25 Best Party Appetizers (Slideshow)
December 4, 2013
What foods you should serve at your next party, and how to serve them
When you think of the ultimate finger foods, wings absolutely are the most iconic go-to snack. Crispy, dripping in spicy Buffalo sauce, or even dunked in BBQ, wings make an appearance at every Super Bowl party or summer tailgate.
To Serve: Try using vegetable dip tray. This allows you to artfully spread your wings (pun intended!) around a central dipping sauce like blue cheese or ranch dip.
Enjoyed by everyone from little ones to adults, pizza is the ultimate unifier. You’ll have few guests who do not enjoy pizza, and when it's served in a plain, margarita style, pizza is pretty accommodating to almost every dietary need in the crowd.
To Serve: Instead of cutting pies into eight slices, opt for small bite-sized squares. You’ll get more out of your pie and guests will love that they can simply nibble on pizza.
This popular party staple is great because of its natural simplicity. Cook shrimp using a variety of your favorite spices, whip together some cocktail sauce, and boom — you have an elegant appetizer that works for any party.
To Serve: Use your fanciest cocktail glasses, fill with sauce, and drape shrimp around the edge for a delicious and beautiful presentation.
When you’re at a party, you’re often surrounded by an endless array of tempting, bad-for-you food. Keep guests happy with a lighter option by using lettuce cups. They are super easy for guests to eat while they're socializing and help cut back on the carbs for health-conscious attendees.
To Serve: Try making a lettuce cup bar! Simple lay out leaves of lettuce and let guests fill them up with whatever they think would taste best.
Classic, versatile, and utterly accessible, a cheese plate can quickly become the center of any party. Mix and match flavors, pair with other foods and desserts, and even offer an eclectic variety of complementary drinks to make this dish a hit!
To Serve: For a vessel, think outside the serving tray. Cutting boards and slate boards add pop to your party!
Make snacking easy with the mini meatball. Take mom’s classic meatball recipe and shrink it down so guests can peruse your appetizer table and just pop them in their mouths for a quick bite as they make their way around the room!
To Serve: Instead of letting them sit in marinara sauce, serve them dry! Spear them with a toothpick and make them dippable by putting out an array of various dipping options.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Serve it hot, serve it cold — whatever tickles your party's fancy! This creamy dip pairs well with pita chips, soft pretzels, and regular chips, making it super versatile.
To Serve: Try breaking the dip up into several serving bowls. This is a crowd-pleaser and will definitely make guests commune around one dish if left in one vessel.
It isn’t a fiesta without some guacamole! This will be gobbled up in minutes at your party — no matter what time of year it is — so be sure to make a lot.
To Serve: If you made your dip from fresh avocados, save the shells. You can use them as quirky bowls to make cleanup super quick!
These crispy, cute breads are the perfect vessels for a variety of creative toppings. Use them to dip in fresh sauce or as a carrier for meats and cheeses.
To Serve: Crostini are pretty sturdy, so don’t be afraid to play. Stack them high if you are serving them plain.
Baked or fried, mozzarella sticks will make every guest's inner teenager squeal. They are a quick treat to pull together and can be prepped in less than five minutes!
To Serve: Try to make the sticks in multiple sizes for variety. Since they are a sturdy snack, pile them in accessible bowls instead of laying them flat out on a plate.
Sweet or savory tarts are totally in for parties. Less messy than a crumbly cake, these delicious bite-sized snacks can be toted anywhere you need them to be in the room.
To Serve: Tarts are admittedly an adorable dish. Stack them on a cupcake tier for a unique display!
No, we aren’t talking about your favorite childhood toy! What makes pinwheel dishes perfect for parties is their natural beauty. These tasty treats can be stuffed and served to fit just about any style.
To Serve: Make sure you spread them out. They are too cute not to show off!
Buffalo Chicken Dip
This spicy, delicious dish is something everyone will take the heat for. Just be sure to serve it with chips that can stand up to the weight of the dip.
To Serve: The colors in the dip are actually quite festive for any party. Feel free to serve in the glass baking dish you cooked it in!
We aren’t sure who invented this delicious dip, but we love them. It's totally scoopable and extremely flavorful, and you can customize this dip to your exact liking!
To Serve: Make sure you use a deeper-set dish so your guests can get a decent-sized, layered scoop of the goods!
Sliders are the delicious mini version of every food you love. You can turn almost any beloved sandwich into a slider, making the options easy and versatile for your crowd.
To Serve: Consider placing each sandwich in a mini box so they can be quickly taken around the party. Not only will this save you on dishes, but it can also be used to load up on other tasty party snacks.
For a satisfying snack, quesadillas can be put on any appetizer table. You can customize them to your crowd’s dietary needs and have vegetarian, chicken, or beef options so everyone can enjoy!
To Serve: Try slicing into your quesadillas pizza style so everyone can get a sliver!
Though not a familiar appetizer for everyone, this is fabulous way to work savory into a party. Top a pastry or small slice of bread with a savory topping and you’ve got one delicious appetizer.
To Serve: Try mixing up the bread and pastry sizes. You can use the same topping but the vessel variety will be appealing to the stomach and the eye
A delicious starter like bruschetta can easily be turned into a party appetizer. Use small slices of toasted bread and mix up varieties for a playful plate.
To serve: Keep the tomato mixture off the bread. Serving it already put together and leaving it out could make the bread soggy and less appetizing.
Quick, easy, and surprisingly flavorful, stuffed olives are a great go-to appetizer. Your party will be impressed with your creative dish and you’ll be thankful you picked such an easy appetizer!
To Serve: Try using a variety of cheese and spear with a toothpick to make them fun, festive, and easily eaten.
Antipasti as appetizers? You bet! These light, flavorful dishes will keep your guests from feeling like they are overeating.
To Serve: Don’t just mix it up in a bowl! Serve them plated on toasted bread squares to make them more party-friendly.
Spicy Crab Dip
Seafood is always an impressive addition to a party. Turn it into a tempting dip and your party will be eating it by the bowlful.
To Serve: If you used fresh crab (which you should), save the claws and use them as decoration! Not only will it look fun and funky, but people will be warned that shellfish is about!
Sushi doesn’t just belong at hip restaurants — it also makes for the perfect party food. Full of diversity and gorgeous colors, sushi can make any food display pop!
To Serve: Think simple plating and use geometric shapes to give it a clean, crisp look.
Store-bought chips are so passé. Get creative and make your own — it's a healthier option than the processed stuff and will impress every guest!
To Serve: Try making them with a variety of spices and using an array of different colored bowls that coordinate with the flavor!
Click here for a delicious homemade chip recipe.
You get a lot of sweet and a lot of spicy at parties, but you don’t get a ton of healthy options. Fruit salsa is fresh and inventive, and guests will appreciate the healthier option.
To Serve: Serve in small personal dishes as well as so guests can dip or enjoy by itself!
Green Goddess Dip
What is this magical dip that everyone is obsessed with? It is a great accessory to a vegetable plate or works as a dipping sauce for seafood — the possibilities are endless!
To Serve: Instead of using a boring dipping bowl, try a clear miniature pitcher for gorgeous serving.