Every year, it feels like end-of-year holidays sneak up on us. And every year, it feels like there are more parties to attend than the last. That’s certainly not a bad thing! But after party number four, you’re out of creative ideas for holiday appetizers. This list of cozy holiday appetizers transforms traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas flavors into bite-sized morsels. From sweet to savory, and buttery to crunchy, these simple-to-make appetizers are sure to be crowd-pleasers.
All the recipes are either bite-sized or dip-able. That way, guests can subtly munch during conversations or in between rounds. Whatever party you bring these holiday appetizers to, always bring the proper eating tools. Are toothpicks required? Bring some! Is it a dip? Bring a dipping conduit! Don’t assume the host will have extra. Instead, make sure the food is ready to devour upon arrival.
Havarti, Pear, and Thyme Pastries
by Shared Appetite
Total Time: 40 minutes
Buttery havarti cheese and sweet pear encased in flaky pastry dough? Holiday appetizers don’t get more savory than this! And the best part is that you can make them ahead of time—and simply freeze them until the party. This saves you last-minute stress, either as a host or guest.
Easy Baked Rice Balls
by Hungry Couple
Total Time: 45 minutes
Rice balls, or arancini, typically take hours to make because you have to make risotto and deep fry the balls. But this much-simpler recipe saves you precious time—without compromising the flavor. They should be served warm, so we recommend borrowing the host’s oven before serving these holiday appetizers.
Roasted Herb Chestnuts
by Sprinkled-Side Up
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 24 (estimated)
Roasting chestnuts isn’t just for Christmas songs from the 1940s—and you don’t even need an open fire! These unique holiday appetizers are sure to be the talk of the evening. Cooked chestnuts have a buttery, sweet flavor with a mashed-potato-like texture. A perfect combination with the suggested sage and rosemary herbs.
Pecan Pie Brie
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
If don’t enjoy spending time in the kitchen, or have too many holiday parties to go to, this brie pie will come to your rescue. It’s a super quick and super easy recipe that can easily be doubled or tripled. Plus, it’s cheese—everyone’s going to love it! Just don’t forget to bring crostini or apple slices for dipping.
Sausage and Cranberry Stuffed Mushrooms
Total Time: 40 minutes
These pop-able bites are filled with delicious surprises that blend earthy and sweet flavors with texture. The name reveals the sausage and cranberry duo, but keeps the leeks, sage, and pecans a surprise until you dig in to the recipe. Oh, and did we mention apples?
Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites
by Taste of Home
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Yield: 30 (estimated)
Bacon-wrapped sausage is so last Christmas! This recipe puts a sweet twist on an otherwise savory treat. And it’s sure to be just as crowd-pleasing. Make multiple batches of these holiday appetizers, because guests will keep coming back for more. After preparing, arrange on a festive platter with toothpicks and you’re good to go.
Crab & Artichoke Dip
by Damn Delicious
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
This delicious, creamy dip also only takes 10 minutes of prep time. That means you can whip it together quickly, and let it bake while you get it ready for the party. When it’s done baking, put it in an insulated travel container and you’re done! For dipping, we recommend crostini strips, tortilla chips, or fresh veggies like peppers or carrots.
by Dinner at the Zoo
Total Time: 3 hours, 5 minutes
Yield: 10 servings
Don’t be intimidated by the long cook time—these slow-cooker meatballs take a few hours to get just right. Simply combine frozen meatballs with all the ingredients, and let it sit while you prepare the house for guests. And the best part? You can choose whatever type of meat balls you’d like! To turn these into festive holiday appetizers, use turkey meatballs. After all, turkey and cranberry are a perfect match.
Bloody Mary Shrimp Skewers
by Parsnips and Pastries
Total Time: 35 minutes
Going to a brunch or afternoon holiday party? These skewers are the perfect take-along. They combine all the flavors of a traditional Bloody Mary, complete with cocktail sauce for dipping or drizzling. The shrimp makes them more filling than veggie-only skewers, but they still maintain a lightness—so guests aren’t full of greasy food before noon!
by The Spruce Eats
Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Yield: 4 cups
Elevate your fall meat-and-cheese plate with homemade fig jam. With just three ingredients, this simple recipe is worth the hour of occasional stirring! Plus, it pairs well with everything—cheese, meats, crackers, and even more fruit. Double the recipe and jar the extra jam as a thank-you gift for your host, or even to use as Christmas gifts for friends, family, or coworkers.
Whether you’re hosting or attending, you don’t have to spend hours in your kitchen to make gourmet holiday appetizers. Most of the cozy treats on this list take less than an hour to make. And all of them are delicious! Arrange them on festive plates or in seasonal bowls for a holiday touch–and watch as the crowds devour them.
What’s your go-to holiday appetizer? Which one will you try from this list?