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Tips and tricks for holiday food presentation

As a high school student, Jana Erwin fell madly in love with Washington, D.C. Eight years, a couple of degrees and an internship later, Jana moved from Arizona to the East Coast with high hopes of changing the world. After five years in ...

Perfectly presentable

Tired of saying your food tastes better than it looks? Take your tried-and-true recipes to a whole new level this holiday season with a few simple tips that make all the difference in food presentation.

Perfectly presentable


Sure you’ll decorate the table, but why stop there? Tying your decorating theme into the food creates consistency. If your theme is rustic, have leaf cookies, or add leaves around the edge of your pies! Why not use cookie cutters on that canned cranberry sauce (or better yet, try it homemade!)? Simple touches to each

Perfectly presentable

Garnish, garnish, garnish

Garnishes add visual interest to each dish. Whether it’s a sprinkle of cheese on bread before it bakes, a drizzle of chocolate sauce on a pie plate or a few fresh chives on top of the mashed potatoes, a garnish puts a spotlight on any food. It’s the difference between a plain white wall and beautiful decor. The accents make all the difference.

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Be an individual

Serving individual portions turns a large cumbersome casserole into beautiful and easily managed portions. Serving a casserole in individual ramekins leaves more space on the table and more space on each guest's plate — leaving plenty of room for more of your delicious side dishes! Not to mention less passing of heavy dishes around the table. One trick to managing that many small dishes is to place the individual dishes onto a cookie sheet to easily transport them from counter to oven to table.

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Label foods

For a dinner served buffet style or your pre-dinner snacks, labels work like advertising. They get your guests excited for the dishes and intrigued by the ingredients. Would you rather have a cheese ball or a vanilla & fruit cheese ball? Just like you, your guests will be fascinated by what a vanilla and fruit cheese ball tastes like! It’s so easy to do! Consider creating a printed menu for each guest or adding chalkboard paint to your platters. Chalkboards are all the rage! Even a simple paper table tent can turn your sausage into a drool worthy Hawaiian kielbasa when you label it!

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Egg wash is your friend

Many foods taste great but can come out of the oven looking dry. Why wouldn’t they? They’re literally baked from the inside out! Egg washing your baked goods takes them from matte to shiny, from pale to golden, from looking dried out to looking like they are bursting with robust flavor! Try an egg wash that creates a darker sheen for your rolls and a lighter one for pies. All you have to do is mix up your egg wash and brush on with a pastry brush before baking. The difference is amazing as you can see above! You can also use egg wash to apply garnishes to your dish like nuts, cheese or decorative sugar.

  • Beaten whole egg + salt = Shiny & dark
  • Beaten whole egg + 1 teaspoon milk = Shiny & medium
  • Beaten whole egg + 1 teaspoon water = Shiny & light
  • Beaten egg white: Crisp & light

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