10 Holiday Appetizers So Easy to Make, You Barely Have to Lift a Finger

Except to pop these small bites into your mouth.

December 28, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Welcome to Nifty, Gifty Holidays, our guide for all the little, magical ways we make the season sparkle. Today, we’re celebrating New Year's Eve with our best holiday appetizers.

“It only takes a taste to know it’s good,” Dr. Pomatter sings in Waitress, the Broadway musical. Though he's referring to his burgeoning love for the show's lead character, Jenna, the line is a good litmus test for an effective hors d'oeuvre. There’s something to be said for a small bite that, in spite of its littleness, lets you know that it tastes good.

A deviled egg, for instance. It's the perfect blank canvas for big flavor—plus, it couldn't be easier to make. The inspiration for my nori deviled eggs comes from something my mom prepared for us a lot growing up: eggs fried in soy sauce and sesame oil, fluffed into white rice, with a little nori crumbled in. There's really nothing like that nostalgic tangle of nutty sesame, salty soy, yolky egg, and savory seaweed. At the risk of sounding la-di-da, this is, truly, my Proustian madeleine.

So, should you be throwing a New Year’s Eve party (or any party!) and are in need of some impressive, crowd-pleasing appetizers, I’ve gathered 10 of our easiest and most popular recipes you can throw together before guests arrive. Because nothing rings in the new year better than a bottle of bubbly and all of the best snacks.

Our Best Appetizer Recipes

My Japanese-inspired deviled eggs, seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and roasted seaweed, are effortless to make—and even more effortless to pop into your mouth, one after another.

These stuffed mushrooms strike the perfect balance of sweet and savory; the sausage and melted asiago bring meaty, earthy flavors to the table, while the sticky balsamic glaze adds addictive tang.

What could be better than “spoonable” cheese? If you’re talking about this creamy ricotta mixed with chopped herbs and freshly grated lemon zest, then the answer is nothing.

If you think the best party appetizers are those you can eat by the toothpick, then you’ve found your soulmate in these spicy, smoky meatballs with Korean chicken wing–inspired flair.

These easy-to-make pinwheels rely on store-bought puff pastry, so you're already halfway there.

According to Genius columnist Kristen Miglore, this appetizer "requires about four ingredients and zero time, but look casually cookbook-cover gorgeous, all the same."

If it's a shindig you're after, then there's got to be shrimp cocktail. This version is straightforward, but big on flavor thanks to the spices and aromatics—oh, and the punchy remoulade.

"This dip’s secret weapon?" Recipe Developer Emma Laperruque asks. "Aged cheddar. This variety not only brings plenty of funk, but it melts well, too."

Community Member savorthis writes, "These are salty, sweet, fragrant, finger-licking good. You can make them in the pods, slurping the sauce clinging to the outside while stripping out the beans with your teeth."

This three-ingredient appetizer (olive oil, dates, and flaky sea salt) is, according to Kristen, "a sound match for a bubbly drink." Renee Erickson likes to serve them with fresh ricotta.

What's your favorite appetizer to serve at parties? Let us know in the comments below.

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Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.