Start the party with these delicious bites that are sure to enliven everyone's appetite.
When it comes time to plan your next menu, don't let the first course fall to the wayside. Our extensive collection of appetizer
recipes will give you all the inspiration you need to "wow" your guests from their very first bite. In a time crunch? We made
sure to include a few superfast and make-ahead options for when you need a hors d'oeuvre in a flash.
First up: 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
Our polenta squares will have your meal off to an impressive start. These are also tasty with chopped, dried figs or cranberries
in place of the currants.
View Recipe: Polenta Squares with Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts
Prepare and refrigerate the chutney up to three days ahead; bring to room temperature before serving. For a prettier presentation,
top crostini with chutney, and sprinkle the cheese on top instead of stirring it into the chutney.
View Recipe: Apple-Blue Cheese Chutney
Start making the phyllo stacks about 30 minutes after you put the cheese mixture in the refrigerator. Or make the cheese mixture
a day ahead, and assemble before guests arrive.
View Recipe: Phyllo Cups with Ricotta, Chèvre, and Thyme
This luscious appetizer features a tasty trio of flavors: Cranberry, walnuts, and thyme. Serve with crackers for a warm and
melty start to the meal.
View Recipe: Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie
For easy prep, slice the lemon and make the bread mixture ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator. Just before guests arrive,
assemble the oysters then pop them in the oven. Be sure to set a timer; the oysters cook for only a short time.
View Recipe: Roasted Oysters with Pancetta and Breadcrumbs
Love the flavor of potato gratin? How about a handheld mini version brought to you by delicious, flaky puff pastry? Either
baby Dutch or fingerling potatoes work well here.
View Recipe: Potato-Gruyère Tartlets
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
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
Chef Stage, of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in New York City, remembers his mother's deviled eggs, which he updates for this recipe
with vibrant Creole seasonings.
View Recipe: Creole Deviled Eggs
Lose the fork and knife for these healthy handheld bites. Smoky prosciutto and cauliflower fill bitter endive leaves in this
flavorful, light appetizer.
View Recipe: Cauliflower "Caviar" with Frizzled Prosciutto
Prepare polenta through step 2 up to two days ahead. Before serving, let the dish stand at room temperature for one hour,
cut polenta into triangles, and toast them right before guests arrive. Pork sausage gives them a wonderfully familiar, stuffing-like
View Recipe: Polenta-Sausage Triangles
Prepare this retro-chic snack up to two days ahead, and serve with crackers, bread, or veggies. Rolled in minced fresh flat-leaf
parsley, this cheese ball is festive enough for the most discerning party guests.
View Recipe: Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball
Store-bought puff pastry gives Caramelized Onion Tartlets their flaky texture. Caramelized red and yellow onions and Asaigo
cheese give this party pick-up its savory flavor.
View Recipe: Caramelized Onion Tartlets
A mix of fruity and meaty olives works well in this treatment. Serve with pre-dinner cocktails.
View Recipe: Citrus, Fennel, and Rosemary Olives
These squash offer meatier flavor and texture than traditional cucumber pickles. You'll love the heat these spicy pickles
bring to the table.
View Recipe: Spicy Squash Pickles
This pared-down pâté is based on liverwurst. Use Usinger's or Schaller & Weber brand liverwurst for best results.
View Recipe: Quick Liver Pâté
Tucked inside crisp, flaky phyllo dough pastry, tender potato chunks and a perfectly cooked egg mingle.
View Recipe: Tunisian Brik-Style Eggs
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
Low and slow is the key to drawing out all of the moisture without burning the chickpeas or seasoning. As they cook, the spices
mingle and mellow for a rounded flavor. Everyone will love these light nibbles.
View Recipe: Crunchy Chickpeas
This dish uses leftover mashed potatoes to make a big batch of Indian-inspired snacks. Serve warm or at room temperature with
the cilantro and mint chutney.
View Recipe: Vegetable Samosas with Mint Chutney
Spoon this dip into a baking dish up to a day ahead, but top with panko and chives just before baking. If it's chilled, leave
the dish out at room temperature while the oven preheats. Scoop into multiple bowls that you can set at different tasting
View Recipe: Cajun Hot Crab Dip
Bruschetta is simple to make. It starts with a baguette or narrow loaf that has been thinly sliced and toasted. To that crunchy
bread base, add any toppings you wish—in this vegetarian recipe we add a spicy mushroom mixture.
View Recipe: Spicy Stir-Fried Mushroom Bruschetta
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
Dip the pretzels, and store in the fridge on a parchment-lined tray up to five days ahead. Set out shortly before serving,
but not too far ahead, as the chocolate may melt.
View Recipe: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
Perfect for pre-dinner munchies, these pumpkinseeds will be a crowd favorite. For even more kick, add an extra 1/8 teaspoon
ground red pepper.
View Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Pumpkinseeds
This hummus recipe has a southwestern kick that everyone will love. We recommend serving with pita chips but you can also
serve with assorted crudités.
View Recipe: Black Bean Hummus
Sharp shards of crisp Thai Cashew Brittle combine salty cashews and hot chile paste.
View Recipe: Thai Cashew Brittle
This no-fuss appetizer option is always a crowd pleaser. Serve on a pretty platter to give these piggies a dash of elegance.
View Recipe: Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket
For the prettiest appearance, use red, yellow, and orange bell peppers. If you can't find baby bell peppers, use julienne
strips of regular bell pepper.
View Recipe: Tomato-Baby Bell Pepper Tartlets
A fresh alternative to pickled cukes, these crisp, crunchy treats make a zesty snack, garnish for a Bloody Mary, or condiment
in a sandwich or salad. They're easy to prepare and will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.
View Recipe: Quick Pickled Dilly Green Beans
For easier shucking, steam clams over simmering water for two minutes or just until their shells barely open. Run a knife
or small screwdriver around a shell's edge, and pop it open. If you partially steam the clams, reduce the broiling time by
a minute or two. The clams may be unsteady on the jelly-roll pan, so you can line the pan with a bed of rock salt for more
View Recipe: Clams Casino with Pancetta
An appetizer that will not weigh-down you or your meal. A melt-in-your-mouth mixture of crab and other fresh ingredients is
tucked into a crispy leaf of Boston lettuce to make this a little explosion of flavor.
View Recipe: Crab and Celery Root Rémoulade
Bake the corn bread up to three days in advance, and keep in a zip-top plastic bag. Combine the sauce ingredients and assemble
the crab cakes the night before; refrigerate separately. Any leftover crab cakes are terrific with a green salad.
View Recipe: Mini Corn Bread Crab Cakes with Lemon-Caper Sauce
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. These palmiers look a bit more complicated than the tarts, but don't be alarmed. Just roll each side in a jelly-roll
fashion until they meet in the middle. Be sure to chill dough for 20 minutes before cutting.
View Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Palmiers
Raw oysters are delicious enough on their own, but this light dressing elevates them into the stratosphere. For an extra elegant
presentation, freeze the mignonette on a baking dish, then scrape with a fork as for a granita and top the oysters with the
icy shards just before serving.
View Recipe: Oysters with Pink Peppercorn Mignonette
Make the chips in advance, cool completely, and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
View Recipe: Strawberry-Avocado Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
For a more kid-friendly version, omit the ground red pepper. Store in an airtight container for up to two days.
View Recipe: Spicy Maple-Cashew Popcorn
Because fresh herbs are increasingly available, you can make this tangy, peppery dip year-round.
View Recipe: Zesty Green Goddess Dip
You can make the cheese mixture up to a day ahead. It also makes a great sandwich or bagel spread or a thick dip for crudites.
View Recipe: Endive Spears with Spicy Goat Cheese
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
Serve with fennel bulb slices, blanched broccoli florets, steamed new potatoes, and carrots.
View Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Bagna Cauda
Serve this versatile dish warm or at room temperature as a dip with chips.
View Recipe: Baked Black Beans with Chorizo
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
The food processor makes quick work of this basic dip that's rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. We like the heat
from leaving the seeds in the jalapeño, but you can seed the pepper for a milder guac. Serve with tortilla chips or crudités.
View Recipe: Easy Guacamole
Adding the inner veins and seeds from the chile will increase the heat in this salsa.
View Recipe: Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Salsa
Take a break from creamy and cheesy with the light Asian flavor of these dumplings. A ginger-and-sesame-scented filling of
chicken and crunchy veggies is balanced by the tart and salty dipping sauce, which awakens the palate with just a hint of
View Recipe: Chicken and Lemon Pot Stickers with Soy-Scallion Dipping Sauce
Grape leaves are a part of Turkish, Greek, Arab, and Romanian cuisines and are often stuffed with a mixture of rice, vegetables,
meat, and spices. They’re served warm or cold as an appetizer or main dish with yogurt.
View Recipe: Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice, Currants, and Herbs
Crunchy, breaded zucchini spears are delicious dipped in a sauce of roasted red peppers. The sauce is a zesty embellishment
for grilled meats, too.
View Recipe: Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce
Prepare this traditional Greek dip within an hour of serving time to prevent it from becoming watery. Greek yogurt is thicker
and creamier than other yogurt, and we find it superior in this recipe. Serve with pita wedges.
View Recipe: Tzatziki
For convenience, prepare the dip up to three days in advance and refrigerate in an airtight container. Serve with pita wedges
and bell pepper strips.
View Recipe: Red Pepper Hummus
A mandoline will help you create picture-perfect chips. Tip: Buy an extra potato to practice with beforehand.
View Recipe: Windowpane Potato Chips
The three-cheese filling is a nice complement for the spicy peppers. You can also use a milder chile, such as a cherry pepper.
Shredded cheddar cheese can take the place of Parmesan, if you like.
View Recipe: Grilled Pepper Poppers
The ritual of eating whole artichokes―tear off a leaf, eat the tender flesh, and repeat―is as much a part of the experience
as the flavor. The creamy texture and sweet savoriness of roasted garlic in the dipping sauce serve to enhance everything
to heavenly levels.
View Recipe: Artichokes with Roasted Garlic-Wine Dip
Place the cheese in the freezer for about 20 minutes for easier cutting. To make this appetizer in advance, you can prepare
and refrigerate the salsa up to a day ahead. Toast bread and assemble just before serving.
View Recipe: Bruschetta with Peach Salsa and Melted Brie
Blue cheese gives a bit of a bite, but is not overpowering to this delightfully crunchy snack. Prepare up to two days ahead
and store in an airtight container at room temperature. We think they make a delightful nibble with drinks.
View Recipe: Blue Cheese and Chive Straws
This scrumptious low-cal finger food was developed by reader Abigail McMahon who was inspired by Ireland. "I love Ireland
and the country's wonderful food. When I think of Irish food, the first items that come to mind are potatoes, salmon, and
cheese." Luckily, this recipe has all three.
View Recipe: Smoked Salmon and Cheese Mini Twice-Baked Potatoes
Use any combination of herbs you like for this easy and tasty starter. We chose the trio of chives, tarragon, and dill, but
feel free to use your culinary imagination for this one.
View Recipe: Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon
This tangy spread is delicious as a dip with whole-grain crackers or spread on a sandwich of grilled vegetables (shown here).
The olives are a great source of monounsaturated fats. Make this ahead and have it on hand for a party or simple lunch.
View Recipe: Green Olive and Artichoke Tapenade
This appetizer is assembled quickly and will likely be devoured at lightning speed. The saltiness of the prosciutto pairs
wonderfully with the sweet dates and savory creaminess of the goat cheese.
View Recipe: Prosciutto-Wrapped Stuffed Dates
This simple recipe makes a tasty party snack. Use your favorite nuts, and add a bit of heat with a dash of ground red pepper,
if you like.
View Recipe: Indian-Spiced Roasted Nuts
Rather than a more traditional pâté, a chicken picadillo is first made and then whirred up for a filling in these little first-course
puff-pastry packets. The filling is then sealed in the puff pastry dough and baked. It's highly spiced for sure, but also
very aromatic—a nice start to any party or meal.
View Recipe: Haitian Chicken Pâté Puffs
This dip packs a huge amount of flavor into a little bit of space, probably because it features three ingredients that bring
big taste in small packages: Olives, capers, and anchovies. For a larger party, try pairing the tapenade with a hard cheese
like manchego or pecorino.
View Recipe: Mixed Olive Tapenade
This is somewhat similar to the refried beans you find at Mexican restaurants, only it's much healthier and tastes better
(thanks to fresh cilantro, lime, jalapeno, and tomato). The toasted pumpkinseeds (also know as pepitas) add a lovely crunch, but you can leave them out without losing much.
View Recipe: Tex-Mex Pinto Bean Spread
Prepare a batch of this smoky-sweet mix to have on hand. It's the perfect snack to hold guests over while you put the finishing
touches on the meal.
View Recipe: Orange Chipotle-Spiced Pecan Mix
This dip is chunky like a salsa, but the similarities end there. Its assortment of flavors―crisp, anise-tinged fennel, plump
and chewy raisins, piquant capers, and tender, slightly sweet artichoke―create a uniquely delicious taste. The dip is best
with something nice and crunchy; slice baguette very thin and toast well, or use fancy crackers.
View Recipe: Artichoke and Fennel Caponata
These wonderful bites are truly perfect for unexpected guests; they take all of two minutes to put together and use one of
the season's best fruits. Stone fruits and pork products pair extremely well together, so you also could use plums, peaches,
or apricots, with slices of ham or salami. Arugula provides crunch and bitterness to contrast the rich prosciutto and sweet
View Recipe: Nectarine, Prosciutto, and Arugula Bundles
Bruschetta with chopped tomato and basil is certainly delicious. This recipe adds an element of surprise to the familiar with
a combination of sautéed mushrooms, creating a brand new dish with deep, savory flavor. Because it's used in such small quantity,
high quality cheese is important―spring for real Parmigiano-Reggiano.
View Recipe: Mushroom and Parmigiano Bruschetta
Spiced nuts are usually baked; this stovetop version speeds up the process. The smoky-spicy snack will store well in an airtight
container for several days.
View Recipe: Honey-Glazed Almonds
White beans make a wonderfully creamy and hearty dip when pureed, and the flavors of rosemary and sage make this dip irresistible.
If serving with pita or baguette slices, heat the bread in a 250-degree oven for a few minutes first so it's nice and warm.
View Recipe: White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Sage
Sweet and savory collide in this dish that works as appetizer, hors d'oeuvre, or dessert. Grilling caramelizes the sugars
and intensifies the flavor of the fruit (you need two pounds total, but you can use any combination you like), while the black
pepper, balsamic vinegar, and hot sauce in the dressing bring out hidden elements you'd never expect to find in peaches, plums,
View Recipe: Grilled Stone Fruit Antipasto Plate
This recipe uses one can of tomatoes drained and the other undrained for the perfect scoopable texture. It's easy to adjust
to your taste―add more or less garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime as you see fit, and try stirring in diced avocado, radish,
or jicama for extra taste.
View Recipe: Salsa Picante
These mini-burgers make fun and tasty appetizers. Although we enjoyed them on Parker House rolls, they would also be tasty
on small dinner rolls or sweet Hawaiian bread rolls.
View Recipe: Sliders with Shallot-Dijon Relish
The sweet, savory, and toasty flavors of caramlized onions contribute a unique taste to this spread.
View Recipe: Caramelized Black Bean "Butter"
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
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
The smoky-sweet flavor of roasted red peppers makes a perfect combination with creamy cannellini beans in this Mediterranean
dip. It's similar to the Spanish classic romesco, making it a great addition to a tapas-style spread. Serve with crunchy veggies
like carrots, zucchini, broccoli, and jicama for dipping.
View Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Bean Dip
The trick to this easy recipe is blending some of the salmon in the food processor, so its taste gets spread throughout, but
also folding in some larger bits for textural contrast.
View Recipe: Smoked Salmon Dip
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
This easy crab salad that has tons of flavor―tangy lime, fiery chipotle, creamy avocado, and crunchy vegetables―is baked on
tortilla chips for a unique appetizer.
View Recipe: Chipotle-Lime Crab Crisps
Garlic and cumin-infused refried beans top freshly baked tortilla chips, which are sturdy and hold up well under the assortment
View Recipe: Pinto Bean Nachos
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
View Recipe: Mini-Spanakopitas
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
"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
View Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Hummus
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," Elizabeth said. "To ease slicing, keep Brie
chilled until ready to use."
View Recipe: Baked Brie with Golden Raisin Compote
It's easy to double or triple this pizza-like treat to satisfy a big party. If the weather's right, try grilling it.
View Recipe: Garlic Flatbreads with Smoked Mozzarella and Tomato Vinaigrette
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.
View Recipe: Crostini with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions, and Fig Jam
Asian dumplings like pot stickers are great finger foods, especially with the creamy-spicy sauce in this recipe.
View Recipe: Ginger-Shrimp Pot Stickers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
These flavorful nuts make a convenient party snack. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.
View Recipe: Chili-Spiced Almonds
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.
View Recipe: Seared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce
You can prepare this all-purpose dip up to a day ahead, making this a quick fix for hungry guests. Serve it with cauliflower
and broccoli florets, carrot and celery sticks, and bell pepper strips.
View Recipe: Creamy Garlic-Herb Dip
Assemble and freeze these up to two weeks in advance (a good weekend project), then pop them into the oven and add seven minutes
to the cook time (no need to thaw). The savory mushroom filling and the feathery phyllo will impress all your guests.
View Recipe: Creamy Mushroom Phyllo Triangles
This Middle Eastern dip is traditionally made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil; it lends itself to several
variations. Prepare and refrigerate it a day ahead; let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish
with a lemon wedge and fresh parsley sprig, and serve with Spicy Baked Pita Chips.
Feeling adventurous? Try these variations on Traditional Hummus: White Bean and Roasted Garlic Hummus, Spicy Red Pepper Hummus, Feta-Baked Hummus
View Recipe: Traditional Hummus
This warm, creamy, cheesy dip is tasty and a snap to prepare. Assemble up to two days ahead, and bake just before serving.
View Recipe: Spinach-and-Artichoke Dip
Prepare the mayonnaise mixture and cook the steak up to a day in advance. There's no need to reheat it, just slice the steak
about an hour ahead, and leave at room temperature. The savory delight paired with the creamy and spicy mayonnaise will surely
be a hit.
View Recipe: Beef Teriyaki Crisps with Wasabi Mayonnaise
An already kid-friendly classic just got kicked up a notch. All your guests will love these pint-sized sliders.
View Recipe: Sloppy Joe Sliders
Classic latkes form the base for this flavorful appetizer. Seemingly incongruous tart apple and spicy horseradish flavors
unite to balance the strongly flavored smoked trout, all atop a crunchy, starchy pancake foundation.
View Recipe: Smoked Trout with Apple-Horseradish Cream on Potato Pancakes
Shrimp creates a pleasing variation on crab cakes in this dish, and matches well with the chunky salsa, which brings in sour,
sweet, and buttery flavors. Hot sauce in the cakes and poblano peppers in the salsa bring some heat, but not enough to overwhelm―the
balance is just right.
View Recipe: Spicy Shrimp Cakes with Corn and Avocado Salsa
Muhammara is a sweet-spicy Middle Eastern dip made from roasted bell pepper, walnuts, and, traditionally, Aleppo pepper and
pomegranate molasses. We subbed in readily available crushed red pepper and honey with delicious results.
View Recipe: Muhammara with Crudités
We took this classic warm, creamy dip and improved it with smoky bacon, because bacon makes everything better. Make sure to
serve this in a central location―it's sure to attract a crowd at any party.
View Recipe: Spinach-Artichoke Dip with Bacon