Holiday parties are prime time to show off your appetizer-making abilities. No one expects a four-course meal at a holiday party but guests will want finger foods, savory snacks, skewered eats, and small bites that they can nibble on while circulating through the crowd. The advantage of serving appetizers is that many recipes allow you to prepare ahead of time, ensuring that you won’t have a kitchen meltdown mid-get-together. You can also play with more flavors, textures, and types of cuisine than is feasible with a meal. These ten holiday party foods combine appetizer standbys that guests are sure to love, aesthetically-pleasing edibles to delight the eyes, and a few culinary wild cards to ensure your holiday party will be remembered long after it’s over.
Psst...crostini is basically glorified toast and therefore an elegant and easy edition to your holiday buffet. To make, buy a baguette, slice 1/4 of an inch thick, brush with olive oil, and bake at 350 degrees until golden (about 15 minutes). Top with whatever you please: goat cheese and cranberries, tomato and basil, spinach and pesto, or any other tasty flavor combo you can think of.
Photo: @firedupchef on Instagram.
Baked brie makes for a breathtaking, edible centerpiece for your buffet. Wrap a round of brie with 1 sheet thawed puff pastry, brush with egg wash, and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before digging into this oozing, cheesy masterpiece.
Photo: @tamsinluke on Instagram.
Yes, these apps look a little unappetizing upon first glance, but they pack a lot of sweet and savory deliciousness in every bite. Pit 40 Medjool dates, fill each with either a small spoonful of goat cheese or an almond (or both), and wrap in a half-strip of bacon. Spear with a toothpick and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Photo: @eaten_by_nate on Instagram.
Consider these salads-on-a-stick (and one of the simplest appetizers to assemble). Spear a cherry or grape tomato, a basil leaf, and a mini mozzarella cheese ball on a skewer; repeat until the skewer is full. Drizzle with balsamic. Bam. You're done.
Photo: @katlynduclerc on Instagram.
If you're having a party, you gotta have a dip. Them's the rules. Spinach artichoke dip is the tried and true favorite and this recipe is one that even a kitchen novice could conquer. Don't forget the pita chips!
Photo: @hopeartistry on Instagram.
If this food sounds Greek to you, well, it is. Also known as its less exotic name, spinach pie, spanakopita is a savory, flaky, cheesy delight that looks fancy but isn't too labor-intensive. The Mediterranean Dish has a video tutorial if you're new to working with phyllo dough that will ease the learning curve.
Photo: @kalofagas on Instagram.
Who knows how deviled eggs got to be a party staple, but they are, and even if you don't like them, you'd be remiss to deny your guests this heavenly pleasure. Stick to a basic recipe, like this one from Betty Crocker. Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with freshly chopped chives for that green-and-red Christmas aesthetic. The best part? You can make these a day ahead of time and chill them in the fridge until your guests arrive.
Photo: @priyankachandravanshi on Instagram.
Please your gluten-free guests with these spicy meatballs. To make, simply mix 2 pounds ground turkey, 1 packet gluten-free taco seasoning, and 2 eggs. Form into balls and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Condiments for dipping or drizzling are optional, as there's enough flavor packed into these balls already.
Photo: @ericaerivera on Instagram.
Don't forget to satiate the sweet tooth in your life this holiday season. For a festive sugar rush, sandwich 1 marshmallow and 2 squares chocolate between two soft gingerbread cookies (store-bought or home-baked). Microwave for 30 seconds, or just until marshmallow starts to soften. Gently press cookies together to seal. Repeat with remaining cookies. Even if they're not warm by the time your guests want dessert, these cookie s'mores will still be gooey.
Brownie bites are perfectly proportioned for party spreads. Prepare the batter according the directions on a brownie mix, scoop into a greased mini-muffin pan, and bake 15 minutes. Immediately insert a Hershey's Peppermint Bell into the center of each brownie bite to infuse it with a wintry cool flavor. Feel free to bake these ahead of time and freeze; they'll come to room temperature within half-an-hour on party day.