35 Vintage Party Appetizers We’ll Never Stop Making
These Finger Foods Are Forever Classics
Cheddar-Horseradish-Walnut Cheese Ball
Cheese Snappy Wafers
Recipe: Cheese Snappy Wafers
You won't find a one-bite wonder like the cheese straw or wafer. Crunchy, cheesy, and oh-so addicting, they've saved hostesses for generations.
Mini Tomato Sandwiches With Bacon Mayonnaise
Party Puffs with Ham Salad
Recipe: Cheese Puffs with Ham Salad
It doesn't get more festive than party puffs. Classic ham salad just sends it over the edge.
Traditional Relish Tray
For many Southern families, it just wouldn't be Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas without this traditional appetizer platter—and so the retro cookbooks made sure there were plenty of pickling recipes. Top off the spread with store-bought pickled cherry peppers, olives, and okra.
Cured Salmon with Dill-Horseradish Cream
When hosting a more formal affair, there's always room for toast points with lox or cured salmon, especially when given a signture kick with horseradish cream.
Stuffed Endive with Herbed Goat Cheese
At some point, endive became quite the elegant vessel for creamy spreads, and this herbed goat cheese number would have certainly fit the bill.
Recipe: Cocktail Meatballs
Back in the day, cocktail meatballs might as well have been a requirement at Southern parties. (We wouldn't mind if that rule stuck around.)
Classic Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Basic Deviled Eggs
Show up with a tray of deviled eggs, and you're instantly the favorite of half the Southerners in the room (at least).
Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini with Pepper Jelly
This retro snack might seem out-there to some, but to us it's just nostalgic enough to keep around. This smooth, velvety mousse gets topped with spicy-sweet pepper jelly.
Classic Shrimp Cocktail
Recipe: Contemporary Shrimp Cocktail
Once upon a time, every cocktail party called for a shrimp cocktail, and why mess with a good thing? This recipe features three modern dips. Want something totally new? Try this warmed-up version cooked in a lemon-garlic butter: Garlic Butter-Roasted Shrimp Cocktail.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Ah, the dip that launched a thousand ships. (Not to be dramatic.) This most iconic of dips comes in many variations, but here's a traditional rendition.
Creamy Crab Dip
Fresh crabmeat is a Southern favorite, and we like it served for any meal of the day, in omelets, salads, and soups.
Classic Pimiento Cheese
Recipe: Basic Pimiento Cheese
Now, every Southern cook knows how to make a top-notch pimiento cheese spread, but the add-on ingredients can change from one to the next, with things like Worcestershire, cayenne, and even shaved onion making appearances. To have your pimiento cheese featured in a community or church cookbook? That was the highest honor.
Recipe: Sparkling Cranberries
Like tasty little jewels, these sugared berries make the perfect party attaché.
West Indies Crab Salad
Recipe: West Indies Crab Salad
This little-known Southern salad—believed to have originated in Mobile, Alabama—is a beloved party snack you'd find in a tattered coastal cookbook. (But it's just as popular today, still.)
Recipe: Zucchini-and-Squash Pickles
These vintage cookbooks never met something they couldn't pickle, mark our words. It's no secret: Southerners love to pickle things.
Fresh Fruit Salad
Recipe: Fresh Fruit Salad
This isn't just cut fruit in a bowl, oh no. It's dressed up for a party with orange juice, honey, and mint.
Recipe: Cheese Dreams
What's a cheese dream, you might ask? Well, if you don't know, bless your heart. These bites of heaven are enough to make a Southern crowd holler.
Pickled Shrimp and Vegetables
Recipe: Pickled Shrimp and Vegetables
These cookbooks knew the only way to make a shrimp cocktail even more refreshing for summer hosting would be to pickle those suckers.
Lump Crab Mornay
Recipe: Lump Crab Mornay
This dip is decadence in a dish. Its masterful blend of creamy cheese, crabmeat, and just a little bit of heat has long made crab mornay a Southern classic.
Butternut-Goat Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms
These vintage cookbooks loved to stuff things, as well. (If only something could be pickled and stuffed. That would be a game-changer.) These stuffed mushrooms are too easy to love.
Mini quiches separate ho-hum brunches and showers from next-level affairs.
Warm Lemon-Rosemary Olives
Recipe: Warm Lemon-Rosemary Olives
Southern hostesses for generations past have known how to upgrade any storebought staple. By warming mixed olives with herbs and lemon zest, you're going from basic to fancy.
Recipe: Oysters Rockefeller
This recipe dates back to 1899, and since then it's earned a long-standing spot in any Louisiana community cookbook.
Buttery Toasted Pecans
Recipe: Buttery Toasted Pecans
This is about as simple as it gets—and perfect for setting out in a bowl when unexpected company drops by.
Recipe: Coco-Loco Chocolate Fondue
Either by way of melty cheese or gooey chocolate, fondue gave every cocktail party guest something fun (and delicious!) to do.