How to plan a perfect afternoon tea menu

Planning a perfect afternoon tea menu can be very daunting! Some guests can be tough to impress. Whether you are serving just two people or a large group, this article will give you a little inspiration.

There are so many ways to create an afternoon tea menu. You could consider including one type of scone, three savoury options, and three sweet offerings. Not only will this fill most tiered stands easily, but it will also be manageable to prepare. Or go totally outside the box with food that matches your theme. Here’s how to plan the perfect afternoon tea menu.

Why plan an afternoon tea menu?

Planning an afternoon tea menu.

Preparing afternoon tea at home is a super relaxed and lovely way to entertain guests, treat yourself, or host a special occasion. It’s an excellent opportunity to decorate your home, too! Planning the menu allows you to customise it to your or your guest’s tastes and preferences. You could choose to make everything from scratch or purchase pre-made items. Plus, making an afternoon tea menu at home can be a cost-effective way to enjoy this special experience without spending much money at a fancy tearoom or restaurant.

What does a typical afternoon tea menu include?

Plate of scones at an afternoon tea.

Here is a traditional afternoon tea menu to consider. This is a great starting point when planning your own afternoon tea menu.

  1. Loose-leaf tea (Earl Grey, English breakfast, chamomile)
  2. Scones with clotted cream and jam.
  3. Finger sandwiches (cucumber, egg salad, smoked salmon)
  4. Mini quiches or savoury tartlets.
  5.  Assorted pastries (macarons, éclairs, mini fruit tarts)

First, consider the tea you will serve

First and foremost, you’ll want to decide on the type of tea you’ll be serving. English breakfast tea is a classic choice, but you may also like to offer green, white, or herbal teas to accommodate different tastes. Once you’ve selected your tea, you can get to the fun bit, the accompanying treats.

Pukka Tea Selection Box.

Pukka offers many different tea selection gift boxes; we love this selection box. They come beautifully packaged, so there is no need to remove them from the box; sit them at your table and allow guests to pick their favourite. 

Start with scones

Jam Scones.

We are partial to enjoying scones as a first course, but many people choose to serve them as a second course on a tiered stand. If you prefer to serve scones as the second course, you can either place them on the corresponding tier of the stand to be eaten at room temperature or bring them to the table warm at the appropriate time.

When picking your scone flavours and shapes, you can get creative. Ensure they fit well with the other items on your menu and theme. Also, choose condiments that complement the scone’s taste and provide enough for each guest.

Mary Berry’s scones recipe is simple and too good not to try!

Consider savoury options

Consider savoury options on an afternoon tea menu.

Great afternoon tea menus offer a selection of savoury options. Classic tea sandwiches are always a hit and easy to prepare. You can also serve up tartlets, mini quiches, and other bite-sized treats that will complement the theme of your party. To make things easier for yourself, choose recipes you can prepare ahead of time or that require minimal time in the kitchen.

These bite-sized savoury tartlets are a gorgeous treat that are quick and easy to prepare. Perfect for serving as canapés or as part of an afternoon tea spread. This recipe is from Ainsley’s Food We Love on ITV.

Our favourite part, the sweet options!

Petit fours.

Miniature cakes and pastries are a great addition to your sweet menu. Petit fours, macarons, and eclairs are elegant and delicious options that can impress your guests. And, of course, a tea party would only be complete with a selection of biscuits. Shortbread, butter cookies, and tea biscuits are all classic choices that pair well with a cup of tea. You can even offer a variety of flavours and shapes to add a fun touch to your menu.

We recently came across this fantastic recipe for petit fours that would be perfect for parties, weddings, afternoon tea, or any occasion. The cake is soft and has a layer of raspberry jam and buttercream. On top of that, there’s a white chocolate coating that really takes it to the next level.

Consider pre prepared afternoon tea

If you’re considering pre-prepared afternoon tea, there are a few options you can explore. Local bakeries or patisseries may offer pre-made afternoon tea boxes that include a selection of sandwiches, pastries, and scones. You can order these in advance and pick them up at a designated time. Some catering companies or restaurants may also offer pre-made afternoon tea boxes that can be delivered to your home or picked up. Finally, supermarkets such as Marks & Spencer or Waitrose may offer pre-made afternoon tea selections you can purchase and enjoy at home.

Pre prepared afternoon tea.

We came across a lovely afternoon tea hamper on Amazon that looks great. It includes a fantastic selection of treats such as giant handmade fruit scones, luxury roddas clotted cream, Mrs Bridges strawberry preserve, traditional English tea, strawberries and cream biscuits, clotted cream fudge, lemon drizzle cake, millionaires’ slice, and gold crown whisky Dundee cake. It seems like the perfect way to very easily enjoy a luxurious afternoon tea time experience at home!

Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Creative cakes at an afternoon tea party.

When planning an afternoon tea menu, be bold and think outside the box. You can get creative and choose foods that match your theme. Feel free to use traditional tea sandwiches and scones. Have fun with it, and let your imagination run wild. Whether it’s a classic British tea party or a more modern and eclectic theme, there are endless possibilities for delicious and unique treats that will delight your guests. So go ahead, get creative and make your afternoon tea genuinely memorable.

The key to planning a perfect afternoon tea menu is to balance savoury and sweet and offer various options to satisfy different tastes. With creativity and attention to detail, you can create a memorable and enjoyable experience for you and your guests. We hope you have found this article helpful! In the comments, you can let us know your thoughts and your afternoon tea menu tips.