Halal Etiquette 4 Rules: How To Halal Food Best

The most important rules and principles to planning a halal-friendly menu. Follow halal etiquette to prepare a menu that your guests will enjoy. Avoid embarrassment and be an ideal host.

What halal etiquette is

Halal etiquette is the set of rules to plan a menu that is appropriate for guests who follow a halal diet. Such rules include:

  • The allowed foods and ingredients.
  • How to ask about dietary restrictions.
  • How to deal with your guests’ diets.

If you are hosting, respect halal etiquette to properly plan a menu that your guests will enjoy and to avoid any embarrassments. 

If you are a guest, follow halal etiquette to politely deal with your hosts and the other guests.

halal menu rules

Halal etiquette rules

Halal dietary restrictions

1) Respect halal dietary restrictions in your menu

Halal means “allowed” in Arabic. It is a set of dietary rules followed by persons of the Muslim faith.

In general, the halal diet has fewer rules compared to kosher. However, such rules tend to be widely and strictly respected.

Food is halal only when it is made, stored, and processed using equipment, utensils, and kitchenware cleaned according to the principles of Islamic law.


Ramadan is an annual Muslim celebration. It occurs at a slightly different period every year. Ramadan lasts for 29 to 30 days.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. While fasting, people who strictly respect Ramadan will not bring anything to their mouths. Thus, they will not eat, drink, or smoke.

Considerate hosts must be aware of Ramadan. Fasting can create significant stress. Thus, it is not polite to eat, drink, or smoke in front of a guest that is observing the Ramadan fast.

Meat can be halal

Pork meat is always forbidden. Furthermore, pork meat is almost a tabu. Thus, considerate hosts or guests should avoid eating pork in front of other guests of the Muslim faith.

Meat from other animals is halal if it is processed according to the halal rules. Meat products need to be butchered and blessed in the halal method. Further, meat is halal only if the slaughter is performed by a Muslim man and the producer follows all the halal rules.

Fish and seafood are halal

According to most interpretations, fish and seafood are halal. Shellfish is allowed too. However, some guests may not eat seafood.

Dairy products and cheese are halal

Milk, dairy products, and cheese are normally halal. However, the milk must come from a halal animal. Milk, cheese, and dairy products with ingredients from a non-halal animal are not halal.

Eggs and honey are halal

Eggs are halal unless they come from a non-halal animal. Birds of prey and amphibious animals are not halal. Honey is halal.

Vegetables and fruit are always ok

All vegetables and fruit are halal.

Grains are ok

In general, any type of grain is halal. Of course, as long as the other halal requirements are respected. Pasta. Couscous. Quinoa. Amaranth. The same applies to bakery products and bread. Pizza is halal. However, any product that contains non-halal food is not halal. Thus, pizza with ham is not halal.

Condiments are almost always ok

Oil, salt, and spices are halal. Any condiment from a non-halal animal is not halal. Vinegar made from wine is not halal.

Sweets and desserts are halal

In general, most types of sweets or desserts are halal.

However, sweets or desserts are not halal if they include any product from a non-halal animal. Thus, some emulsifiers or gelatine may be forbidden

Drinks are ok, alcohol is not halal

Soft drinks, tea, and coffee are generally allowed. Any alcoholic drink is not halal. Thus, any dish or food that contains alcohol is not halal.

Furthermore, similar to pork meat, alcohol is almost a tabu. Thus, considerate hosts or guests should avoid drinking alcoholic drinks in front of other guests of the Muslim faith.

2) Etiquette for asking guests about their halal diet

It is perfect etiquette to ask your guests about their halal dietary restrictions. 

In written formal invitations, it is sufficient to ask guests to please inform the hosts about any dietary requirements. 

In informal invitations, a simple “do you follow any diet or have any dietary restriction?” works. Another option is to ask if guests avoid any food.

It is against etiquette to ask further questions. Such as why someone follows the halal rules. Or why someone excludes or includes a certain food. 

If you have a genuine curiosity, you may ask such questions. However, it is polite to justify your curiosity. In other words, state why you are curious about it. Be apologetic. Never judge or question the answers you get.

best practices to deal with halal dietary restrictions

3) Halal menu planning etiquette

Follow these key principles to deal with halal guests’ dietary restrictions.

Serve each food on its dedicated plate 

Do not serve multiple foods on the same plate. Instead, separate them. Assign a plate and serving utensils to each food or ingredient. Serve condiments and sauces separated from food.

This way you allow guests to pick the foods that are halal and they can eat. Or to avoid the non-halal foods that they cannot eat. 

Include safe options 

Many foods are allowed in almost every diet. Such as vegetables and fruit. Plan some safe dishes that almost any guest will be able to eat. As an example, only a few people say no to baked potatoes or salad.

Avoid risky foods

Many foods are not allowed in many diets. Pork meat. Alcohol. Beef. Crustaceans.

If you are unsure about your guests’ diet, play safe. Avoid cooking these foods altogether. Or, at least, plan one or two dishes without them.

4) Halal guest etiquette

Guests following halal rules should respect etiquette too. Otherwise, they risk disrespecting their host or the other guests.

Do not expect the host to guess your diet 

If you do not eat some foods, clearly state it with your host. 

It is bad etiquette to expect a change in the menu based on your needs. Instead, you may ask if there may be some halal options. Be apologetic in your requests. It is rude to do otherwise. As a guest, you do not want to sound entitled.

Be accommodating. Do not expect the host to accommodate your requests. However, any considerate host will feel compelled to provide guests with halal options.

Politely refuse food that you do not eat

If the host serves food that you do not eat, simply avoid it. If the host or another guest explicitly offers such food to you, politely refuse it. It is enough to say “no, thank you”. 

Provide additional detail only if someone asks you. It is good etiquette to be brief. Otherwise, do not discuss your dietary restrictions in length.

Do not impose your diet on the other guests

Never expect others to adjust to your diet. Do not expect your hosts to change their menu to accommodate your needs. Similarly, at a restaurant, do not expect the other guests to change their food order. 

halal etiquette mistakes

Halal etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst halal etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Not accommodating halal dietary restrictions.
  • 9/10. Eating or drinking in front of someone fasting for Ramadan.
  • 8/10. Eating pork in front of a person of the Muslim faith.
  • 8/10. Drinking alcohol in front of a person of the Muslim faith.
  • 7/10. Imposing your diet on others.
  • 5/10. Asking personal dietary questions.


  • General Guidelines For Use Of The Term “Halal”: fao.org