10 Creative Ways to Make an Entire Meal Out of Small Bites

Whether you're about to host or are just indecisive about what you want for dinner, these tasty little bites will make a filling and fun meal.

Pineapple, Swordfish, and Red Onion Kebabs
Photo: Greg DuPree

We’ve all been there: You're hosting cocktail party or casual gathering of friends, and the perfect menu is eluding you a bit. You want to whip up hearty snacks and enough options so people don't leave hungry, but you also have to keep in mind that your guests will be holding a drink, engaging in conversation, and trying to nibble all at the same time. When you've gone to parties, there usually aren't enough tables to put down your drink or, even if there are, you can’t figure out an elegant way to eat half a sandwich or a quesadilla wedge while maintaining chit chat. Or, maybe you're not about to host–you're just not sure what you want for dinner, so a variety of little bites sounds more appealing than a large dish. Either way, this menu of small bites will satisfy you when you want a smorgasbord of tastes in one meal. Mix and match or make them all—just make sure to whip up extras because these bite-sized recipes are sure to be crowd pleasers.

01 of 10

Endive With Ricotta, Almonds, and Raisins

Endive With Ricotta, Almonds, and Raisins
Dress up crisp endive leaves with a creamy ricotta filling for a beautiful handheld appetizer. Get the recipe: Endive With Ricotta, Almonds, and Raisins. Beatriz da Costa

Finger foods usually lean toward the bready or fried end of the spectrum, and they aren’t exactly known for their freshness. Challenge that reputation with these crisp and elegant endive boats, filled with light ricotta, crunchy almonds and sweet raisins. These easy bites only take 10 minutes to prep, making your salad course a breeze.

Get the recipe: Endive With Ricotta, Almonds, and Raisins

02 of 10

Hummus and Cucumber Crostini

Hummus and Cucumber Crostini
Use bagel chips (preferably the “everything” flavor) instead of toasted bread for a delicious twist. Get the recipe:Hummus and Cucumber Crostini. Sang An

Dips and spreads are ubiquitous party apps, but has anyone ever perfected the art of holding a plate and a drink and successfully transporting a well-proportioned bite into his or her mouth? I usually end up getting an unsatisfying smear of hummus or ranch on my chip or crudité, half of which ends up on my blouse more often than not. These hummus and cucumber crostini solve this common party woe in a delicious and easy way. Using your favorite store-bought bagel chips ensures a perfect crunch every time without having to turn on the oven.

Get the recipe: Hummus and Cucumber Crostini

03 of 10

Polenta Bites With Bacon, Dates, and Blue Cheese

These mini polenta bites are the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and savory in one—what more could you ask for from an appetizer? Baked in a muffin tin for easy prep and cleanup, you can even make the polenta up to two days before serving. Just fill the cups with the flavorful mix of creamy blue cheese, smoky bacon bits, and sweet dates the day of, and pop them under the broiler.

Get the recipe: Polenta Bites with Bacon, Dates, and Blue Cheese

04 of 10

Oven-Baked Chicken Tenders

Chicken Tenders
Greg DuPree

Cooking these chicken strips in the oven instead of the deep fryer gives the finger food staple a healthy twist, and using panko bread crumbs makes for an extra crispy exterior that won’t get soggy when sitting out. Serve them up with an easy, creamy honey Dijon sauce for extra credit.

Get the recipe: Oven-Baked Chicken Tenders

05 of 10

Barbecue Meatball Sliders

Barbecue Meatball Sliders
Savor all the components of a barbecue plate in one bite—tangy sauce, meat, creamy slaw, and bread. Get the recipe. Paul Sirisalee

Don’t be fooled by their small size—these mini BBQ sliders pack a punch of bold flavor. Start by making a batch of these easy, 20 minute meatballs, then tuck them into a soft roll with tangy, crunchy coleslaw and a generous drizzle of barbeque sauce. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, just make the meatballs and serve them with toothpicks for an easy and satisfying bite.

Get the recipe: Barbecue Meatball Sliders

06 of 10

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney
The fruit jam brings out the nutty, warm flavors in the melted cheese and cut through its richness. Get the recipe: Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney. Con Poulos

Sandwiches are perfect for a bite-sized meal since they can be cut down to any size. These delicious, gooey grilled cheese sammies are upgraded with a dollop of fruit chutney, making them the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Cutting the sandwiches in quarters after baking makes them easy to serve and eat, but we're willing to bet you won’t stop at just one. Try out different cheese and fruit combinations to keep this combination endlessly satisfying.

Get the recipe: Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney

07 of 10

Pineapple, Swordfish, and Red Onion Kebabs

Pineapple, Swordfish, and Red Onion Kebabs
Greg DuPree

When designing the perfect bite, these grilled skewers hit the nail right on the head. Firm swordfish, juicy pineapple, crisp red onion, and fresh herbs—all doused in a flavorful marinade—make this recipe one that you will be sure to repeat. Look for shorter skewers or long toothpicks to make these truly bite-sized.

Get the recipe: Pineapple, Swordfish, and Red Onion Kebabs

08 of 10

Apple Pie Baked Apples

Apple Pie Baked Apples
After a big meal, it can be hard to imagine diving into a slice of pie. Instead, make these single-serve apple pie-stuffed apples that provide a serving of fruit and a sweet ending to the meal. If you can cleanly scoop out the inside of the apples with a melon baller, those pieces of apple can be used in the filling. If you find yourself with mostly seeds and core, simply dice up an additional apple or two. Feel free to experiment with the lattice crust—we love the idea of mini braided strands.Get the recipe:Apple Pie Baked Apples. Grace Elkus

These single-serve apple pie-stuffed apples are almost too cute to eat (but I’m sure you’ll manage). While they take a bit more work than some of the other recipes on this menu, they are sure to impress anyone from potluck guests to your picky in-laws. The recipe calls for Honeycrisp apples, but you can use a smaller variety to make these treats truly bite-sized.

Get the recipe: Apple Pie Baked Apples

09 of 10

Entenmann’s Minis Pound Cake

Entenmann’s Minis

Sometimes, by the time dessert rolls around, it’s easier to pull out something store-bought and reliably delicious with a minimum of muss and fuss. When it comes to bite-sized desserts, Entenmann’s Minis are a classic choice. Entenmann’s Minis come in a variety of flavors, and the best part about the brand's bite-sized pound cake? You won't feel bad having bite-sized amounts of crumb cake and apple pie right after. Serve these minis on a pretty serving platter and call it a day, or pop them in the microwave for a few seconds for a comforting, delectable treat.

To buy: $18 for 12; amazon.com.

10 of 10

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark
Use pretzels, chopped nuts, crunchy cereal, and raisins for a sweet and salty chocolate treat. Get the recipe. Levi Brown

Break up this sweet and salty chocolate bark in whatever sized pieces you prefer. Each bite is sure to have the perfect ratio of salty pretzels, crunchy chopped nuts, chewy raisins and rich dark chocolate. Use a smaller baking sheet for a thicker bark, and use whatever dried fruit on nuts you have on hand. You can’t mess this one up!

Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark

*This piece is sponsored by Entenmann’s.

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