19 easy party appetizers

Just when you need some no-hassle party bites, here are our all-time favorites

Quick Cheese Fondue with sliced baguettes

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Quick Cheese Fondue

Heat oven to 500°. Put a 1/2-lb. piece of slightly oozy brie cheese in a 2- to 3-cup shallow baking dish and bake until melted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Grind black pepper on top. Set dish on a heatproof surface and serve with toasted baguette slices, walnut bread, or sliced apples and pears.

Makes: 12 servings 

Time: 10 minutes

Sausage Mushroom Caps

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Sausage Mushroom Caps

Rinse 24 medium-size button or cremini mushrooms (about 1 lb. total). Trim stems; save for another use.

Mix 1/3 lb. seasoned bulk pork sausage with 3 tbsp. seasoned dried bread crumbs. Mound sausage mixture in mushrooms, then set, filled side up, in a rimmed 10- by 15-in. baking pan.

Broil 6 to 7 in. from heat until sausage is well browned, about 5 minutes. Lift mushrooms onto a platter, brush with extra-virgin olive oil, and top each with a leaf of flat-leaf parsley.

Makes: 24 

Time: 20 minutes

Cracked Green Olives with Fennel

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Cracked Green Olives with Fennel

Drain 10 oz. green olives with pits and discard brine. Using the back of a spoon, press each olive just hard enough to crack it open (leave pits in).

In a small bowl, combine olives, 1 tsp. fennel seeds, 1 piece orange peel (about 1/8 in. wide and 3 in. long), 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

Turn olives to coat. Serve right away or let marinate, chilled, up to 1 month.

Makes: 1 cup 

Time: 10 minutes

Radishes with Butter and Sea Salt

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Radishes with Butter and Sea Salt

Cut wedges out of 24 radishes, pack the space with unsalted butter, and dip buttered sides in sea salt.

Makes: 24 

Time: 20 minutes

Hasty Hots

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Hasty Hots

Cut 1 slender baguette (1/2 lb.) in half, slice each half lengthwise, and place, cut side up, on a 12- by 15-in. baking sheet. Broil about 3 in. from heat until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup diagonally sliced green onions, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, and 1/2 cup grated or finely shredded parmesan cheese.

Spread mixture on bread. Return to broiler and broil until lightly browned, about 1½ minutes. Let cool about 2 minutes to crisp. Cut each piece in thirds.

Makes: 12 

Time: 15 minutes

An holiday appetizer of Spiced Fried Chickpeas

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Spiced Fried Chickpeas

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 tsp. fine sea salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp. each chipotle powder and ground coriander, and 1/8 tsp. cayenne.

Drain and rinse 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzos); spread on paper towels and pat dry. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 2 in. vegetable oil to 350° to 375° (drop a chickpea in―when it sizzles, the oil is ready).

With a large metal strainer, lower chickpeas carefully into oil (they’ll splatter). Cook chickpeas until crisp, about 3 minutes. With strainer, transfer chickpeas to several layers of paper towels to drain, then toss with spice mixture.

Makes: 6 servings 

Time: 25 minutes

Creamy Artichoke Dip

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Creamy Artichoke Dip

In a food processor, whirl together until blended and artichokes break into small pieces:

  • 1/2 lb. cream cheese
  • 2 oz. thawed frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. finely shredded fresh lemon zest
  • 1 small finely chopped garlic clove
Makes: 1½ cups 

Time: 15 minutes

Sliced Herbed Cheese Log on toasted baguette slices

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Herbed Cheese Log

On a 12- by 15-in. piece of plastic wrap, mix 1 tbsp. each minced fresh chives, cilantro, and basil leaves.

Roll a 5 1/2- to 6-oz. log of fresh goat cheese in herb mixture to coat evenly. Set on a small serving dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil.

Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Makes: 8 servings 

Time: 10 minutes

Spicy Sesame-Nut Mix

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Spicy Sesame-Nut Mix

In a small bowl, whisk 1 large egg white until frothy; whisk in 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. sesame seeds, 4 tsp. dried rubbed sage, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Add 1¾ cups each salted peanuts and pecan halves and 1 cup pine nuts; stir. Divide the mixture between 2 large parchment-lined or nonstick baking pans and spread evenly.

Bake at 300°, stirring often, until nuts are golden and fragrant, 20 to 25 minutes. To prevent sticking, turn mixture often as it cools.

Makes: 6 cups 

Time: 35 minutes

An appetizer of Deviled Eggs with Bacon.

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Deviled Eggs with Bacon

In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, cook 2 strips coarsely chopped bacon until crisp and brown. Drain on paper towels; crumble when cool.

Set aside 1 tbsp. bacon fat. Shell 6 hard-cooked eggs and halve lengthwise. Put yolks in a small bowl and, with a fork, mash in reserved bacon fat, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard. Add hot sauce and salt to taste.

Divide yolk mixture evenly among egg whites. Top with bacon and flat-leaf parsley leaves just before serving.

Makes: 12 

Time: 30 minutes

Soft Tacos with Chiles and Cheese (Rajas con Queso)

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Soft Tacos with Chiles and Cheese (Rajas con Queso)

Broil 3 fresh poblano chiles, turning to char and blister on all sides. Let cool. Discard stems and seeds; cut chiles into thin strips.

Cook 1 sliced white onion in 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in chile strips and top with jack cheese slices.

Cover and cook over low heat until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Scoop chile mixture into 6 small warm corn or flour tortillas.

Makes: 6 

Time: 20 minutes

Veggie Sticks with Avocado-Lime Dip

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Veggie Sticks with Avocado-Lime Dip

Bring about 1 qt. water to a boil in a medium pot. Add 1/2 lb. trimmed green beans and cook until tender to the bite, 3 to 6 minutes. Drain and immerse immediately in ice water until cool, about 2 minutes; drain again.

In a blender or food processor, combine 1 firm-ripe pitted and peeled avocado, 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp. loosely packed fresh mint leaves, 1 peeled garlic clove, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; whirl until very smooth.

Serve dip with green beans and 1/2 lb. jicama cut into 1/2-in.-thick sticks.

Makes: 1 cup 

Time: 30 minutes

Dates with Bacon

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Dates with Bacon

Cut 6 strips thin-sliced bacon crosswise into 4-in. lengths. Wrap each of 18 pitted Medjool dates snugly with a piece of bacon, overlapping ends.

Set dates, seam sides down, in a 10- to 12-in. nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Turn dates occasionally until bacon is browned and crisp on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Drain on paper towels and serve warm or cool.

Makes: 18 

Time: 25 minutes

Garlicky White Bean Dip

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Garlicky White Bean Dip

In a food processor, whirl 1 or 2 peeled garlic cloves until finely chopped. Scrape down bowl and add 2 cans (15 oz. each) drained and rinsed white beans, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp. finely shredded fresh lemon zest, and 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice. Whirl until smooth.

Transfer dip to a small bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp. very finely chopped fresh oregano leaves, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with assorted fresh vegetables or pita bread.

Makes: 2¼ cups 

Time: 10 minutes

Rustic Grape Appetizer

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Rustic Grape Appetizer

Roast a 1-lb. bunch of grapes on a baking sheet in a 350° oven, turning occasionally, until caramelized, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with a hunk of your favorite blue cheese.

Makes: 8 servings 

Time: 45 minutes

Easy hot crab dip

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; styling by Karen Shinto

Quick & easy hors d'oeuvres

Guests already on their way? Try one of these seven easy appetizer recipes to feed a crowd fast.

Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip with French Bread

Keep most of the ingredients for this splurge-worthy appetizer on hand, then pick up fresh crab and bread, and put it together in no time.

blue cheese tart

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; styling by Karen Shinto

Blue Cheese and Pear Tart

We cut this tart up into small pieces for an elegant appetizer, but you could also slice it into large wedges and serve it with a green salad for a light meal.

Recipe: Blue Cheese and Pear Tart

Prosciutto-wrapped Pears

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; styling by Karen Shinto

Prosciutto-wrapped Pears

Any ripe pear works with this easy, sweet-savory appetizer—and if you don’t have sherry vinegar, just use white-wine vinegar instead.

Recipe: Prosciutto-wrapped Pears

new deviled egg recipe

Photo by Annabelle Breakey; styling by Karen Shinto

Mediterranean Deviled Eggs

Chopped kalamata olives, capers, and a splash of white balsamic vinegar add Mediterranean flavor to liven up this classic appetizer.

Recipe: Mediterranean Deviled Eggs

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