Ring in the New Year with our Island-Style Tropical Chicken Cups Appetizer

Ring-a-ding-ding, you just found your new favorite party appetizer for New Year’s Eve! Tropical chicken cups are the answer, friends. And they pair perfectly with champagne.

Overhead shot of baked wonton wrapped cups filled with a chicken, pineapple, and avocado mixture and topped with fresh herbs, on a wood serving board on top of a dark and light blue patterned cloth, printed with white and orange text.

What do you like to do for New Year’s Eve?

For me and my husband, what we do varies every year. There are some years when we host a party, and there are other years when we attend someone else’s party. There are even some years that we stick together at home with our pups, and enjoy the Christmas tree for one more night before taking it down on New Year’s Day.

Regardless, there’s always food and bubbly involved. Even if it’s just the two of us at home for the celebration, I still like to go all out with little appetizers and treats to pair with a chilled bottle of sparkling wine.

It doesn’t matter where your New Year’s Eve plans take you this year. Wherever you find yourself will serve as the ideal location to bring out the flavors of the tropical islands.

Wonton cups filled with a tropical chicken mixture and topped with a sprinkling of fresh herbs are arranged on a wood serving platter, on top of a dark and light blue cloth on a dark brown wood surface, with two copper Moscow Mule mugs in soft focus in the background.

When it comes to attending or hosting parties, I always seem to be the one who’s asked to make food.

I suppose I can’t blame my friends and family, given what I do for a living. However, at the end of the holiday season, I am totally pooped.

With the marathon baking and cooking that occurs from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I feel like I’ve exerted more effort in that month than I do for the remainder of the year.

Of course, then New Year’s Eve rolls around. And since it’s the last big blowout of the year, I want to make sure that I am bringing some deliciousness to the table to pair with whatever bubbly is going to be served.

On the other hand, I want delicious appetizer recipes that are handheld, flavorful, and really simple to make.

Enter: These gorgeous little tropical cups of chicken goodness.

Overhead vertical closeup shot of homemade tropical chicken cups in baked wonton wrappers, on a wood serving platter on top of a dark and light blue patterned cloth.

Turning wonton wrappers into baked finger-food cups is one of my absolute favorite ways to make handheld appetizers.

So many people will try to take a shortcut and buy those little puff pastry shells, but they really are quite expensive for the amount that you get. Instead, try a partially-homemade shortcut with store-bought wonton wrappers.

All you have to do is push them into mini muffin cups and bake them for 5 minutes. Then you will have dozens of crispy cups that can hold anything that your mind can dream up.

It’s the easiest thing ever, an inexpensive option that provides a tasty crispy exterior for a soft filling.

A blue and white plate of tropical chicken wonton cups is in the foreground with more on a wooden serving platter on top of a dark and light blue cloth place mat in soft focus in the background, on a dark brown wood surface.

With these tropical chicken cups, you get bold and beautiful island flavors in every delicious bite. The chicken is combined with garlic, onions, ginger, green onion, and coconut milk to make a creamy base.

Then, you fold in ripe avocado and freshly sliced pineapple to finish it all off. Simply fill the cups, and give them a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro on top.

It is that freaking simple to make happen, and in only 30 minutes in total.

These make an excellent handheld app for parties, and they go with all types of champagne, cava, or prosecco. With a glass of bubbles in one hand, and a tropical chicken cup in the other, you’ll be ready to ring in the New Year in style.

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Closeup shot of three tropical chicken wonton cups on a white plate with a blue splatter pattern.

Tropical Chicken Cups


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cups 1x

Description

Wherever you are for New Year’s Eve or your next festive event, heat things up with the flavors of the islands with our homemade Tropical Chicken Cups.


Scale

Ingredients

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 lb cooked chicken breast (i.e. leftover roasted chicken), diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray a mini muffin pan with olive oil.
  2. Press each wonton wrapper into the muffin cups, adhering to the shape of the cup. There will be a bit of folding involved, which is perfectly fine.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan.
  4. Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook another minute, stirring once or twice, until fragrant. Add diced chicken, coconut milk, and lime juice. Stir to combine. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and add lime zest, avocado, and pineapple. Stir gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon chicken mixture into prepared wonton wrappers. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve warm.

  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Appetizers

Keywords: chicken, tropical, pineapple, avocado, wonton

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Dice Chicken, Prep Produce, and Measure All Remaining Ingredients

Dice one pound of cooked chicken to get about 1 1/2 cups.

Peel and dice the red onion, mince the garlic (I like to use my garlic press for this), and grate the ginger.

Peel an avocado, remove the pit, and dice it.

Vertical overhead shot of a small stainless steel bowl of chopped cooked chicken breast, a whole pineapple, a lime, a red onion, an avocado, and a piece of fresh ginger, on a dark brown wood background.

Peel a pineapple, remove the core, and dice until you have 1/2 cup. Reserve the remaining pineapple for later snacking, or for use in other recipes!

Zest one lime and then slice it in half and juice it. Rolling it on the counter beneath your palm first can help to make the juice a bit easier to extract.

Chop some fresh cilantro and set it aside for garnish. I prepped about 1/4 cup.

Preheat your oven to 350˚F, and grease a mini muffin pan with olive oil spray.

Step 2 – Make Wonton Cups

Press each wonton wrapper into a well of the mini muffin pan.

Wonton wrappers are arranged in the wells of a mini muffin tin to create cups.

Make sure the wonton wrapper adheres to the shape of the cup, folding as necessary to create the cups.

Baked wonton wrapper cups arranged in rows in a mini muffin tin, on a dark brown wood background.

Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

Step 3 – Make Filling

While the wonton cups are baking and cooling, you can make the filling. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a large skillet and place it on the stove over medium heat.

Chopped cooked chicken in a large frying pan, on a dark brown wood surface.

Add the onion and cook it until it’s translucent, stirring occasionally. This will take about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook for another minute, stirring once or twice until fragrant.

Chopped cooked chicken breast is mixed with chopped avocado and pineapple in a large frying pan, on a dark brown wood surface.

Add the diced chicken, coconut milk, and lime juice. Stir to combine, continuing to cook until most of the liquid evaporates and the chicken is warmed through. This will take about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the lime zest, avocado, pineapple, and salt and pepper. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Step 4 – Fill Cups

Spoon the chicken mixture into the baked wonton cups, filling them to the top. Be gentle, so you don’t break them.

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

Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, and serve immediately.

Hosting a New Year’s Eve Party? Here’s the Ideal Menu

If you are hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year, you already know that you need to have more than one appetizer on the table, to offer your guests a good amount of variety that will keep them satisfied throughout the celebration.

Closeup shot of three tropical chicken wonton cups on a white plate with a blue splatter pattern.

To go along with these tropical chicken cups, here’s my handpicked selection of bites that I recommend serving:

What will you serve with these tropical chicken cups? Tell us in the comments below, and make sure you come back to rate the recipe after you make it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photo via Wilton. Originally published on March 11, 2012. Last updated: December 17, 2018 at 15:32 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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