25 Crazy Good Holiday Appetizer Recipes

December 8, 2014

A notable caterer once gave me the best holiday entertaining advice: make half of your appetizers, and buy half. Trying to do it all yourself will leave you worn out before the party even starts. So this holiday season go easy on yourself and select a couple of scrumptious homemade nibbles to serve (and most of these are actually quite easy to make!), and supplement with a few store-bought items to plate. Hit your supermarket’s olive bar for a selection of marinated yummies, buy a few nice cheeses (a range of soft and hard, mild and pungent), and some lovely charcuterie (meats like salami and prosciutto). Read on for 25 of my favorite appetizer recipes that get me through holiday season with success!

Looking for more holiday entertaining ideas? Check how to create the perfect sparkling wine bar here.

Easy Spinach Cheese Balls
From Betty Crocker
These little spinach cheese balls are pop-in-your-mouth good! Kids and adults alike will gobble them up. Best of all, they take minutes to make!

Roasted Red Potatoes with Sour Cream, Lemon Zest and Caviar
This appetizer recipe is so easy it’s silly and yet it looks so elegant! Literally, it takes just minutes to create these, especially if you buy already roasted potatoes from the deli at your supermarket. Double the batch as they go quickly! Secret: no need to buy fancy expensive caviar. We buy inexpensive kinds and liberally spoon it on! 

Fried Spanish Olives
Who would think fried olives would be so darn good?! They’re easy to make an such an unexpected yet delicious addition to an hors d’oeuvres table.

Hot Crab Dip
Photo by ribs177
Guests always hover over a creamy hot crab dip and they sure will over this one! I love serving crab dip with buttery Ritz crackers. So very retro but oh so good!

Mini Croque Monsieurs
Courtesy of Diane Gordon Catering, NYC
These classic béchamel topped ham and Swiss sandwiches are always a hit at parties. They’re also inexpensive to make, which is always a bonus during the holiday season!

Smoky Edamame Hummus Crostini
This healthy appetizer recipe is low-cal and low-fat but so full in flavor!

Onion Cheese Rounds
This retro classic appetizer still takes center stage today. Sweet onion, Parmesan, parsley and a bit of mayo are mixed together and heaped on little white bread rounds. Then just pop them in the oven. Great with martinis!

Sausage Bites
Contributed to Foodista by Eat Already!
Sausage wrapped up in puff pastry then cut into bite-sized nibbles will get cheers from guests. If serving cocktails, a heavier appetizer like this one is perfect to serve.

Classic New England Crab Cakes
Form these classic crab cakes into bite-size portions for your guests and serve them with a store-bought tartar sauce (no one will know!).

Caprese Salad Skewers
Contributed to Foodista by Italian Chips
Looking for a crowd-pleasing tomato mozzarella appetizer? How about these delicious easy-to-pick-up caprese salad skewers? They’re easy to make and look so pretty stacked on a plate.

Smoky Eggplant Dip (Badenjan)
This dip is utterly addictive! This creamy and smoky Arabic eggplant dip  (similar to baba ganoush) has notes of saffron and mint. We love with lamb meatballs or simply as a dip with pita bread or pita chips.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Seasoned store-bought cheese spreads, like Alouette’s Garlic and Herb or Spinach and Artichoke, stuffed into mushroom caps then baked make this appetizer a cinch! They’re darn good, too.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs
I love serving these eggs year-round, but the green of the guacamole topped with the red of Sriracha sauce make them especially festive during the Christmas season.

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels
Lavash bread, cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion and fresh dill are all you need to make these beautiful pinwheels!
Contributed to Foodista by Zomppa

Cheese Puffs (Gougères)
Photo by Joyosity
I always have to double the batch when I make these cheese puffs as I inevitably eat half of them before they make it to the table.

Boquerones en Vinagre (Marinated White Anchovies)
Don’t let the word anchovies deter you! These heart-healthy little fish are marinated and are quite unlike the super salty kind. They’re tender, deliciously vinegary and are perfect served alongside a selection of olives and Spanish cured ham (jamón).

Easy Chicken Liver Pâté
You may think pâté is too difficult and fancy to make, but it really is quite easy! If you can sauté and operate a blender,  you can master this pâté recipe with ease.

Easy Herb and Spiced Goat Cheese Logs
Buy those big logs of plain goat cheese at Trader Joe’s or warehouse store, cut them into thirds and roll them in your favorite herbs or spice blends. They’re beautiful and tremendously easy! Try some of our herb and spice suggestions here.

Classic Oysters Rockefeller
Oysters are always a welcome treat at any party and guests will go nuts over these classic Oysters Rockefeller. Serve them with a nice demi-sec Champagne.

Goat Cheese, Fig and Prosciutto Crostini
What’s better than the combination of a tangy goat cheese, sweet fig jam and salty prosciutto? We can’t think of many things.

Rosemary Thyme Marinated Button Mushrooms
Tasty marinated mushrooms are lovely to have on hand. These fragrant, herby mushrooms are made even more festive when you add a bit of red pepper flakes.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Cherry Peppers
Look for these sweet and slightly spicy cherry peppers (also known as peppadew) in your supermarket’s olive bar or in jars. We stuff them with blue cheese and goat cheese and they’re always a hit.

Thai Turkey Meatballs
Featured in MinnesotaMonthly.com by Mary Subialka
This wonderfully full of spice meatball recipe is perfect as a main entree or an appetizer. For an appetizer, simply serve them from the skillet so guests can scoop up the tasty curry sauce!

Sliced Baguette with Anchovy Chive Butter
So simple yet so delicious I often have these for lunch. Mix a bit of salty anchovy paste with butter and stir in some chopped chives. Spread a thin layer on sliced baguette and top with thinly sliced radishes for an elegant and oh so yummy snack. Garnish with more chopped chives for a festive flare.

Oven-Baked Feta Cheese Dip
Contributed to Foodista by Diethood
Cheesy, garlicky, tangy, warm and gooey. It’s spreadable comfort food!