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. Start the party off right with a great appetizer. We know the importance of a delicious appetizer recipe. Whether attending a tailgate, wedding shower, or graduation party, this assortment of easy appetizer recipes will please everyone on the guest list. From classics like deviled eggs and stuffed mushrooms, to new twists on iconic recipes, such as deviled potatoes and hot brown tarts, you are sure to find the perfect appetizer to impress your guests. Flavorful, crowd-pleasing, and oh-so easy to make, you’ll go back to these recipes again and again. The mark of a tasty appetizer is an empty vessel at the end of an event, so choose one of these top-rated party recipes and your friends will beg you for the recipe. Related: 50 Top Rated Recipes of 2016
Recipe: Bacon-Pimiento Guacamole
Just when you thought fresh guacamole couldn't get any better, we added bacon and pimientos.
Warm Spinach-Sweet Onion Dip with Country Ham
Is it really a Southern party without a tasty spinach dip on the table? We think not.
Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
Recipe: Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
Sometimes firing up the grill isn't possible, so it's aways a good idea to have a baked chicken wing recipe up your sleeve.
Georgia-Style Boiled Peanuts
Recipe: Georgia-Style Boiled Peanuts
This easy, slow-cooker snack is always a Southern favorite.
Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
Recipe: Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
This unique hummus recipe is made with black-eyed peas instead of chickpeas and topped with flavorful paprika.
Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip
Recipe: Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip
Rich, creamy, and chicken-filled, this Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe is packed with irresistible flavor.
Recipe: Ham-and-Cheese Sliders
This ham-and-cheese slider recipe is a beloved Southern classic.
Warm Cheese-and-Spicy Pecan Dip
Recipe: Warm Cheese-and-Spicy Pecan Dip
This rich, homemade dip is made with three different cheeses and topped with spiced nuts for an unforgettable flavor.
Sweet-and-Salty Snack Mix
Recipe: Sweet-and-Salty Snack Mix
This grab-and-go snack is a delightful combination of cereal, pretzels, peanut butter, marshmallows, brown sugar, and honey.
Baked BLT Dip
Recipe: Baked BLT Dip
This creamy dip recipe takes the best qualities of a BLT sandwich and transforms it into an easy and delicious appetizer.
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Stuffed Endive with Herbed Goat Cheese
Crisp, sweet Belgian endive lettuce topped with herby goat cheese mixture makes for a delicious and sophisticated starter that won’t spoil supper. Bite sized and based on vegetables, this easy appetizer is big on flavor and gorgeous on a tabletop (we love the star-shaped presentation for the holidays). Creamy goat cheese stuffing is made from a combination of creamy goat cheese, softened cream cheese, lemon zest, chives, parsley, and tarragon; sub in whichever herbs you desire, like red pepper for a Southern twist. Want to up the Christmas color? Include red Belgian endive leaves along with the green to make this “wreath” even more holiday-ready.
Sweet Potato and Chorizo Sausage Bites
Extra-sharp cheddar cheese, a dash of cinnamon, and a few scoops of plum jelly give this chorizo sausage ball recipe multiple layers of savory flavor. Take these sweet-potato-and-chorizo-sausage balls as the rest of the South’s answer to Louisiana’s savory boudin balls – each delicious bite is loaded with meat with a little kick from spicy chorizo. The recipe was born from the daughter of a Mississippi sweet potato farmer, April McGreger, who says that this recipe is a classic in her hometown. If you’re looking for a unique holiday appetizer, this sweet potato recipe is our top pick for you.
Quick Pickled Brussels Sprouts
Recipe: Quick Pickled Brussels Sprouts
Here’s an easy and impressive way to amp up your meat and cheese platter. We’ve found the next big thing in pickling: pickled Brussels sprouts. And they’re easy to make, too. We teamed up with chef and cookbook author Virginia Willis to create this easy pickled Brussels sprouts recipe flavored with black peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic, bay leaf, and a pinch of spicy red pepper. The Brussels sprouts absorb the tangy and fresh flavor in only 4 days. Serve them as garnish for your Bloody Mary mix, as a decorative and tasty touch to your meat and cheese platter, or as a side to rich, hearty meats like roasted pork.
Recipe: Yeast Rolls
When it comes to homemade breads, we at Southern Living are perfectionists. We send countless recipes up to our test kitchen, tweaking every last detail until the result is every bit as light and fluffy as we imaged. And we especially take this duty seriously around the holidays, as every holiday appetizer table needs an assortment of bread rolls. After months of testing, we can accurately say that these buttery, fluffy yeast rolls will steal the show. Making the dough the night before baking cuts down on day-of prep and hands-on kneading time. Test Kitchen Tip: When letting your dough rise, put it in a warm place to help the process. Try turning your oven on to the lowest heat for less than a minute, and then turning it off.
Mini Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
This non-traditional finger food will revolutionize the way you look at basic enchiladas. Rather than spending time rolling the dough and filling individual enchiladas, our test kitchen experts found a way to bake all of the Tex-Mex flavor that we love into individual, pan-baked bites. You’ll never guess you can whip up these easy appetizers in only three steps. Simply bake flour tortillas in muffin pans, fill with all the fixin’s (like black beans, refried beans, enchilada sauce, green chilies, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese) and bake. Top with sour cream, lettuce, pico de gallo, and scallions. You can have these appetizers out in 30 minutes or less.
Baby Hasselback Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Bacon
The defining characteristic of perfectly-baked Hasselback-style potatoes? The thin, crispy, accordion-like slices that bake into golden perfection in the oven. This cutting technique allows the outside of the potato to bake into a crispy skin, while the inside remains soft and creamy. Our loaded Hasselback potatoes add some major flavor to the classic potato dish. We chose small, golden Yukon potatoes for their size – smaller potatoes make for better finger foods. We stuffed the potatoes with pan-fried bacon, crumbled blue cheese, chopped fresh rosemary, and fresh chives add a staple dish of hearty comfort food to your appetizer spread. These crispy, savory potato bites bring over-the-top flavor to your appetizer spread.
Recipe: Cornmeal Popovers
Perfectly textured with a rich corn flavor, these dinner-roll alternatives will make you rethink those plain dinner rolls you’ve been serving for years and years. Classic airy bread popover bites get a comfort-filled Southern makeover with the addition of our favorite grain: cornmeal. With basic pantry staples, like flour, milk, eggs, and butter, you can make these crowd-pleasing popovers in less than 30 minutes. The secret to party-ready popovers lies in getting them just fluffy and airy enough to “pop.” It’s all about the temperature – spooning the prepared batter into a hot muffin pan, rather than a room-temperature pan, ensures a crispy shell and an airy interior.
Baked Brie Bites
Recipe: Baked Brie Bites
Every year, there is one holiday appetizer that shows up all the other appetizers in both taste and creativity. We’ve found this year’s show-stopping bite-sized appetizer: our delicious Baked Brie Bites. Made from only five ingredients but packed with flavor, these appetizers come together in under 10 minutes. Each ingredient is store-bought; simply assemble the flaky phyllo dough shells, creamy Brie cheese, tasted pecans, sweet and spicy pepper jelly, fresh parsley, and serve. Golden and crispy on the outside, cheesy and gooey on the inside – these flavorful (and eye-catching) savory bites will certainly become your next signature holiday appetizer.
Recipe: Party Poppers
This quick and easy appetizer, with just a few ingredients and even fewer steps, will make entertaining easy without the hassle of fussing over the oven all day and night. For those who like it hot, swap mini sweet peppers for spicy jalapeños.
Cured Salmon with Dill-Horseradish Cream
"People don't think salmon is a Southern thing, but my mom made salmon croquettes every Sunday before church." - Chef John Hall
Hands-on time for this recipe is only 15 minutes, but the salmon will need to chill for 36 hours. As a recipe that has less than 10 ingredients, it is a great make-ahead option when entertaining for breakfast or brunch. Fresh bursts of citrus with lemon, lime, and orange zests give it a refreshing kick perfect for kick starting a dinner party. This no-cook dish is also perfect for saving time and headaches when entertaining because of its very little use of the oven. Serve the thinly sliced salmon with Dill-Horseradish Cream and toasted sourdough bread slices and wow guests with this easy, yet delectable, party appetizer.
Recipe: Spinach-and-Vidalia Dip
Take a moment to meet your new favorite appetizer. This twist on the classic spinach dip is sure to please even the most particular guests. Just like classic spinach dip, the recipe mixes together spinach, sour cream, and chives to achieve that cool, onion flavor with a kick.
Recipe: Deviled Potatoes
Two Southern classics, deviled eggs and potato salad, join forces to create these two-bite wonders. Scooping out the middle of the potato, filling it with flavor, and it stuffing it back in make it reminiscent of a deviled egg, but it taste just a like a scoop of bite-sized potato salad goodness. The pulp is mixed with sour cream, capers, mustard and a few other key ingredients that will not leave guests missing a traditional potato salad. Make them a day before your get-together, and chill until you head out. When you arrive, they'll be the right serving temperature and little clean up will be required once the party is over.
Recipe: Crawfish Dip
If you have some leftover crawfish tails but aren’t in the mood for an entrée, this is a unique (and easy!) way to use them. Filled with flavor from a variety of spices, guests will be wowed by the flavor of this simple dish that lets the slow cooker do most of the work. After making this dip, serve it in a slow cooker to keep it warm (and to avoid doing any extra dishes). Set this appetizer out with crackers or toasted baguette slices and watch it disappear at your next party. It also makes a great appetizer for a Derby party!
Tex-Mex Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Tex-Mex Deviled Eggs
One of the South's most iconic appetizers fuses with the nineties' obsession with Tex-Mex to create a twist on this beloved party appetizer. Traditional ingredients such as mayonnaise and mustard still garnish the dish, but ingredients reminiscent of Tex-Mex such as cilantro, jalapeño, and chili powder infuse the dish with plenty of the Tex-Mex flavor that guests will immediately recognize. Guests will love this variation on the Southern classic, making it a new dinner party, picnic, tailgate, or cookout favorite. Many reviewers say this is a party hit and there are never any left, so be sure to make extra!
Cheese Snappy Wafers
Recipe: Cheese Snappy Wafers
Southern hostesses have long relied on cheese wafers to keep their party guests satiated, and with just six ingredients, this is any hostesses dream appetizer to prepare. Held together by sharp cheddar cheese, rice cereal, butter, and flour, this recipe will be a crowd pleaser simply because of its simplicity and deliciously crunchy texture. This appetizer can be prepared in twenty minutes and baked in another fifteen, so little prep time and clean up are required. The measurements in the recipe also make nearly three-dozen wafers, which is plenty for guests if they want to enjoy seconds. We have a feeling that once this appetizer hits your table at your next party, guest will be asking for more in just a matter of seconds!
Recipe: Party-Perfect Meatballs
These meatballs can be your ground beef go-to finger food at any time of year. That’s the reason we call them our Party-Perfect Meatballs. 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. The sauce can be kept in an airtight container for up to three days if making ahead. For serving, keep them warm in your slow cooker, in a Dutch oven over low heat, or in a fondue pot.
Smoked Trout Crostini with Radishes and Dill Cream
For a fresh appetizer, try the smoked trout crostini with radishes and dill cream. An appetizer consisting of sour cream spread on a triangle of toasted crostini and topped with smoked trout and radishes will give guests a break from warm appetizers typically served at a dinner party. These perfect little triangles also offer a beautiful presentation, fooling guests into believing you worked much harder than you did on this appetizer. A fresh squeeze of lemon juice will also give guests the burst of freshness that will perfectly balance out your appetizer platter. For an even more colorful spread, replace the trout with smoked salmon.
Lump Crab Mornay
Recipe: Lump Crab Mornay
Recipe developer Julia Reed adapted this creamy dip from a recipe in Bayou Cuisine by St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Indianola, Mississippi. Located in the Mississippi Delta, this recipe pays homage to the rich culture in the region, using lump crabmeat and red pepper to add spice. All-purpose flour and heavy cream give the dish its creamy texture and freshly grated cheese makes it savory. This dip can be kept in a chafing dish or a slow cooker set on a very low temperature to keep the dip perfect throughout the night for guests to enjoy. Serve with toast points perfect for dipping.
Recipe: Cocktail Meatballs
Cocktail meatballs hold a special place in the canon of Southern party appetizers, in part because they are a study in ground-beef perfection and simplicity. While we love the ones our mamas made with chili sauce and grape jelly, this recipe is the one we still pull out for company. This recipe mixes ground beef with the sweet, the tart, and the unexpected: brown sugar, lemon juice, and horseradish, to make a cocktail-fork temptation that should grace every Southern party table or tray. So grab a bottle of wine—for the recipe—get ready to party, and enjoy making these delicious cocktail meatballs.