DIY Burrito Bowl Party

I love Chipotle burrito bowls.  I also love to host parties.  One day I thought, why not merge the two?  The DIY Burrito Bowl Party was born!

DIY Burrito BowlParty | The Subversive Table

A casual party where everyone makes a customizable DIY bowl? Yes, please!

This is a great way to feed a crowd.  Lay out ingredients on the table.  Stack some bowls and spoons.  When guests arrive, they assemble their own meal — just the way they like it.  Everyone’s bowl looks different!

Why plan a Burrito Bowl Party?

Every year, I throw a Burrito Bowl Party for Easter weekend. It’s really the best kind of party that accommodates 25-30 people of all ages from babies to adults.

The beauty of Burrito Bowls: there’s something for everyone! Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or a meat-lover — this kind of meal accommodates everyone! Even those who truly detest cilantro lol.

To make this party work, variety makes it truly special. Make sure to include both spicy and non-spicy toppings as well as a variety of salsas and sauces.

How to organize a Burrito Bowl Party:

I organize the work into 2 sections:

  • The Day Before
  • The Day of the Party

The Day Before:

  1. Cook the Pork Carnitas.  Basically, put all the ingredients into a crock pot and walk away.  For 25+ people, I doubled the recipe and everything still fit into my regular-sized crock pot, although it was rather snug inside.
  2. Cook the black beans.  I reheated 3 cans of rinsed, drained black beans in a pot with some chicken broth, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  After 20 minutes, remove from heat and refrigerate.
  3. Make the Salsas and Sauces.  After I finished each salsa/sauce, it was placed in a bowl, covered in saran wrap, and placed in the fridge. It may seem like a long list but I love variety and making things festive!
  • Pico de Gallo. Make your own or buy from the store!
  • Pineapple Salsa
  • Corn Salsa – Same as Pineapple Salso but substitute 2 cups of defrosted frozen corn for the pineapple.  I run frozen corn under hot water for a few minutes in a colander to defrost.
  • Restaurant Salsa. All the ingredients can be whizzed in a food processor.
  • Jalapeno Sauce – Another 5 minute sauce that can be whizzed in the food processor.
  • Lime Crema – Zest and juice 1 lime into an 8 oz container of full-fat sour cream.

Finally: Chop Cilantro and Romaine Lettuce. Grate Cheddar Cheese.  Place everything in separate serving bowls, covered with saran wrap, and store in the fridge. 

Also, don’t forget the little things:

Do these small tasks the day before to make the day of the party run more smoothly!

The day before:

  • Set the table. Spread out a tablecloth. Stack bowls, cups, utensils. Lay out napkins. Plan an area where all the dishes will be placed the next day.
  • Plan a drinks station.  Designate a specific area for drinks. Arrange small disposable cups (not large red Solo cups that promote drink waste) with a permanent marker so people can label their cups. Make sure to chill drinks in the fridge.
  • Empty out the compost, garbage, recycling.  That way, people can clean up as they go.
  • Empty the dishwasher.  A small task that helps immensely with clean up the next day!

The Day Of:

One hour before the party: Cook the brown rice.  Follow the package directions and cook on the stove top.  

45 minutes before the party:  Reheat the Pork Carnitas.  I place the shredded pork on a rimmed baking sheet (juices included) and heat at 375F until the meat was heated through and the edges looked crispy and charred.

30 minutes before the party: Make the guacamole or use store-bought.  One day, I’ll post my own recipe.  Until then, feel free to use your favorite.  For this party, I used 12 large avocados.  It seemed like a ginormous amount but there were no leftovers at all! 

15 minutes before the party

  • Remove the chopped cilantro, romaine, grated cheese, and all the salsas/sauces from the fridge.  Unwrap plastic and set on the table. 
  • Open up a big bag of Tortilla Chips and dump into a big bowl.
  • Reheat the black beans.  (Microwave works fine.)  Place in a serving bowl.
  • Place brown rice in a serving bowl.
  • Place pork carnitas in a serving bowl.

When guests start walking through the door, you should be munching on chips and guac.  All the work for the party is done! Enjoy and have fun!!

Dinner with Friends, Game Day Food, Pork, Potluck, Rice


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  2. Burrito bowls have been my go to for out last two graduation parties. It’s been 3 years since our last one and I completely forgot how many pounds of meat I made. For your party of 20-30 do you remember how much you made?

  3. Love this post! I am doing a Make Your Own Burrito Bowl party for my running class. Curious how many cups of cooked brown rice you made for a party your size? Thanks!

    • I cooked 5 cups of brown rice and there were leftovers, but not that much. It really depends how much your guests love carbs. Let me know how it goes!

      • Thanks! I ended up doing 2 cups of brown, 2 cups of lime quinoa and 2 cups of cilantro lime white. All went, except I probably had most of the quinoa left. 😉 All in all this menu was a huge hit! Thanks for organizing everything in such a nice checklist!

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  5. This has got to be one of my fave posts of yours so far. It’s literally digging into your brain and seeing how you prep and plan larger parties… SO GOOD! I always feel like I have a checklist of day-before-to-dos and they’re all simple things (even like grating cheese!), but makes such a big difference on the day of. I love the tip on emptying your recycling, garbage and compost. Thanks!

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