Top-Rated Party Appetizers

Whether it's a quiet night with friends or a big crowd to watch the game, these hors d'oeuvres are perfect.

Orange Chipotle-Spiced Pecan Mix

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Orange Chipotle-Spiced Pecan Mix

Put a big bowl of these crunchy morsels in front of the TV for guilt-free muching during the game. Try Rachel12345's suggestion with any leftovers. "LOVED this―sweet, spicy, fruity in just the right mix. I used a little of this to spice up a salad, too."

View Recipe: Orange Chipotle-Spiced Pecan Mix

Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Lemon-Caper Sauce

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Lemon-Caper Sauce

These little gems are easy to make ahead and are sure to impress, as they did at hoboshome's party. "A huge hit at a holiday potluck! The sauce was an excellent complement to the crab cakes. This will be my go-to recipe for crab cakes. They make such a luxurious appetizer."

View Recipe: Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Lemon-Caper Sauce

Crostini with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions, and Fig Jam

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Crostini with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions, and Fig Jam

This recipe brings together big flavors―the tart sweetness of figs, the savory sweetness of onions, and the pungent kick of Gorgonzola cheese―in a balanced way. Try this suggestion from eatwelltx to make assembly easier: "I put the toasted bread with the cheese back in the oven (turned off but still warm) to melt the gorgonzola before adding the fig jam and onions, and this made layering the jam and onions over the cheese much easier. Absolutely delicious."

View Recipe: Crostini with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions, and Fig Jam

Low-Cal Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball

Photo: Jonny Valiant

Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball

The sweet-savory combo of dates, walnuts, and blue cheese, topped with the earthiness of fresh flat-leaf parsley, brings your regular cheese ball up a notch. Prepare this retro-chic snack up to two days ahead, and serve with crackers, bread, or veggies.

View Recipe: Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball

Windowpane Potato Chips Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Windowpane Potato Chips

Create a simple yet elegant hors d'oeuvre that's sure to impress featuring assorted fresh herbs. Praises reviewer pkinzz,  "We will make these again! We spent too much time making them super thin. When the rejects were used (thin but not paperthin) they turned out fine but needed more cooking time. Must serve them standing in the salt to really show them off. Party friends said they were too pretty to eat: art or eats? They ate and LOVED them!"

View Recipe: Windowpane Potato Chips

Chipotle-Lime Crab Crisps Recipe

Photo: Howard L. Puckett

Chipotle-Lime Crab Crisps

An easy crab salad that has tons of flavor―it includes tangy lime, fiery chipotle, creamy avocado, and crunchy vegetables―is baked on tortilla chips for a unique appetizer. Reviewer vicman33 raves, "This is the best crab appetizer I have ever had. Try to use jumbo lump from the US not the asian crabmeat. This dish will be the hit of the party."

View Recipe: Chipotle-Lime Crab Crisps

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce

Crunchy, salty items are a must at any party, and these oven-fried zucchini sticks fit the bill. The Spanish-style sauce is great on anything from chips to sandwiches to grilled seafood. It's also an easy way to sneak healthful food onto your party menu, as Lisa did. "Seriously―make the sauce. It's easy and amazing. My husband ('not a veggie fan' is putting it mildly) ate an entire zucchini because he kept going back for more and dunking in the sauce, which is―surprise!―more veggies.

View Recipe: Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce

Spicy Black Bean Hummus Recipe

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Spicy Black Bean Hummus

"Wow" your guests at your next gathering with this super easy and delicious spicy black bean hummus. Says recipe creater Maureen Redmond of Easley, South Carolina, "I created this recipe three years ago based on a popular appetizer my friends ordered at a pizzeria in Greenville, South Carolina. I researched the ingredients and added my own variations to suit my preference for spicy flavors. I received glowing feedback from my husband and friends, and now I keep this recipe on hand for parties and tailgates."

View Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Hummus

Seared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce

Lee Harrelson

Seared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce

An appetizer-only menu can leave guests feeling hungry, unless it includes an item like this one: hearty and meaty, but elegant and refined at the same time. It drew rave reviews from Rachel. "Great for the meat lover and the sauce lover. I made this for all the people who love a kick of flavor and taste, and boy did it deliver!"

View Recipe: Seared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce

Ginger-Shrimp Pot Stickers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Howard L. Puckett

Ginger-Shrimp Pot Stickers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Asian dumplings like pot stickers are great finger foods, especially with the creamy-spicy sauce in this recipe. They're also a good way to expand your culinary horizons, as webdr101 did. "I'd never used wonton wrappers before and was a little scared, but they were so easy! I can't wait to make these again. Everyone in my house loved them, even the picky eaters. Definitely something I'll make again."

View Recipe: Ginger-Shrimp Pot Stickers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Garlic Flatbreads with Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Vinaigrette

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Garlic Flatbreads with Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Vinaigrette

It's easy to double or triple this pizza-like treat to satisfy a big party. If the weather's right, try grilling it, like stephaniekRD did. "I baked the flatbread the day before, then put it on top of a hot grill and topped it with the smoked mozzarella just as guests were arriving. Make sure you close the lid to get the cheese to melt. Once the bread was warmed through and the cheese melted I topped it with the tomato mixture. Wow!"

View Recipe: Garlic Flatbreads with Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Vinaigrette

Low-Cal Baba Ghanoush

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Baba Ghanoush

Baba ghanoush (bah-bah-gah-NOOSH) is a Middle Eastern dip typically made from eggplant, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice. One of our readers, Karen Waldman, was dissatisfied with the baba ghanoush recipes she was finding, so she created her own. By combining mayonnaise and tahini, she tinkered, found her perfect combination, and even incorporated it into a Greek-themed Thanksgiving meal. The unique dinner was an instant hit with her family.

View Recipe: Baba Ghanoush

Mini-Spanakopitas Recipe

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Mini-Spanakopitas (Greek Spinach Pies)

Wonderful as appetizers or a side, these miniature spinach pies enclose fresh spinach, feta cheese, and dried dill in folds of delightfully crispy phyllo dough. Reviewers reported that this recipe won over everyone from picky kids to spinach-phobic husbands and doubters of light fare.

View Recipe: Mini-Spanakopitas

Pinto Bean Nachos Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pinto Bean Nachos

Garlic and cumin-infused refried beans top freshly baked tortilla chips, which are sturdy and hold up well under the assortment of toppings. As reviewer tabbytrap suggested, you can use black beans in place of pinto beans, if you prefer.

View Recipe: Pinto Bean Nachos

Baked Brie with Golden Raisin Compote Recipe

Photo: Howard Puckett

Baked Brie with Golden Raisin Compote

Created by Elizabeth Bennett of Mill Creek, Wisconsin, this hearty appetizer is best made ahead before your guests arrive. "The Brie is rich enough to carry the appetizer with a tart and sweet compote." Says Elizabeth. "To ease slicing, keep Brie chilled until ready to use."

View Recipe: Baked Brie with Golden Raisin Compote

Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread

Serve with crackers or bread slices. If you can't find Gruyère, substitute raclette, fontina, or Swiss cheese.

View Recipe: Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread

Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Blue Cheese Recipe

Photo: Nina Choi 

Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Blue Cheese

Sweet-tangy chutney pairs beautifully with pungent blue cheese and toasty pecans. You can make the chutney up to three days in advance; assemble bruschetta shortly before serving.

View Recipe: Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Blue Cheese

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños Recipe

Photo: John Autry 

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

The rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar is a nice foil for the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version. If making these poppers for a party, you can stuff the peppers, cover, and chill. Then grill just before your guests arrive.

View Recipe: Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

 

Sun-Dried Tomato Palmiers Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry 

Sun-Dried Tomato Palmiers

You can either thaw the puff pastry in the fridge overnight or leave it out at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours until it's pliable.

View Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Palmiers

 

Baked Black Beans with Chorizo Recipe

Photo: Levi Brown 

Baked Black Beans with Chorizo

Serve this versatile dish warm or at room temperature as a tasty side to accompany the tacos or as a dip with chips.

View Recipe: Baked Black Beans with Chorizo

 

Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus with Prosciutto Recipe

Photo: Marcus Nilsson 

Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus with Prosciutto

Crunchy phyllo-wrapped asparagus makes great pick-up bites for a party. You can also chop the prosciutto and sprinkle it on the phyllo if you want.

View Recipe: Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus with Prosciutto

Roasted Red Pepper Bagna Cauda Recipe

Photo: John Autry 

Roasted Red Pepper Bagna Cauda

Serve with fennel bulb slices, blanched broccoli florets, steamed new potatoes, and carrots.

View Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Bagna Cauda

Cauliflower "Caviar" with Frizzled Prosciutto Recipe

Photo: John Autry 

Cauliflower "Caviar" with Frizzled Prosciutto

An enticing mix of cauliflower, prosciutto, and spices makes for a perfect appetizer fit for any meal or occasion.

View Recipe: Cauliflower "Caviar" with Frizzled Prosciutto

Quick Liver Pâté Recipe

Photo: Jonny Valiant 

Quick Liver Pâté

This pared-down pâté is based on liverwurst. Use Usinger's or Schaller & Weber brand liverwurst for best results.

View Recipe: Quick Liver Pâté

Stuffed Grape Leaves Recipe

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner 

Stuffed Grape Leaves

This classic Mediterranean dish makes a great party hors d'oeuvre. Brined flavor comes from both the grape leaves and the salty feta cheese.

View Recipe: Stuffed Grape Leaves

Fire-Seared Antipasto Platter Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor 

Fire-Seared Antipasto Platter

More of a game plan than a set recipe, this dish lends itself to an assortment of ingredients you may have on hand. For example, if you can't find capocollo—cured sausage similar to salami—substitute salami or pepperoni. Serve the platter while vegetables are warm or at room temperature.

View Recipe: Fire-Seared Antipasto Platter

Zesty Green Goddess Dip Recipe

Photo: John Autry 

Zesty Green Goddess Dip

Because fresh herbs are increasingly available, you can make this tangy, peppery dip year-round.

View Recipe: Zesty Green Goddess Dip

Eggplant Crostini Recipe

Photo: John Autry 

Eggplant Crostini

Although this recipe calls for a regular globe eggplant, if you see baby eggplants or other fresh seasonal varieties, they will work just as well in this tangy appetizer.

View Recipe: Eggplant Crostini

Baked Feta with Romesco and Olive Tapenade Recipe

Photo: John Autry 

Baked Feta with Romesco and Olive Tapenade

Make the romesco sauce and tapenade up to three days ahead, and keep them chilled separately.

View Recipe: Baked Feta with Romesco and Olive Tapenade

Vanilla-Spice Nuts Recipe

Photo: Sang An 

Vanilla-Spice Nuts

Bring a little heat to this snack by adding 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper to the spice mix. Turning the oven off before returning the spice-coated nuts to the oven ensures they won't overtoast. Prepare up to one week ahead, and then store nuts in an airtight container at room temperature.

View Recipe: Vanilla-Spice Nuts

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