81 Best Party Appetizer Recipes
Start your party off right with these party food ideas and easy appetizer recipes for dips, spreads, finger foods, and appetizers.
Keep this recipe in your back pocket to use as your go-to for last-minute company. You can also serve the grapes with chicken or pork in lieu of a sauce. Or toss them in salads.
Recipe: Blue Cheese Crostini with Balsamic-Roasted Grapes
To make ahead, prepare meatballs through Step 2, and freeze in zip-top plastic freezer bags for up to 1 month. To reheat from frozen, pick up with Step 3 and warm the meatballs in the sauce over low heat. For serving, keep them warm in your slow cooker, in a Dutch oven over low heat, or in a fondue pot.
Recipe: Party-Perfect Meatballs
A creamy tuna-apple mixture fills mini-phyllo pastry shells and is topped with Havarti cheese slices to make a tasty, bite-sized appetizer.
Recipe: Tuna-Apple Mini Melts
Guests will be amazed at the better-than-the-restaurant-version taste of these garlicky cheese-stuffed mushroom caps. Garnish with fresh basil for a springlike presentation.
Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms with Pecans
With all the flavor of a traditional tomato pie, these tiny tarts will be a hit at your party.
Recipe: Tiny Tomato Tarts
These snacks are as simple as sliced cheese. Prepare them ahead of time to allow ample chill time. Be sure to garnish with a sprig of parsley or rosemary for a bit of panache.
Recipe: Marinated Mozzarella
Make this appetizer your go-to crowd pleaser. Charmingly retro, the cheese ring is dressed up with sweet strawberry preserves that pair perfectly with the sharp Cheddar cheese.
Recipe: Cheese Ring with Strawberry Preserves
Bake Blue Cheese-Bacon Dip appetizer in four small baking dishes, and place throughout the party area.
Recipe: Blue Cheese-Bacon Dip
Serve these as heavy hors d'oeuvres or as a light holiday supper all season long.
Recipe: Marinated Shrimp-and-Artichokes
Flaky puff pastry envelopes a rich mix of cream cheese, mushrooms, onions, and Parmesan cheese. You can even assemble and freeze these ahead of time.
Recipe: Mushroom Puffs
Parsley, dill, and tarragon pack this creamy sauce with herb-fresh flavor. There's no need for chopping; the sauce is super easy to prepare in the food processor. Serve with boiled shrimp or veggies.
Recipe: Green Goddess Dipping Sauce
Sweet-'n'-Salty Honey Cheese Spread is ready in only 10 minutes, perfect for last-minute company. A generous drizzle of the sticky sweetener is the finishing touch. Serve with assorted crackers.
Recipe: Sweet-’n’-Salty Honey Cheese Spread
Have a few of these yummy Barbecue Stacks ready to go when your friends arrive. The rest can be put together by your guests.
Recipe: Assemble-Your-Own Barbecue Stack
These festive party pick-ups get a quick start with refrigerated cheese tortellini. If you’re short on time, simply toss the ingredients together in a pretty bowl and set out some forks.
Recipe: Mustard-Dill Tortellini Salad Skewers
It's Southern tradition to have a little hot sauce with your turnip greens, so be sure to offer guests several brands to choose from on the side.
Recipe: Warm Turnip Green Dip
Arrange-and-serve Lemon-Basil Antipasto is not only fun to eat and beautiful, it's also really easy. Decoratively place ingredients on the platter. Cover with damp paper towels and plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to four hours. Just before guests arrive, uncover, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper.
Recipe: Lemon-Basil Antipasto
Choose any fresh, seasonal fruit to pair with this creamy dip. We prefer strawberries, pineapple, and grapes. Adding a hint of coffee liqueur to the dip gives it an extra kick of flavor.
Recipe: Brown Sugar Fruit Dip
Lemon zest provides a lovely counterpoint to Tomato-Rosemary Tart. Slice this savory pie into bite-sized pieces for guests to enjoy.
Recipe: Tomato-Rosemary Tart
Ready-made pastry shells make preparation of these tarts super-fast. Simply spoon a shrimp-and-cream-cheese mixture and jarred mango chutney into the shells. Top with chopped fresh chives and toasted sweetened coconut.
Recipe: Curried Shrimp Tarts
Save time by picking up gourmet salsa in a jar and adding a couple quick ingredients for fresh, homemade taste.
Recipe: Dressed-up Salsa
Mini pita rounds create a sturdy base for Guacamole-Goat Cheese Toasts. Feel free to use French baguette slices instead. Top with chopped tomatillo and tomato for a touch of crisp acidity.
Recipe: Guacamole-Goat Cheese Toasts
For a hearty, fun appetizer, arrange cubes of sweet potato and pieces of smoked sausage on skewers and serve with a lemon-garlic mayonnaise. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you choose to serve the squares warm, prepare the mayonnaise first.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Squares with Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise
These skewers are the perfect pickup appetizers for a crowd. The best part? They can be made ahead.
Recipe: Italian Skewers
We've taken garlic bread up a notch. These tasty toasts make perfect entertaining starters. For a light meal, serve them with a salad and glass of wine. Mix spreads the day before, and refrigerate overnight. You'll only need to slather them on French bread and bake for a super-quick presentation. So skip the carb counting, and crunch into something delicious.
Recipe: Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Bread
Great for small get-togethers, this mini-kebab can be served straight from the grill while guests mingle. "Mojo de Ajo" means garlic sauce, and this recipe calls for ¾ cup garlic! Don't let that scare you; the garlic sauce becomes smooth when cooked and mixed with flavorful guajilo chiles.
Recipe: Shrimp Mojo de Ajo
Boiled shrimp makes a perfect party starter, especially when paired with a delicous dipping sauce like Creamy Buttermilk-Avocado Sauce. Tip: To ensure that shrimp stays chilled, place half out when guests arrive, and replenish the platter as needed.
Recipe: Spicy Boiled Shrimp With Creamy Buttermilk-Avocado Sauce
Salty bacon and goat cheese add the perfect balance to the fig-and-honey-topped crostini.
Recipe: Baked Fig Crostini
This yields more than enough for appetizer-size servings. Divide up the leftovers, and freeze for a last-minute meal during busy weekends.
Recipe: Spiced Butternut-Pumpkin Soup
Fresh, chilled Caesar Salad Bites are tasty, super-easy make, and perfectly suitable for eating out of hand.
Turn these appetizers into a pretty salad by layering veggies and croutons in a clear ice bucket or trifle dish and topping with dressing and parsley.
Recipe: Caesar Salad Bites
This warm and creamy dip is filled with zesty tomato flavors. Serve with assorted cut vegetables and bread cubes.
You can prepare the dip in advance and freeze it for up to 1 month. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight then stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.
Recipe: Baked Goat Cheese Dip
Grits are treasured like gold in the South. These Bacon-Grits Fritters are the perfect Southern delicacy to introduce to your family and friends. Watch them quickly disappear
Recipe: Bacon-Grits Fritters
You can also serve the delicious Slow-Cooker Beef in slider buns with your favorite sandwich toppings for a heartier meal.
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Beef Nachos
Sparked by the leisurely pleasures of the cocktail-and-canapé Mad Men era, smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwiches) are the latest craze in stress-free entertaining. With a little clever prep, you can set out an impressive DIY spread in under an hour. Now we'll toast to that. Skål, y'all!
Recipe: Southern-Style Smørrebrød
Recipe developer Julia Reed adapted this creamy dip from a recipe in Bayou Cuisine by St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Indianola, Mississippi.
Recipe: Lump Crab Mornay
Patiently roasting pecans (the entire 25 minutes!) at 325° to coax out their flavor and essential oils takes them from good to great.
Recipe: Buttery Toasted Pecans
These little gems will be the first appetizer to disappear. Make them the day before and refrigerate, or freeze up to 3 weeks. If frozen, pop in the oven straight from the freezer; increase the bake time by 10 minutes.
Recipe: Cheese Dreams
Make these in the morning, and top with salmon and crème fraîche just before your guests arrive. Tight on time? Use store-bought blini instead.
Recipe: Mini Corn Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Dill Crème Fraîche
Give a classic side dish an extra kick with spices like curry, horseradish, and hot sauce.
Recipe: Asparagus with Curry Dip
Dough-wrapped chicken-apple sausages are best fresh from the oven, so bake one batch at a time and serve warm.
Recipe: Chicks in a Blanket
A homemade brine gives these chips a more delicate vinegar tang than mouth-puckering bagged varieties.
Recipe: Rosemary Salt-and-Vinegar Chips
Fragrant fresh ginger gives these easy two-bite nibbles a bright punch of flavor. Can't find fresh ginger? Substitute with 1/2 tsp. ground ginger.
Recipe: Sesame Salmon Croquettes
Bacon and trendy kale update the hot spinach dip.
Recipe: Warm Kale-and-Asiago Dip
Stamp a Southern accent on this classic French hors d'oeuvre. You can use a piping bag with a 1/2-inch round tip or a zip-top plastic freezer bag with a corner snipped off to pipe the dough onto the baking sheets.
Recipe: Pimiento Cheese Gougères
Party-staples pepper jelly and puff pastry go uptown in this flaky, sweet-and-savory pastry.
Recipe: Pepper Jelly Palmiers
Revive this party staple by setting out a bountiful platter of shrimp with three bowls of zingy new sauces. For an appetizer, plan on 1 pound of large shrimp for every 4 to 5 guests. Perk up precooked shrimp in boiling water for 30 seconds. Then plunge them in ice water. Drain shrimp well, pat dry, and serve. Try it with Avocado Cream, Tequila-Lime Cocktail Sauce, or Ginger Rémoulade.
Recipe: Contemporary Shrimp Cocktail
This easy appetizer melds the flavors of olives, egg, and salty salami.
Recipe: Muffuletta Deviled Eggs
Be sure to press the cream cheese pastry dough all the way up the sides of the mini muffin cups so the tart shells will be deep enough to hold a generous amount of filling.
Recipe: Caramelized Onion-and-Apple Tassies
Upgrade your pecans with apples and spice. They're great in salads, desserts, or on their own as snacks.
Recipe: Spiced Pecans
Spin the old-school salad into a dip, and pair with everything from crudités to pretzel rods.
Recipe: Broccoli Salad Dip
Savory, sweet, and tangy, this bright dip is great for dunking anything from breadsticks to crudités. We especially love it with an assortment of grilled peppers and zucchini.
Recipe: Orange-Basil Yogurt Dip
Use a mixture of baby tomatoes such as 'Sweet 100,' 'Yellow Pear,' or 'Sun Gold'—all are available at farmers' markets in summer months. This dish uses 3 pints of tomatoes, but feel free to halve the recipe.
Recipe: Pickled Tiny Tomatoes
Ready in just 15 minutes, this quick appetizer is perfect for last-minute company. When making the sauce in Step 2, whisk in the butter 1 Tbsp. at a time--the key technique in making the sauce velvety.
Recipe: Buttery Garlic Shrimp
Here's a cute idea: Hollow out baby pattypan squash and fill with goat pimiento cheese. Can't find pattypans? Pipe the filling on thinly sliced squash rounds, or stuff it into squash blossoms.
Recipe: Pimiento-Stuffed Summer Squash
Indulgent, fresh, and easy as pie, this summer version of baked Brie won raves in the Southern Living Test Kitchen. Can't find Brie packed in a wooden box? Simply bake the cheese in a small pie plate or baking dish.
Recipe: Baked Brie with Jezebel Peaches
At happy hour, pair these appetizer-size pizzas with a chilly glass of rosé. For an entrée, simply roll dough into larger rounds.
Recipe: Blackberry-Brie Pizzettas
Bake store-bought pizza dough to make a convenient and versatile canvas for apples, cheese, and herbs. Serve as appetizers or the main course.
Recipe: Apple Flatbread
To get ahead, make these appetizers through Step 2 and freeze up to 1 month. Go straight to the oven from freezer; simply add 5 to 10 minutes to the bake time.
Recipe: Apple Butter-and-Cheddar Puffs
The egg white helps the spice mixture adhere evenly and gives the pecans a crisp, glossy coating.
Recipe: Spicy-Sweet Pecans
Coarse, freshly grated cheese works best, so get out your box grater.
Recipe: Classic Pimiento Cheese
We know: You've got a cheese straw recipe you can make with your eyes closed. But give this subtly spicy recipe (that impressed our Test Kitchen staff!) a try.
Recipe: Jalapeño Cheese Straws
We love this bright, minty soup because it adds a pop of spring color to the buffet. Make it up to 48 hours ahead of time.