69 Finger Food Appetizers That Are Perfect for Holiday Parties

With the holiday season in full swing, there are so many opportunities to get together with friends, family, and coworkers. But what are you going to serve?

Vertical image of a collage of assorted appetizers, with a label in the center.

Whether you’re planning a casual cocktail soiree, a formal Christmas dinner, or a blowout New Year’s bash, our roundup of recipes will help you to leave your guests with a smile on their faces, asking for the recipe.

If you need just one plate to bring to a potluck, or a full buffet spread for your extended relatives who are arriving this weekend – with big appetites in tow – this is the roundup for you! And it includes options from some of our favorite bloggers and delicious bites to meet a variety of dietary needs.

Here’s a sneak peek at the delicious options that await you:

Many of our holiday tables feature a mashup of childhood favorites, traditional go-to’s, and on-trend experiments, and many of the recipes below cross categories as well. We’ve done our best to fit them into a set of prevailing themes, but feel free to mix and match. The more, the merrier!

Potatoes and Pastry

Pastry, pretzels, breads, crackers, cookies, and potato puffs – so many of our favorite finger foods for snacking are members of the carb family of culinary delights, and this is no exception at the holidays.

1. Pretzel Pastry Pigs with Hard Cider Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Pretzel Pastry Pigs |on a wooden platter with dip.
Photo © Feast in Thyme

Kristen Roberts takes classic pigs in a blanket to the next level, wrapped in homemade pretzel dough and served with a tangy cheese and cider sauce for dipping.

Get the recipe on Feast in Thyme.

2. Mini Quiche with a Puff Pastry Crust

Horizontal image of mini quiches on a slate.
Photo © Nikki Cervone

Quiche isn’t just for brunch, and your fellow revelers will love these mini mouthfuls in flaky puff pastry. Perfect for customizing with your favorite fillings, they couldn’t be easier to prepare.

Not in the mood for classic spinach and cheddar? Try ham and Swiss instead, or bell pepper and mozzarella.

Get the recipe now on Foodal.

3. Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Bites

Overhead image of sweet potato rounds topped with a creamy spread and herbs, on a slate surface.
Photo © Fork in the Kitchen

Homemade sweet potato chips spread with goat cheese, sprinkled with rosemary and thyme, and drizzled with honey. These impressive bites take just a few minutes to make.

Learn how to prepare Becca’s recipe now at Fork in the Kitchen.

4. Garlic and Rosemary Grissini

A white ceramic pitcher of crunchy grissini, with a blue checkered cloth kitchen towel in the background.
Photo © Flour Arrangements

These crisp Italian breadsticks are flavored with garlic and herbs, and you can make them into whatever shapes you like. They’re perfect on a cheese platter or served with antipasto before an Italian meal.

Check out Suzanne’s recipe now on Flour Arrangements.

Crostini and Bruschetta

Whatever you call them, little circles of bread topped with sweet and savory ingredients, drizzled with something festive, and sprinkled with something fresh, make a satisfying snack to stave off hunger until the big meal arrives.

And best of all, they’re some of the simplest appetizers to put together – so you can steer clear of holiday stress and enjoy the party.

5. Maple Pear Crostini

Oblique close up of a batch of maple pear crostini on a white ceramic platter sitting on a green wooden table | Foodal
Photo © Mike Quinn

Buttered toast, ripe pears, salty parmesan, and sweet maple syrup all come together to form this simple, satisfying appetizer. If you can wield a knife and work a toaster oven, you can make this recipe for your guests.

Learn how to make this app now on Foodal.

6. Classic Bruschetta

Bruschetta with mozzarella, tomato and basil on toast rounds, on white stacking serving trays with sprigs of fresh herbs.
Photos © Hunger Thirst Play

Match your decor with this red and green holiday bruschetta, made with fresh plum tomatoes and basil. And if you really want to go for it, definitely add the optional mozzarella for extra decadence.

Lauren Falardeau Pariseau shares the recipe on Hunger Thirst Play.

7. Roasted Cherry Goat Cheese Crostini

Overhead closely cropped image of a board topped with toast slices with cherries, herbs, and cheese, with a colander of fruit in the upper left corner and a plated crostini on a gray dish at the bottom right.
Photo © Fork in the Kitchen

If you can find fresh cherries in your neighborhood at this time of year, you absolutely must try these. Frozen fruit or cherry preserves could work in a pinch!

The cherries are pitted and then roasted with thyme, served on toasted baguette slices with a smear of goat cheese and a sprinkling of chopped basil. If you’re a fan of pairing savory herbs with sweet stone fruit, you will love these.

Check out the recipe now on Fork in the Kitchen.

8. Garlic Mayo Chicken and Gruyère Crostini

A simple chicken crostini app on a slate with cherry tomatoes in a bowl and scattered in the background.
Photo © Recipes Worth Repeating

Garlic mayo, chicken, and cheese, topped with a sprinkling of fresh basil and arranged on baguette rounds. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Prep the chicken breast and the mayo ahead of time, and enjoy the party.

Amanda shares her instructions on Recipes Worth Repeating.

9. Balsamic Tomato and Fennel Bruschetta

Horizontal image of a platter with bruschetta drizzled with a dark glaze.
Photo © Fanny Slater

Topped with juicy tomatoes, fennel, garlic, and basil, these tasty red-and-green toast bites are perfect for holiday snacking.

The veggie topping can be made in advance, but be sure to serve these ASAP once the bruschetta is plated, so the bread keeps its crunch!

We share the recipe on Foodal.

Cheese Platter

If you’re of the mind that no gathering would be complete without cheese and crackers, don’t forget to throw some added interest into your offerings. Make it something special with the following recipes.

10. Wild Blueberry Chutney with Creamy Brie

Brie with Wild Blueberry Chutney and thyme
Photo © The Domestic Dietitian

Made with frozen wild blueberries, shallots, and jalapeños, this tangy chutney pairs so nicely with the creamy brie.

Check out the recipe from The Domestic Dietitian.

11. Cheddar Cheese Ball with Apple, Pecans, and Rosemary

A cheese ball encrusted with nuts and herbs in the foreground on a plate surrounded by crackers and rosemary, with evergreen boughs, ornaments, and decorative lights in the background.
Photo © Vintage Kitty

You’ll be in homemade cheese ball heaven with this holiday crowd-pleaser from Charity Beth Long. creamy cheese is coated in a tasty mix of apple chips and pecans oven-roasted in butter, and chopped fresh rosemary.

Get the recipe from Vintage Kitty.

12. Puff Pastry Baked Brie with Fresh Fig Jam

Overhead image of puff pastry filled with figs and jam on a marble surface, surrounded by fresh fruit, herbs, and nuts.
Photos © Hunger Thirst Play

Repeat after me: you don’t have to be afraid of puff pastry, you don’t have to be afraid of puff pastry, you don’t have to be afraid of puff pastry.

Maybe you’re not ready to tackle making it from scratch just yet, but the frozen version is so easy to work with. You’ll love enrobing a wheel of brie with it, and topping it with homemade fresh fig jam.

Learn more at Hunger Thirst Play.

13. Marinated Cheese

Sliced marinated cheese arranged in rows in a ceramic serving dish and topped with finely chopped herbs.
Photo © Recipes Worth Repeating

Super easy to put together, two types of cheese are layered and marinated in a tasty white wine vinegar dressing made with pimientos, garlic, parsley, scallions, and basil. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!

Get the details at Recipes Worth Repeating.

14. Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

Overhead image of red peppers stuffed with white soft cheese, on a bed of lettuce in a white ceramic bowl.
Photo © Fork in the Kitchen

Sweet with a touch of heat and packed with tangy goat cheese, these stuffed peppers come together in just minutes.

Learn how to make your own at home from Becca at Fork in the Kitchen.

15. Classic Cheese Straws

A glass filled with homemade cheese straws.
Photo © Rachel Phipps

Crunchy, buttery, and full of cheesy flavor with just a touch of spice, these classic crisps are delicious served on their own, or with hummus or your favorite dip.

Rachel Phipps shares the recipe.

16. Pimiento Cheese

Overhead image of pimiento cheese in a white ceramic bowl surrounded by broken crackers, with a ramekin of sliced pickled jalapenos and a small fork to the left, on a dark brown wood surface.
Photo © Anne Wolfe Postic

No Southern Christmas would be complete without a bowlful of pimiento cheese dip. Anne Wolfe Postic isn’t a purist though, and her recipe allows for a lot of flexibility.

Anne says it’s easy to make this with the ends of any leftover cheese that’s in your fridge, Duke’s mayonnaise or even Miracle Whip (though I must say, I’m a lifelong Hellmann’s fan myself…), pimientos, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and mustard.

But hold on a second – she also says you can swap out the pimientos for whatever pickles you have on hand, or olives, and you might even be inclined to mix in some miso paste or Vegemite!

Unconventional choices for sure, but I love Anne’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to making something great for a party with what you have on hand, and you will too.

Get the details here.

17. Cheese and Charcuterie Tree

Cheese Charcuterie Tree with Nuts and Fruit
Photo © Chewable Structures

This fun snack arrangement designed for fall can take on a new form when it’s reworked for the winter holidays. You’ll have fun arranging evergreen-shaped boughs and putting those Christmas cookie cutters to work to make colorful decorative elements.

With Theresa’s guidance, let your imagination run free and make a lovely visual display that’s perfect for the season. Don’t forget to take a picture, because this one won’t last!

Learn more on Chewable Structures.

Satisfying Seafood

Chilled jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce is a classic, but let’s change things up a bit for the seafood-lovers this year, shall we?

Make a splash at your tree-trimming soiree or while you’re watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve with these recipes.

18. Spanish Garlic Prawns with Garlic Butter Sauce

Closely cropped image of a plate of cooked shrimp topped with herbs, with a small bowl of green olives on a plate of other foods in shallow focus in the background.
Photo © Compass and Fork

Smoked paprika plus lots of garlic and butter are the flavorful secrets to success with this tasty app. Buy shrimp with the tails on for a fun presentation!

Mark and Elizabeth share the recipe on Compass and Fork.

19. Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Vegetable and shrimp spring rolls in translucent rice paper wrappers, on a slate surface with scattered herbs and veggies, beside a clear glass bowl of dipping sauce topped with chopped peanuts.
Photo © Evolving Table

Shrimp spring rolls packed with brightly colored fresh veggies and herbs make a lovely presentation on your holiday table. Perfect for New Year’s Eve, your guests can start the year off right with this healthy appetizer.

Get the recipe now on Evolving Table.

20. Breaded Prawns with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Breaded prawns on a platter surrounding a clear glass jar of red dipping sauce.
Photo © Rachel Phipps

Breaded in regular breadcrumbs or matzoh meal, these deep-fried shrimp are a fun alternative to the more traditional chilled cocktail.

You’ll find Rachel Phipps’ recipe here.

21. DIY Gin and Dill Cured Salmon

Closeup image of blini arranged in rows on a wooden board, topped with sour cream, lox, and sprigs of dill.
Photo © Rachel Phipps

Ready to try salmon sliced thin and cured at home with fresh dill, dried juniper berries, and botanical gin? This holiday treat is so worth the extra effort!

Served on homemade blini and topped with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprig of dill, your guests will be coming back for second and third helpings of this brunch favorite.

Check out Rachel’s recipe here.

Mouthwatering Meats

Chicken? Steak? Charcuterie? If your crowd of meat-lovers will be gathering around the fire together this winter, be sure to try a few of these ideas.

22. Sticky Hot Chicken Wings

Closeup of chicken wings coated in a sticky glaze and sprinkled with fresh herbs and sesame seeds.
Photo © Spend With Pennies

These spicy baked wings are made with a secret ingredient to make them extra crispy – and you’ll have to check out the recipe to find out what it is. Sure, they’re messy. But the gang will love them!

Holly teaches us how to make them at Spend with Pennies.

23. Steak Roll-Ups

Asparagus, bell pepper, and steak roll-ups with herbs and sesame seeds on a white plate.
Photo © Recipes Worth Repeating

Love steak? These grilled roll-ups are tasty parcels containing a variety of vibrant veggies. And each one is wrapped in thin-sliced sirloin marinated in ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.

Learn how to make these at Recipes Worth Repeating.

24. Teriyaki Meatballs

Teriyaki meatballs arranged in rows on a plate and skewered with toothpicks for easy serving.
Photo © Recipes Worth Repeating

These marinated and baked teriyaki beef meatballs are sprinkled with sesame seeds and brushed with a bit of extra teriyaki sauce before serving. Dont’ forget the toothpicks!

Get the details now on Recipes Worth Repeating.

25. Tropical Chicken Cups

Overhead shot of tropical chicken cup appetizers on a wood board, on top of a dark and light blue patterned cloth.
Photo © Meghan Yager

These appetizer cups couldn’t be cuter, and they’re easy to prepare with store-bought wonton wrappers, baked until they’re crisp in mini muffin tins to hold their shape.

Onion, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, and lime juice flavor the tasty chicken base, and it’s topped with lime zest, ripe avocado, and fresh pineapple to fill the cups. Yum!

Learn how to make these for your next party on Foodal.

26. Buffalo Chicken Celery Sticks

Closely cropped vertical close-up image of buffalo chicken dip-filled celery sticks, topped with a drizzle of white sauce and sliced scallions.
Photo © Evolving Table

Can you say irresistible? Take the work out of preparing pre-dinner wings and serve shredded Buffalo chicken instead, stuffed into celery sticks and drizzled with ranch dressing – or my personal preference, a chunky blue cheese.

London Brazil shares the recipe on Evolving Table.

27. Italian Antipasto Platter

Proscuitto and melon, cheeses, caprese salad, and other items on two boards for antipasto, with a bottle of balsamic vinegar, herbs, and tomatoes on the vine in the background.
Photo © Compass and Fork

An Italian antipasto platter is easy to throw together with a little something for everyone. But Mark and Elizabeth’s directions will help you elevate your humble offerings to a level appropriate for a holiday fete with just a few simple twists.

Swap out the usual sliced cheese and cured meats for aged Parmigiano Reggiano with balsamic vinegar from Modena, a fresh caprese salad, and prosciutto with melon, and your guests will thank you.

Mark and Elizabeth share their instructions and tips at Compass and Fork.

28. Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaf

Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaf stacked in a bowl, with a smaller rectangular dish of chutney in the foreground.
Photo © Compass and Fork

These traditional Thai tidbits are a special treat that you have got to try, if only once a year. And what better time to serve them than at the holidays?

The list of ingredients here is long, but your taste buds will sing with the flavors of ground beef, garlic, ginger, shrimp paste and dried shrimp, galangal, palm sugar, lemongrass, fish sauce, and betel leaf.

If any of these ingredients aren’t commonly found in your pantry at home, see if you can find everything you need at your local Asian grocery store. The results will be so worth it.

Get the recipe at Compass and Fork.

29. Calzone Rolls

Calzone roll-ups arranged on a white plate with sprigs of fresh basil, on a brown wooden background in bright sunshine.
Photo © Eat Something Delicious

For a pretty presentation that’s also delicious, this is one of my favorites on our list.

The traditional calzone tends to be heavy and unwieldy, the kind of food that will lead you to curl up and take a nap shortly after eating it. But these mini bites stuffed with sausage, peppers, onions, pepperoni, mozzarella, and fresh basil offer big flavor in a tiny package.

Just roll out your dough, layer the filling ingredients on top, roll into a log, then slice and bake. Don’t forget the marinara sauce for dipping!

Meagan shares the recipe on Eat Something Delicious.

Sweet and Savory

Figs and other types of dried fruit are popular wintertime selections. For those who aren’t fans of fruit cake, we suggest the following sweet and satisfyingly savory small bites.

30. Devils on Horseback

Prunes wrapped in bacon, arranged on a plate and skewered with toothpicks.
Photo © Compass and Fork

A festive retro treat, these bacon-wrapped prunes were inspired by a recipe that dates back to Victorian times.

The choice of prunes was a later addition in place of oysters, and we know you’ll love the toothsome texture and the combination of sweet and savory flavors in this app.

Plus, with just two ingredients and a stack of toothpicks, you’re ready to party!

Find the recipe on Compass and Fork.

31. Fig and Cheddar Thumbprint Cookies

A pile of cheddar fig thumbprint cookies on a black background.
Photo © Feast in Thyme

Savory shortbread cookies filled with sweet fig jam, these bites take the messy element out of preparing a cheese platter for your guests. No cheese slicers, snack plates, or slate boards required!

Okay, okay, you can still serve them on slate if you want to…

Get the recipe from Feast in Thyme.

32. Blue Cheese Stuffed Medjool Dates Wrapped in Prosciutto

Dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in thinly sliced deli meat, arranged in two rows on a sterling silver tray with a lemon cocktail to the left and two silver votive candle holders, and a glass bowl of popcorn to the right, on a gray wrinkled tablecloth.
Photo © Feast in Thyme

Another satisfying combo of sweet and savory, these big and soft Medjool dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in thinly sliced prosciutto are easy to make, with no cooking required. Just stuff, wrap, and go!

Kristen shares the recipe on Feast in Thyme.

33. Fig Compote, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Crostini

Crostini topped with cheese, becon, and fig jam, on a wooden serving board atop white cloths, with a sprig of fresh thyme.
Photo © Fork in the Kitchen

Fig compote made with dried fruit, red wine, thyme, and cinnamon is slathered on toasted baguette slices along with crispy bacon bits and goat cheese. Woohoo!

It’s easy to make a vegetarian version sans bacon for the non-meat-eaters as well, and you can essentially guarantee that all of these will be gobbled up in a flash.

Becca will teach you how to make the recipe on Fork in the Kitchen.

34. Sausage Bites with Fig and Pomegranate Mustard

A piece of sausage dipped in brown mustard on a thin pretzel stick, with more sausage pieces in the background.
Photo © Spoonabilities

Sliced sausages skewered on thin pretzel sticks and dipped in a fruity mustard make a treat that’s fun to eat!

And you won’t find toothpicks stuck inconspicuously all around the house when the party’s over, if that’s a problem you’ve encountered before…

Find the recipe now on Spoonabilities.

Fresh, Fruity, and Festive

No, we’re not talking about today’s special at your favorite diner. Fresh fruit makes a delightful appetizer, and there are so many different forms that are ideal for presentation at a holiday gathering.

35. Cranberry Chutney

Horizontal image of jars with a red jelly spread next to spices and fresh ingredients.
Photo © Fanny Slater

The humble cranberry tends to play a starring role at festive fall and wintertime occasions. And the tart fruit is all dressed up and ready to impress in this tangy and delicious chutney.

Serve it alongside your spread of cheese and crackers, top a wheel of brie, or pair it with your choice of charcuterie – every sweet-tart bite will make those taste buds go wild.

We share the recipe on Foodal.

36. Tangy Fruit Salsa with Baked Cinnamon Chips

A hand dips a chip into a glass bowl of fruit salsa surrounded by more triangular chips, with a lime and raspberries in the background on a blue cloth napkin.
Photo © Recipes Worth Repeating

A sweet fruit salsa is a nice surprise in a sea of savory options. Skip the fruit salad at your holiday brunch and serve this dippable blend of raspberry, blackberry, lime, kiwi, and peach instead, with home-baked cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.

Get the details from Amanda Mason at Recipes Worth Repeating.

37. Strawberry-Basil Cream Cheese Spread

A block of cream cheese topped with a strawberry sauce and fresh basil, on a decorative round platter with a cheese spreader, on a gray slate with crackers and bowl containing more of the fruit compote.
Photo © Recipes Worth Repeating

Strawberries and basil are a winning combo blended with a touch of balsamic vinegar, and using frozen fruit to prepare this compote for topping soft, spreadable cream cheese sweetens the deal since it’s easily available year-round. This pick requires hardly any prep at all.

Learn how to make it on Recipes Worth Repeating.

Tex-Mex Treats

Tex-Mex delights aren’t just for game day! Get the fiesta going with these cheesy, spicy snacks.

38. Tamale Bites

Overhead closely cropped image of tamale bites on two patterned plates, topped with cotija cheese and herbs, with a metal spatula, half of a lime, and a rainbow-colored striped cloth napkin.
Photo © A Spicy Perspective

Tasty finger food with simplified prep? Yes, please!

These bites can be filled with your favorite shredded protein, whether it be chicken, beef, or pork, and all the tasty toppings like crumbled cheese and fresh herbs.

Sommer shares the recipe on A Spicy Perspective.

39. Six-Layer Mexican Pinwheels

Pinwheel wraps stuffed with vegetables and vegan cheese arranged on a white plate with a hand reaching for one, on a bright yellow background.
Photo © Minimalist Baker

Filled with a homemade vegan Mexican cheese spread, refried beans, salsa, and fresh vegetables, a few of these are sure to tide your guests over until dinner is served.

Get the recipe now on Minimalist Baker.

40. Nacho Pizza

Horizontal image of slices of a round flatbread covered in assorted colorful fresh toppings and a drizzle of mayonnaise on a wooden cutting board next to a cocktail and a colorful towel.
Photo © Fanny Slater

Your pals will love this enticing mashup of two classic party foods – nachos and pizza!

A homemade or store-bought crust is topped with black beans and cheese, baked until golden brown and bubbly, and smothered with a colorful mélange of nacho favorites. It’s a feast for the eyes and the belly alike!

Find the recipe on Foodal.

41. Taco Potato Skins

Potato skins with cheese, tomato, cilantro, and taco meat, with fresh herbs in the background.
Photo © Eat Something Delicious

Want to save yourself some effort? Skip dinner and serve these instead!

These taco potato skins offer everything you want in a cheesy beef taco, stuffed into a potato – dinner party success is ensured here, with time left over to bake a few batches of cookies.

Learn how to make these at home on Eat Something Delicious.

Veggie-Forward Favorites

A little crudité never hurt anyone. In fact, veggies are one of my favorite appetizers since they can be so hard to come by at parties or as part of the snack spread before a decadent, comfort-food-filled meal with dessert to follow.

Alongside the carrot sticks and bell pepper strips, try these roasted, raw, baked, blended, and fried options.

42. Baba Ghanoush Hummus

Overhead image of a blue and white bowlful of baba ghanoush hummus with a lemon wedge, olive oil, and herbs, on a white plate with yellow corn chips, on a brown wooden background.
Photo by Felicia Lim

Two Mediterranean favorites in one, this tasty dip combines roasted eggplant with traditional hummus ingredients. Serve it with sliced veggies for dipping, or if you have time, triangles of homemade sour barley pita.

Get the recipe now on Foodal.

43. Vegetarian Wonton Bites

Vegetable Wonton Bites
Photo © The Domestic Dietitian

Here are those wonton wrappers again!

Back in the day when I helped to manage a catering business, making magic with wonton cups was one of our favorite party tricks and we often made veggie ones like these, filled with things like roasted butternut squash bits and pumpkin seeds.

Brynn McDowell’s version is simple to prepare, and can be filled with just about anything. This version is stuffed with hummus and veggies, and topped with spicy sriracha.

You’ll find the recipe at The Domestic Dietitian.

44. Spicy Collard Wraps

Horizontal image of vegetable rolls on a white plate next to bowls of quinoa and bruschetta.
Photo © Fanny Slater

These tasty vegan collard wraps are vegan finger food at its finest. And you won’t believe all the flavors and textures packed in here!

Spiced quinoa, hummus, tomatoes, avocado, carrots, and sprouts join forces to create something a little different for your holiday guests to enjoy.

Get the recipe on Foodal.

45. Artichoke Dip

A glass bowl of half-eaten baked artichoke dip, with a wood-handled spreader.
Photo © Erika’s Gluten-free Kitchen

This gut-friendly dip is low FODMAP and you can opt to make it lactose-free, so many diners will be able to indulge without having rumbling tummies (in a bad way) as a result.

Artichoke hearts are blended with dairy-free cheeses and sour cream, and the results are delightful.

Find the recipe now on Erika’s Gluten-free Kitchen.

46. Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Skewered stuffed mushrooms with fresh herbs, on a white plate.
Photo © The Fitchen

There’s no reason to overcomplicate things when it comes to stuffed mushrooms, and we love this version from Jordan and Clark Cord.

Baby bella mushrooms play nicely with goat cheese that’s flavored simply with garlic, thyme, and a little salt and pepper.

Sound good? Learn how to make these at The Fitchen.

47. Creamy Oven-Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Horizontal image of a creamy dip and crudite platter
Photo © Nikki Cervone

Fans of roasted red bell peppers will delight in the creamy perfection that is this dip. And it’s easy to roast your own peppers at home!

Smooth, rich, and full of flavor, serve it topped with chopped peppers and fresh basil for some added holiday flair.

Find the recipe now on Foodal.

48. Veggie Tower with Creamy Cilantro Dip

A Jenga-style stack of vegetable sticks, cheese, and pepperoni.
Photo © Flour Arrangements

Like party games?

Depending on the rowdiness of your guests, this one might end up on the floor. But before it’s reduced to a pile of veggie rubble (plus cheese and salami, if you like!), they’ll marvel at the spectacle of this architectural presentation, served with creamy cilantro dip on the side.

Suzanne will teach you how to build your own tower at Flour Arrangements.

49. Simple Thai Spring Rolls

Four fried spring rolls in a black ceramic bowl with fresh cilantro sprigs, on a brown mat.
Photo © Compass and Fork

Filled with ground pork and glass noodles, cabbage and other healthy veggies, and pan-fried until golden, these spring rolls make a delectable finger food, served with plum or hoisin sauce for dipping.

And the visual tutorial that’s provided makes rolling these babies a piece of cake.

Get the recipe at Compass and Fork.

Vegan Vittles

As with the gluten-free category below, the items listed here are not necessarily the only vegan items on our list – we’ve already named a few! – but they stand out as recipes that vegans might typically be precluded from enjoying.

I’d make it a point to let your vegan guests know that they can enjoy these specialties, but no one else needs to know that the cheese or fudge that they are gobbling down is actually vegan!

50. Five-Minute Vegan Cheese

A large ceramic remekin of vegan cheese topped with nuts and herbs, on a platter surrounded by pretzels, chips, sliced cucumber, and grape tomatoes, with a silver serving spreader.
Photo © Hello Spoonful

This vegan cheese dip is made with macadamia nuts and nutritional yeast, and it’s easy to whip up in just a few minutes. Seriously!

Elizabeth shares her recipe at Hello Spoonful.

51. Chocolate-Covered Coconut Protein Bounty Balls

Close-up image of chocolate covered protein balls.
Photo © One Clever Chef

These vegan coconut candies are sweetened with maple syrup and coated in dark chocolate. Oh, and don’t forget to add just a sprinkle of fleur de sel before the chocolate dries!

Learn how to make them at One Clever Chef.

52. Deep-Fried Jalapeno Poppers

Horizontal image of fried pepper chips with a white sauce.
Photo © Raquel Smith

Yes, you can make delicious deep-fried vegan jalapeno poppers at home to get the party started!

They’re so cheesy, so spicy, and so satisfying, served with your favorite vegan dip on the side. Ranch is a tasty pick that’s always a hit.

Find the recipe now on Foodal, or you can also peruse our full roundup of vegan appetizers here.

53. Vegan Vanilla Fudge

Yellow fudge squares on pieces of parchment paper, on a brown rough wood surface.
Photo © One Clever Chef

Yes, vegan fudge is a real thing, and it is delicious. Made with just four ingredients, these tasty bites are packed with protein too.

You’ll find the recipe on One Clever Chef.

Gluten-Free Nibbles

Ponying up to the buffet table at a holiday party can be a bit like diving into the deep end for those with food allergies and intolerances. Remember to check with your guests before your party to find out if they have any special dietary needs, or invite them to bring a platter to share.

Eating with loved ones is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the holidays, and a little bit can go a long way in terms of making your guests feel welcome and included.

54. Soft Ginger Cookies

A white ceramic bowl of ginger cookies, on a marble surface beside one that has had a bite taken out of it.
Photo by Felicia Lim

These gluten-free cookies are a nice alternative to the traditional holiday gingerbread, sweet and delicately spiced, with a big hit of the classic ginger flavor that Santa and his elves – and holiday partygoers everywhere – so crave.

Find the recipe on Foodal.

55. Corn Dog Bites

Gluten-Free Corn Dog Bites
Photo © Erika’s Gluten-free Kitchen

Love corn dogs? This homemade version is gluten free, and delicious with a dollop of mustard.

Get the recipe now on Erika’s Gluten-free Kitchen.

56. Spicy Cheese Straws

Wavy cheese straws fill a tall patterned glass.
Photo © Queen of My Kitchen

A blend of gluten-free flour, parmesan, and cayenne pepper, these spicy cheese sticks are crisp and flavorful, and easy to cut into fun shapes for a nice presentation.

Mona shares the recipe at Queen of My Kitchen.

57. Easy Miso and Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs with miso and sriracha, topped with black sesame seeds and fresh herbs.
Photo © Rachel Phipps

Miso, mayo, and spicy sriracha flavor this taste sensation, a twist on classic deviled eggs. And they’re topped with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds, scallions, and cilantro.

Check out the recipe now, from Rachel Phipps.

Sweet and Chocolatey

Some guests have more of a sweet tooth than others, and though my preferences tend towards the savory (or those delightful combos of savory and sweet) for noshing before a meal, people like what they like – and to each his own!

But I never say no to chocolate, and I know I am not alone. Don’t leave those chocoholic guests hanging. Select a few of the following nibbles that are on the sweeter side.

58. Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

Snowflake-shaped chocolate brownie cut-out cookies, with blue and silver Christmas baubles on crumpled white parchment paper.
Photo by Nikki Cervone

Get out the cookie cutters and roll out a batch of these delicious chocolate brownie cookies, then decorate them for a lovely presentation.

If you’re not already a decorating pro, our guide to mastering royal icing can help!

Find the recipe now on Foodal.

59. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip
Photo © Eat Something Delicious

Cheesecake is a decadent favorite, and serving it in dip form is fun for guests. Well, at least for those guests who can still eat lactose-laden treats as adults, and who aren’t stressed about their holiday waistlines…

Surprise! This recipe is dairy free, gluten free, and paleo. Can you believe it? Served with crisp plantain chips, this will be the best guilt-free chocolate chip cheesecake you’ve ever had.

Learn more from Meagan at Eat Something Delicious.

60. Dark Chocolate Hummus

Horizontal image of a chocolate hummus topped with slice strawberries served with apple and strawberry slices on a board.
Photo © Meghan Yager

Yup, you heard me right! Break out the strawberries and the apple slices for dipping, because this chocolatey bean spread isn’t going to last long.

If your fellow revelers haven’t given dark chocolate hummus a whirl before, or if you’re not a fan of the usual garlicky schmear, now’s the time to try this delicious creation that’s not to sweet, and oh so tasty.

Learn how to make the recipe now on Foodal.

61. Sea Turtles

Chocolate and nut turtle candies, arranged on a baking sheet.
Photo © Eat Something Delicious

What makes these chocolate, pecan, and date clusters sea turtles, rather than some other variety? The sprinkling of sea salt on top, of course!

A fun project to make with the kids, these candies are also dairy free.

You’ll find the recipe on Eat Something Delicious.

62. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patty Fat Bombs

Closeup image of dark chocolate peppermint candies.
Photo © Real Balanced

Minty and sweet, these chocolatey treats are stuffed with creamy shredded coconut. They’ll adore each rich, frosty bite!

Check out the recipe now at Real Balanced.

Go Nuts

Nothing says “holiday time is here!” like a bowlful of nuts in their shells, with a nutcracker alongside it. But this serving method can be messy, and the effort required is often eschewed in favor of more readily accessible snacks.

Dress up those nuts with these scrumptious suggestions.

63. Snickers-Style Protein Bars

Homemade chocolate-enrobed protein bars, in the style of a Snickers.
Photo © One Clever Chef

This copycat recipe might just be even better than the real thing, made with a homemade nougat base, layer of caramel, and a peanut topping, all coated in dark chocolate. Plus, these bars are gluten free, dairy free, and vegan!

Gabriel shares the instructions at One Clever Chef.

64. Maple-Spiced Nuts and Seeds

Horizontal image of a white bowl filled with toasted pecans, walnuts, and seeds on a gray wooden surface.
Photo © Fanny Slater

These crunchy clusters are savory and sweet with just a touch of heat – perfect for grabbing by the handful between rounds on the dance floor!

Easily customizable, choose your favorite combination of nuts and seeds to make your own crave-worthy creations.

We share the recipe on Foodal.

65. Pecan Pie Shortbread Bars

A pecan pie shortbread bar on a plate, with more in the background in a clear glass baking dish, and a white ceramic mug of coffee.
Photo © Eat Something Delicious

Turn your favorite pie into finger food with this delicious recipe. Plus, (are you ready?) they’re gluten free and dairy free, made with coconut flour, tapioca starch, coconut milk, and dates.

Find the details now at Eat Something Delicious.

66. Savory Spinach Cake with Raisins, Walnuts, and Feta

Horizontal image of a circular baked good mixed with green leaves, cheese, and nuts on a gray surface, with a slice removed from it to the side.
Photo © Fanny Slater

Spinach and feta are a much-loved pair, and you’ll love serving up slices of this savory nut- and raisin-laden cake to munch on while you chat and catch up.

Prepare it in advance – or make a few – to slice and serve when the time is right.

Find the recipe now on Foodal.

Boozy Bites

A little drink before dinner is always nice, but it can be hard to juggle a martini glass and a plate full of snacks. For the best of both worlds, serve a few of these alcohol-infused bites to whet their appetites instead.

67. Whiskey Chocolate Truffles

Homemade Whiskey Truffles
Photo by Felicia Lim

Whiskey and chocolate make an enticing combination, and what better way to enjoy it than in truffle form?

If you’re a homemade candy newbie, you’ll love the simplicity of these cocktail-inspired bites.

Learn how to make them now on Foodal.

68. Chocolate Rum Balls

A chocolate rum ball with a bite taken out of it is held up between a thumb and forefinger, with more arranged on a plate in soft focus in the background.
Photo © One Clever Chef

Another vegan candy recipe that’s full of flavor, these bites are made with a base of almond flour, dates, cocoa powder, and plenty of dark rum.

Head over to One Clever Chef for detailed instructions.

69. Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

A bowl and paper-filled glass of caramel popcorn, on a black table with red sphere-shaped Christmas ornaments and a red placemat.
Photo © Recipes Worth Repeating

Coated in homemade bourbon caramel, this recipe is much simpler to make than the traditional popcorn balls – and easier to nibble on before the big meal as well.

Learn more at Recipes Worth Repeating.

It’s Party Time!

Armed with these recipes, you’re ready to meet the pre-meal and snacking challenges of whatever events come your way this winter. There are so many delicious possibilities!

Horizontal image of a collage of different foods, with text in the middle.

And to make your tablescape complete, don’t forget to check out our guide to decorative napkin folding, and visit our sister site, Gardener’s Path, for a simple DIY evergreen arrangement tutorial.

What will you serve at your home, or bring to your next get-together this season? Share with us in the comments below.

And for even more tasty ideas, give these a read next:

Photos by Felicia Lim, Fanny Slater, Meghan Yager, Raquel Smith, Mike Quinn, and Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. All other photos in this article are owned and copyrighted by their respective owners as identified and reprinted with permission by Ask the Experts, LLC. All rights reserved by all parties. Originally published on December 19, 2017 with additional contributions by Janice Alian. Last updated on December 10, 2022.

About Allison Sidhu

Allison M. Sidhu is a culinary enthusiast from southeastern Pennsylvania who has returned to Philly after a seven-year sojourn to sunny LA. She loves exploring the local restaurant and bar scene with her best buds. She holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College and an MA in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen whipping up something tasty (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she does the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her keyboard, chilling in the garden, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a dollar dog and crab fries at the Phillies game.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.