Impress your guests with these sophisticated five-ingredient-or-less appetizers. They're elegant, easy, and, because they have so few ingredients, won't break your budget. These recipes range from great dips, fantastic cocktail shrimp platters, or even elegant party crackers. Serve up a great dish of goodies to your guests while making it easy on your budget.
Mini Crab Cakes
The lemon rind garnish gives you a pop of flavor so you don't even need a sauce. If you don't love tarragon, use thyme.
Honey-Pepper Grilled Goat CheeseKeep the grilling theme going by preparing this Honey-Pepper Grilled Goat Cheese appetizer on the barbie.
Chilled Shrimp with Saffron Aïoli
This five-ingredient recipe couldn't be any easier to pull together and makes for a truly impressive, elegant appetizer. Spruce up store-bought mayonnaise (or make your own) with a little fresh lemon juice, a clove of fresh garlic, and an extra-special ingredient: saffron. Some specialty food shops and select grocery stores allow you to purchase smaller amounts of spices, which is great for ingredients like saffron being that it is a pricier spice and you do not want to have an excess that goes stale in your pantry before you are able to use it.
Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato HummusGet the party started with easy 5-ingredient appetizers, such as a homemade hummus dip. This flavorful appetizer recipe skips the tahini (an ingredient commonly used in hummus) and combines chickpeas, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Blue Cheese and Honey BruschettaWhen you need a last-minute appetizer, you can't go wrong with this easy bruschetta. All you need is half a baguette, some honey, and a little blue cheese, and you've got something elegant and impressive.
Goat Cheese-Stuffed DatesUse only five ingredients for this easy and elegant appetizer. The tangy goat cheese and sweet dates create a perfect flavor combination.
Marinated Feta Skewers
If you can find a container of multi-colored tomatoes, use those for the prettiest presentation.
Unlike classic pesto, there's no oil in this filling. Once everything is minced in the food processor, though, it develops a paste-like consistency. Thaw the pastry in the fridge overnight, or leave out at room temperature for an hour or two.
Gingery Shrimp Salad Bites
Pick up inexpensive Chinese soup spoons at Asian markets, or serve on rice crackers or in hollowed-out pieces of cucumber. The chives, an optional sixth ingredient, perk up the look but aren't crucial to the flavor.
All-Purpose Entertaining Crackers
Why buy something that you can make easily and more deliciously at home? Make these all-purpose crackers as they are, or top with Asiago cheese, sea salt and black pepper, Italian herbs, or sesame seed oil after rolling the dough and before cutting it into desired shapes. Note that if you choose to make larger, 2" crackers, the yield is around 60 crackers, which serves 30 people.
Potato Nests with Sour Cream and Smoked SalmonJust a small amount of smoked salmon is needed to highlight the flavor in the creamy filling of these bite-sized potato nests. Because each serving costs only 52 cents (roughly 13 cents per piece), you can treat your guests without hurting your pocketbook.
Crispy Baked RavioliYou need 15 minutes and 5 ingredients to make a tasty alternative to fried cheese sticks for your crowd.
Cheddar Cheese StrawsSavory and rich with a little peppery bite, these cheese wafers are great party snacks. They're easy to make, they travel well, and you can freeze them.
Ham-and-Cheese SkewersThread blue cheese wedges, apple slices, cubes of deli ham, and fresh watercress leaves onto wooden skewers for a super fast, super easy appetizer. Arugula and spinach are less expensive than watercress, so try one of those options if desired.
Endive Boats with Pears, Blue Cheese, and Walnuts
Let the ripeness of your pears determine how long you cook them. Soft, juicy fruit will only need to cook a minute or two; underripe fruit will need to go longer.
Cherry Tomato ToastsThis simple bruschetta tastes best on sourdough bread, but feel free to use whatever bread you have on hand to cut down on cost. Also, choose dried oregano over fresh for an inexpensive option.
Peach-and-Blue Cheese BitesDon't skip the Gorgonzola cheese because of cost. It has a strong flavor, so only a small amount is needed to top each tartlet. The flavor combination of the tangy cheese with the sweet peach spread is sure to impress your guests.
Garlic Pita ChipsPita rounds, garlic powder, and cooking spray are all you need for these homemade pita chips. This recipe yields 4 dozen chips from only 6 pita rounds, so the cost is considerably less than purchasing them ready-made. Pair with your favorite dip, or skip the garlic powder and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar instead for a sweet treat.
Blue Cheese Shortbread LeavesThe distinctive flavor of blue cheese and the crunch of pecans earn these tasty leaf-shaped wafers rave reviews. Use star-shaped cutters for another holiday variation.
Monster Meatball SandwichesThese 5-ingredient, money-saving mini sandwiches will satisfy the heartiest of appetites. Using premade frozen meatballs keeps preparation swift and simple.
Warm Rosemary OlivesA bowl of olives is a classic addition to any appetizer buffet. Choose your favorite inexpensive variety and dress them up with fresh rosemary and red pepper flakes. Note that this recipe serves 30 guests, so if you are entertaining a smaller group, decrease the ingredient quantities.
Pizza SticksJarred bruschetta topping, chock full of flavorful herbs and veggies, saves both money and prep time for these cheesy pizza sticks. Simply top a refrigerated thin pizza crust with the bruschetta topping and a shredded cheese blend, bake, and cut into bite-size strips.
Mini Caprese BitesServe these mini tomato and mozzarella skewers in individual glasses as an appetizer at a seated dinner party, or arrange on a platter for your buffet. The price of grape tomatoes rarely fluctuates, making these caprese bites a cost-effective option.
Spicy Chipotle Barbecue Sausage BitesCoat cocktail-sized smoked sausages with a homemade glaze featuring barbecue sauce, cherry preserves, chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce for an easy party appetizer that's sure to be gobbled up in no time.
Gazpacho ShootersServe this easy, 3-ingredient gazpacho in tall shot glasses garnished with cucumber sticks for an eye-catching appetizer.
Pancetta Crisps With Goat CheeseTop Bartlett pear slices with baked pancetta, crumbled goat cheese, and a drizzle of honey for an easy, salty-sweet hors d'oeuvre that tastes delicious and looks gorgeous.
Red Pepper Jelly-Brie BitesUse frozen mini phyllo pastry shells as the base for this colorful holiday appetizer. Keep these shells on hand so that you can always throw together a last-minute appetizer.
Cream Cheese-and-Olive Pecan BitesThese little cream cheese-filled pecan bites are the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy. You'll have a hard time stopping with just one bite.
Cheesy Sausage Roll-Ups
These southwestern-style roll-ups require just 5 ingredients.
There's no credible way to lighten guac since the main ingredient--avocado--is high in fat. But it's heart-healthy.
Cherry-Pecan BrieCherry-Pecan Brie is a five-ingredient appetizer you can have ready in about 10 minutes.