Choose these easy, no-mess appetizers when you need to take a dish to the party and feel confident that it will be perfect when you arrive.
Roquefort Cheesecake with Pear Preserves and PecansMake this savory cheesecake and let it chill overnight, or longer. It’s easy to transport to a party on a platter since there’s nothing to spill or jiggle. When you get to the party, top the cheesecake with preserves and pecans.
Basil Aïoli with CruditésMake a simple, herbed aioli for dipping crunchy veggies. We like baby carrots, endive, and asparagus, but you could use any fresh seasonal vegetables.
Chicken Salad PitasPepper jelly adds a sweet-hot note to Chicken Salad Pitas. And you'll love the extra zing from lemon zest and ground red pepper that's been added to these appetizer sandwiches.
Pecan-Rosemary-Cheddar ButtonsPecan-Rosemary-Cheddar Buttons combine nutty pecans and earthy rosemary to create a robust riff on the average Cheddar cheese straw.
Pepper Jack Grits PoppersPrep everything before you arrive, and then pop the peppers until the broiler for a few minutes just before serving.
Fingerling Potatoes with Avocado and Smoked SalmonPotato halves serve as the base of savory Fingerling Potatoes with Avocado and Smoked Salmon appetizers.
Smoked Salmon DipSmoked salmon is always a special treat, and this creamy dip is a great way to feature its rich flavor. Since it’s a relatively thick dip, it’s easy to transport in a festive serving dish covered with plastic wrap. You can pre-chop some fresh veggies to serve with the dip, or just buy a package of breadsticks or crackers.
Black-Eyed Pea PâtéA touch of salty country ham and shiitake mushrooms adds deep flavor to this earthy, creamy Southern spread. Serve with crostini.
Contemporary Shrimp CocktailRevive this party staple by setting out a bountiful platter of shrimp with three bowls of zingy new sauces: Avocado Cream, Tequila-Lime Cocktail Sauce, and Ginger Rémoulade.
Olive-Blue MoonsSpanish olives and blue cheese bring distinct flavor to each bite of savory Olive-Blue Moons.
Vanilla-Spice NutsAdd festive holiday flavor to toasted mixed nuts with vanilla, cinnamon, allspice and cardamom. Spiced nuts are close to being the perfect portable appetizer: make-ahead, no liquids to spill during transport, no reheating required, and an empty, non-messy bowl guaranteed at the end of the party.
Asparagus-Blue Cheese CanapésNot a blue cheese fan? Use any soft, crumbly cheese you like atop these bite-sized toast squares.
Country Chicken PâtéYou can't go wrong with an appetizer that's served at room temperature. This rich-and-creamy spread is best accompanied by a French bread baguette, coarse-grained mustard, and crunchy gherkins.
Cranberry-Goat Cheese CanapésMake Ahead: Stir together the cranberry mixture up to 3 days ahead of time. Assemble the canapés the day of your party.
Curried Crab SpreadThis tangy seafood spread with crostini is an all-around schedule-saver–you can prepare it up to two days in advance of your party and whisk it right out the door. To save even more time, serve with crackers instead of baking the bread slices for the crostini.
Mustard-Dill Tortellini Salad SkewersCrunched for time? Nix the skewers, and toss salad with 1/2 cup of dressing just before serving. Spoon into a pretty bowl, and garnish with a dill sprig.
Asian-Spiced PecansFreeze a batch of these at the start of the holiday season, and you'll always have finger food ready to go – they'll keep in your freezer for up to a month. For easy transport, just put them in a glass jar and take an extra one to leave as gift for your host.
Millionaire's Candied BaconOffer guests sweet-savory bites of Millionaire's Candied Bacon at your next party. You'll be amazed at how quickly they disappear!
Savory Spiced ShortbreadsThese savory shortbread rounds will be a welcome addition to any party and are sturdy enough to travel. In addition to the batch you're bringing for guest to enjoy, package a few extra in a decorative box and give as a hostess gift along with a bottle of wine.
Smoked Salmon-Cardamom SpreadEven though this make-ahead spread is super easy, the smoked salmon adds a bit of sophistication. You can't go wrong when you show up with this tasty salmon appetizer, and you an be assured that you won't be taking any back home.
Mini Bacon and Potato FrittatasOur savory little frittatas can be prepared up to a month in advance and frozen until ready to use, when they'll just need a quick reheat in your host's oven.
Baked Beef EmpanadasYou have a choice with these to-go appetizers – serve them at room temperature or reheat at your destination. Guests will devour them either way.
Traditional HummusWhen you take a dip to a party, it's a good idea to take a thick dip that's not likely to slosh out of the dish during transport. A creamy, garlicky bean dip like this one is ideal, especially since it's supposed to stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving. Just bring along a bag of pita chips for dippers.
Olive and Onion TapenadeTransform the party olive tray into a tasty, take-along tapenade. Serve this pungent, salty spread with baguette slices and crudités.
Cranberry-Pecan Cheese WafersThese savory, buttery cheese wafers have just a touch of sweetness from the dried cranberries and are perfect for a holiday cocktail buffet. You can transport and serve them in a festive tin or put them in a heavy-duty plastic bag and arrange on a platter when you get to the party.
Garlicky Spinach Dip with Hearts of PalmThis thick, hearty dip is definitely travel worthy. If your trip is under 15 minutes, go ahead and bake it before you leave the house and it'll be fine when you arrive.
Cranberry-Jalapeño SalsaOffer a festive alternative to tomato salsa during the holidays with this make-ahead salsa featuring fresh cranberries and jalapeño pepper. You can make the salsa up to a month ahead and freeze. When it’s time to take it to the party, just thaw, spoon into a serving bowl, and bring along a bag of tortilla chips.
Chipotle Shrimp CupsThe components of this deceptively easy appetizer can be prepared the night before. Then, just assemble and heat before you hit the road or when you arrive at your destination.
Artichoke and Fennel CaponataBecause this chunky vegetable spread can be served at room temperature or chilled, it's a great recipe to take to a party. Serve with sturdy crackers, pita chips, or toasted bread slices.
Cheese StrawsMake several batches of these easy cheese straws before the holiday season gets started, and freeze them in heavy-duty zip-lock plastic bags. When you need something to take to a party, just take some out of the freeze about 30 minutes before you leave. Take them to the party in the bag and arrange them on a platter or in julep cups after you arrive.
Green Pea Pesto Crostini with ProsciuttoOffering a bright pop of color and requiring next to no prep time, these tasty little toasts are equally ideal for special spring gatherings and casual afternoon snacking. You can assemble them up to 45 minutes before serving and they won't sog out.
Parmesan and Herb Cheese PuffsThese rich pastry bites can be baked right from the freezer so your guests can eat them warm.
Roasted Carrot PlatterScoop up these spiced carrots and seasoned yogurt with freshly toasted pita chips.
Chilled Mussels with Saffron MayoA spicy Provençal sauce called rouille inspired the mayo for this easy, elegant platter; you'll have enough extra for sandwiches.
Bacon BaklavaCleta Burden of Porterville, California, took traditional baklava and added everybody's favorite ingredient. The result: outrageous and addictive.
Chicken Bites with Tomato Mint SalsaIf gluten-free guests are on your invite list, make this mellow dunking salsa with a flour-free brand of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, such as La Costeña.
Bacon-Fig TassiesPinched for time? Swap the dough for frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells.
Benne-Maple Roasted PecansMake these a few days ahead, and chill in an airtight container.
Crispy Potato ChipsSlice potatoes as thin as possible.
Fried HominyDangerously delicious, this is the new popcorn for tree trimming--if you don't eat it all first.
Gumbo Rice FrittersYou can make the rice balls two weeks ahead and freeze. Bread and fry straight from the freezer.
Marinated Olives and AlmondsA big batch of these antipasti will last in the refrigerator up to a week. It's the perfect snack to serve unexpected holiday company. For extra flavor, use smoked almonds.
Mexican Shrimp CocktailThis fresh, colorful swap for creamy shrimp dip was inspired by reader Carolyn Coleman.
Orange-Basil Baked BrieServe on a pretty cutting board with a cheese knife, and let guests cut their own portions.
Sweet Potato TartletsThese festive tarts are the perfect sweet treat for grazing guests. You can make them up to a day ahead, and store, covered, in the fridge.
Shrimp-and-Andouille Gumbo DipUse sliced veggies or bread sticks with this popular and tasty dip.
Wine-Spiked Cranberry Cheese LogUse this succulent, syrupy fruit as a topping for pound cake or ice cream. You can also spoon it over a softened log of goat cheese instead of cream cheese.
Veggie Spring Rolls with Cashew-Ginger Dipping SauceRice paper wrappers hold these slim-cut veggies together for a bright springtime treat.
Chicken Phyllo TurnoversThis appetizer is based on bisteeya, a traditional Moroccan pastry that pairs savory, spiced meat and flaky phyllo with a dusting of cinnamon and powdered sugar. Make ahead: Freeze unbaked pastries for up to 1 month; bake frozen, unthawed pastries 5 additional minutes or until browned.