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.
Caramelized Onion and Sunchoke Dip
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.
This classic sweet and sour eggplant dish is rich and sweetened with caramelized onions and raisins.
Oyster shells act as a natural serving platter for these crispy fried oysters with a creamy, spicy sauce.
Venison is a great substitute for the traditional reindeer meat in this rustic cranberry-and-pistachio-studded terrine.
Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini
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. Get the recipe for Lemony Fried Cauliflower »
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.
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 »
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.
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.
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.
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.
These lemon-and-dill-flavored fish cakes are a favorite of northeastern Massachusetts.
Based on the classic French caramelized-onion tart with olives and anchovies, these little two-bite hors d’oeuvres pack a flavorful punch.