13 Make-Ahead Hors d'Oeuvres for Stress-Free Entertaining

Bacon-Wrapped Apricots With Sage
Photo: Con Poulos

The best hors d'oeuvres ideas don't require hours of prep work and sweating away in a kitchen while your guests enjoy each other's company. In fact, our favorite hors d'oeuvres recipes are ones you make ahead, pack away, and bring out just in time to plate and serve.

Make-ahead hors d'oeuvres not only help you plan, strategize, and work in advance, they let you really enjoy the event you've worked so hard to bring together. Here, we assembled some quick and easy dishes, so you can pick and choose what fits your palate and preferences.

These hors d'oeuvres ideas are centered around very specific entertaining dilemmas, like having no time to decorate or wanting to avoid doing a lot of dishes. (These one-pot recipes can also help you in the dishes department.) Get inspired to save time and wow your guests.

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Creamy Smoked Fish Dip

Smoked Fish Dip

Make this hors d'oeuvre if you're short on time. In fact, you'll only need around 10 minutes to prepare this satisfying party dip.

02 of 13

Chicken Pot Pie Empanadas

Chicken Potpie Empanadas
Antonis Achilleos

Skip the last-minute fussing with these ridiculously addictive stuffed pockets that can go from oven to serving platter with no additional day-of prep needed. All you need to do is prepare the empanadas the day before your party and store them in the fridge until you're ready to bake.

03 of 13

Bacon-Wrapped Apricots With Sage

Bacon-Wrapped Apricots With Sage
Con Poulos

Talk about convenient―apricots swathed in bacon can be assembled days in advance, then cooked straight from the freezer.

04 of 13

Caramelized Onion Tarts With Apples

Caramelized Onion Tarts With Apples
Con Poulos

Want to look like a pro? Here, frozen puff pastry dough is spread with tangy crème fraîche and topped with a sweet and savory mix of onions and apples. There is minimal prep time because the recipe uses a pre-made puff pastry and just the right amount of toppings to make this dish quick and tasty.

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Goat Cheese Spread

Goat cheese spread
Dana Gallagher

Some spreads (like this goat cheese spread) actually taste better when they've had a few days to sit and "meld." So feel encouraged that you should be making this recipe ahead and not on the day of the party.

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Rosemary Pecans

Rosemary Pecans
Beatriz da Costa

You can cook this nut mix up to a week in advance and keep it from-the-oven fresh in an airtight container stored at room temperature.

07 of 13

Double Tomato Crostini

double tomato crostini
Christopher Baker

When entertaining a large crowd, sometimes simple is better (and faster). Crostini, a cocktail-party classic, gets an upgrade with a flavorful double tomato combination.

08 of 13

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches With Chutney
Con Poulos

Add a surprising twist to a familiar favorite with this gooey grilled cheese that is refreshed with a dollop of fruit chutney. Fortunately, you can make this hors d'oeuvre in minutes during a casual get together.

09 of 13

Orange-Chili Shrimp Cocktail

Orange-Chili Shrimp Cocktail
David Prince

Want to let the sauce shine? For an easy make-ahead hors d'oeuvres, thaw a few pounds of cooked peeled and deveined shrimp and partner the crowd-pleasing seafood bites with a stand-out orange-chili topping that can be made earlier in the day.

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Eggplant, Feta, and Lemon Tart

Eggplant, Feta, and Lemon Tart Recipe
Greg DuPree

Remember, not everything needs to be served hot or cold to be delicious. Room-temp hors d'oeuvres that are baked in advance make the last-minute rush to assemble a non-factor. This tart can be cut into bite-sized pieces and served warm or at room temperature (and still be delicious either way).

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Chimichurri-Yogurt Dip

Chimichurri Yogurt Dip
Victor Protasio

Aside from stirring in yogurt, herbs, and a few other ingredients, the magic of this dip is in the chimichurri. There's no need to waste time baking here. Just mix together the ingredients and serve with a side of lettuce and radishes.

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Caprese Skewers With Balsamic Glaze

caprese-skewers
Getty Images

Vegetable and cheese trays can be assembled in advance—but try a classic flavor combination on a skewer for a playful twist.

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Chickpea and Mint Crostini

Chickpea and Mint mix in a bowl with a side of toasted crostini ready for serving
Mikkel Vang

To save time on this recipe, toast baguette slices in advance and store. Then mix the topping ingredients and set aside. The best part about this hors d'oeuvre idea is that you don't need to spend time topping the crostini. Leave the topping in a serving bowl for your guests to serve themselves.

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