30 Tasty Last-Minute Appetizers To Make for Christmas Eve
Put your Christmas crowd in a festive mood before they sit down to dinner or open a single present. All it takes is one of these delicious holiday appetizers—and you don’t have to spend hours making any of them. We gathered our favorite easy Christmas appetizers that don’t require many ingredients or time in the kitchen. Many of these recipes are even designed to be prepped a day or two advance to enable you to assemble them quickly, right before guests arrive.
Choose from classic snacks like spiced nuts, cheese balls, easy dips and spreads, meatballs, shrimp cocktails, sausage balls, and more. If you’re hosting a large crowd, most of these recipes can easily be doubled or even tripled. No matter what appetizer recipe you choose, all of these Christmas Eve appetizers look impressive but can be whipped up at the last minute with little to no effort at all. Consider this our Christmas gift to you!
Slow-Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
This retro recipe will be the grooviest appetizer on the snack table. A jar of grape jelly will get you going.
Spicy Bisquick Sausage Balls
Recipe: Spicy Bisquick Sausage Balls
Everyone loves a sausage ball, that much we know to be true. This slightly spicier rendition jazzes the classic recipe up for any occasion.
Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip
Recipe: Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip
This dip gets the party going every time, guaranteed. Whip it up when you need a quick dip in a pinch. (Hint: Rotisserie chicken keeps it extra easy.)
Chipotle Cheese Straws
Recipe: Chipotle Cheese Straws
This most impressive cheese straw recipe only requires 20 minutes of hands-on time, but looks much fancier—bonus points.
Cranberry Brie Bites
Recipe: Cranberry Brie Bites
Cranberry sauce and creamy Brie cheese are a match made in holiday heaven, especially when baked in easy store-bought phyllo shells. Four ingredients, 20 minutes total, and you're there.
Recipe: Beer-Cheese Fondue
You can basically never go wrong with melted cheese...ever. This retro fondue-inspired appetizer takes a page from Kentucky's beloved beer cheese and is served with roasted veggies and sliced sausage.
Creamy Feta Phyllo Bites
Recipe: Creamy Feta Phyllo Bites
Filled with Feta cheese, cucumbers, roasted red bell peppers, and fresh parsley, these last-minute bites make use of store-bought phyllo shells.
Smoked Sausage Pretzel Bites
Recipe: Smoked Sausage Pretzel Bites
This reimagined take on classic pigs in a blanket has us drooling already. Store-bought pizza dough and spicy smoked sausage brings all the fun flavor with little hassle.
Baked Goat Cheese Spread with Pepper Jelly
Cream cheese makes this warm crowd-pleasing dip super smooth, while a layer of pepper jelly adds tangy flavor.
Garlic Butter-Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
This warmed-up version of an old-school shrimp cocktail gets major personality from a buttery garlic sauce.
Romaine with Creamy Olive Dressing
Something simple and green on the table never hurts, and these individual romaine leaves will ensure everyone can get their own piece without making a mess.
Recipe: Ham-And-Cheese Sliders
These to-die-for sliders start with Hawaiian rolls brushed with honey mustard, before being filled with topped with ham, cheese, and an indulgent homemade béchamel sauce—oh, and then topped with even more Gruyère cheese and butter before baking.
Maple Bacon Smokies
Recipe: Maple Bacon Smokies
You're four ingredients away from total holiday joy in the form of sweet and salty bacon-wrapped little smokies.
Bacon Bow Tie Crackers
Recipe: Bacon Bow Tie Crackers
Sometimes, two ingredients are all you need for a crowd-pleasing snack your family and friends can grab and go.
Hot Crab-and-Artichoke Dip
Recipe: Hot Crab-and-Artichoke Dip
It's hard to go wrong with a crab dip on the spread, and this super melty one gets extra texture and oomph from artichoke hearts.
Smoky Field Pea Hummus
Recipe: Smoky Field Pea Hummus
Much to many's surprise, homemade hummus is as easy as pulling out your food processor—and this recipe with field peas and crispy smoked ham is a serious upgrade from the store-bought stuff.
Roasted Brown-Butter Pecans with Rosemary
Toasted pecans just feel like Christmas, and the addition of slightly browned butter and aromatic rosemary is cozier than all get-out.
Feta-Olive-Fresh Herb Cheese Ball
Everyone loves a cheese ball, and this one, covered in bright green parsley and scallions, looks especially festive for the holidays.
Warm Spinach-Sweet Onion Dip with Country Ham
Who wouldn't love classic spinach dip with a Southern twist from sweet onions and diced country ham? Exactly.
Cured Salmon with Dill-Horseradish Cream
Simple but always elegant, cured salmon instantly elevates any snack spread, and this dill-horseradish cream is the most flavor-packed accessory ever. To make it even easier, buy salmon already cured from the grocery store.
Goat Cheese and Gouda Pimiento Cheese
Elevate traditional pimiento cheese to feel special for the holiday season. Goat and Gouda cheeses do the trick every time.
Recipe: Bacon Bites
Bacon-wrapped crispy breadsticks? Yep, might want to make a few batches—because one won't be enough.
Broiled Oysters with Buttery "Dressing" Topping
Why not put a Southern spin on yummy oysters? Buttery, crumbly dressing for the win.
Hurry-Up Homemade Crescent Rolls
Recipe: Hurry-Up Homemade Crescent Rolls
You're just five ingredients from the easiest sidekick to any spinach dip, charcuterie plate, or cream cheese spread.
Recipe: Sparkling Cranberries
These pretty sugared berries make a nice addition to a cheese plate.
Chicken Liver Mousse Crostini with Pepper Jelly
Your holiday guests won’t be able to stop eating this smooth, velvety mousse topped with spicy-sweet pepper jelly. And you’ll love it too because it’s so easy to make in advance.
Recipe: Cherry-Pecan Brie
Serve this pretty cherry-topped warm Brie with plenty of baguette slices and crackers. You won’t find a holiday appetizer more impressive that only requires five ingredients.
Recipe: Spicy-Sweet Pecans
Spiced pecans are a Southern party staple for a reason: they are easy to make, you can make them in advance, and they are impossible to stop eating. We love this version with rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground red pepper.
Cranberry-Goat Cheese Canapés
Recipe: Cranberry-Goat Cheese Canapés
These colorful little toasts take minutes to assemble if you make the cranberry compote ahead of time.
Recipe: Cranberry-Jalapeño Salsa
Cranberries aren’t just for relish. Try them in this festive and fiery salsa with jalapenos and fresh ginger.