Top-Rated Holiday Appetizers
Far from ordinary, our collection of drinks and appetizers will get your gathering off to a memorable start.
This fresh, colorful swap for creamy shrimp dip was inspired by reader Carolyn Coleman.
Recipe: Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
The egg white helps the spice mixture adhere evenly and gives the pecans a crisp, glossy coating.
Recipe: Spicy-Sweet Pecans
Complement any menu with this no-fuss party appetizer.
- Recipe: Bacon-Arugula-Apple Bites
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
Tortellini Caprese Bites are drizzled with a basil vinaigrette and are so simple to prepare. The no-mess presentation makes these appetizer skewers ideal for parties.
- Recipe: Tortellini Caprese Bites
You can have this five-ingredient appetizer party-ready in about 10 minutes.
- Recipe: Cherry-Pecan Brie
With all the flavor of a traditional tomato pie, these tiny tarts will be a hit at your party.
Recipe: Tiny Tomato Tarts
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
If you like yours less spicy, use the smaller amount of red pepper.
Recipe: Cheese Straws
Making these meatballs ahead and freezing them is a great way to save time during the holiday months.
- Recipe: Cranberry Meatballs
Top Bartlett pear slices with baked pancetta, crumbled goat cheese, and a drizzle of honey for an easy, salty-sweet appetizer recipe that tastes delicious and looks gorgeous.
Serve these as heavy hors d'oeuvres or as a light holiday supper all season long.
Recipe: Marinated Shrimp-and-Artichokes
This is an updated version of a recipe that used ham, cheese, and mustard. Eyes lit up at our tasting table when these roast beef sandwiches came out of the oven.
Recipe: Hot Roast Beef Party Sandwiches
Tie these bundles with a fresh chive to put the perfect touch on this edible package.
- Recipe: Beef-and-Asparagus Bundles
We've taken garlic bread up a notch. Mix the spreads the day before, and refrigerate overnight. You'll only need to slather them on French bread and bake for a super-quick presentation.
Recipe: Caramelized Onion-and-Goat Cheese Bread
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
Show off the festive flavor of cranberries with this sweet-hot salsa. You can make it ahead and freeze up to one month before your holiday gathering.
- Recipe: Cranberry-Jalapeño Salsa
Bake mixed olives, fresh rosemary sprigs, and lemon zest for a simple, yet delicious, starter for your party. Rosemary sprigs and lemon rind strips make festive garnishes.
- Recipe: Warm Lemon-Rosemary Olives
Crumbled bacon is the crowning glory of this creamy cheese dip that features cream cheese, blue cheese, and sour cream. You're guaranteed not to have any leftovers when you bring this dip to a party.
Recipe: Bacon-Cheese Dip
- Recipe: Black Pepper-Goat Cheese Log
This salty, satisfying appetizer sets a great tone for the rest of your meal. Garnish with torn basil leaves.
Take another cue from the French by using Brie as the filling in these tartlets. Grapes make an excellent topper, adding color and an elegant touch to the hors d’oeuvre. Guests will love the creative use of this fruit, as well as the added vitamins and minerals.
- Recipe: Brie Tartlets With Grape Relish
Ribbons of zucchini and squash make up these colorful Zucchini-and-Squash Pickles. These pickles are as beautiful as they are delicious.
Recipe: Zucchini-and-Squash Pickles
This easy appetizer melds the flavors of olives, egg, and salty salami.
Recipe: Muffuletta Deviled Eggs
These sweet and sour pear preserves make the perfect hostess gift. You can make them ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
- Recipe: Pear Preserves
Remove skins from roasted beets while they're still warm by gently wiping with a paper towel.
Recipe: Pickled Beets
Give a classic side dish an extra kick with spices like curry, horseradish, and hot sauce.
Recipe: Asparagus with Curry Dip
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
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
Entertain guests with a flavorful twist on a classic Southern appetizer. These cheese straws add a bit of edge with black pepper and a generous hunk of blue cheese.
- Recipe: Blue Cheese Straws
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
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
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
A homemade brine gives these chips a more delicate vinegar tang than mouth-puckering bagged varieties.
Recipe: Rosemary Salt-and-Vinegar Chips
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