How to host your own Iftar Dinner?


While we are in the midst of Ramadan, you may notice some of your friends, coworkers and other people discussing their experience fasting.

A little bit about myself, I married a Bosnian man named Bakir and his family is traditionally muslim. I personally, was raised Christian and above all else to be open to all types of people and their beliefs. I’m beyond grateful for this relationship because it has opened my eyes to a completely new culture which I have grown to fall in love with. Over the past six years I have been exposed to their faith and been lucky enough to be welcomed into their culture.

This holy month is the most important time for those that follow the Islamic faith so if you’re like me, you want to make a good impression and let your loved ones know that you value their beliefs and want to share your support.

Maybe you are hosting your very first Iftar dinner or you just want to spice it up a bit but this is the perfect “how to” guide for making it a memorable meal that you and your guests are sure to love!

But first, what is an Iftar? Feel free to skip down to the tips if you already know!

The word iftar comes from the Arabic word for breaking a fast - إفطار افتراء (iftar). This means that it refers to both the evening meal which breaks one's fast during Ramadan as well as the act of breaking one's fast. Ramadan is a time of fasting and spiritual reflection. The month-long event is observed by Muslims around the world, and ends with Eid ul-Fitr, a three-day celebration. The timing of the dinner changes each day since it is at sunset and occurs shortly after the call to the Maghrib prayer.

Here are 5 Tips to Planning A Memorable Iftar Dinner

  1. Hydration is key! Make sure to set the table with plenty of beverages. A couple of pitchers of water and ice are a considerate and necessary addition as fasting includes avoiding any drinks all day. Another sweet idea is to include something with electrolytes so that they have a great foundation for their next day of fasting. I haven’t seen this at any of my Iftar dinners but offering a pouch of electrolyte or vitamin powder could be super thoughtful.
  2. images
  3. Dates, dates, DATES!!! According to this article, “Traditionally three dates are eaten to break the fast, in emulation of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, who broke his fast in this manner.” Dates are chalk full of nutrients! Its super thoughtful to incorporate dates but remember to keep a pit dish nearby if you’ll be serving them whole! Many people create date themed desserts, appetizers and horderves. You can too! Stuffed dates with nuts can be delicious or if you want to go to a more savory approach you can add some goat cheese! If you really want to wow your guests you can include these tasty organic, date TRUFFLES by Nailedit Foods
  4. images
  5. Have fun with the appetizers! Charcuterie is a very trendy topic nowadays, especially in Orange County, CA with all the picnic companies blowing up during the pandemic. But unfortunately, most companies only serve a very narrow audience with mainly pork based products. That's the number one mission of Halalacuterie, to make charcuterie accessible to everyone! Charcuterie is the perfect appetizer for Iftar because it has so many different varieties of goodies and food groups. Our Iftar platter specifically includes two types of halal smoked meats, several different cheeses (all prepared without animal rennet), dates, fruits, sweets, nuts, crackers and honey. So if you are a Southern California local, be sure to check out and make your own order!
  6. images
  7. Don’t forget the decor! It's always nice to set the table and the ambience to match the occasion. Some relevant decor can be anything involving moon & stars, lanterns, and signs saying “Ramadan Mubarak” (Happy Ramadan) are great additions! Ramadan is becoming more and more recognized by bigger party supply companies which is great because you can find more decorations at your local store! But why stop at some big company when you can work with a small business like Eid Creations who really cares! They have so many gorgeous products like custom gift wrap, Ramadan themed paper plates and napkins, and of course all the decorations you can think of!
  8. images
  9. Variety is your best friend! Since everyone will be waiting all day to eat, it's nice to cover all of your bases. This is no time to skimp on the carbs or go for some strange new recipe! Give the people what they want. And that means including bread, a salad, a hearty entree with one or two with a few different proteins, veggies, and of course, don’t forget dessert!
    If you need a little help, don’t be afraid to ask someone to bring a plate to the table, or even better inlist one of your local restaurants since so many offer Iftar menus. If you are in Fountain Valley, California, be sure to stop by Sofra Urbana! They have a delicious Bosnian-Italian fusion menu and everything is halal!

You really can’t go wrong when you are giving them lots of variety and considering their needs! Your guests are going to love and appreciate you for cooking for them so don’t overthink it. Just lead with your heart and have fun with the planning, when in doubt, call up a local restaurant or halal food vendor and have them provide a unique addition to your Iftar. Ramadan Mubarak and good luck!