Holiday Appetizer Recipes

These cold-weather appetizers are perfect for a holiday party

The holiday season means entertaining, which means lots of food. Whether you're preparing a full meal, throwing a cocktail party, or going to a potluck, the holidays are a time for warming, elegant appetizers. From stuffed figs and mushrooms to crostini and dips, we've rounded up our favorite holiday appetizer recipes.

Sweet potatoes are one of our favorite fall and winter ingredients. Earthy sweet potatoes are brightened by lemon zest, capers, and sour cream on a sweet and savory crostini. Sweet potato puree is an elegant base for seared scallops topped with onion marmalade. For something a little more casual, you can't go wrong with our sweet potato oven fries with a creamy curry-honey dipping sauce.

Rich, cheesy hors d'oeuvres are perfect for a holiday party. Figs stuffed with pungent robiola cheese and honey and topped with pomegranate seeds are sure to be a hit at a cocktail party. Our Welsh rarebit bites shrink down the British classic, topping baguette slices with apple and Stilton. A heartier appetizer for a sit-down meal is our fried Camembert with ham, melon, raspberry jam, and cranberry vinaigrette.

Winter isn't a season rich with green vegetables, but kale stays around when the temperature drops. Boiled cavolo nero kale (a type of kale) and salty prosciutto pair perfectly on an easy bruschetta. For a complex puff pastry tart, turn to a mixture of kale, fennel, olives, and feta.

Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of holiday appetizer recipes.

Smoky Baba Ghannouj with Oil-Cured Black Olives
Smoky Baba Ghannouj with Oil-Cured Black Olives
Mayonnaise ensures a creamy, smooth texture in this Midwestern riff on the classic Mediterranean dip by cookbook author Amy Thielen. Chopped cumin seeds add spice and a little crunch to the smoky eggplant.William Hereford
Caramelized Onion and Sunchoke Dip
Caramelized Onion and Sunchoke Dip
Nutty, buttery sunchokes add a chic, decidedly grown-up twist to this classic slumber party staple. Get the recipe »Matt Taylor-Gross
Dry-Cured Olives with Rosemary and Orange
Dry-Cured Olives with Rosemary and Orange
These olives are incredibly simple—all you have to do is mix them with orange zest and juice, rosemary, and pepper, then let them sit for an hour.Landon Nordeman
Sweet and Sour Eggplant
Sweet and Sour Eggplant
This classic sweet and sour eggplant dish is rich and sweetened with caramelized onions and raisins.Landon Nordeman
Fried Oysters with Spicy Rémoulade
Fried Oysters with Spicy Rémoulade
Oyster shells act as a natural serving platter for these crispy fried oysters with a creamy, spicy sauce.Todd Coleman
Venison Terrine (Dádýrakæfa)
Venison Terrine (Dádýrakæfa)
Venison is a great substitute for the traditional reindeer meat in this rustic cranberry-and-pistachio-studded terrine.Ingalls Photography
Fried Camembert with Ham, Melon, and Cranberry Vinaigrette
Fried Camembert with Ham, Melon, and Cranberry Vinaigrette
Wedges of gooey fried Camembert are served with both a sweet wine-spiked raspberry jam and a tart cranberry vinaigrette in this dish.Ingalls Photography
Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini
Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini
Crusty, garlicky toasted bread is topped with creamy ricotta, rosemary-accented beans, and spicy sautéed broccoli rabe in this quick, satisfying Italian appetizer.Andre Baranowski
Lemony Fried Cauliflower
Lemony Fried Cauliflower
In this take on a traditional Sephardic Jewish dish, culupidia frita con limón, cauliflower are coated in a flour and egg batter, fried, and then bathed in lemon juice. As a side or a snack, it's crunchy, tender, and brimming with fresh, tangy flavor.Yossy Arefi
Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce
Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce
An aromatic combination of spices elevate the humble sweet potato oven fry to something truly special.Maxime Iattoni
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
These poppers have a perfect marriage of textures and flavors—creamy, chive-flecked cheese cuts the bite of roasted jalapeños, while crispy bacon adds crunch.Maxime Iattoni
Apple and Stilton Welsh Rarebit Bites
Apple and Stilton Welsh Rarebit Bites
Piquant Stilton replaces the more traditional cheddar in this bite-sized twist on the classic British dish.Maxime Iattoni
Robiola-Stuffed Figs with Pomegranate
Robiola-Stuffed Figs with Pomegranate
Pungent Robiola cheese can be substituted with brie, ricotta, or any other soft cheese in this simple no-cook appetizer.Maxime Iattoni
Virginia Ham and White Cheddar Croquettes
Virginia Ham and White Cheddar Croquettes
Crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, potato croquettes filled with a combination of white cheddar and salty ham are the ultimate two-bite party snack.Anna Stockwell
Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles
Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles
This layered no-cook appetizer from former test kitchen assistant Eliza Martin features a sweet core of dried apricot coated in tangy goat cheese and then rolled in a savory mixture of crushed pistachios and fresh herbs. The finger-friendly "truffles" can be made up to 2 days before serving and stored in the refrigerator, making them the perfect hors d'oeuvres for the busy host or hostess. Get the recipe for Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles »Laura Sant
Scotch Eggs
Scotch Eggs
A hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and bread crumbs and then deep-fried may seem like a product of modern pub culture, but the Scotch egg was invented by London department store Fortnum & Mason in 1738.Maxime Iattoni
Sweet and Sour Potted Meatballs
Sweet and Sour Potted Meatballs
The recipe for these potted meatballs is adapted from Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited (Ten Speed Press, 2008).Todd Coleman
Devils on Horseback
Devils on Horseback
In this version of the classic hors d'oeuvre, oysters are cooked with garlic and wine, then set "astride" toasted garlic bread slices and sprinkled with bacon.Todd Coleman
Beet "Tartare"
Beet "Tartare"
Earthy roasted beets are brightened by fresh orange zest and tangy balsamic for a clever appetizer, which looks beautiful presented in individual endive spears. To make this dish vegan, omit the Greek yogurt or use a non-dairy yogurt alternative.Yossy Arefi
Pecan Cheese Wafers
Pecan Cheese Wafers
Pecans lightly brushed with egg whites are baked into cheesy, buttery wafers with a touch of chile flakes.Ingalls Photography
Garlic-and-Gruyere-Stuffed Mushrooms
Garlic-and-Gruyère-Stuffed Mushrooms
Garlic-stuffed mushrooms are enhanced with a little dry sherry and nutty Gruyère cheese.Romulo Yanes
Acadian Salt Cod Cakes
Acadian Salt Cod Cakes
Salt cod is mashed with fluffy potatoes to make these bite-size pan-fried cakes from Prince Edward Island.Gemma and Andrew Ingalls
Brigtsen's Scallops with Sweet Potato Puree and Onion Marmalade
Brigtsen's Scallops with Sweet Potato Puree and Onion Marmalade
Sweet potato puree and onion marmalade enhance the natural sweetness of scallops in this dish.Todd Coleman
Stuffed Pepperoncini with Smoked Salmon
Stuffed Pepperoncini with Smoked Salmon
Spicy, briny, creamy, and salty, this simple, retro-inspired appetizer is an unabashed crowd-pleaser.Yossy Arefi
Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Crostini
Garlic and Sweet Potato Crostini
Sweet and savory, crunchy and creamy come together on little toasts, which pair cubes of sweet potato with a flavorful spread featuring lemon zest, capers and sour cream.Helen Rosner
Callaloo and Cheddar Quiches
Callaloo and Cheddar Quiches
Jacqui Sinclair, food columnist for the Jamaica Observer, gave us the recipe for these mini brunch quiches made with callaloo, a spinach-like Jamaican green.Landon Nordeman
Kale Tarts with Fennel and Olives
Kale Tarts with Fennel and Olives
Kale and fennel lend a unique sweetness to these briny puff pastry tarts. They're perfect as appetizers, savory breakfasts, or as an accompaniment to a bowl of warm, wintry soup.MacKenzie Smith
Fried Tofu and Bacon Fritters (Tofu Wanzi)
Fried Tofu and Bacon Fritters (Tofu Wanzi)
China meets the American South in these tofu, bacon, and scallion fritters. Get the recipe for Fried Tofu and Bacon Fritters (Tofu Wanzi) »Todd Coleman
Venetian Rice Fritters (Arancini Veneziani)
Venetian Rice Fritters (Arancini Veneziani)
These cheesy rice fritters, often made with leftover risotto, are an addictive snack.Todd Coleman
Lamb and Bulgur Wheat Croquettes (Kibbeh)
Lamb and Bulgur Wheat Croquettes (Kibbeh)
These spiced croquettes are a classic Middle Eastern snack.Todd Coleman
Cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) bruschetta
Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta
Cavolo nero, also known as Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, or Dinosaur kale, balances thinly sliced, salty prosciutto over toast.Laura Sant
Tuna Melt Canapes
Tuna Melt Canapes
Curry powder, raisins, and chutney pair nicely with cheddar cheese in this dressed-up tuna melt.Todd Coleman
Yankee Fish Cakes
Yankee Fish Cakes
These lemon-and-dill-flavored fish cakes are a favorite of northeastern Massachusetts.Todd Coleman
Eggplant and Parsley Dip (Melintzanosalata)
Eggplant and Parsley Dip (Melintzanosalata)
Chiles lend heat to this smoky dip from Kea, Greece.Penny De Los Santos
Zucchini Fritters (Kolokitho Keftedes)
Zucchini Fritters (Kolokitho Keftedes)
Based on a recipe from author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, this Cretan meze dish can be served hot or at room temperature.Todd Coleman
Onion and Anchovy Tarts (Pissaladières)
Onion and Anchovy Tarts (Pissaladières)
Based on the classic French caramelized-onion tart with olives and anchovies, these little two-bite hors d'oeuvres pack a flavorful punch.Todd Coleman