Hit up the beloved grocery store for memorable party snacks and treats that don’t cost a ton

Prunes Cheese Board

You’ve spent December purchasing gifts for everyone on your list, indulging in holiday feasts, and infusing your home with merry and bright seasonal decor. By the time the month comes to a close (and oh, it’s also time to pay rent), your wallet is likely feeling a bit tapped out.

Rest assured, you don’t need to spend a ton to set up a tasty spread–and you don’t need to spend a ton of time prepping hors d’oeuvres and mini desserts, either. For its mastery of unusual snacks for reasonable prices, we looked to cult-favorite grocery store Trader Joe’s to score affordable yet super-delicious bites.

No-Prep Appetizers

Nuts about Rosemary Mix ($6.99). For fans of sweet-meets-savory, this party snack features a greatest hits parade of nuts that are roasted and tossed in salt and rosemary. The herb flavoring is subtle, so it won’t overpower guests’ taste buds. 

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Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps ($3.99). Sure, you can serve water crackers with your cheese board (yawn)–or you can serve these crisps that oh-so-perfectly walk the line between cracker and cookie. We love the pumpkin-cranberry combo for their holiday palette.

Cranberry Chevre ($3.99). A log of goat cheese is a party staple, but let’s admit it–it’s been done. This version wakes up a tired tradition with a bit of seasonal interest, and in a festive hue to boot. Serve with your favorite TJ’s cracker or our pick above. 

Mozzarella Rolloni ($9.99). Mozzarella sticks get a grownup treatment: each slice of cheese is wrapped in Italian prosciutto or spicy salami. This proves you don’t have to spring for fancy fromages and salumi to provide a crowd-pleaser. 

Antipasto Assortment ($9.99). This four-in-one assortment of salamis, olives, and Unexpected Cheddar (a parmesan-cheddar combo that we happen to love) is a no-brainer.

From the Frozen Section

trader joes fried olive bites

Fried Olive Bites ($4.49). Green Castelvetrano olives and dark purple Kalamatas are pitted and finely chopped, then mixed together to create the shell for these delicious bites. They’re then filled with a combination of mascarpone, Roquefort, and cream cheese before being fried and frozen.

French Onion Soup Bites ($4.49). For another foray into filo goodness, look no further than this delectable appetizer. We love the combo of swiss cheese and sweet caramelized onion. 

Mini Mushroom En Croute Duo ($6.99). A combination of white button, cremini, and shiitake mushrooms are chopped and cooked in red wine with garlic, shallots, chives, thyme, and black pepper. Then that delicious filling is wrapped in pastry and brushed with an herb oil to give it a golden finish.

Pastry Puffs ($4.49). In other words, pigs in blankets–consider this a case of giving the people what they want. 

On the Sweeter Side

trader joes candy cane covered almond

Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe’s ($3.99). Trader Joe’s take on Oreo cookies has gone in multiple flavor directions over the years, but the peppermint version remains the best. This year they’ve taken it a step further by covering the cookie in chocolate! An instant hit if you ask us.

Chocolate Chip Cocoa Meringues ($3.69). These light and crunchy meringues also keep the holiday vibes going and look adorable piled up on a small platter. 

Candy Cane Covered Chocolate Covered Almonds ($3.99). Roasted almonds are coated in rich dark chocolate, and then coated again in peppermint-flavored white chocolate, and finally coated with delicious candy cane bits.

Chocolate & Vanilla French Macarons ($4.99). You can find the fresh version of macarons at a precious pastry shop and spend a small fortune, or you can serve a dozen of these from the TJ’s frozen aisle for five bucks. The choice is yours. 

A Dozen Sweet Bites ($6.99). This trio of miniature patisserie-inspired petits fours will have you and your guests feeling like you’re partying along the Seine. Our favorite is the Chocolate & Coffee Opéra Cake, a French classic. 

Drinks Strategy

The lack of booze on this list is admittedly a glaring omission. While wine and spirits are New Year’s Eve party staples, those bottles do tend to add up cost-wise. Despite its attractive price tag, TJ’s Two-Buck Chuck (a $2 bottle of red) might be fun for a camping trip, but it just doesn’t make the cut for a special occasion. Grab a bottle of Prosecco (sparkling wine’s more affordable Italian cousin); Trader Joe’s carries various bottles and brands that start at as little as $4.99.

Happy New Year!

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