Updated in 2023! Ever wonder what to serve at a birthday party with various food allergic tots? Well Sue, a former blogger at Living My Dream, went above and beyond to share the answer. To make her daughter’s 3rd birthday special, she juggled not only her daughter’s milk allergy, but the allergies of guests as well. Sue made a dairy-, peanut-, tree nut-, sesame-, chocolate-, and strawberry-free party look easy, and she’s going to tell us how. Below is her allergy-friendly birthday party menu, recipes, and ideas that will make your little guests happy.
Hosting a Food Allergy-Friendly Birthday Party
We originally posted this allergy-friendly birthday party guide several years ago. It’s been updated with more tips and notes! We’ll start with Sue’s planning and big day wrap up, followed by the full menu.
Kayla’s party was yesterday and today, this house is filled with 3 exhausted females. The party was a great success and although the sun was strong, it was in the low 80’s with no humidity. We have tents and trees, so in the shade it was perfect. Kayla loved having her friends over and all the kids had a very good time.
It was a Backyardigans theme and I got all the stuff for it and then Friday, Kayla tells me how excited she is to have her Backyardigans party hat. Um…I hadn’t gotten hats because the kids really don’t wear them. So out to the store we went Saturday morning to get them. It was the only thing she asked for at her party and she wouldn’t stop talking about wanting her hat. She actually did wear it. 🥳
At one point I came outside and Kayla ran up to me all dramatic with her hands and arms spread out to her sides and said, “Mommy, EVERYONE is here.” She was SO excited! It was special for all of them to enjoy a safe party.
I got a lot of compliments on the food and we have a TON of leftovers. I’m thankful for having two freezers. My parents also took some home. It’s pretty ironic too, that although Kayla has only one food allergy, I actually juggled 4 food allergens at her party. I have a girlfriend who’s daughter has a peanut and chocolate allergy and another friend who I just found out her son is allergic to strawberries.
Peanuts are “easy”, as we avoid them anyway and the cake mix I use is dedicated peanut, egg and dairy free. I actually had originally planned on doing a chocolate cake filling because Kayla loves chocolate. But when possible, I would rather have all my food safe for all my guests. It’s not always possible, obviously, but chocolate is easily avoided. I also left strawberries out of the fruit salad.
Sue & Kayla’s Dairy-Free Birthday Party Menu
In addition to dairy-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, sesame-free, chocolate-free, and strawberry-free, this menu is can also be egg-free and coconut-free!
- Sausage, Peppers & Onions (just a quick sauté in a little olive oil)
- Slow Cooker Sweet & Tangy Chicken (this was a new dish I found and it got rave reviews!)
- Italian Antipasto Rice Salad
- Crescent Roll Kielbasa Bites (yes, Pillsbury crescent rolls are made without dairy!)
- Herb Roasted Potatoes
- Baked Beans
- Onion Dip (Sue uses Tofutti Better than Sour Cream + 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1 packet Lipton onion soup mix. Or, try our healthier, top allergen free Caramelized Onion Dip Recipe)
- Chicken Fries (made like chicken nuggets, but the chicken is cut into thin strips)
- Pretzels (gluten-free pretzels can be served)
- Fruit Salad (made with seasonal fruit, but strawberries omitted for allergies)
The Birthday Cake!
Ordering dairy-free and allergy-friendly cakes is very expensive. Luckily, it can be pretty easy to make your own.
- Pan / Theme: For her Backyardigans theme, Sue used a Pablo cake pan from Wilton. They no longer have the Pablo pan, but Wilton always offers a few theme birthday cake pans that make decorating easy – even for beginners. The pans have simple designs and clear indents, so you can simply fill in the colors with icing dots. The one pictured is made with their Dinosaur Cake Pan.
- Cake: Sue used Cherrybrook Kitchen’s yellow cake mix, which is no longer available. You can use a different dairy-free cake mix, or bake your own with our Dairy-Free Yellow Cake Recipe.
- Frosting: Believe it or not, many prepared frostings from brands like Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, and Betty Crocker are actually dairy free. But it’s very easy to make your own Dairy-Free Buttercream Frosting. I would use the Decorator’s option if you plan to color the frosting and do a theme cake.
- Filling: You can simply fill the middle with frosting, a layer of frosting and a layer of jam or preserves, or follow Sue’s lead and use a Dairy-Free Lemon Curd Cake Filling.