for my church organization around 20 people. We have done one in the past, but I would love new ideas. Any suggestions are welcome. my email is arfmanda@yahoo.com

      thanks

      Amanda

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      I love to see the reactions on the faces of those I treat to these types of dinners! It is great fun!!

    • Wmod514 profile image

      William Odell 6 years ago from Upstate South Carolina

      great names Susie...been in this business a long time and I appreciate someone's creativity and imagination, apparently we both love food and putting smiles on peoples faces, it's a great reward for all the hard work...:)

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Up towards the top on the right hand side you will see 'contact sweetsusieg'...

    • profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago

      I attended one years ago and then hosted a few on my own and all were a success! But now I've lost my menu and could really use a copy of yours to get me started. Can't email you since I can't seem to see your address here anywhere :(

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks!! So glad you are planning one!! I hope you have the best of times!

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      Tishsuz 6 years ago

      Awesome. A friend threw one of these dinner parties last Saturday and it was an absolute blast. Thanks for more tips, as I'm now planning one for my family.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      I would LOVE to help!! I'll zip out an e-mail to you!

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      Brenda Harding 6 years ago

      I have done these before, but love to find some new names, that is my weakness trying to come up with names.

      I would love your help with coming up with names for appetizers, I have a bookclub and want to do all appts for the meeting. Can you help??

      Thanks for your time and talent.

      Brenda

      zebrapink_b@live.com

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      You are very welcome!! If you ever get the chance, do it!! It is too much fun!

    • fillyourheart profile image

      Fill Your Heart Edible Memories 6 years ago from USA

      What a fun idea! Thanks for all the ideas.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Oh sure you can!! Look at a food item, what does it remind you of? Let's think spaghetti.... Yummmm, but we can come up with some pretty disgusting names!! Worms, snakes, crossed highways... And the list goes on! Confused at the 'crossed highways'? Ever look at a map? My husband is a truck driver and one time he called for directions. I told him the area he was going to looked like a plate of spaghetti. LOL

      Glad you got your laugh!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Dusty Snoke profile image

      Dusty Snoke 6 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      That sounds like so much fun. I love the sample names you gave. I could never be that creative. Gave me the laugh I needed this morning.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Awesome!! That sounds like a plan. You'll have to let me know how it goes. I would love to hear about it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

      Thanks for this wonderful ideas! You have inspired me, and i will try a mystery menu next time we invite our friends for dinner My husband is a chef, so he will ensure that the food tastes good, and now you have given me an important task as well!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Absolutely!! I have a slight advantage in my circle of friends. They have all tasted my cooking so I have gained their trust in that area. Most of them are fairly certain no matter what I name it, it will taste good!

      A themed party would be great for a small number of guests, say 6 to 8 would be fantastic!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      As a man who is into the culinary scene and who loves to experiment with food as most chefs amateur or professional love to do, to learn how to intensify flavours of food, I think your little game would be great fun to introduce to the culinary experts so called.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      LOL @ drbj- Well I suppose you could serve mystery meat if you didn't want your guests returning!! I like to serve really good food with funny names.. My Mom attended one years ago, this is where I first got the idea. I wish we would have kept the menu from that!

      rankryst72 - Thanks. Give it a whirl! You'll see how much fun a mystery dinner can be!

    • rankryst72 profile image

      rankryst72 6 years ago from Orlando

      This is some hungry information Sweetsusieg! This is good writing!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      I think I have the perfect dish for the main meal at a Mystery Dinner, susie. How about mystery meat - Spam? Or mystery chicken - any fast food restaurant's chicken nuggets?

      Whatcha think?

    • Sweetsusieg profile image
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      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Oh man!! Would LOVE to have you and Tom attend one!! You guys would be so much fun!!!

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      sharon 6 years ago

      GREAT ideas! I wish I were closer & I would LOVE to attend> Sounds FUN!!!