Whether you’re hosting a Game Day party or a casual cocktail party with friends, kick off the festivities with appetizers galore—think: spinach-artichoke or buffalo chicken dip served with pita chips, air fryer chicken wings with blue cheese dipping sauce, pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, and cheesy pull-apart bread. And when all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a colorful array of crudité and sourdough crackers.
There are a million variations on deviled eggs on the internet (no, I didn’t count, but it seems plausible, right?), but this one is as classic as they get.
If you’re thinking, “ugh, do I have to attend my new boyfriend’s college roommate’s Super Bowl party,” first of all, you don’t, but if you do, let me make it a worthwhile experience for one and all by encouraging you to bring these buffalo chicken-stuffed potato skins (though I’d never tell you that you have to share).
Have a ball with this cheese ball! It’s perfect for any kind of party, says recipe developer Grant Melton: “From my mom’s retired teacher Christmas party in Ohio (go, Bucks!) to the hipster dinner party in Brooklyn surrounded by ceramics, tapered candles, and artfully rumpled linen napkins. First thing gone? The cheeseball. Every time. At every party.”
No one will ever be mad to see guacamole as part of a party appetizer spread. This one is classic, but you can make it extra spicy with more jalapeños or crumbled nori for crunch and umami flavor. Score extra brownie points among party guests if you make your own tortilla chips, too.
Chicken wings don’t always need to be smothered in Frank’s Red Hot with a side of ranch; these sweet and smoky wings are proof of that. For maximum flavor and tenderness, brine the chicken in a dry blend of spices overnight.
While some people like to seek out the dog at a party, I’m on a constant hunt for meatballs. And these petite-sized, super flavorful meatballs were made to party.
“If you’re looking for a quick, reliable appetizer, I got you. This last-minute yogurt dip uses ingredients I almost always have around: yogurt, oil, spices, and herbs. Heat some olive oil, then pour it over fresh parsley, spicy paprika, lots of black pepper, and minced garlic,” writes Food52 Recipe Resident Carolina Gelen.
Don’t let the long ingredients list deter you from making these crostini; assembling them takes no time at all. Quick and easy party appetizer? Check and check.
Make your cheese and charcuterie bread look extra special with these fragrant olives. Bonus: they’re best made a few days in advance so that the green gems have time to absorb the flavor of all the aromatics, saving you precious hours on party day.
Hummus is a no-brainer appetizer and this recipe is our very best. It yields a lot of hummus, so feel free to give every guest a plus-one if you’re feeling up for socializing.
A few simple upgrades—store-bought puff pastry, homemade orange-cranberry jam, and a sprinkle of sumac—make this baked brie feel totally modern.
Looking for a one-bite party snack? This is it. Don’t take my word for it? Then listen to our millions of readers, who voted this recipe their favorite single-bite appetizer.
“Every party loves onion dip. But does every host love hovering around the stove, caramelizing onions for almost an hour, to make it? I think not. Luckily, the solution is easy: Skip the onions altogether and swap in garlic,” writes food editor Emma Laperruque. Easy party appetizer complete.
Blistered shishitos are really having a moment and I am here for it. Their surprisingly delicate nature is enhanced best by a generous char in a wok or cast-iron skillet, finished with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and a squeeze of lime juice.
Slice these spring rolls in half or even quarters for a more manageable-sized appetizer.
For a slightly heartier appetizer, swap out cucumber slices for crusty slices cut from a French baguette and stack each one with a slice of the best-quality smoked salmon you can get your hands on.
Before you keep scrolling because you’re like, “I don’t have a fondue pot,” stop right here. You don’t need one to make our readers’ favorite fondue recipe; a regular saucepan will do the trick, along with some really good Swiss cheese, of course.
18. Sausage Balls
Poppable and party-ready, these sausage balls were a staple in recipe developer Ben Mims’ house growing up. And now we all get to reap the benefits because he’s shared his simple, savory appetizer recipe with us.
If you’re not serving pigs in a blanket at your party, save a stamp (or a text). I’m not coming. If you really value my presence, then wrap up these easy pigs in a blanket sprinkled with Trader Joe’s ‘everything but the bagel' seasoning blend.
Become the greatest host or hostess ever with one easy recipe—vegan cheese dip! Sans any dairy, this crowd-friendly appetizer is made with cashews, tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, and nutritional yeast.
French gougères are taken to the next level with two kinds of cheese—cheddar and gouda—plus homemade everything bagel seasoning.
A simple appetizer that gives the impression of “Oh this old thing?” is this: Crostini smeared with creamy ricotta, good-quality olive oil, and flaky sea salt.
“Get ready for the most decadent, cheesy snack ever to be invited to a holiday party. Savory caramelized onions come together with sweet fig jam, to contrast the cheesiness—your friends and family will love this one so much, you might have to make two,” writes recipe developer Marissa Mullen.
Serving me a platter of crispy vegetable egg rolls is the equivalent of a 19-year-old plugging in the aux cord and blasting EDM—it gets me pumped up and ready to party (as long as you can guarantee I’ll be in bed by 11pm).
Don’t go breaking my heart—or in this case, cheesy bread generously smeared with a rich mustard, garlic, and chive butter. It’s the ultimate crowd-friendly appetizer that I would like to consume solo, please and thank you.
This vegetarian appetizer was designed to be brought on-the-go; the trick to making it look beautiful even after a train and bus commute to your friend’s new apartment is adding the garnishes (roasted pistachios and pomegranate arils) upon arrival.
If you want to host a good party, serve shrimp cocktail. If you want to host a memorable party, serve this particular shrimp cocktail, in which the shellfish are poached with a flavorful combination of cracked black peppercorns, leeks, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, and coriander seeds.
Ground lamb and jasmine rice lead the pack (err, filling) for these miniature stuffed grape leaves that are a surefire way to wow your crowd.
“Dried apricots are poached in a spiced vinegar, stuffed with pistachios and mozzarella, and then wrapped in bacon for a simple, unforgettable party snack. They also meet my criteria for the ultimate party snack: They're easy to pick up and eat in one bite while holding a cocktail!” writes recipe developer EmilyC. That’s a rubric I fully support.
Hosting a summer get-together? Kick off the warm weather festivities with, what else, but crab cakes! Prepared horseradish, Dijon mustard, and a few dashes of Tabasco bring plenty of heat, but feel free to cut back on any of the three for a milder bite.
With ground pistachios, nutritional yeast, dried dill, ground onion and garlic powders, and Aleppo-style peppers, think of this as a savory, salty, totally-vegan version of fun dip that pairs so well with crudité.
Fondue is, yes, a little fussy. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun with it! Start with extra-sharp cheddar cheese and a cup of your favorite beer for this Game Day-ready appetizer.
You’ve heard of parmesan chips, but have you ever thought of turning them into cups? Marissa Mullen is the brains behind this edible serving vessel that serves as the perfect appetizer (especially when filled with bruschetta or diced prosciutto and melon.
“This bite-size appetizer slash snack has been the star of my family holidays and get-togethers for decades,” writes food editor Emma Laperruque. “Picture: a shattering bite of puff pastry, leading to a filling that can only be described as cream of mushroom soup-but-not-soup.”
It’s time to talk about dips. They’re an essential part of any appetizer spread and tzatziki sauce is a must-make recipe to serve alongside crudité and fresh pita bread.
This Japanese preparation of chicken delivers irresistible garlicky, gingery, and soy flavors. Prep these skewers, and the accompanying blistered shishitos, as a fun passed appetizer for an elegant cocktail party.
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and melon is a dependable appetizer. Exciting? Not exactly. Out of the box? Nada. But when the slightly-dated appetizer is reconstructed by filling a partially-sliced wedge of melon with prosciutto and basil, it’ll become the talking point of your party.
38. Curly Fries
Are curly fries really an appetizer? Technically, no. But spiritually, yes.
Normally baked clams are topped with buttery breadcrumbs, some fresh herbs, garlic, and maybe, just maybe Parmigiano-Reggiano. And that’s all fine and dandy, but top the clams with a classic Roman Amatriciana sauce and you’ll never look back.
We are all for a recipe that claims “[i]t will be better the next day, without question, so make it ahead if you can.” When it comes to entertaining, why would you ever turn down the opportunity to save day-of prep work?
Anyone at your party who is vegan or gluten-free will make a run for this meat-free dip inspired by the flavors found in chorizo—sundried tomatoes, sweet smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, and miso paste.
If you’ve managed to maintain your sourdough starter since the start of the pandemic, use it for these homemade crackers that are so much better than anything you’d buy from a box.
Somewhere in between crab cakes and clam fritters are these summery, deep-fried bites. Hiding inside a crisp batter is a combination of sweet corn and minced clams.
44. Party Popcorn
A trio of sea salt, dried marjoram, and sweet paprika makes this bowl of popcorn ready to party.
Egg rolls will be a crowd-pleasing appetizer, rather you make them for a casual gathering or a proper sit-down dinner. “Salty, citrusy, and fatty, it's a perfect combo with gooey cheese inside and a crispy exterior,” writes recipe developer Romel Bruno.
Grab a toothpick and skewer these charred shrimp, one by one. They’re glazed with lots of good-quality olive oil, minced garlic, and the zest and juice of a lemon for scampi-like flavor, sans pasta.
Appetizers for brunch? It’s possible, thanks to these sweet and savory sliders.
“Aside from the combination of sweet, salty, savory, and tangy flavors, what I love most about this flatbread is its versatility. Cut it into small squares or strips and serve as an appetizer for party guests, either as a solo act or alongside a cheese and charcuterie board,” writes recipe developer EmilyC.
Don a strand of pearls, grab a glass of champagne, and feel like the fanciest version of yourself with this elegant appetizer.
Turn a warm and cozy bowl of coconut chicken curry into a crispy, bite-sized appetizer that will feed a crowd.