18 Easy Holiday Appetizers You Can Quickly Whip Up

Impressive bite-size apps that only look like you cooked for hours



The anticipation of any holiday meal is palpable, and it starts with the apps! Kick things off strongly with delectable, savory, and sweet bites that welcome guests and prep their appetites for the celebratory feast to come. Most of these appetizers can be prepped in advance, so that day off all you have to do is quickly assemble and plate these finger foods for a fabulous start to every type of holiday party. Busy hosts, these holiday appetizers are for you!

01 of 18

Pan Roasted Olives and Lemon

Pan roasted olives and lemon
Victor Protasio

Are your guests at a chic cocktail bar or your home kitchen? It’s anyone’s guess once they pop a warm olive in their mouth. Serve with toothpicks or pickle spears for easy pickups.

02 of 18

Hot Honey Lamb Meatballs

Hot honey lamb meatballs
Victor Protasio

Broiling the meatballs cooks them quickly with minimal mess to clean up (no splatter!)—and the tasty sriracha-and-honey sauce makes them next-level amazing.

03 of 18

Red Pepper Walnut Knots

Red pepper walnut knots
Victor Protasio

Frozen puff pastry and canned roasted peppers make this fancy holiday appetizer super easy to put together. Blend the peppers with walnuts and spices, then spread on the thawed puff pastry. Cut into half-inch strips, twist, and bake for some super-flavorful snacks.

04 of 18

Gorgonzola Cream and Prosciutto Endives

Gorgonzola cream and prosciutto endives
Victor Protasio

No cooking is necessary for these crunchy flavor bombs—just a little mixing and assembly.

05 of 18

Creamy Smoked Trout Dip

Smoked Fish Dip

Tinned fish is everywhere these days, so show off your food trend knowledge with this easy-to-whip-up dip. Prepare in advance and serve directly out of a mason jar for a shabby chic look.

06 of 18

Smoked Gouda and Pepper Cheese Puffs

Smoked gouda pepper cheese puffs
Victor Protasio

Cheese puffs are always a good idea, and smell delectable when they’re all steamy out of the oven. Play around with your favorite cheese in this recipe—you can even mix and match cheeses for a wide selection of puffs.

07 of 18

Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

Getty Images

Crisp, sweet, and gooey, these bite-size treats are always a crowd-pleaser. Smaller family members can also help prep these three-ingredient appetizers in advance, especially if you set up an assembly line of cheese stuffers and bacon wrappers.

08 of 18

Steamed Clams With Garlic Toasts



A big bowl of steamy clams is the perfect appetizer to gather around as guests trickle in. Serve with small slices of toast, so everyone can help themselves to a nice dip in the buttery sauce. A ladle on the side may also be good to include.

09 of 18

Orange Chili Shrimp Cocktail

Orange-Chili Shrimp Cocktail
David Prince

It sounds and looks sophisticated, but this ceviche-esque shrimp cocktail recipe takes just a few minutes and a handful of ingredients to assemble. Plus, it’s like two appetizers in one, because you can dip tortilla chips or crispy plantains into the sauce

10 of 18

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy cavier in a white bowl on white surface
Rus32/Getty Images

Throw back to one of 2022’s biggest TikTok food trends with this salad slash dip made almost entirely from canned ingredients. It takes just minutes to assemble and can be broken into smaller servings with different flavor profiles. Add spicy peppers to half and crumbly cheese on the rest.

11 of 18

Fancy Pigs in a Blanket

Super Bowl Snacks: Pigs in a Blanket
Quentin Bacon

Don’t let the “fancy” in the title fool you, these little piggies can be made in a jiffy. Using chicken, turkey, or even plant-based sausages offers an instant upgrade for a bite-size appetizer that you can practically make in your sleep.

12 of 18

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs
Aniko Hobel/Getty Images

Easy to prep and plate the day before, and always a crowd-pleaser, deviled eggs are a go-to holiday appetizer for good reason. Try adding different herbs to the filling or popping something crispy on top (bacon bits or sesame seeds are a good bet) for a fun twist on the classic.

13 of 18

Smoky Kale Chips

Smoky Kale Chips Recipe
Jennifer Causey

It’s likely your guests are looking for something green on your appetizer spread—'tis the season for overindulgence. Satiate their salad cravings with smoky homemade kale chips, that will be devoured by the handful and can also be crushed to use as a garnish on many a holiday dish. Making several batches is recommended.

14 of 18

Easy Pork Dumplings

Easy Pork Dumplings
Greg DuPree

Dumplings are never a bad idea. And while these handmade dumplings do take a little extra legwork (or handwork, technically), they are easy to assemble and can be delegated to kids or house guests who need a project while you focus on other kitchen tasks.

15 of 18

Many-Cheese Cheese Ball

Many Cheese Cheese Ball
Victor Protasio

You can assemble a cheese ball in less time than it takes to prep a charcuterie board, and the results are just as stunning. Ask someone to bring the crackers, to make this appetizer even easier.

16 of 18

Pears With Rosemary Sugar

Pears With Rosemary Sugar
David Prince

Sliced fruit is a sophisticated appetizer and palate cleaner, and the perfect snack to nosh on before a big feast. This dish comes together with just some slices, a drizzle of sugar, and a sprinkle of rosemary.

17 of 18

Manchego and Fig Jam Crostini

Getty Images

A sweet jam and sharp cheese pairs so well with the crusty baguette in this recipe. And while this one is super easy to assemble, you can make it even easier on yourself by serving the crostini deconstructed—just give guests the toast base, jam with a spreading knife, and slices of cheese to DIY it.

18 of 18

Glorious Green Dip

Though this recipe for glorious green dip is a hit with classic dippers, this would be a no-brainer drizzled over roasted or grilled chicken, fish, or layered into a roasted vegetable sandwich. 
Victor Protasio

This go-to dip recipe can be whipped up in minutes! It’s visually attractive and healthy, plus it pairs with whatever you want to dip in it.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles