37 Holiday Appetizers & Hors D’oeuvres

During the holiday season, it’s smart to have a collection of hot and cold appetizers at the ready. This collection of simple and gourmet appetizers covers the bandwidth you need for every type of gathering. From make-ahead hors d’oeuvres like duck rillettes and country pâté, to last minute party bites like bruschetta crostini and quick canapés, there’s something for everyone here, including some of our favorite seafood appetizers, these 23 Amazing Holiday Appetizers will get you through the season with panache.

My husband’s family in Minnesota has a Christmas tradition that I’d love to adopt for our crew here. Instead of doing a big Christmas dinner with multiple courses and days of prep, they graze on hors d’oeuvres and holiday appetizers while opening presents. It’s easier, more relaxed and frankly, more fun! In that spirit, I’m sharing some of my favorite hot and cold appetizers ranging from the quick and easy last-minute fare, to make-ahead favorites. Of course, these bites will be welcome throughout the holiday season for all your parties, holidays and special gatherings.

holiday appetizers collage with meatballs, stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta crostini and party bites.

Holiday Appetizers Start with Dips, Spreads & Toppings For Crostini, Bruschetta & Your Favorite Store Bought Crackers

These hot and cold appetizers range from sweet to savory and they’re all served on some sort of bread or cracker. Bruschetta and Crostini are two halves of the same coin. Bruschetta is grilled bread, while crostini are toasted (usually in the oven). Either way, they’re just begging for a good topping. If you’d rather go the crackers and spread route, I’ve included two of my personal favorites here. These holiday appetizers are easy to make and so good!

bruschetta, crostini party bites and gourmet appetizers.
Roasted Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini
Oven roasted grapes with fresh rosemary become a jammy, concentrated bite that’s perfect spooned over creamy pepper goat cheese crostini. Serve the grapes while their still warm, for the best flavor.
Check out this recipe
A serving tray of roasted grape crostini.
White Bean Dip
This creamy, rich dip with roasted garlic, fresh herbs and sun-dried tomatoes is perfect for snacking and hors d’oeuvres. Try it for game day or your next dinner party — it gets gobbled up whether you’re drinking beer or sipping cocktails.
Check out this recipe
Creamy Tuscan White Bean Dip with pita chips.
Garlicky Marrow Bruschetta
An ultra sensory experience Garlicky Marrow Bruschetta is rich, buttery and utterly satisfying! The best way to start a meal!
Check out this recipe
Garlicky Marrow Bruschetta
Wild Mushroom and Leek Crostini
These warm crostini are melty, savory and delicious!  Great for serving with cocktails!
Check out this recipe
Wild Mushroom and Leek Crostini

I’ve been making this recipe for 20+ years and every time I do, people cluster around the dish, ooh-ing and aah-ing. It’s really more of a cheese dip with spinach and artichokes… Don’t tell.

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Cheesy Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip
This restaurant-style baked spinach artichoke dip is warm, cheesy and delicious. This spinach artichoke dip recipe has no mayo or cream cheese, so it’s a little healthier than most. Serve with sturdy crackers, crostini or veggie chips for an appetizer everyone loves.
Check out this recipe
a bubbly warm spinach artichoke dip in a white baking dish.
Pepperonata Bruschetta
If you’re looking for a savory, tangy, luscious bite to serve with cocktails, look no further!
Check out this recipe

Bite-Sized Holiday Appetizers & Finger Foods

These tasty party bites are perfect as passed hors d’oeuvres and “chefy-enough” to qualify as gourmet appetizers. They’ll go with any most any cocktail and these holiday appetizers are always a hit.

Savory Mushroom Tartlets are courtesy of my cousin, Katrina! These are always a hit.

Bite-Sized Mushroom Tart
These tasty mushroom tartlets can be made in advance and heated just before the company arrives.  They’re great with a cocktail!
Check out this recipe
A serving tray of mushroom tarts.

My grandmother’s recipe — these biscuits have 3 leaveners, so they rise beautifully.

Country Ham Biscuits with Apricot Butter
These mini biscuits are the standard for country ham biscuits!  This easy recipe (handed down from my grandmother) makes enough for a crowd, so they’re terrific served at parties, wedding showers, baby showers or holiday events!
Check out this recipe
Smoked Salmon And Caviar On Crispy Potatoes
They look fancy, but they’re pretty simple to assemble and will definitely impress company. Best when assembled just prior to serving.
Check out this recipe
smoked salmon and caviar bites | Garlic + Zest
Creamy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
A delicious stuffed mushroom recipe worthy of a special occasion, but easy enough for any weekend gathering.
Check out this recipe
A baking sheet of hot stuffed mushrooms right out of the oven.
Curried Coconut Cocktail Nuts
A fabulous departure from ordinary spiced nuts with a hint of curry and sweet flaked coconut!
Check out this recipe

I’m somewhat embarrassed by the ready-made crescent dough in this recipe, but what can I say — this recipe is the BOMB!

Bacon Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls Recipe
Quick and easy, these crescent roll appetizers are irresistibly delicious. Use Pillsbury Crescent Roll Sheets and tubs of chive cream cheese and bacon.
Check out this recipe
Bacon cream cheese crescent rolls on a serving board.
Bulgogi Pork Belly Bao
This recipe takes some time, but not a lot of skill – and the flavors are amazing!  
Check out this recipe
A platter filled with pork belly bao buns and toppings.

A little flaky pastry filled with a sweet date spread, cheese and prosciutto. These always go quickly at any party.

Prosciutto and Date Palmiers
An easy, do-ahead hors d’oeuvre that goes great with a cocktail and some good company!
Check out this recipe
Pear Brie Phyllo Bites
Crispy phyllo pockets filled with tender prosciutto, creamy brie and a glorious balsamic pear compote. Fancy-up your next cocktail party!
Check out this recipe
Pear Brie Phyllo Pockets
Iberico Parmesan Asparagus Fingers
An impressive hors d’oeuvre to serve with cocktails!

Definitely a make ahead dish, but worth the effort.

Asian Pork Dumplings
You don’t need to order from your favorite chinese takeout for absolutely delicious Asian Pork Dumplings.  Make ’em yourself!
Check out this recipe

My family serves Accras for LITERALLY EVERY family get together.

Accras De Morue
A family favorite and one that is enjoyed all over the Caribbean!  
Check out this recipe
recipe hero.

The most vehement date-haters LOVE these stuffed dates.

Manchego Stuffed Date Appetizers
These surprising little bites are the first to go at any cocktail party.  I’ve actually had guests follow me to sneak an extra two or three from the tray!
Check out this recipe
recipe hero.

These the mustard and mustard seed amplify the cheese flavor in these bake and eat crackers.

Pecan Cheddar Crackers
These are a bit indulgent with lots of butter and cheese, but they’re well worth the splurge!  Kind of like a grown-up Cheez-It!
Check out this recipe
Cheddar Cheese Crackers in a bowl.
Asian Pork Meatballs
Great for a party, these Asian pork meatballs with sweet, tangy glaze are the hit of the occasion.
Check out this recipe
A tray filled with Asian meatballs.
Deviled Ham Stuffed Eggs
You’ve never had deviled eggs like this before!  Stuffed with deviled ham and garnished with hard boiled egg yolks!
Check out this recipe

Want Gourmet Appetizers? Try Pâtés, Rillettes & Charcuterie

If you’re looking for make-ahead holiday appetizers, these are some of my favorites. They are beautiful, meaty and savory. From my grandmother’s country pâté, to brandied pork rillette. For a statement piece, the veal and pork terrine is a real show-stopper and the duck rillette take these party bites to the next level.

easy hot and cold appetizers for tasty party bites.

This Pâté De Campagne is my grandmother’s classic recipe.

French Pate (chicken liver and pork terrine)
This simple country pate is easy to make with chicken livers and pork sausage. It makes a classic French pate, that’s a perfect party hors d’oeuvres for holidays and celebrations. Though this pork terrine looks fancy, it’s more approachable than you might think.
Check out this recipe
Aromatic Duck Rillettes Recipe
These rillettes are perfect for appetizers with a cocktail or for hostess gifts during the holidays (or both!)
Check out this recipe
Savory Southern Deviled Ham
This savory spread is worthy of a special occasion, but easy enough for “just ’cause”.
Check out this recipe
a dish of Southern deviled ham.

This is a riff on my Mother’s holiday pâté. Hers has chunks of ham. I’ve swapped that for port soaked plums and crunchy pistachios.

Veal and Pork Country Pâté
A savory country pate with beautiful pops of pistachios and sweet dried plums. Great for the holidays, special parties and gifting.
Check out this recipe
Elements of an Easy Cheese Board
Create your own holiday cheese board for effortless entertaining. This is less of a recipe and more of a thought starter and guide to creating a beautiful cheese and appetizer spread.
Check out this recipe
A classic cheese board with olives and nuts.
Rillettes of pork (du porc)
Pork rillettes are a delicious French potted meat spread that make delicious hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. Not only are these rillettes delicious on a toasted crostini with a glass of wine, they also make perfect hostess gifts!
Check out this recipe

Seafood Appetizers

Living in South Florida, with the abundance of fresh fish and shellfish, seafood appetizers are a MUST HAVE at the holidays. These hot and cold appetizers range from quick and easy last minute party bites to make-ahead dishes that need a few days for the flavors to marry. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these gourmet appetizers.

These seafood appetizers are amazing party bites for the holidays. From gourmet appetizers to hot and cold appetizers, these selections will be a hit.

This recipe is from my friend, Chef Joe Cascio, it’s a make-ahead recipe and does involve a smoker, but it’s the best fish dip I’ve ever had.

Smoked Fish Dip
Make this dip a day ahead of when you want to serve it. The flavors are deeper when it has a chance to set up.
Check out this recipe
Baked Sea Scallops
An easy, elegant appetizer that’s ready in about thirty minutes.
Check out this recipe
Baked sea scallops with crunchy breadcrumbs.

My Uncle Buck and Grandmother send a shipment of fresh oysters to us every year for the holidays. These come from Rappahannock River Oyster Company and they are briny and fabulous.

Mardi Gras Grilled Oysters
This simple recipe for New Orleans inspired grilled oysters is drenched with tangy spicy Cajun flavor!
Check out this recipe
Mardi Gras Grilled Oysters

Another Chef Joe Cascio favorite — you’ll love the big chunks of conch in these fritters.

Authentic Conch Fritters (Bahamian Style)
Visit the Bahamas, Key West or anywhere in the Florida Keys and you’ll find these tasty conch fritters on the menu. But you don’t need a plane ticket to enjoy this authentic island snack. This simple recipe makes the BEST conch fritters with a moderate spice and loads of tender conch meat.
Check out this recipe
fried conch fritters draining on a brown paper bag.
Ahi Tuna Poke Appetizer
Just the right balance of salty, tangy and heat. Serve with Crispy plaintain chips or other root vegetable chips. Also good with diced avocado (the store didn’t have any ripe ones).
Check out this recipe

These are indulgent, but so good. Recipe is courtesy of Chef Cascio; he doesn’t shy away from butter.

Pan Fried Oysters Oreganata
This indulgent appetizer is one of my favorites, with a crispy crust and tender, briny oysters — dipped in a buttery herby sauce.
Check out this recipe
A serving of fried oysters oreganata-style with sliced lemons.
Grilled Shrimp Cocktail
No more watery, rubbery shrimp cocktail from the deli section.  Fresh grilled shrimp and fast and easy cocktail sauce are ready in minutes!
Check out this recipe
grilled shrimp cocktail with lemon.
Oysters on the Half Shell with Mignonette
Oysters on the half shell is a simple, elegant appetizer. Mignonette is a simple oyster sauce recipe to serve with the shucked oysters and takes 5 minutes to prepare.
Check out this recipe
Oysters on the halfshell with tangy mignonette.
Calamari Grapefruit and Avocado Bruschetta
A fresh blend of citrus, spice, herbs and grilled calamari tops garlic rubbed toasts.  A great appetizer or snack with cocktails!
Check out this recipe
Snapper and Pineapple Ceviche
For this (or any) ceviche, source the freshest fish available!
Check out this recipe

Pin Holiday Appetizers For Later!

hot and cold appetizers and hors d'oeuvres

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to host another party and try all of these appetizers out!!