Forget the main course; I am a huge fan of appetizers. If you’re hosting or contributing hors d’oeuvres to a party this holiday season, there are lots of simple, crowd-pleasing recipes out there.
In my former life as an event planner, I learned you’ll want to:
- Mix and match hot items with cold,
- Provide vegetarian options,
- Try to include a few options for those with dietary restrictions, if needed.
Easy Holiday Appetizers for Every Crowd
Take it slow, cooker.
I was cookbook chair for the Junior League of Dallas years ago, and we would often make recipes from our Dallas Dish cookbook to share whenever we sold books. One of my favorite friends in the league once heard someone say this souffle was “so good I want to stick my face in it.” They’re not wrong. This is my go-to for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It works as an appetizer or something to spread on your rolls or serve with mashed potatoes. Kristen from The Turquoise Table, who is a hospitality queen, even mentions it on her blog. Try it out (and go buy a cookbook to support worthy Dallas charities!). While the recipe calls for baking, I usually put this in my slow cooker—it’s done in about the same amount of time. Or you can toss all the ingredients in an aluminum pan, take it to your destination, and bake there.
Next up in the warm dip category is this favorite. My husband loves anything Buffalo-related, and I enjoy this one, too. It can be made with paleo or Whole30 ingredients as a great guilt-free option. Serve with veggies, pile it on some tortilla chips, or make tortilla roll-ups with the filling. Who doesn’t love a set-it-and-forget-it recipe?
A co-worker brought these to an office party years ago, and we all raved about them. I now make them often due to their simplicity. These are so easy and only have 3 ingredients! No one believes me when I tell them what the sauce is made of. Set out some festive toothpicks for easy individual servings. My kids are also huge fans of anything hand-held, so they go over well with the younger crowd. It only takes about 5 minutes to prep.
Gimme Some L’Oven
Alex Snodgrass never steers me wrong with her amazing recipes. Plus, she’s a local mom! These are super easy to put together with minimal ingredients and have a bit of a wow factor.
When I was pregnant, I ate a lot of dates because my prenatal yoga instructor always said, “Six dates a day keeps the Pitocin away!” During my pregnancies, I realized how much I love dates in all kinds of recipes! This one only takes about 20 minutes and can be modified to be made with or without the cheese and nuts. The sweet and savory combination is a real crowd-pleaser.
Put a tray of Brazi Bites in the oven, and 20 minutes later you have huge hit. You can provide a dipping sauce if you feel like it—marinara works well. Or just serve alone. These are gluten free, and it’s always nice to have an option for those who may be avoiding gluten. Kids love these, too!
Cucumber Crab Bites
I’m obsessed with this NomNom Paleo Simple Crab Salad recipe. If it has SIMPLE in the name, I’m in. I like to serve a small spoonful on sliced cucumber for an easy, clean appetizer. You can also serve this in hollow mini sweet peppers—just halve, remove seeds, and fill with the crab salad.
When I’m trying to limit cooking time, I opt for a fancy snack plate. We eat shrimp cocktail with crackers, pepperoni, and all sorts of snacks just about every other Sunday. Costco has the best pre-made shrimp cocktail, in my opinion. If you want to make it a bit fancier, layer ice on a cute serving tray with a bed of romaine leaves on top. Arrange the shrimp on the lettuce, and put the cocktail sauce in a cute serving bowl. Voila!
Holiday Salsa and Chips
My new obsession is Cranberry Crush Salsa from my friends over at JK Branded Salsas in Lake Highlands. A festive flavor on point with the season really elevates your standard chips and dip. If you can’t get your hands on the Cranberry Crush—I’ve made this cranberry salsa, which was a hit with our whole family.
Another favorite recipe of mine (which also comes from the Junior League cookbook) is a stuffed Belgian endive. I’ve altered their version of Gorgonzola-Stuffed Endive to be as simple as possible. I find a soft cheese, usually Boursin with herbs, to smear on the endive. Then, I top with whatever chopped candied nuts I find at the store and drizzle a small amount of my favorite vinaigrette across them. These are probably the most time consuming of any of these recipes because you have to trim the endive leaves off, wash, and let dry. But they are always a hit and feel very sophisticated!
Still debating? Put together an easy charcuterie board!
The holidays are so hectic. Why not make it easy so you can spend more time with the ones you love and less time in the kitchen. Let me know if you try any of these, and chime in with your favorite easy holiday appetizers in the comments.