52 Healthy Finger Foods to Keep the Party Going
Maple-Sesame Cauliflower Bites
Chickpea flour is gluten-free, protein packed, and makes an incredibly light batter for baked cauliflower. Look for it near the other gluten-free flours at your local health food store. Tamari is a slightly thicker, wheat-free alternative to soy sauce with a more robust flavor. These bites can double as an appetizer or side dish served with grilled fish or baked chicken.
Super Easy Classic Shrimp Cocktail
This classic shrimp cocktail appetizer comes together incredibly quickly. Purchasing uncooked shrimp and then poaching them in the shell helps them stay tender, though they turn out just fine if you want to peel and devein them. The sauce is super simple and comes together while the shrimp are cooling; it’s well-balanced with tanginess from the vinegar and lemon, a little kick from the horseradish, and sweetness from the ketchup.
Saucy Mini Meatballs
Adding cinnamon gives these meatballs a slight Moroccan feel. You can make this a day ahead and reheat on the stovetop before the party. Using different types of beef adds moisture to the meatballs while keeping sat fat in check.
Roasted Tomato Caprese Summer Rolls
Super fresh and bright, these rolls taste just like summer! Starring fresh tomatoes and basil, creamy chunks of mozzarella, and a knockout balsamic reduction, it’s your favorite summer salad in a grab-and-go form. They'd make a perfect finger food at any party—and they also make a quick and healthy snack.
Goat Cheese Cheesecake Bites
Who says goat cheese is only for savory food. Creamy and luscious, goat cheese makes for the perfect ingredient in a thick, decadent cheesecake dessert. Mixed with Greek yogurt and a touch of powdered sugar, this adorable cheesecake bites are the perfect solution for using up leftover goat cheese. Topped with fruit preserves and served in pre-made mini-phyllo shells, this cute, crowd-pleasing dessert is ready in minutes.
Cheesy Crab Artichoke Toasts
Save time the day of the party by preparing the crab mixture one day ahead. Cut and store the sliced bread in an airtight container until ready to assemble, and then broil as the recipe instructs shortly before party time.
Candied Pancetta Stacks
Here's a fresh take on caprese that invites a meaty, umami burst from pancetta. Serve at an appetizer or dessert (think cheese-and-charcuterie board reinvented) at your next summer soiree for a crowd-pleasing treat.
Chickpea Salad Boats
This recipe captures all of the bright, fresh appeal of a salad in a pretty, portable bite. Sturdy endive leaves have a nice cup shape for filling; you also could use Little Gem or small Bibb lettuce leaves. To get a head start, make the filling (minus the pears) up to a day in advance. About an hour before guests arrive, gently stir in the pear and fill the leaves.
Salt-and-Vinegar Boneless "Wings"
Cornflake breading cooks up crispy. Malt vinegar lends complex savoriness that you won't find in most other vinegars. The chicken soaks in buttermilk to boost the tang of the vinegar.
Turkey Pot Stickers
Don't skip out on making the accompanying dipping sauce—spicy sambal oelek, sweet plum sauce, nutty sesame oil, and the savory umami of soy sauce meld perfectly to tie together the East Asian-inspired flavors of the pot stickers.
Broccoli-and-Bacon Muffin-Tin Frittatas
This easy make-ahead breakfast will have you set for a week. These little Italian omelet cups are a hot, savory breakfast on the fly. Make them up to four days ahead; simply reheat in the microwave for about a minute. You get two mini frittatas per serving for only 168 calories; pair with a piece of fruit for a satisfying breakfast. Store cooked frittatas in the fridge for up to four days.
French Onion Dip With Sweet Potato Chips
With big flavor and less heft, our healthier ode to the classic French onion dip is a delicious way to sneak in extra vegetables. Ditch the sodium-bomb seasoning packets and sour cream-and-mayonnaise–laden dip (which can pack a small meal’s worth of calories and sat fat into a single serving) for our homemade dip. And be patient with the caramelizing process—slowly sizzled onions have noteworthy sweetness and concentrated umami. And because no dip is complete without a dipper, baked sweet potatoes will satisfy your chip craving for half the calories of most bagged varieties.
Korean BBQ Buns
Asian steamed buns replace traditional ones for an irresistible fluffy-chewy effect. Meatballs stay juicier than patties. Quick spicy pickles and perky acidic balance the great crunch.
Healthy Peanut Butter Balls
These no-bake peanut butter balls are the perfect pick-me-ups—they pack a sweet punch and will “cure” any sweet tooth. You can make these one-bite treats ahead of time and simply store them in the fridge until they’re ready to serve. We tested these with a variety of peanut butters and found that if you’re using a no added salt peanut butter, you might want to slightly up the salt in the recipe.
Crab Rangoon Style Everything Bagel Salmon Bites
These little bites are a healthier mash-up of crab Rangoon and a whopping everything bagel slathered in cream cheese and draped in smoked salmon. Baking the wontons yields the satisfying crunch of crab Rangoon while eliminating the calories that frying adds. Topped with everything bagel seasoning (basically the comfy pants of the spice rack), these small treats are satisfying bites perfect for either a party or a night in.
Double-Serrano Watermelon Bites
These bites are a step up from classic prosciutto-wrapped melon and provide sweet, spicy, salty, tart, and meaty tastes. If you can’t find serrano ham, use prosciutto; you also can use balsamic glaze in place of pomegranate molasses.
Smoky Roasted Chickpeas
These crunchy chickpeas will serve you well as both a snack and a crunchy, protein- and fiber-rich topping for salads. They’ll stay crisp in an airtight container for up to a week; just be sure to cook them until they’re just shy of burning for the crunchiest results.
We blend a little oil from the Spring Onion Confit into the favas to show the versatility of the confit oil, but this recipe is plenty tasty with plain extra-virgin olive oil, too. Fava beans are indeed a labor of love—the shelling, blanching, and peeling required to get at the bare beans keeps many would-be fans away from them entirely. If you don’t have favas, or would prefer a shortcut, an equal amount of shelled, thawed edamame will work here as well. Find edamame in frozen food sections of markets.
Crispy Cauliflower With Italian Salsa Verde
Crunch and zing are often missing from the holiday spread; these crispy, cheesy cauliflower florets with fresh lemon-parsley sauce achieve both. Serve with classic holiday dishes, or with roasted fish or a simple pasta toss on any weeknight. A thorough coat of cooking spray on the cauliflower will help the breading adhere and keep the florets from drying out as they bake. Finely grated Parmesan will go further in the breading; use a microplane or pulse in a food processor until finely ground.
Corn Muffins with Prosciutto, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese
Salty, umami-packed prosciutto and creamy, tangy goat cheese lend loads of flavor to the tender corn muffin base. You can use domestic ham instead of prosciutto, if you prefer. We find oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes to be softer then those without oil, so they're better in this dish.
Pork and Broken Rice Cabbage Rolls
Though typically thought of as an Eastern European dish, cabbage rolls can actually be found in several cuisines, chef Jenn Louis says. She adopts a Far East approach here, using soy sauce, ginger, sesame, and broken jasmine rice. Broken rice is exactly what it sounds like—fragments of rice grains. Look for it in Asian markets, or use standard jasmine rice.
Peanut, Shrimp, and Broccoli Rolls
Oven-Fried Smashed Okra
Here's the ideal dish for holiday party guests to bring as an offering—easy to make and transport, and welcome at any gathering. It's also great for hosts who need a simple snack to tide guests over until dinner, or to round out an appetizer spread. We like a mix of briny kalamata and mild, fruity Castelvetrano olives, both available at most specialty market antipasti bars.
Miso Deviled Eggs
This fun twist on deviled eggs is a nice change-of-pace dish for your next picnic or cookout. With just a hint of tang and spice, they’ll appeal to all, including folks who aren’t particularly adventurous eaters. Try to use older eggs—they will peel more easily. Look for shichimi togarashi in the same place you buy miso.
Gingery Chicken Pot Stickers
No tricky dance moves. These come together with mostly supermarket ingredients. You may have to go to an Asian market to get gyoza wrappers, but the trip is worth it. For extra-crispy dumplings, dip the bottoms in 2 teaspoons cornstarch before panfrying. The filling may be made up to two days ahead. Assembled dumplings can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for two hours. Cook them straight from the fridge.
Everything Lavash Crackers
The popular bagel seasoning of poppy seed, sesame seed, onion, and garlic flakes turns super crispy crackers into a knockout addition to your cheese board and are so easy to make. We love the rustic look of large shards, but you can also cut the rolled dough into rectangles before baking. Keep the dough rises to just 10 minutes each, otherwise the texture of the crackers may be chewy rather than crisp.
Bulgur and Greens Mini Quiches
Mini quiches are quick, easy go-tos for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Leftovers are great, too, and easy to pack up for lunch at the office or to enjoy for breakfast during the busy workweek. If you have leftover cooked bulgur, you can shave off about 15 minutes of prep time; you'll need 1 1/2 cups. Try chard, collards, or spinach in place of kale and goat cheese, cheddar, or Swiss instead of feta.
Sweet-and-Sour Mushroom Toasts With Tarragon
Sherry vinegar and brown sugar create an agrodolce effect for deeply caramelized mushrooms in this speedy appetizer, and tarragon is bold enough to hold its own against these stronger tastes. Be sure to get the skillet very hot before adding the mushrooms; otherwise, you won’t get good browning (translating to less flavor). A swipe of cream cheese helps the topping adhere to the toasts while also providing a creamy foil to the more pronounced flavors.
Fermented Zucchini Pickles
For pickles that deliver good gut bacteria, you want fermented—not vinegar—pickles. The brine is the easiest way to spot the difference: If it’s cloudy, they’re fermented; a clear brine means they’re pickled. You can also check the ingredients. For milder spice, remove the chile seeds and membranes. This recipe also works for green beans, pickling cukes, and baby bell peppers.
Banh Mi Meatballs
Craving the crunch, punch, and heat of a banh mi sandwich, but trying to use up some ground chicken, we ended up with a recipe that has all of the flavors of the iconic dish, in a neat little meatball package. We like using them in a simplified banh mi sandwich, but they’re also great as an appetizer or snack, or served atop a brown rice noodle salad.
Ratatouille Zucchini "Bruschetta"
In this lighter version of bruschetta, crisp zucchini stands in for bread. The ratatouille is delicious left over (even cold), so go ahead and make a double batch to enjoy on pizza, pasta, or as a healthy finger food at your next summer party.
Shrimp Kebabs With Mint and Melon Salad
The shrimp is balanced with slight sweetness, bitter char, and tangy lime—a combination that complements the refreshing melon. Pick the ripest melons you can find; they should be firm but slightly soft and fragrant, especially near the stem end. Round out this dinner with your favorite grain or the Herb-Scented Rice Salad.
Pork and Charred Pineapple Sliders
Hawaii’s traditional Kalua pork requires a beach pit, a whole hog, and a day’s worth of smoking. Our weeknight version delivers all the flavor with a fraction of the effort—no shovel required. Pineapple pulls double duty in this recipe—caramelized rings add smoky sweetness, while the just-tangy-enough pineapple juice makes the slaw a tasty stand-alone side dish. Save time by picking up a peeled and cored pineapple in the produce section—the flavor is far superior to canned rings.
Corn and Crab Pita Nachos
This dish is inspired by the crab melts that New England che Ana Sortun’s mother made her when she was growing up in the Pacific Northwest.
Instant Pot Lobster Roll Deviled Eggs
Eggs steam perfectly in the Instant Pot, making this once labor-intensive appetizer a breeze. Classy enough for a dinner party while casual enough for game day, these Lobster Roll Deviled Eggs combine two fun foods into one delicious dish. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly dish, substitute pre-cooked shrimp for the lobster tail.
Our version of cheesy, crave-worthy nachos has half the sat fat, 450mg less sodium, and double the fiber compared to the classic. Mexican chorizo packs a big flavor punch, helping a little meat go a long way here. Look for it in the butcher’s case next to the other fresh sausage. And because no tray of nachos is complete without cheese, a bit of shredded sharp cheddar adds just enough cheesy, salty kick
Avocado-and-Pea Salmon Tartines
Elevate your avocado toast with silky smoked salmon for a lunch worth bragging about. This recipe delivers a double dose of heart-healthy unsaturated fats from both salmon and avocado, plus 35% of your daily fiber goal. Be sure to look for salmon that's labeled "wild Alaskan." That way you can be sure you're getting sustainable seafood.
Mini Mozzarella-and-Kale Pita Pizzas
Try this clever idea—split the pitas in half before toasting so the crusts can get extra crisp. They’ll also be slightly shallow rather than flat, a perfect vessel for the sauce and toppings.
We use the tart-shell method from the master recipe for a fuss-free version of the classic Greek spinach-and-cheese-pastry. A little pimiento, brightened with vinegar, adds pop; you could also sub chopped olives. Make sure to drain the spinach mixture well; extra liquid could make the crust soggy. Let the spinach drain while the crust bakes. Build and finish baking the tart shortly before guests arrive.
Pesto Yogurt Dip
Our tangy Greek yogurt dip is the perfect light appetizer before a heavy meal. Pair with an assortment of fresh sliced vegetables such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers, little gem lettuce leaves, and mini bell peppers.
Pork and Chive Dumplings With Red Chile Oil
The pleating of these dumplings is a bit more advanced; if guests have trouble, they can make half-moons and skip the pleating. Make the chile oil up to 5 days ahead; store in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving.
Sweet and Spicy Apple Chips
These apple crisps are the perfect sweet treat to enjoy after dinner—or as a healthy snack during the day. Long, low-heat baking dehydrates the apple slices so they become wonderfully crunchy once they cool. Ancho chile powder and cayenne pepper lend moderate heat—adjust the amount to suit your taste.
Waffle-Iron Chicken Quesadillas
Find precooked chicken in the hot foods section of your grocery store. When assembling, keep the fillings within a 1/2 inch from the edge so they don’t spill over.
Mushroom and Marsala-Onion Tartines
For the mushrooms, use either a presliced mix of wild mushrooms from the grocery store or seek out more unique varieties at specialty stores or a farmers market. For the toasts, we recommend using a good-quality sourdough.
Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups
A little sugar balances the vinegar tang in the turkey mixture and helps develop wonderful crispy bits in the pan. Delicate butter lettuce leaves have a nice cup shape for filling; you could also use romaine.
Easy Peach Hand Pies
With just five ingredients, these summer fruit snacks come together in a snap. Store-bought pie dough cuts down on prep work—simply roll it out, add the fillings, seal, then bake. Best of all, one hand pie is just 43 calories.
Baby Chocolate Cakes
Looking for a fun and easy baking project? Make a batch of these chocolaty, bite-size tea cakes. They taste like elegant brownies, but won't weigh you down.
Mini Avocado Brownie Bites
Decadent and irresistibly fudgy, these brownies will fool even the savviest sweet tooth. Creamy avocados, which are high in fiber and heart-healthy fat, completely take the place of oil in this recipe. We look to the food processor to do the heavy lifting, making this recipe almost as easy as whipping up boxed brownies. A dollop of Greek yogurt, fresh raspberries, and dark chocolate shavings make for a nutritious, decadent topping, but feel free to use anything you like. Store these adorable bites in the refrigerator until they are ready to be served and devoured.
Sheet Pan Beefy Nachos
If you have young kids serving themselves, lift the nachos off the pan with the parchment paper (and remove the hot pan from the table). For the creamiest nacho sauce, start with a block of cheese and shred it yourself.
Smoked Salmon Bites
If you're looking for an appetizer that will delight your guests with its gorgeous presentation and rich, delicious taste, the search stops here. These beautiful canapés start with a base of candy cane (or Chioggia) beet squares, whose alternating ruby and white rings are stunning. (You can add more color to the platter by alternating candy cane beet and golden beet slices.) The beet stays raw, so the slices are crunchy and sweet and hold up nicely. The jewel-like topping of easy-to-find salmon caviar turns what's truly a simple make-ahead nibble into an absolute work of art that'll make you the talk of your social circle.