Bowl-Friendly Snacks

Serve your favorite finger foods in a variety of different bowls for an easy appetizer alternative.

Olivewood bowls

 When having guests over, one of my favorite go-to entertaining tricks is to put out little bowls of snacks or candy. Growing up, my mom would always place little baskets, filled with a combination of honey-roasted cashews, raisins, and M&M’s, at each guest’s place when setting the table for birthdays. I've followed her example, often serving a bowl of salted nuts, alongside some candy and chips, with a bubbly cocktail. No messy cheese to deal with, or utensils needed for serving. Plus, it only takes a minute or two to prepare.

Just as every host or hostess should have a bottle of bubbly in the fridge and some shelf-stable snacks in the pantry, they should also have an array of bowls, starting from 1-cup in capacity and going upwards to 8-10 cups. Small bowls are perfect for serving salted nuts and candy, or as a place to put pits if you’re serving olives. Larger bowls can be used for serving popcorn, potato chips, even ice cream, if it’s just you, your best friend, and a movie on television.

At a loss for what to serve in bowls? We’ve put together some of our favorite bowl-friendly snacks that you can put together in no time.


Small Bowls

Credit: Williams-Sonoma

In bowls no wider than 3 inches in diameter, like these oven and microwave-safe porcelain dishes (which are also perfect for making soufflés) from France, try serving:

1. Salted nuts

2. Spiced or candied nuts. Try this recipe for candied nuts; if you want something more savory, this recipe for warm rosemary roasted nuts.

3. Your favorite candies, like M&Ms or jelly beans


Medium Bowls

Credit: Williams-Sonoma

For larger snacks, opt for a slightly bigger bowl with a diameter of 3-5 inches. Look for bowls with different colors, patterns, even materials, to create a visually-appealing arrangement; these nesting olive wood bowls are particularly nice to look at. 

1. Olives

2. Foil-wrapped candies or chocolates

3. Snack mix

4. Pretzel nuggets

5. Crackers


Large Bowls

Credit: Sherri Mizell

When it comes to big bowls, think big — especially if you’re serving chips. That way, you won’t have to constantly refill the bowl, and it can hold about a bag’s worth of food. If you have baskets at home, similar to this wide sweetgrass basket, you can use them, too! Just line the basket with a cloth napkin before adding the chips, so crumbs don’t get lodged the corners.

1. Cookies or pastries (for those with a knack for baking)

2. Popcorn


3. Potato chips