Our 43 Best Holiday Party Appetizers

If the finger foods are good, everybody is happy

Finger-friendly, elegant, and (almost too) easy to eat, these recipes for appetizers and hors d'oeuvres are perfect for all of your holiday endeavors. Starting off with something unexpected, like salmon appetizers are one of our favorite ways to elevate any event, whether it's a fancy cocktail party or potluck dinner. But the classics are called so for a reason, so don't overlook go-tos like homemade pigs in a blanket, cheese gougères, or crab toasts. Any of these recipes can be scaled up to accommodate more guests. Now all you need is a festive drink.

For holiday menu inspiration, roast recipes, and more, check out our full Holiday Guide.

Cranberry Crostini
Cranberry crostini
Tart, colorful cranberries are not just for cooked and canned sauces. Paired with rich whipped ricotta spread and toasted baguette slices, the raw fruit has a punchy flavor and crunchy texture that's a light, bright complement to crostini. Prepare the dip up to one day ahead and store covered in the refrigerator. Stir or buzz in the food processor briefly before spreading onto toasts. Get the recipe for Cranberry Crostini »Matt Taylor-Gross
Nut and Cheese Gougères
Pecan gougeres
This recipe is adapted from cookbook author Dorie Greenspan. You can portion and freeze these gougères in advance, then bake them just before guests arrive (you may need to add a few minutes of baking time). This recipe makes soft gougères that are custardy in the center. If you prefer a firmer puff, use 4 eggs. Get the recipe for Nut and Cheese Gougères »Matt Taylor-Gross

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Fried Stuffed Castelvetrano Olives
Fried Stuffed Castelvetrano Olives
Making for a substantial snack, Rosa Pepe stuffs olives with a simple beef and pork filling; then dredges them in breadcrumbs before crisping them up in the deep-fryer. Get the recipe for Fried Stuffed Castelvetrano Olives »Romulo Yanes
Cabbage Dolmas
cabbage dolmas
In Armenian and nearby Middle Eastern cuisines, dolma refers to a family of stuffed vegetable dishes, most often wrapped in grape or cabbage leaves. You can use this same meat-and-rice filling—and a similar steaming technique—to hollow out and stuff zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, or peppers. Dolmas taste best warm, and leftovers can be resteamed one or more times as desired. Get the recipe for Cabbage Dolmas »William Hereford
Pigs in a Blanket with Herbed Mustard Dipping Sauce
pigs in blanket
The dough, a variation on a Southern-style biscuit dough, is rolled out and folded several times to ensure delicate layers. Leftover dough and scraps can be rolled out again and cut and baked into biscuits. The dough can also be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen until ready to use. Get the recipe for Pigs in a Blanket with Herbed Mustard Dipping Sauce »Matt Taylor-Gross
Beef Short Ribs Empanadas
Beef Short Ribs Empanadas
In his version of Chilean empanadas, chef Rodolfo Guzmán of Boragó replaces lean ground chuck with rich beef short ribs, which make each bite tender. Get the recipe for Beef Short Ribs Empanadas »Justin Walker
Baked Brie with Raspberry Jam
Baked Brie with Raspberry Jam
There's a reason this recipe is a classic party appetizer: crowned with jam and wrapped in puff pastry, a wheel of brie turns into a gooey, irresistible treat that's great eaten with crackers or toast. Get the recipe for Baked Brie with Raspberry Jam »Farideh Sadeghin
Broccoli Rabe and Italian Sausage Fried Ravioli
Broccoli Rabe and Italian Sausage Fried Ravioli
These giant fried ravioli are filled with a cheesy mixture of broccoli rabe, sausage, and cherry peppers. Get the recipe for Broccoli Rabe and Italian Sausage Fried Ravioli »Ingalls Photography
Farmers' Cheese with Onion and Pumpkin Seed Oil
Farmers' Cheese with Onion and Pumpkin Seed Oil
This creamy Slovenian spread is fantastic spread on toast at brunch or served as a dip with crisp vegetables—like radishes and fennel—at cocktail parties. Get the recipe for Farmers' Cheese with Onion and Pumpkin Seed Oil »Chris Court
Onion Tart with Goat Cheese
Onion Tart with Goat Cheese
This gorgeous tart has it all—sweetness from the caramelized onions, earthiness from the goat cheese, and a subtle saltiness from the anchovies. Get the recipe for Onion Tart with Goat Cheese »Helen Rosner
Crab Toast
Crab Toast
Spreading mayonnaise on both sides of the bread before grilling yields a perfectly golden brown crust. Get the recipe for Crab Toast »Marcus Nilsson
Sharp Cheddar and Sausage Balls
Sharp Cheddar Pork Sausage Balls
These holiday favorites benefit from a spicy, sage-heavy bulk pork sausage. Get the recipe for Sharp Cheddar and Sausage Balls »Marcus Nilsson
Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta
Kale and Prosciutto on Toast
Cavolo nero, also known as Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, or Dinosaur kale, balances thinly sliced, salty prosciutto over toast. Get the recipe for Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta »Laura Sant
Mexican Ricotta Croquettes
Mexican Ricotta Croquettes
Requeson (Mexican ricotta) and a variety of other Mexican cheeses to make these craveable croquettes. Serve them with a sweet and smoky chipotle-honey salsa. Get the recipe for Mexican Ricotta Croquettes »Matt Taylor-Gross
Classic Scotch Eggs
Classic 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 actually invented by London department store Fortnum & Mason in 1738. Get the recipe for Classic Scotch Eggs »Maxime Iattoni
Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles
Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles
A sweet core of dried apricot coated in tangy goat cheese is rolled in a savory mixture of crushed pistachios and fresh herbs. Get the recipe for Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles »Maxime Iattoni
Ricotta, Potato, and Scallion Fritters
Ricotta, Potato, and Scallion Fritters
Fried crisp and served hot, these cheesy fritters are ideal for dunking into warm soup. Get the recipe for Ricotta, Potato, and Scallion Fritters »Tom Parker
Swiss Fondue Fritters (Malakoffs)
Swiss Fondue Fritters (Malakoffs)
A decadent mixture of Gruyère, garlic, wine, and kirsch is scooped onto bread rounds and fried to perfection—golden and crisp outside, gooey inside. Get the recipe for Swiss Fondue Fritters (Malakoffs) »Penny De Los Santos
Steamed Pork Belly Dumplings with Brown Butter (Manti)
Olia Hercules Manti
Browned butter brings an extra layer of flavor, but the cherry on top comes in the form of fried shallots. Get the recipe for Steamed Pork Belly Dumplings with Brown Butter (Manti) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Indian Spiced Potato Pastries (Aloo Samose)
Indian Spiced Potato Pastries (Aloo Samose)
With their golden, flaky shells and sweet aroma, Indian samosas are a crowd-pleasing classic. Get the recipe for Indian Spiced Potato Pastries (Aloo Samose) »Todd Coleman
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. Get the recipe for Acadian Salt Cod Cakes »Gemma and Andrew Ingalls
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. Get the recipe for Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Crostini »Helen Rosner
Tofu Wanzi (Fried Tofu and Bacon Fritters)
Tofu Wanzi (Fried Tofu and Bacon Fritters)
China meets the American South in these tofu, bacon, and scallion fritters. Get the recipe for Tofu Wanzi (Fried Tofu and Bacon Fritters) »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. Get the recipe for Stuffed Pepperoncini with Smoked Salmon »Yossy Arefi
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. Get the recipe for Robiola-Stuffed Figs with Pomegranate »Maxime Iattoni
Pigeon Pea Fritters with Yogurt-Tomato Sauce (Vadai Pachadi)
Pigeon Pea Fritters with Yogurt-Tomato Sauce (Vadai Pachadi)
In Tamil-speaking households, a combination of fritters with sauce is referred to as vadai pachadi. Served for weddings and religious holidays, these spicy fritters get their signature crunch from yellow split peas and are topped with a creamy, tangy yogurt-tomato sauce. Get the recipe for Pigeon Pea Fritters with Yogurt-Tomato Sauce (Vadai Pachadi) »Ingalls Photography
Goat Cheese Crostini with Fig-Olive Tapenade
Goat Cheese Crostini with Fig-Olive Tapenade
A tangy-sweet tapenade made with dried figs, kalamata olives, and capers is the perfect foil for mild goat cheese in this easy appetizer. Get the recipe for Goat Cheese Crostini with Fig-Olive Tapenade »Signe Birck
Bluefish Paté
Bluefish Paté
This bluefish paté has all the makings of a traditional fish dip—cream cheese, lemon, herbs—with a few updates to give it some zing. Get the recipe for Bluefish Paté »Farideh Sadeghin
Pecan Cheese Wafers
Pecan Cheese Wafers
Pecans lightly brushed with egg whites are baked into cheesy, buttery wafers with a touch of chile flakes. Get the recipe for Pecan Cheese Wafers »Ingalls Photography
Fromage Fort
Fromage Fort
Meaning "strong cheese" in French, fromage fort is a classic way to use up all the leftover ends and mismatched scraps of cheese in your fridge. In Julia Turshen's version, which we adapted from her Small Victories cookbook, a little butter and a few splashes of wine round out the salty cheeses and help them become spreadable enough for topping toast or crackers. Get the recipe for Fromage Fort »Matt Taylor-Gross
Olive Oil Crackers
olive oil crackers
Adapted from Anya Fernald's Home Cooked, this recipe for delicate, whole wheat-flecked crackers makes enough to feed a party, or last all week in your pantry. "The key to [their] crispiness is to roll out the dough extremely thin," the author writes. If the dough springs back at all while rolling, let it rest at room temperature for 5 minutes, then try again. Get the recipe for Olive Oil Crackers »Matt Taylor-Gross
Spiced Pecans
Spiced Pecans
Bite-size and buttery, cumin and cayenne-spiced pecans glazed in dark brown sugar are the perfect smoky, spicy-sweet snack. Get the recipe for Spiced Pecans »Penny De Los Santos
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. Get the recipe for Brigtsen's Scallops with Sweet Potato Puree and Onion Marmalade »Todd Coleman
Deep-Fried Indian Bread (Puri)
Deep-Fried Indian bread (Puri)
Deep-Fried Indian Bread (Puri)Like chapati, puri is made from a simple durum wheat flour dough. But this flatbread incorporates ajwain seeds, which lend a lightly herbal, floral flavor, and is deep-fried in hot oil. It's often eaten at breakfast or as a snack. Get the recipe for Deep-Fried Indian Bread (Puri) »Ingalls Photography
The Ultimate Crab Dip
king crab gratin
Known as chupe de centolla, this Chilean crab gratin borders on a cheesy crab dip. While similar South American chupe are always prepared with milk-soaked bread and any combination of shrimp, scallops, shellfish, meats, and cheeses, Patagonia's version relies solely on the massive local king crabs, the hallmark of fishermen's kitchens along Chile's southernmost coast. Get the recipe for The Ultimate Crab Dip »William Hereford
Deviled Eggs With Crab
Oeufs Mayo with Crab
Chef Yves Camdeborde assembles these haute deviled eggs—the whites marinated in soy sauce and pomegranate vinegar—à la minute at his stand-up bar L'Avant Comptoir de la Mer in Paris, but you can make the filling up to a day in advance and keep it refrigerated. Be sure to drain the whites immediately after 15 minutes of marinating so they don't toughen. Get the recipe for Deviled Eggs With Crab »Matt Taylor-Gross
Broiled oysters with Spinach and Brown Butter Hollandaise
Broiled oysters with Spinach and Brown Butter Hollandaise
Instead of using clarified butter in his hollandaise, as is traditional, Global Village chef Martin Bealin browns butter, rendering it nutty in flavor. Choose briny—not creamy—oysters (ask your fishmonger), and be sure to make the mignonette: The salinity of the oysters in combination with the pungent shallots and vinegar are a welcome contrast to the richness of the hollandaise. Get the recipe for Broiled oysters with Spinach and Brown Butter Hollandaise »Michelle Heimerman
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. Get the recipe for Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Bean, and Ricotta Crostini »Andre Baranowski
Gravlax with Blinis
Gravlax with Blinis
We persuaded the wife of a Norwegian fisherman to share her secret recipe for marinating a fresh side of salmon to silky-textured, ­subtly flavored perfection. Modern-day gravlax, preferably served with blinis (a Russian touch). Get the recipe for Gravlax with Blinis »Maxime Iattoni
French Piped Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse)
French Piped Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse)
Elegant potatoes are brushed with an egg wash before baking for color and crunch. Get the recipe for French Piped Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse) »Ingalls Photography
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. Get the recipe for Apple and Stilton Welsh Rarebit Bites »Maxime Iattoni
Salmon Croquettes
Salmon Croquettes
These croquettes from Atlanta's Watershed are all meat with minimal breading. It's important to chill them thoroughly—ideally overnight—so they hold together in the hot skillet. Get the recipe for Salmon Croquettes »Matt Taylor-Gross
Tahini-Beet Dip
Tahini-Beet Dip
Tahini's nutty, luxurious properties don't stop at hummus. Keep the sesame paste flowing with this bright red purée of boiled beets, lemon, and garlic. Get the recipe for Tahini-Beet Dip »Helen Cathcart