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Whether you’re hosting a cozy get-together or a grand holiday bash, appetizers set the tone for any festive gathering. My roundup features 38 healthy-ish appetizers perfect for celebrating the season. From classic deviled eggs to Middle Eastern mezze boards, there’s something for every palate. While many options lean towards the healthier side, I’ve prioritized flavor and crowd-pleasing appeal.
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What makes these appetizers special isn’t just their mouthwatering flavors but also their ease of preparation. Many of these treats, like easy garlic knots or shrimp avocado bowls, come together in under 30 minutes, letting you spend more time enjoying the party. Whether you’re looking for a cold starter like a classic shrimp cocktail or something warm and indulgent like baked feta and olives, I’ve got you covered. Dig in and make this holiday season deliciously memorable!
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE MORE HOLIDAY APPETIZERS
- Appetizers easily add variety without making an entire meal. Sure, you can grill a steak or you can make garlic butter steak bites for all to savor. Appetizers are meant to be enjoyed in small, bite-sized servings so you can offer a range of diverse flavors and textures without committing to a full-course dinner of those same foods.
- Small bites stimulate your appetite. One of the benefits of serving appetizers before a meal is that it can wake up your appetite and prepare you for the main meal. And these small bites offer an exciting preview of the flavors to come.
- Encourages a laid-back atmosphere. Holiday parties can be intimidating. Serving appetizers allows your guests to easily move around, chat, and mingle while enjoying delicious bites, without the social awkwardness. This is especially great for new friends who may not feel comfortable with a sit-down dinner immediately upon arrival.
- Great for a grazing-style dining experience. Appetizers can be the entire meal if you’re going for a casual, relaxed evening. This approach is perfect for holiday parties where the emphasis is on socializing and enjoying a variety of foods over an extended period of time.
TIPS FOR MAKING HOLIDAY APPETIZERS
- Make veggies the star of the show! Veggies are versatile, and inexpensive, and make a perfect accompaniment to a whole host of appetizers. Brush up on how to cut broccoli, cauliflower florets, celery, or carrots, so your veggie spread comes together effortlessly. And pair them up with a wide range of healthy dips. Win-win!
- Balance flavors and textures. When looking for Christmas appetizer ideas, be sure to have a variety of tastes. Offer a combo of savory, tangy, creamy, and crunchy appetizers. Include options like dips, finger foods, and hearty bites.
- Coordinate cooking times. If you’ve been tasked with multiple appetizers, choose ones with similar cooking times and temperatures to avoid juggling different oven temperatures and duration.
- Opt for make-ahead options. Alleviate some of that holiday entertaining stress and choose appetizers that can be made ahead of time, allowing you to focus on other tasks closer to the event. Most dips and spreads can be prepped in advance as well as chopping up veggies or pre-cooking the proteins.
- Focus on functional but practical serving. Appetizers should be easy to eat. Choose finger foods that guests can pick up with their hands or cocktail picks inserted into proteins like air fryer meatballs or tofu.
- Keep it simple. Focus on a few festive appetizers and utilize store-bought shortcuts for the rest. Eliminate the overwhelm, and if needed, use store-bought items like puff pastry, bread dough, pre-cut veggies, or yogurt to save time.
BEST HOLIDAY APPETIZERS
If you’re like me, you probably linger around the appetizer table during holiday parties. How can you resist the vast array of bite-size goodness? So it seemed appropriate to come up with an ultimate collection of the best holiday appetizers, for parties big and small. You’ll find cool bites that will keep you and your guests coming back for more and easy holiday appetizers that ensure you spend less time in the kitchen and more time decking the halls. You’ll find everything from classic Christmas party appetizers to holiday finger foods and hearty dips and spreads for all your favorite dippers. Get ready to indulge in the festive spirit, one delicious bite at a time.
COLD HOLIDAY APPETIZERS
- Classic Deviled Eggs Recipe – Every holiday gathering must have a platter of deviled eggs. This easy-to-make appetizer is made with only 4 ingredients and has the perfect harmony of flavors and creamy texture.
- Easy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps – Ready to serve in 20 minutes, these spicy shrimp lettuce wraps will be a hit at your holiday gathering. A hearty mixture made with shrimp, red bell peppers, carrots, and scallions are tucked into butter lettuce and served with a side of spicy peanut dipping sauce. Easy, refreshing, and oh-so-delicious!
- Cold Stuffed Tomatoes – Goat cheese, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, a touch of honey, and seasonings are whipped until velvety smooth and then spooned into hollowed-out tomatoes. Top with savory breadcrumbs for a fun and festive appetizer that everyone will love.
- Classic Shrimp Cocktail – When it comes to traditional cold holiday appetizers, a classic shrimp cocktail is a must. This gorgeous platter of chilled, perfectly juicy shrimp is waiting to be dunked in a spicy cocktail sauce made with ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Easy, delicious, and a total repeat, year after year.
- Shrimp Avocado Bowl – This fun appetizer is a twist on the classic shrimp cocktail. It’s easy to prepare and a huge hit at parties. The best part is this easy holiday appetizer is ready in less than 10 minutes, and there’s no cooking involved!
- Salmon and Cucumber Sushi – Not only do these taste amazing, they are so visually appealing that they will be a hit at any party. Similar to cucumber sushi, but restructured with smoked salmon, julienned carrots, and avocado slices rolled in long cucumber ribbons.
- Pinwheel Sandwiches – Easy to make but oh-so-tasty. Plus, with 4 different flavors to choose from, these pinwheel bites will be a hit at any party. Whether you’re in the mood for everything bagel cucumber and tomato, pesto turkey pinwheel, chicken salad pinwheel, or hummus and veggie pinwheel – you’re covered with this easy-peasy appetizer.
- Middle Eastern Mezze Board – A colorful spread of delicious cold dips, veggies, cheese, and more! What’s not to love about this refreshing and vibrant appetizer? It’s an easy way to offer many healthy and delicious options like muhammara, tabbouleh salad, marinated olives, feta cheese, and more!
EASY HOLIDAY APPETIZERS
- Air Fryer Pasta Chips – What was once a TikTok sensation now makes a regular appearance at the appetizer table. Cooked pasta tossed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and spices are air-fried until perfectly crispy for a crunchy and unique holiday appetizer everyone will love.
- Crostini with Roasted Tomatoes – Don’t let the fancy appeal of these tasty bites fool you – they’re surprisingly easy to whip up. It’s one the easiest Christmas party appetizers you’ll make. They come together with 3 main ingredients, and you can toast the bread and tomato slices on the same baking sheet to keep things simple.
- Smoked Salmon Platter Appetizer – This eye-catching appetizer is a perfect blend of simplicity and sophistication. Smoked salmon is tucked between fresh veggies including cucumbers, avocado, and cherry tomatoes, and paired with hearty crackers and tasty toppings like capers, cream cheese, and everything bagel seasoning.
- Stuffed Dates – Simple, quick, and easy to make, these stuffed dates can be made with sweet filling like peanut butter chocolate or savory with goat cheese, sweet honey, and a sprinkle of crunchy pistachios. Easy, tasty, and fun to eat.
- Easy Garlic Knots – This easy homemade garlic knots recipe comes together quickly with only 4 ingredients: flour, baking powder, Greek yogurt, and seasonings. Make them extra special and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
- Baked Brie Charcuterie Board – One of my favorite easy holiday appetizers is putting together a cheese board with what I have in the pantry and the fridge. And this cheese platter does not disappoint. With baked brie as the centerpiece, it’s paired up with refreshing apples, almonds, nuts, toast, crackers, and pomegranates.
- Caprese Salad Skewers – This easy appetizer brings the best of juicy cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and aromatic basil, with an extra touch of irresistible balsamic glaze. These caprese bites are easy, delicious, and will quickly become one of your favorite easy holiday appetizers.
CHRISTMAS PARTY APPETIZERS
- Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter – When it comes to fun Christmas appetizer ideas, nothing is more original than a Christmas tree-shaped vegetable platter. With broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, and pretzel sticks for a trunk, this appetizer is fun for the kids to eat and easy for the parents to assemble.
- Cranberry Brie Pull Apart Bread – Cranberries and brie cheese make a perfect pair, and what better way to join them than in a pull-apart bread? This crowd-pleasing festive appetizer is perfect for entertaining and so easy to make.
- Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms – Be sure to include these mushrooms to your list of Christmas party appetizers this year. This version is packed with chickpeas, walnuts, and cheese to make a hearty protein-fueled appetizer full of flavor and texture.
- Christmas Wreath Salad – Quick and simple to make, this salad is made with kale, small cooked beets, cherry tomatoes, sliced red onions, and goat cheese crumbles. Shape it into a wreath for a festive display and it will become one of your favorite cold holiday appetizers to add a touch of Christmas cheer.
- Charcuterie Wreath – Impress your guests this holiday season with this easy and foolproof charcuterie board. Make antipasto skewers with beef salami, mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, and green olives, and add some rosemary sprigs for a touch of greenery. Simple, tasty, and oh-so-festive!
- Tomato Basil Bruschetta – Fresh and vibrant, this vegan appetizer will be a hit at any gathering. Toss diced tomatoes, basil leaves, and red onions in a simple vinaigrette and scoop that onto garlicky toasted sliced bread. Easy, festive, and delicious.
- Crudite Platter Wreath – You won’t regret adding this crudite platter to your list of Christmas party appetizers this year. This elevated veggie tray is full of vibrant green vegetables shaped like a wreath. Serve with homemade ranch or hummus for a fuss-free party food everyone will love.
HOLIDAY FINGER FOODS
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp – If you’re looking for a better-for-you coconut shrimp recipe, you’ll love this air fryer version. It’s made with just a handful of ingredients and without a lot of oil. Serve with your favorite sweet chili sauce, and it’ll quickly become one of your favorite Christmas appetizer ideas.
- Zucchini Tater Tots – Next to all the carbs and heavy dips, be sure to include more veggies on that appetizer table. These zucchini tots are made with zucchini, cheese, and Panko breadcrumbs and are oven-baked. The best part? They can be made ahead of time, allowing you to enjoy the festivities without the stress.
- Mushroom Tartlets – These bite-size appetizers are made with puff pastry and filled with a savory mushroom and onion filling and topped with cheese. They’re easy to make but look festive, ready to grace your holiday table.
- Mini Wonton Taco Cups – You’ll love these crunchy Wonton cups – they’re loaded with chicken, fresh salsa, and melted cheddar cheese. They’re a bite-sized explosion of flavors without the fuss and come together in under 30 minutes!
- Spanakopita Triangles – Be sure to add these bite-sized Greek spinach pies to your list of Christmas party appetizers. They’re festive and oh-so-delicious and will fly off the platter. They’re a labor of love but so worth the effort.
- Mac and Cheese Bites – Turn your favorite comfort food into a bite-size sensation. These mac and cheese bites are simple to make, irresistibly cheesy, and fun to eat. They have perfectly crispy edges and chewy interior and are loved by kids and adults alike.
- Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves – This popular Middle Eastern recipe is made with short grain rice and vegetables rolled in brined grape leaves. They’re similar to beef and rice rolls but lighter, making them an excellent appetizer before the big meal.
HOLIDAY DIPS AND SPREADS
- Homemade Spinach Dip – This lightened-up version is so creamy and indulgent, no one will know it’s made with yogurt. Whips up in minutes, before transferring it to a baking dish and popping in the oven for a mouthwatering shared appetizer. Pair this dip with your favorite dipper like chips, crackers, or even homemade rolls.
- Lebanese Baba Ganoush – If you want to impress your guests, make this velvety and creamy dip. This dip is a major flavor sensation with a perfect blend of smokey roasted eggplant, tangy lemon, creamy tahini, and zesty garlic. Top with pomegranate seeds to give it a festive appeal, and serve with homemade pita chips.
- Baked Feta and Olives – This dip is full of vibrant Mediterranean flavors and one of my all-time favorite Christmas appetizer ideas. It’s similar to baked feta pasta, but in dip form and bursting with flavor. So grab your favorite crackers or veggie sticks and dig in.
- Vegan Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip – You’ll love this simple dairy-free dip. It’s packed with goodness from cashews, nutritional yeast for that comforting cheesy flavor, artichoke hearts, and frozen spinach. It’s easy, cheesy, and perfect for any gathering!
- Mediterranean 7-Layer Dip – Made with layers of homemade hummus and labneh, and topped with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, green onions, and crumbled feta cheese to add creamy texture and slightly briny flavor. Pair with cheese manakeesh, a Lebanese flatbread, for an easy Christmas appetizer your guests won’t be able to resist.
- Artichoke Dip with Yogurt – Packed with flavor, this artichoke tahini dip is an oven-baked appetizer that’s a total crowd-pleaser. It takes the classic artichoke dip to new heights, incorporating the creamy goodness of yogurt and nutty richness of tahini. Serve with homemade pita bread for a hearty and tasty appetizer.
- Whipped Cottage Cheese – If you need a tasty dip fast, make this refreshing dip! It’s easy, versatile, comes together quickly, and no heating up the stove needed. Made with cottage cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh herbs, this irresistible dip is loaded with flavor and easy to make. Pair it with a crudite platter and you’re good.
- Roasted Beet Hummus – Discover a new level of snacking with this deep pink-colored beetroot hummus, a perfect addition to your Christmas appetizer ideas. Healthy, flavorful, perfectly earthy, and visually stunning twist to a classic Lebanese hummus.
- Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip – This cheesy chicken recipe is a protein-packed dip that goes great with chips, veggies, and more! You’ll love this creamy goodness made with shredded chicken, tangy buffalo sauce, Greek yogurt, and melted cheese. Total crowd-pleaser too!
HOW TO STORE HOLIDAY APPETIZERS
- Refrigerate perishables. If your appetizers contain dairy, meat, or seafood, store them in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
- Separate recipe components. For appetizers that involve different components, consider storing them separately. In other words, store wet foods separate from dry foods to maintain their individual textures and freshness. For lettuce wraps, I recommend scooping out the filling and storing that separately.
- Room temperature storage. Appetizers that include crackers, flatbread, tortillas, or other similar foods, may be best stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place.
- Storing hot appetizers. Cool them to room temperature first before refrigerating. Then store in airtight containers per individual recipe suggestions. When reheating, use the oven or stovetop for best results.
- Freezing make-ahead appetitizers. Many appetizers are very freezer-friendly. However, it’s always a good idea to reference recipe-specific instructions for freezing appetizers and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The number of appetizers you need to serve depends on several factors, including the number of guests and whether you’re serving a full meal or just snacks. But generally, you want to plan for at least 3-5 different appetizers per person. If your event is mainly focused on appetizers, I would aim for 8-10 appetizers per person.
Use sturdy, airtight containers to prevent spills and maintain freshness. Consider storing moist ingredients separately from dry ingredients during transport and assembling them together just before serving to maintain freshness.
Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and heat in the oven at a low temperature for a few minutes. Watch them closely though to avoid burning them but the heat will crisp them up and they will be good as new.
This collection of holiday appetizers offers something for everyone. From cold holiday appetizers to traditional Christmas finger foods to creamy and delicious dips – you’ll find it here! So savor the holiday spirit and let these Christmas appetizer ideas become the centerpiece of your joyful festivities.
FULL LIST OF RECIPES
Check out the picture cards for all the recipes listed above. You can click on any of the recipes cards to take you directly to those recipes.
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