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

Whether you're feeding hungry party guests—or 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 a cocktail party or a casual gathering of friends, and the perfect menu is eluding you. You want to whip up hearty snacks and enough options so people don't leave hungry. But you also know that your guests will be holding a drink, engaging in conversation, and trying to nibble all at the same time. Having been a guest yourself a time or two, you know what it's like when 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. Maybe 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, the following "small bite" ideas will satisfy you when you want a smorgasbord of tastes in one meal.

01 of 07

Endive With Ricotta, Almonds, and Raisins

Endive With Ricotta, Almonds, and Raisins
Beatriz da Costa

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

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

02 of 07

Hummus and Cucumber Crostini

Hummus and Cucumber Crostini
Sang An

Dips and spreads are ubiquitous party apps, but you usually end up getting an unsatisfying smear of pimento or ranch on your chip or crudité, half of which ends up on the front of your shirt.

These hummus and cucumber crostini solve this common party woe in a delicious way. And 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 07

Polenta Bites With Bacon, Dates, and Blue Cheese

Polenta Bites with Bacon, Dates, and Blue Cheese
Heather Meldrom

These mini polenta bites are sweet, salty, and savory all 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 07

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 07

Barbecue Meatball Sliders

Barbecue Meatball Sliders
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 07

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney

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 recipe endlessly satisfying.

Get the recipe: Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney

07 of 07

Entenmann’s Minis Pound Cake

Entenmann’s Minis

Sometimes, by the time dessert rolls around, it’s easier just to pull out something store-bought and reliably delicious. 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 a few mouthfuls 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.

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