What’s Cooking — 20 Easy Holiday Appetizers


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Little baked cranberry and brie bites. Photo: Wellplated.com

I won’t speak for everyone, but my favorite part of any holiday gathering is mindlessly nibbling on appetizers. Whether you’re avoiding conversation (it happens) or just fighting off hunger pangs before dinner, appetizers are an essential part of any gathering! That being said, no one wants to be slaving away in the kitchen when the entrees are already taking up a lot of time. Keep reading to find easy and healthy hors d’ourve options for you to feed the crowds.

Small Bites

Little savory tastes to tide your guests over until dinner.

Photo: Thedish.plated.com

Sweet and saltry broiled apples with gruyere. Photo: Thedish.plated.com

  • Orange marinated olives. A vibrant garlic-orange-rosemary marinade is all it takes to transform a regular bowl of olives into an allegedly addictive party snack.
  • Cranberry brie puff pastry. Skip the baked cheese wheel and pack everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving flavors into one tasty little bite. The best part? You can make them weeks ahead and freeze them!
  • Broiled apple slices with cheese. This one will definitely get some surprised looks and happy stomachs: thin apple slices are broiled with sage and gruyere cheese, making for a sweet and savory fall treat.
  • Parmesan pinwheels. Frozen puff pastry sheets + mustard and cheese + 10 minutes of your time = a guaranteed crowd pleaser. These parmesan pinwheels prove that minimal effort can yield the most popular snack.
  • Baked zucchini crisps. You don’t need a fryer to get perfectly crispy & salty zucchini bites. Dredged in a simple coating of flour, egg, breadcrumbs and cheese, these zucchini crisps will challenge your urge to sneak a few before guests arrive.
  • Grab a Slice

    Flatbreads, pizzas and tarts act as solid vessels for snacking.

    Photo: Ohmyveggies.com

    A brussels sprout, apple & walnut pesto tart. Photo: Ohmyveggies.com

  • Caramelized onion tart. A lot of concentrated fall flavor is packed into this caramelized onion tart: mushroom, apples, onion and cheese make for a can’t-miss combo.
  • Fig and blue cheese flatbread. Simple but very elegant looking, this fig and cheese flatbread will come together quickly with the additions of salt and honey.
  • Brussels sprout and apple tart. This recipe is surprisingly easy to make with beautiful results. Fresh walnut pesto is the base for fall veggie toppings in this tasty tart.
  • Butternut squash bruschetta. Everyone’s familiar with a tomato-based bruschetta, so why not take the seasonal route and swap in some butternut squash? It tastes just as good at room temperature, so no need to stress over being a perfectionist with timing.
  • Garlic pull-apart bread. Garlic-buttered bread sells itself, and no one will be complaining about hunger pangs when these bad boys are near!
  • Snack Mixes

    Traditional party mixes are overdone. These updated versions will keep your guests happy & grabbing handfuls of goodness.

    Spicy roasted pumpkin seeds. Photo: Beautyandthebeard.blogspot.com

    Spicy roasted pumpkin seeds. Photo: Beautyandthebeard.blogspot.com

  • Spicy roasted pumpkin seeds. I’m a big fan of the old cinnamon-sugar technique, but paprika and cayenne turn these roasted pumpkin seeds into the perfect party snack.
  • Seasoned pretzels. Turns out it’s super easy to make a homemade version of your vending machine favorite! Peppery ranch powder comes together in minutes to elevate crushed pretzels; and as a bonus, they’re salty enough to merit always having a drink on hand.
  • Crispy chickpeas. Your spice cabinet is probably already stocked and ready to make the custom Moroccan mix that coats these crispy roasted chickpeas. Guilt-free veggie snacking.
  • Sweet and spicy roasted almonds. Chinese Five Spice is a blend of sweet and spicy flavors, all working to turn regular almonds into the perfect snack to munch on during the game.
  • Pumpkin pie popcorn. The perfect holiday treat! Just coat some microwave popcorn in melted butter, cinnamon and sugar, and you have a foolproof way to sneak some dessert before dinner.
  • Dips & Spreads

    Served with pita chips, crackers or veggies…its all good no matter how you dip it.

    Fast and tasty eggplant dip. h

    Fast and tasty eggplant dip. Photo: Simplyrecipes.com

  • Sweet potato hummus. Fresh roasted sweet potatoes turn this popular spread into something with a tasty seasonal twist.
  • Eggplant dip. Whether you call it eggplant dip or baba ghanouj, we’re calling it a winner. Simply roast the eggplant and blend with the other ingredients to make a pita chip’s perfect partner.
  • Curried crab dip. Who can say no to crab? This Lump crab dip has a mildly spicy flavor that’s toned down by the addition of fresh halved grapes.
  • Baked white bean dip. Although it looks decadent, this white bean, rosemary and parmesan bake is relatively healthy!
  • Caramel apple spread. This recipe couldn’t be simpler: cream cheese drizzled with caramel and toffee bits, served alongside apple slices or pretzels for dipping.
  • We’re getting hungry just thinking about these holiday snacks! When you’re in a rush, what foolproof appetizer feeds your crowd? Let us know in the comments!

    • Lauren Hannel

      Definitely post a photo/let us know how you like it!

    • Upcycled Jewelry

      Lots of great tasty combinations here! I must try the Brussels sprout tart!