30 Afternoon Tea Party Recipes

Tea party recipes are usually smaller, more dainty-looking portions of delicious sweet and savory treats.

From classic cucumber sandwiches and elegant petit fours to buttery English shortbread and a variety of finger sandwiches, the key is to keep things neat and bite-sized.

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In truth, you could serve almost anything you want at a tea party, though I think tea is mandatory!

But if you want it to be authentic, it’s best to stick with some tried-and-true English recipes that are sure to wow your guests.

I’ve gathered 30 terrific tea party recipes, so put the kettle on, and let’s get cooking!

Cucumber Sandwiches

This is probably one of the first things to come to mind when you think of a tea party, right?

Those cute little sandwiches with the crusts cut off are in almost every picture when you look online.

They’re a favorite for a reason! Not only do they look great, but they’re also pretty light and easy to make.

This recipe is extra special because it includes some dill and chives in the cream cheese.

Basic Scone Recipe (+ 7 Flavors!)

You can’t have a tea party without scones, and if you’re making scones, they really should be the best they can be!

This recipe is perfect for a party because it’s so easy to modify.

Make one big batch, break it up into smaller bowls, and flavor them however you want.

I think raisins are a must, but so are blueberry and chocolate chips!

Or, if you want something different, try cutting back on the sugar and adding shredded cheese, bacon bits, garlic, rosemary, or jalapeños.

Petit Fours

Petit fours are bite-sized cakes that look stunning on a fancy cake stand.

They can be any flavor you like, but I think a vanilla or almond sponge is best as it allows for better coverage with a light glaze.

An effortless way to make these is to make and freeze one large sheet cake.

Once it’s solid, cut your squares and allow them to thaw slightly before glazing.

Mini-Quiche (Any Flavor!)

Just like the bite-sized cakes above, these mini-quiches will look adorable on a tea party cake stand.

I know how finicky pastry can be, especially when working in smaller portions.

I almost always use frozen mini-pie crusts for recipes like this. They look perfect and will cut your prep time in half!

Easy Ham & Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Don’t these just look fantastic? It’s incredible how a simple cookie cutter can elevate your sandwich game!

A great way to cut down on waste is to buy an uncut, white loaf of bread.

Then, instead of cutting slices across the width, try cutting lengthways. It will give you a lot more area to work with.

Blackberry Jam Recipe

No tea party table is complete without a selection of butter, jams, and tasty spreads.

Whether you’re adding them to your scones (with clotted cream, please!), or serving up some fairy cakes, a nice pot of homemade jam will go a long way.

Blackberries make a beautiful jam and give such a unique flavor. Anyone can make strawberry jam, after all!

Crinkle Top Brownie Bites

This might not be the most traditional, but I guarantee it will be the most popular! Who doesn’t love brownies?!

Since these are made to be bite-sized, they’ll only need around 12-15 minutes in the oven. Any longer, and they won’t be fudgy.

The Perfect Cup of Tea-British Style

The Brits love their tea strong and milky. No, not like a latte (that’s sacrilege!), but with enough milk so you can taste it and no lemon in sight.

The trick is to boil the water and pour it over the tea bag. This stimulates the tea leaves and helps the flavor to steep into the cup.

The longer you leave it, the stronger it will be.

My brother likes what’s known as “builder’s tea,” which means he lets it steep for a solid 3-5 minutes before adding a dash of milk and way too much sugar.

I like to leave the tea for a couple of minutes before gently squeezing the bag against the side of the cup. Either way, milk is a must.

Mini-Lemon Meringue Pies

I can’t overstate this: this recipe is genius! It’s such a clever little hack for making what can be quite a complicated recipe.

Instead of making lemon curd and a pie crust and then agonizing over the meringue (which can go weepy in the blink of an eye), you’ll use store-bought meringue nests and a quick lemon cheesecake filling.

Top the whole thing with some crumbled ginger biscuits, and these will be ready in a matter of minutes!

Fruit Tarts

Just like you can buy mini-pastry shells for quiche, you can also buy sweetened crusts that work so well for these little fruit tarts.

Although, sugar cookie shells are extra tasty, and if you use ready-made cookie dough, they’re a cinch to whip up.

If you want the filling a touch more indulgent, try using mascarpone instead of cream cheese.

It’s not as tangy but will give you an ultra-silky finish.

English Shortbread

Shortbread is akin to sugar cookies; only the good stuff keeps it much simpler.

The key to the perfect shortbread is to keep it short.

That means you’ll need a high fat to flour ratio, and you need to handle it as little as possible to ensure you get that amazingly rich and crumbly texture.

The best recipes will have just three ingredients – butter, sugar, and flour (though some include cornstarch) – and don’t need long in the oven.

It should be super pale when you pull it out.

Mini-Chocolate Cakes

These might not be as bite-sized as the petit fours, but they’re single-serve and super cute!

I’m sure you have some ceramic ramekins at home, and they’re just the right size for these babies.

One ramekin is equal to one cake. Just let them cool, cut them in half, and fill them with frosting.

Mini-Cheesecake Bites {+5 Flavors}

Much like the scone recipe from above, you’ll make one big batch for this that you can then go on to flavor however you choose.

Mini-chocolate chips would work a treat, and so would a scoop of pie filling on the top.

Of course, a dollop of whipped cream would be more than enough, or you could always take it up a notch by adding some peanut butter to the mix.

You’ll need a mini-muffin pan for these, and I highly recommend going for silicone if you don’t already own one.

That’s because you can get the cheesecakes out so easily by gently pushing from the bottom.

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches (Canapés)

Smoked salmon is one of those ingredients that people just love. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also vibrant and super easy to work with.

Since it’s not the cheapest ingredient, I like to keep things simple. You won’t want to overpower it with too many extras.

That’s why these little crostini are the perfect option.

In fact, the dill cream cheese for this recipe is almost exactly the same as the one used in the cucumber sandwiches, so you can use it in both recipes.


If you don’t have a mini-cupcake pan, these mini-cupcake liners are a must-buy.

They’re so pretty with the pink and gold lining; plus, they don’t need a special pan and can be lined up on a regular baking sheet.

This recipe says to bake these for 18 minutes, but I think that’s a typo. They will only need about 8-10 minutes since they’re so small.

Mini-Decadent Chocolate Bundt Cakes

I was given a mini-bundt pan as a gift, and I can honestly say I’m surprised at how often I use it.

Instead of cupcakes, I find myself reaching for the bundts.

They’re so precious, and they don’t need a huge batch of sickly sweet frosting.

Instead, you can whip up a quick ganache or glaze and just pour it right over.

These look extra special when they’re finished with some fancy sprinkles or edible glitter.

Cheesy Shrimp Tea Sandwiches

This definitely isn’t a traditional British tea party recipe, but we’ll let that slide.

One bite of these, and you won’t give those cucumber sandwiches a second look!

If you have the time and energy, feel free to cook your own shrimp. That will give you the chance to add some spices if you want to.

Otherwise, pre-cooked, frozen shrimp will work just as well.

Be sure to thaw it overnight in the fridge and drain off any excess liquid before adding to the mix.

Tuna Tea Sandwiches

If you’ve never tried lemon-pepper seasoning before, now’s the time! It has such a zesty and unique flavor, and it pairs so well with tuna.

I’ve actually made this recipe with salmon before, and it came out so great, and the pink color added to the tea party theme.

If you’re not a goat cheese lover, simple cream cheese (or maybe even Brie) would be a great substitute.

Downton Abbey Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

I know that most egg salad recipes have a pretty smooth consistency. Yes, they have lumps, but not usually too much crunch.

That’s probably why I avoid it. Texture is a big deal in my house.

But this egg salad takes crunch to a whole new level!

It’s still super creamy, but there are also crisp bites throughout from chopped celery and red onion.

Not to mention, there’s a kick in the mayo with a spoonful of dijon mustard and a dash of lime juice.

Tea Cake Cookies

Do all Brits drink tea? Pretty much. Do they all dunk biscuits in said tea? Absolutely!

The traditional biscuit (cookie) is a Rich Tea, though plenty of people will dip a Chocolate Digestive or a Hobnob!

In lieu of these classics – which you can’t always find over here, across the pond – why not try a batch of tea cake biscuits?

They’re buttery, sweet, and just the right size to dunk in a cuppa.

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

As pretty as lavender shortbread can be, I find it too overwhelming to eat. The smell gets in the way, and I just can’t enjoy the cookie.

But these early grey bites are exactly what your next tea party needs.

The flavor is wonderfully subtle but strong enough you can smell it on the cookies.

I tried adding the tea to the butter, and also with the sugar, and found the latter much quicker, and the results were more or less the same.

So, if you’re in a rush, don’t worry about working the tea leaves with the butter.

Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars

In need of something vegan and gluten-free? Then this recipe is for you!

Not only is the filling crazy-creamy thanks to the cashews and coconut cream, but the crust is deliciously nutty and crumbly to boot.

I love that this recipe suggests the shortcut of using boiling water to soak the cashews.

I almost always forget to put them in a bowl to soak overnight, so this is a time-saver, for sure!

Butterfly Raspberry Fluff and Nutella Tea Sandwiches

I know what you’re thinking, but these are for the grown-ups, too!

Admittedly the butterfly shape is very much for the kids, but you can forgo that if you prefer. Either way, the taste stays the same.

I’d never thought of mixing raspberry jam into marshmallow Fluff before, but now that I’ve tasted it, I don’t think I’ll eat it any other way.

And with Nutella, it’s dangerously addictive.

Battenberg Cake

Mr. Kipling’s Battenberg is famous for its color and incredible flavor.

It’s not the easiest cake to make, but it’s so worth it when you make that first slice.

This cake isn’t tricky in terms of technique, but rather the number of steps it takes to perfect.

You’ll make one cake batter that gets split, with half colored in pink, before being baked.

Then, you’ll trim the excess cake and make a long, even rectangle.

These need to be “glued” together with jam to create the checkerboard look, and the whole thing gets covered in marzipan.

Classic Deviled Eggs Recipe

Deviled eggs are a straightforward and relatively cheap little recipe.

Plus, if you’re making egg salad, you’ll already be boiling eggs, so why not make a few extra?

Once they’re boiled and cooled, gently cut them in half and scoop out that yolk.

I like to mash this up pretty smooth before adding in the mayo to prevent any little lumps.

This is best served right away, so keep the filling in the fridge until just before you need it.

Pipe it, or scoop it into the cavities, and dust with a bit of paprika.

Mini-Chicken Pot Pies

Here’s another recipe you probably won’t find at a traditional tea party, but I think it’s a nice idea to include something warm to the table.

Everything on this list is served cold, which means you can make it all ahead and keep it in the fridge until tea time!

But if you’re hosting your party in the winter, I’m sure plenty of people will thank you for these warm and filling chicken pot pie bites.

And since you’ll use crescent rolls, frozen veggies, canned soup, and leftover chicken, they don’t take long to make.

Crab Salad Sandwiches Recipe

Here’s another recipe that uses a round cookie cutter to make the sandwiches look extra cute.

Although, I like the look of long rectangles or small triangles, too, and with those shapes, you have so much less waste.

Whatever shape you go for, your guests will love these crab sandwiches.

Made with canned wild-caught crab meat, red onion, peppers, and a tangy yet creamy dressing, they will be gone before you know it.

Mini-Lemon Cakes

The issue with making mini-cupcakes or brownies is that they’re so easy to overbake.

Being so small, just a minute too long can leave them dry and sad.

This recipe has a little trick to help ensure your crumb stays perfectly moist – pudding!

Adding instant pudding to your cake batter (straight out of the packet, not made up with milk) will not only infuse flavor but will help to keep your cakes tender and soft.

Mashed Avocado Finger Sandwiches

These avocado, cucumber, and sprout sandwiches will be a welcome sight to your vegetarian and vegan guests.

Just don’t forget they need to be made right before serving, or the avos will go brown!

Sprouts, microgreens, or garden cress are a lovely addition here, giving you some nice crunch and fresh green flavors.

If you’re interested, microgreens are super easy to grow at home, and you can get started with a simple kit in no time.

Lemon Drop Cookies

These lemon drop cookies are equal parts buttery and zesty.

They have lemon zest right in the cookie dough, which adds a very subtle flavor to the cookie.

They also have a wonderful lemon glaze over the top to help boost the flavor.

What could be more delightful than enjoying a delicious tea party with friends? Especially with wonderfully sweet and decadent tea party desserts like these.

We’re sharing over 55 recipes that will tantalize both your eyes and your tastebuds. So put your pinky fingers up and get ready to indulge in the most delicious treats imaginable.

We all know that the real star of every tea party is the dessert tray.

Whether you make edible Chip teacups for a birthday tea party, flower laden cheesecake bites for Mother’s Day, or strawberry pound cake for a baby shower or bridal shower, this is one time you want to make sure your food is as beautiful as it is tasty.

That’s why we scoured the internet to find the most beautiful and delicious tea party desserts for every occasion, including cookies, cakes, candies, quick breads, tarts, and even a few no bake desserts.

Can Tea Party Desserts be Made Ahead?

The last days before a party can be stressful and time consuming, so it’s always helpful to find some recipes that can be made well in advance. Here are a few tips to make your life easier:

  • Most baked goods like cakes and muffins freeze well, but it’s best to add any fresh ingredients like fresh fruit or edible flowers just before serving.
  • Make cooked desserts like puddings and custards a day or so in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Most candy recipe can be made up to two weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Quick breads like banana bread and apple bread freeze beautifully. Just be sure to thaw completely before cutting.

Catering Shop Tip: Get perfect cuts with your brownies, blondies, and bars by freezing them first. When ready to cut, allow your bars to soften for about 30 minutes, and then use a sharp chef knife to press down and slice the brownies.

Looking for More Tea Party Ideas and Recipes?

Or you can check out all of my best tea party ideas right here.

How to Make Apple Roses with Puff Pastry

Mini apple roses with puff pastry are a beautiful and delicious addition to your tea party. They’re also easy to make with the help of puff pastry and a few simple ingredients.

Nutella Crescent Rolls

Crunchy and sweet with hints of toffee and vanilla, brown sugar cashew brittle is a delicious sweet treat for a sophisticated tea party or brunch.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

Strawberry Lemon Bars are a dense, but tender treat stuffed with fresh strawberries, bursting bright lemon flavors, and topped with a pretty pink glaze.

Easy Candied Pecans

Quick and easy candied pecans make a delicious snack to serve your guests. Best of all they take only 6 easy-to-find ingredients and less than 45 minutes.

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies | One Dough, Three Amazing Cookies

Create a variety of treats without spending extra time in the kitchen, by making a batch of these lemon cake mix cookies. With three delicious versions made out of one base dough, you’ll have treats beautiful enough for any silver tea tray.

The Best Chewy Coconut Macaroons Recipe

Coconut macaroon cookies are the perfect elegant sweet treat for any tea party! Light and chewy on the inside, with a crisp exterior and chocolate drizzle, they’re perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth. Best of all, with the tips included in the recipe post, your coconut macaroons are sure to look just as delicious as they taste.

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

After years of testing, we’ve finally found the best no-spread cut out sugar cookie recipe. They’re tender and buttery in the center with slightly crisp edges for sugar cookie perfection.

Soft and Chewy Almond Macaroons

Soft on the inside with just the right amount of crunch, these chewy almond macaroons are an easy treat that’s completely irresistible.

Pecan Crescent Cookies

Passed down from my little old Italian step-grandmother, these pecan crescent cookies are tender and flakey, with a delicious pecan filling. It’s no wonder they’re so addictive.

How to Make Sugar Cubes from Scratch

Learn how to make sugar cubes in fun flavors, shapes, and colors that match your party perfectly. You can even add them to personalized tea bags as party favors.

Strawberry Fruit Dip with Cream Cheese

Homemade strawberry fruit dip with cream cheese is a quick and easy recipe that’s always a hit, and is especially tasty served alongside some tea biscuits and scones.


Scones are a classic addition to every afternoon tea. We’ve pulled together a list of over 35 delicious scone flavors, with options for ever season and taste preference.

Healthy Lemon Bars with Almond Flour

These lemon bars are light and delicious, yet simple to make! A zesty light lemon filling is layered onto a luscious shortbread almond flour crust. These lemon squares are also naturally sweetened for a healthy summertime treat!

5 Ingredient Strawberry Crumble Bars

These strawberry crumble bars are the perfect dessert for a tea party! They are crunchy and soft, with a delicious strawberry filling. And with only 5 ingredients, they’re easy to make too.

Gluten-Free Blackberry Crumb Bars (Vegan, Allergy-Free)

Made with an almond flour crust, fresh blackberries, and a delicious crumble topping, these allergy-free, low sugar bars are a healthy, sweet, and scrumptious treat that your guests will love.

Lemon Biscotti Recipe

Delicious lemon biscotti are the perfect treat to dunk in a warm cup of tea. Crunchy and flavorful, and drizzled with a bright lemon glaze, these delicious lemon biscotti are the perfect treat to dunk into a warm cup of tea.

Lemon Blackberry Bread

This light and fluffy lemon blackberry bread is as flavorful as it is pretty with that gorgeous pink glaze flavored with fresh blackberries and lemons.

Blueberry Jam Cake

Treat your guests to a delicious cake filled with blueberry jam and Swiss buttercream and topped with a beautiful blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Honey Cakes

What goes best with tea? Honey, of course! Which means that these delicious honey cakes topped with honey Chantilly cream and dusted with gold luster dust are a natural compliment to any tea party.

Easy No Bake Cheesecake Bites

Brighten up your party with these bite-sized cheesecakes topped with fresh summer berries.

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Blueberry Whipped Cream

This cake is subtly sweet and moist, with a delicious cornmeal flavor. Topped with blueberry crème fraîche whipped cream, in a gorgeous shade of purple makes it the perfect dessert for a ladies’ tea party.

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

With a light and airy texture, tangy lemon flavor, and juicy blueberries, this beautiful bundt cake is a simple way to treat everyone at your party.

Mini Bundt Cakes with Citrus

These delightful mini bundt cakes with citrus are so cute! They’re so moist and light, and bursting with bright orange and lemon zest in every bite.

Blood Orange Sour Cream Cakes

Lovely and delicate, moist sour cream cakes are flavored with ripe blood oranges and topped off with a pretty pink blood orange. Talk about a cute addition to your party tray.

Strawberry Pound Cake

This fresh strawberry pound cake recipe is a real showstopper. Not only is it made with fresh strawberries peppering the cake, but it also has a gorgeous pink Strawberry Glaze on top that’s guaranteed to be the star of your dessert table.

Sloppy peach cake in a cup

How beautiful are these individual peach cake cups? Fluffy cake is layered with juicy peaches and creamy whipped topping, making an easy, gorgeous, and delicious individually sized treat.

2 Ingredient Strawberry Fudge Recipe

Your guests will love this sweet and creamy Strawberry Fudge recipe. Not only is it pretty to look at, but it’s easy to make and is sure to satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth.

White Chocolate Rocky Road

White Chocolate Rocky Road is as beautiful as it is tasty. Made with rich, creamy white chocolate and loaded with all your favorite goodies – gooey marshmallows, chewy fruit jellies, and crunchy nuts, it’s like a taste of heaven in every bite.

Italian Cookies (Vanilla or Anisette)

Italian cookies are a tasty addition to any tea party! The soft, cake-like texture is perfect for dunking into a warm cup of tea, and the glossy glaze and sprinkles add a festive touch.

Cookie Cups with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

Cookie Cups with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling are as elegant as they are adorable. The sweet sugar cookie cups are the ideal container for the creamy, cheesecake-like filling, which is made with real strawberries for a pretty pink color and an extra burst of flavor.

Lavender Madeleines

Add a touch of French flair to your party serving Lavender Madeleines. Packed with flavor from the culinary lavender, and – let’s be honest – the butter, they probably won’t last very long once you make them.

Carrot Cake Cookies Recipe

We all have at least one friend that is trying to maintain a specific diet. Which is why it’s good to have at least one item on the menu that works for them. Not only are these carrot cake cookies delicious, they’re also healthy and allergy friendly!

Lemon Rosemary Butter Cookies

Simple butter cookies are a perfect compliment for your tea party, especially when they’re infused with a lemon and a delicious savory hint of fresh rosemary.

Raspberry Meringue Cookies

Looking for a lighter option? Raspberry meringue cookies shaped like flowers are delicate, flavorful, and oh so pretty.

Strawberry Filled Cupcakes

For a beautiful and decadent dessert, you can’t go wrong with delicious cupcakes filled with homemade strawberry preserves and frosted with strawberry buttercream.

Buttercream Flower Cupcakes (3 Different Styles)

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, Mother’s Day, or just want something extra pretty to serve your guests, flower cupcakes will be a stunning addition to your dessert display. Learn how to make three different flower designs with a delicious buttercream recipe.

Strawberry Delight

Layers of no bake cheesecake filling with real strawberries and a graham cracker crust come together to create an easy and delicious dessert that everyone loves.

Victoria Sponge Cupcakes

Filled with whipped cream and homemade blackberry jam Victoria sponge cupcakes are a beautiful and delicious compliment to a cup of tea.

Strawberry Frosted Donuts

Donuts for a tea party? Pretty in pink donuts with fresh strawberries and a delicious strawberry glaze frosting are pretty enough for any party.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth without the stress of baking and serve a tray of cheesecake stuffed strawberries.

Mini Fruit Tarts

Mini fruit tarts with cream cheese filling and fresh berries are an easy and elegant dessert that are are a beautiful addition to any tea tray.

Earl Grey Macarons

These gorgeous purple macarons infused with three layers of earl gray tea will leave your guests in awe over both their beauty and their flavor.

Blackberry Lavender Macarons Recipe

Filled with rich buttercream and blackberry jam, Blackberry Lavender Macarons are both beautiful and delicious.

Easy Raspberry Muffins

Moist and fluffy, with a delicious raspberry flavor, they are sure to be a hit with your guests. Just remember to keep a few for yourself, too.

Chip the Teacup

These adorable teacup treats are a definite must-try for anyone with kids who love Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Persian Rosewater Cream Puffs

These aren’t your mamma’s cream puffs! They are soft and delicate pillows of choux pastry, flavored with cardamom and filled with a sweet yet tangy rosewater whipped cream and garnished with sugared rose petals.

Blueberry Crescent Rolls

Hosting a party and want to show some culinary skills? Skip the ordinary crescent rolls and go for something more impressive – Blueberry Crescent Rolls. Your guests don’t have to know how simple they are.

How to make Cream Puffs

Filled with a lemon pastry cream, these Italian Cream Puffs have light and airy texture that make them an elegant and tasty bite sized dessert.

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake in a Jar

This delicious Strawberry Cheesecake in a jar dish will wow your guests with the beautiful layers and the delicious flavor.

Strawberry Puff Pastry Tarts

These delectable strawberry tarts are ideal for spring entertaining. Made with puff pastry, mascarpone whipped cream, and glazed fresh strawberries, they are sure to impress your guests!

Fruit Tarts with Granola Crust

Crunchy granola tart shells are filled with yogurt, homemade lemon curd, and fresh fruit for a delicious spring or summer tea party treat!

Easy Bursting Blueberry Mini Galettes

Blueberry Mini Galettes are small, individual pies made with light puff pastry dough and a gooey. and delicious blueberry filling. These mini galettes are perfect for a tea party, as they are easy to make and look beautiful even if they’re not perfectly shaped.

Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets

Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets are bite-sized versions of the classic Southern dessert. The filling is a deliciously simple chocolate batter that can be topped with whipped cream for a fantastic tea party treat.

Strawberry Tartlets

These Strawberry Tartlets are silky smooth and simple to prepare. With a buttery shortbread crust that’s filled to the brim with pureed strawberries, these creamy little tarts are pretty treats that are bursting with strawberry flavor.

Tea party desserts for women should be beautiful and delicate, as well as delicious. Thankfully there are plenty of recipes to choose from to fit every style and occasion.

If you’re still stuck deciding which of these desserts are best suited for your event, here are some things to think about:

  • Budget: If money is tight, opt for recipes that are pretty on their own, like apple roses and lemon blackberry bread. If you have a bit more money to spend, add in one or two fresh fruit items or a recipe that uses edible flowers.
  • Guest list: If you’re hosting a kids birthday party, it’s best to serve simple, cute recipes, like Chip the Teacup and Cut out Sugar cookies. But if your guest list includes primarily adults, add in at least one stunner.
  • The rest of the menu: If you plan to serve other snacks like finger sandwiches, and appetizers, then keep it simple with two or three desserts.
  • Time of year: Generally, guests prefer lighter and more fruit forward foods (like peach cake in a cup) in spring and summer, and warmer foods (like apple bread and pecan crescents) in fall and winter.

Want an easy way to figure out how much food you actually need for your next party? Fill in the form below to download our free cheat sheet! It shows exactly how much food you need to for everything from ice and drinks all the way to finding the perfect size birthday cake.

Simply enter your email address below and we’ll send it right over!

We’ve got plenty of inspiring afternoon tea ideas for you to select from including cupcakes, classic scones, and sandwiches too.

According to afternoontea.co.uk (opens in new tab); “Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840s. It evolved as a mini meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8pm.” Traditional afternoon tea is composed of sandwiches (usually finger sandwiches) scones served with clotted cream and jam and a selection of sweet pastries and cakes to finish. All of which is served with a pot or two of tea.

Our selection of afternoon tea recipes is ideal for parties, and special occasions, or if you’re looking to make your own afternoon tea hampers (opens in new tab) as a gift for family and friends ranging from easy recipes for beginners to intricate bakes for those that have more time. Think lemon drizzle cake, cherry Bakewells, banana bread, and delicate strawberry macarons.

“No afternoon tea is complete without homemade cakes and pastries, sandwiches and not forgetting classic scones,” says Deputy Food Editor, Rose Fooks. “Indulging in afternoon tea is great for special occasions. Make everything the day before you plan on serving it so you can focus on decorating and laying the table with vintage crockery for example.“

Best budget-friendly afternoon tea ideas

Choose from fillers such as cucumber, ham, mustard and more

Try dainty sandwich recipes for afternoon tea, including smoked salmon and coronation chicken fillings. Sandwiches are a great choice of savoury food to serve for afternoon tea. They’re cheap, quick, and easy to rustle up in bulk. By far one of our simplest afternoon tea ideas.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Cut your sandwiches into elegant, rectangular or triangle-shaped slices, garnished with fresh herbs.

Recipes to try:

  • Coronation chicken (opens in new tab)
  • Smoked salmon and avocado sandwiches (opens in new tab)
  • Tuna mayo sandwich (opens in new tab)
  • Sandwich filling ideas (opens in new tab)

Opt for mini bite-sized tarts or a whole tart for slicing and sharing

Tarts are easy to make and make a great afternoon tea choice. Opt for classics such as Bakewell tarts, custard tarts, or mini raspberry and frangipane slices.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Don’t forget a jug of cream, homemade custard, or fruit as an accompaniment.

  • Cherry Bakewells (opens in new tab)
  • Custard tarts (opens in new tab)
  • Mini raspberry and frangipane tarts (opens in new tab)
  • Plum custard slice (opens in new tab)

Swirl peanut butter or melted white chocolate through your brownies for an extra sweet finish

Gooey and rich, brownies are an easy crowdpleaser – especially served warm with a generous spoonful of clotted cream. Make the day before so they’re super rich in flavour and fudgy in texture too.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Just before your brownie traybake begins to cool, cut your brownies into squares or bite-sized pieces.

  • Peanut butter brownies (opens in new tab)
  • Classic chocolate brownie recipe (opens in new tab)
  • Gluten-free chocolate brownies (opens in new tab)
  • White chocolate chip brownies (opens in new tab)

Try something new for your afternoon tea spread and make whoopie pies

Whoopie pies

Whoopie pies are made with a soft, cookie-like dough and have been popular in America for many years now. They are perfect for afternoon tea as they can be eaten in just a couple of bites making them a great finger food option.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Experiment with different fillings and ask your guests to guess the flavours.

  • Red velvet whoopie pies (opens in new tab)
  • Whoopie pies (opens in new tab)
  • Raspberry whoopie pies (opens in new tab)

Lemon drizzle cake is great for serving around 8-12 people

Lemon drizzle cake

A lemon drizzle cake makes the perfect option for afternoon tea as it’s light and airy with a zesty flavour. Pair with herbal tea to really enhance the flavour of the lemon.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Cut your lemon drizzle into slices and pop onto a tiered cake stand or large plate so that everyone can serve themselves. There won’t be any left.

  • Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake (opens in new tab)
  • Elderflower and lemon drizzle cake (opens in new tab)
  • Low-calorie lemon drizzle cake (opens in new tab)
  • Mini lemon drizzle cakes (opens in new tab)

Swap plain scones for fruit instead for a sweeter option

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fruit scones

No afternoon tea would be complete without scones. In our exclusive video, executive pastry chef at The Langham Hotel Andrew Gravett, shows you how to make the perfect fruit scones. (opens in new tab) “Make sure the butter is very cold, straight from the fridge”, says Andrew, who also advises working the mixture thoroughly to ensure a greater build-up of gluten for the traditional scone shape. “If we don’t work the scone enough, the texture and flavour will be nice but we won’t have such a straight-sided scone, it’ll be slightly fat on the bottom.”

How to serve for afternoon tea: Scones will look impressive perched on a tiered cake stand. Or you could go for the more rustic approach and serve them in a basket. Little pots for the cream and jam and some teaspoons will make your table look fancy.

  • Paul Hollywood’s scones (opens in new tab)
  • Fruit scones (opens in new tab)
  • Gluten-free scones (opens in new tab)
  • Homemade raspberry jam (opens in new tab)
  • Strawberry jam (opens in new tab)
  • Homemade marmalade (opens in new tab)

Florentines are a great idea for an afternoon tea

Florentines are made with almonds and often covered in chocolate. Our traditional recipe makes 16 which is ideal if you’re catering to a large number of people. These speedy sweet treats can be ready in just 20 minutes.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Pile florentines high in a basket or tin lined with white baking paper. You go one step further and turn your florentines into little presents and pop them in a gift box for each guest.

  • Florentines (opens in new tab)
  • White chocolate florentines (opens in new tab)
  • Orange, cherry and almond florentines (opens in new tab)
  • Florentine flapjacks (opens in new tab)

Make a batch of veggie and meat sausage rolls to cater for all dietary requirements

Sausage rolls

Whether you opt to serve them in one or slice them into minis, sausage rolls are a great savoury option. They make a filling replacement for sandwiches. By far one of our simplest afternoon tea ideas.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Cut into bite-sized pieces and present alongside the sandwiches as another delicious savoury option.

  • How to make sausage rolls (opens in new tab)
  • Vegetarian sausage rolls (opens in new tab)
  • Honey and mustard sausage rolls (opens in new tab)
  • Twisty sausage rolls (opens in new tab)

Decorate with whatever you fancy; icing sugar, drizzle, buttercream and more

Cupcakes mean individual cakes for your guests so everyone is guaranteed to have at least one cake and they’ll be no squabbles. Try cupcake recipes with fondant figures or swirls of piped buttercream to keep it simple, yet impressive.

How to serve for afternoon tea: A tiered cupcake holder or cake stand will help you create a tower of cupcake.

  • Basic cupcake recipe (opens in new tab)
  • Low-fat cupcakes (opens in new tab)
  • Apple crumble cupcakes (opens in new tab)
  • Lavender and honey cupcakes (opens in new tab)

Perfect served with coffee

Biscotti, meaning biscuits in Italian, are perfect for dunking into tea once, twice or even three times without breaking into your cup. These brittle biscuits have a rich almond flavour and soften easily when dunked.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Serve biscotti with tea or coffee for dipping.

  • Apricot and cranberry Biscotti (opens in new tab)
  • Classic Biscotti (opens in new tab)
  • Cherry and pistachio Biscotti (opens in new tab)

Choose strawberry jam, raspberry jam or blackberry jam as the filling

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

Victoria sponge cake makes the perfect centrepiece, sandwiched together with fresh cream and jam.

How to serve for afternoon tea: A large glass cake stand sitting in the middle of your table would do this cake justice. Serve with a cake knife, small forks and napkins, for those messy eaters.

  • Mary Berry’s Victoria sponge (opens in new tab)
  • Victoria sponge recipe (opens in new tab)
  • Mini Victoria sponges (opens in new tab)
  • Persian Victoria sponge cake (opens in new tab)
  • Clotted cream Victoria sponge (opens in new tab)

Make eclairs the morning of your afternoon tea party so the cream is as fresh as it can be

(Image credit: Nataliya Arzamasova)

Chocolate éclairs have a soft, light pastry with a rich chocolate topping and creamy filling. Traditionally served at afternoon tea, eclairs are a delicate pastry to enjoy after the sandwiches.

How to serve for afternoon tea: You could play around with the sizes of your éclairs and make little bite-sized ones so they’re easier to eat.

  • Chocolate éclairs (opens in new tab)
  • Double chocolate éclairs (opens in new tab)
  • Coffee eclairs (opens in new tab)
  • Nadiya’s Family Favourites éclair roll (opens in new tab)

Leftover banana bread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days

Banana bread

Another delicious afternoon tea idea is a banana cake or bread. Pick a banana cake recipe or a banana bread recipe as a great way to use up ripe bananas. Add chopped walnuts, pecans or even chocolate chips to give your banana loaf even more flavour.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Slice your banana bread or cake into pieces and serve on a tiered cake stand. You could also pop them into cupcake cases to make them look prettier.

  • Banana bread (opens in new tab)
  • Banana cake (opens in new tab)
  • Banana and walnut cake (opens in new tab)
  • Banana sandwich cake (opens in new tab)

Tray bake, round cake or carrot cake muffins – nothing beats a classic carrot cake

(Image credit: TI Media)

Carrot cake has a thick, cream cheese frosting and a lightly spiced sponge. Make in advance as it keeps well in a cake tin or wrapped in tin foil and add the frosting just before serving. By far one of our simplest afternoon tea ideas.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Cut into slices or squares and place onto a tiered cake stand with a variety of other mini bakes.

  • Classic carrot cake (opens in new tab)
  • Carrot and raisin loaf (opens in new tab)
  • Phil Vickery’s carrot cake (opens in new tab)
  • Carrot and pineapple cake (opens in new tab)

On average you can make around 8-12 muffins in one batch

Muffin recipes to bake at home, including raspberry and white chocolate muffins. Or experiment with a savoury muffin option, alongside sandwiches.

How to serve for afternoon tea: How cute would a basket of muffins look in the centre of the table?

  • Chocolate muffins (opens in new tab)
  • Raspberry muffins (opens in new tab)
  • Blueberry muffins (opens in new tab)
  • Banana and chocolate chip muffins (opens in new tab)

Whether you opt for classic cinnamon or chocolate, Chelsea buns are a great afternoon tea choice

Chelsea buns

Our classic Chelsea buns recipe is so simple to make at home. They’re a bit fiddly but well worth the effort. These currant-filled Chelsea buns make a lovely tea-time treat so perfect for afternoon tea.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Drizzle with some delicious royal icing and then stack on a round cake tower so they can be admired from all angles.

  • Chocolate Chelsea buns (opens in new tab)
  • Hairy Bikers’ chocolate and cherry buns (opens in new tab)
  • Chelsea buns (opens in new tab)

You can make shortbread a few days before serving – just store in an airtight container

Tea and biscuits go hand in hand, that’s why we think a shortbread recipe should be top of the list. Sprinkle with sugar and watch them disappear off the plate in seconds.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Layer the in a tin lined with white baking paper, so you can keep them fresh throughout the afternoon.

  • Scottish Shortbread (opens in new tab)
  • Lemon curd shortbread (opens in new tab)
  • Mini Egg millionaire shortbread (opens in new tab)
  • Millionaire’s shortbread (opens in new tab)

Serve with cake in slices so you can see the different coloured layers

Battenburg cake

Battenburg cake is a very impressive bake that is well worth the effort. The marzipan outer layer will keep the cake fresh for a few days so you can make it in advance.

How to serve for afternoon tea: The best way to serve this sweet treat is by slicing it to reveal its pattern. Place individual slices on little plates or beside your cup of tea on saucers ready for your guests.

  • Classic Battenburg cake (opens in new tab)
  • Chocolate orange Battenburg cake (opens in new tab)

Macaroons are great for adding a burst of colour to your afternoon tea spread

Simple macaroons are made with egg whites and ground almonds to make them as light as air. Experiment with colours, flavours and fillings too.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Macaroons are delicate little things so handle them with care so they don’t get crushed.

  • Strawberry macaroons (opens in new tab)
  • Basic macaroons (opens in new tab)
  • Chocolate macaroons (opens in new tab)
  • Tiramisu macaroons (opens in new tab)

Whip up a batch of 8-10 cheese scones in no time

Cheese scones

How to serve for afternoon tea: Serve simply with butter or opt for filling such as cream cheese, smoked salmon, sliced cucumber, or shredded chicken.

  • Cheese and sweet chilli scones (opens in new tab)
  • Watercress cheese scones (opens in new tab)
  • Classic cheese scones (opens in new tab)

Fairy cakes usually take around 15 mins to prepare and 15 mins to cook on average

(Image credit: Alamy)

Fairy cake

Fairy cakes are easy to make and make a retro treat popular with kids and grown-ups. They are smaller versions of cupcakes so are dainty enough to have as part of your afternoon tea spread.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Fairy cakes are so easy to personalise with individual decorations or perhaps an initial for each guest.

  • Mary Berry iced fairy cakes recipe (opens in new tab)
  • Chocolate topped fairy cakes (opens in new tab)
  • Lemon fairy cakes (opens in new tab)
  • Walnut butterfly buns (opens in new tab)

From chocolate chip to iced biscuits, cookies are a great choice

Chocolate chip cookies are a great option for kids, as you can make them as big or small as you like. They’re a handy afternoon tea idea as you can make them in advance too.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Pile cookies high in a tin or Kilner jar, or go one step further and turn your cookies into little presents by stacking three and tying them with a ribbon to take away.

  • Chocolate chip cookies (opens in new tab)
  • Vanilla cookies (opens in new tab)
  • Millie’s Cookies (opens in new tab)

Whip up a batch of flapjacks in no time at all – ideal for making ahead of time

One of our best afternoon tea ideas is flapjacks. Flapjacks are so quick and easy to make. To make basic flapjacks, all you need is oats, golden syrup, butter, and sugar and once you’ve got the gist, you can experiment by adding apple and cinnamon or dried fruits.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Cut your flapjack traybake into little squares to make bite-sized pieces.

  • Millionaire flapjacks (opens in new tab)
  • Mary Berry’s flapjacks recipe (opens in new tab)
  • Treacle flapjacks (opens in new tab)
  • Apple flapjacks (opens in new tab)

Make mini pastries to serve alongside your cakes and bakes

Danish pastry

Danish pastries make buttery, sweet treats that flake in your mouth and melt on the tongue. Once you’ve got the hang of our basic step-by-step recipe, you can experiment with different flavours and fillings too.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Make your pastries the center of attention by placing them on a board or large serving plate, but don’t layer them as they are sticky and can get stuck together.

  • Classic Danish pastries (opens in new tab)
  • Raspberry jam stuffed Danishes (opens in new tab)

This chocolate pick and mix cake is great for kids’ afternoon tea parties

Chocolate fudge cake

A luxurious chocolate sponge recipe will make you a popular afternoon tea host. Decorate with a variety of different chocolate treats depending on the theme of your afternoon tea. Keep it simple with a sweet chocolate ganache or opt for the showstopper with chocolate fingers, curls, and more.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Serve the cake whole for maximum impact. Why not experiment with cake decoration and top with Maltesers or chocolate fingers?

  • Mary Berry’s chocolate cake recipe (opens in new tab)
  • Chocolate fudge cake (opens in new tab)
  • Gluten-free chocolate cake (opens in new tab)
  • Chocolate pick and mix cake (opens in new tab)

Bake 12 of these delicious iced buns in just 20 minutes

Iced bun

One of our best afternoon tea ideas; if you’re looking for an afternoon tea idea with a bit of flare, iced buns are a great shout. Bun recipes for everyone, including retro iced buns, hot cross buns and Chelsea buns. Perfect for both adults and kids.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Iced buns look their best topped with different colours and lined up for guests to help themselves.

  • Iced buns (opens in new tab)
  • Brazilian teatime buns (opens in new tab)
  • Blueberry hot cross buns (opens in new tab)

Make the day before to save you some time before serving

Mousse is a quick and simple afternoon tea idea. It can be made in advance and is often a refreshing little pick me up amongst the heavy cakes and pastries in a classic afternoon tea spread.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Opt for small, dainty glasses to give your mousse a real fancy afternoon tea feel. Don’t forget a teaspoon.

  • Frappucino mousse (opens in new tab)
  • Triple layer mousse (opens in new tab)
  • Chocolate honeycomb mousse pots (opens in new tab)
  • Irish cream pots (opens in new tab)

This malty Horlicks and prune loaf cake is a great afternoon tea option

Tea Loaf Cake

No afternoon tea party is complete without a tea loaf cake spread with a generous layer of butter. Get experimental and use whatever tea you prefer.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Don’t forget to put butter into a dish and pop it on the table so everyone can help themselves.

  • Classic tea loaf (opens in new tab)
  • Cherry and coconut loaf (opens in new tab)
  • Date and apple loaf (opens in new tab)
  • Hazelnut loaf (opens in new tab)
  • Horlicks and prune loaf cake (opens in new tab)

Lamingtons are great for making 2-3 days before serving

Lamingtons are bite-sized pieces of cake covered in chocolate and coconut. They are so simple to make that the kids can help you make them. Ideal for making in bulk, especially if you’re catering to a large group of people.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Line your Lamingtons on a board to show off their uniformity.

Get the recipe: Lamington (opens in new tab)

A bundt cake is a great afternoon tea centerpiece for special occasions

One of our favourite afternoon tea ideas; is a simple bundt cake with really delightful and delicate icing is the perfect treat to go with your afternoon tea. Experiment with flavour combinations and use edible flowers to decorate it if you can.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Bundt cakes make a wonderful centerpiece so place them on a cake stand and let people serve themselves.

  • Prosecco, white chocolate and rose bundt cake (opens in new tab)
  • Treacle bundt cake with limoncello drizzle (opens in new tab)
  • Melting middle Cream Egg bundt cake (opens in new tab)

Turkish delight takes around 20 minutes to cook – and you can make in bulk too

Rose and lemon Turkish delight

These lovely Turkish delight squares are exactly that – a comforting sweet treat, delicious bite-sized treats so perfect for an afternoon tea.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Serve in a dish or better yet a tall glass jar so your guests can see all the beautiful colours on display.

  • Turkish delight rocky road (opens in new tab)
  • Rose Turkish delight (opens in new tab)

The perfect finger food that kids can enjoy too

If you’re looking for a savoury vegetarian option for afternoon tea falafel is a great choice. It takes just 5 minutes to prep and can be made the day before too.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Present your falafel on a bed of fresh salad leaves with a pot of hummus for dipping. You could also add toasted pitta bread fingers too.

  • Homemade falafel (opens in new tab)
  • Oven baked falafel bites (opens in new tab)

Scotch eggs take around 20 minutes to prepare

Scotch eggs

One of our favourite afternoon tea ideas; Scotch eggs are a quick and easy savoury picnic snack that can be adapted to suit an afternoon tea spread. With our vegetarian version too – you can cater both meat and non-meat eaters in one.

How to serve for afternoon tea: Place in a fancy bowl or scatter amongst the sandwiches.

  • Scotch eggs (opens in new tab)
  • Vegetarian Scotch eggs (opens in new tab)
  • Stuffing and mash Scotch eggs (opens in new tab)

Things you will need to decorate your table for afternoon tea

Choose the perfect crockery to suit your afternoon tea theme

Recreating afternoon tea at home is simple and can often work out cheaper than going to a restaurant or cafe for afternoon tea in the UK (opens in new tab). Here are some top afternoon tea ideas tips:

A tea set: Go for a matching set or a mixture of decorative plates to set the scene. Don’t have a set? Fake it by setting the table in all white pieces. Use matching napkins, or choose decorative paper plates to keep things simple.

Bunting: It’s not just about your table settings, some floral bunting with brighten the room

Teapot: No afternoon tea is complete without a classic teapot. It makes for easy refills.

Drinks: Including tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or even fizz, if it’s a special occasion.

Cutlery: You’ll need everything from a cake knife to teaspoons for spooning on the clotted cream.

Napkins and doilies: Napkins for mess and doilies for decoration.

Cake stand: Cake stands are a great way of showing off your bakes and making them look extra fancy. A large serving plate or even a chopping board would work just as well if you don’t have cake stands.

Flowers: Make your spread look fresh and vibrant by adding pretty flowers to the mix.

Menu: You could push the boat out and make your own afternoon tea menu to give an extra sense of occasion.

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