Many cultures enjoy Full-course meals. Each culture has its unique cuisine and traditions. Full-course meals have a rich and varied history resulting from evolving food trends over the years. The full-course meal may be associated with lavish dinner parties and long meals at fancy restaurants in the West. What should each course include? How many courses should a full-course meal consist of? We provide basic information on full-course meals in Western cultures.

What is a Full-Course Meal?

A full-course dinner is a meal that includes multiple courses. A basic full-course meal usually includes three to four courses. They usually start with a starter, such as an amuse-bouche, then proceed to the main course. Finally, they are finished with desserts, coffee or tea.

Many full-course meals are served at home, in a restaurant, or at a venue. For special occasions, they are usually enjoyed in the afternoon and evening. You can order multiple dishes at different times and have a full-course meal in casual or upscale restaurants.

What is a Meal Course?

A meal course can be a single or group of food items, such as a sandwich or soup and crackers or steak and potatoes. A typical meal includes one or more meals.

What Are the Number of Courses in a Meal

Many meals only have one course. A basic meal that includes three courses is a two- or three-course meal. It usually includes an appetizer, main dish and dessert. You can have as many as 12 courses in a meal.

Sample Sequences to Support Up To 12 Meal Courses

It is common to start with lighter plates and move to richer dishes. Then, you can finish your meal with smaller, delicate dishes. These are some examples of full-course meal sequences. You can also choose the meal courses you would like to add to your menu.

  • 12-course meal: The 12-course dinner menu features an hors-d’oeuvre, amuse-bouche, soup, salad, appetizer, fish, first and second main courses, palate cleanser, cheese course, dessert, as well, as mignardise.
  • 10 Course Dinner: This 10-course dinner menu features an appetizer, soup, salad, fish and main course. It also includes a palate cleanser, second course, dessert and mignardise.
  • 9-course meal: This 9-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, soup, salad, fish, main dish, palate cleanser and dessert.
  • 8-course meal: This 8-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, soup, main course, palate cleanser and dessert.
  • 7-course meal: This 7-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, soup, main course, salad, dessert, and garnish.
  • Six-course meal: This 6-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, soup, salad, main dish, dessert, and soup.
  • 5 Course Dinner: This 5-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, main course, salad, dessert, and hors-d’oeuvre.
  • Four-course meal: This 4-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, main dish, and dessert.
  • Three-course meal: This 3-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert.

12-course Meal Menu

Here are descriptions of the 12 courses in a 12-course meal and suggestions for dishes.

Course One: Hors D’oeuvres: This course is usually served at cocktail hour or when guests arrive. Therefore, hors de oeuvres can be eaten on the one hand.

  • Crostini of goat cheese with fig-olive tapenade
  • Zucchini fritters
  • Shallot and pancetta tortilla crisps

Course Two: Amuse-bouche This could be translated from French as “amuse the palate” or, more broadly, to please guests with a small taste of flavor. This can be used to increase appetite or to hint at the flavors in the next course. This is usually a complimentary item that the chef has chosen for restaurants.

  • Sweet potato chips with goat cheese, caviar and caviar
  • Caprese bites with basil vinaigrette
  • Pea soup served in an espresso or shot glass

Course Three: Soup It’s a good idea to tie your soup course to the seasons. Soups that are too filling should be avoided so that guests don’t feel deprived.

  • Soup of cold melon and basil
  • Pumpkin sage bisque
  • Tuscan white bean and roasted garlic soup

Course Four: Appetizer: This course is often called the “entree” in many parts of Europe because it introduces the main dishes. It’s usually served on serving plates or small appetizer plates. It includes small cuts of meat, seasonal veggies, and sauces.

  • Charred broccoli with pickled onions and shishito peppers
  • Mushrooms stuffed in Pecorino Romano, garlic and bread crumbs
  • Candied carrots with honey and cumin.

Course Five: Salad: This course usually includes a variety of raw vegetables and a flavorful dressing. Salad is often served alongside the main course in some European countries, although it is common to have a salad before.

  • Garden salad with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and tart vinaigrette
  • Peanut dressing on a chopped Thai salad
  • Greek salad with olives and red onions, feta cheese, and lettuce

Course Six: Fish: This is a light, flavorful protein served before the main course.

  • Grilled salmon in a soy sauce marinade
  • Tilapia with a lemon garlic
  • Crispy trout served with a vinaigrette made from parsley and caper

Course Seven: First main course: The first main dish is often a slice of white meat such as chicken, duck or turkey.

  • Thai basil chicken
  • Roasted duck served with orange-ginger glaze
  • Deep-fried turkey with honey bourbon glaze

Course Eight-Pale Cleanser: This acts as a reset for the taste buds. It removes any residual taste from your mouth before starting the next course.

  • Sorbet Lemon, melon or mint
  • Prosecco
  • Water with lemon

Course Nine: Second main course: In general, the second main dish is red meat such as lamb, premium beef, or venison.

  • Stuffed lamb breasts with lemon, ricotta and oregano
  • Grilled flatiron steak served with rosemary potatoes
  • Herb-crusted venison medallions

Course Ten: Cheese course: Make a platter with various cheeses and other items to go along with them.

  • You can include variety cheese textures and flavors, including blue, soft, firm and aged cheeses
  • You can choose from a variety of bread and crackers
  • You can also offer companion products such as jams, Chutneys and spicy mustards.