Pear and Blue-Cheese Pastry TrianglesHosting an appetizer party doesn't mean you need to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. Instead, start with store-bought ingredients that save you time, like puff pastry. The pastry is delicate, so don't overload it.
Crab Salad CupsServe a chilled appetizer salad loaded with crab, avocado, and fresh parsley. It's light enough to balance the rest of your appetizer spread, but hearty enough to provide a solid base for the party's bar menu.
Brussels Sprout and Prosciutto SkewersPickup appetizers are ideal for cocktail parties; they're individually portioned and don't require any plate balancing while your guests enjoy. Try this new spin on the prosciutto skewer. It's delicious and can be made ahead to save you time on the day of the party.
Salt-and-Pepper Cheese Puffs (Gougères)When a party-sized cheese ball is too much for your intimate crowd, make miniature versions topped with delicious sea salt. Make them up to a month ahead of time and pull them out when unexpected guests arrive.
Herbed Yukon Gold Potato LatkesServe a delicious potato-and-salmon appetizer that looks almost as good as it tastes. The salmon adds a bright pop of color to the appetizer buffet, and the potato base gives this appetizer top-rated portable ability.
Walnut Red Pepper DipIf you usually serve spinach dip at friendly gatherings, switch it up this year by serving a warm dip made with roasted red peppers, walnuts, and a dash of lemon juice. Serve with toasted bread slices or even sliced veggies for an easy appetizer station perfect for welcoming guests to your home.
Pesto Arugula WrapsThis four-ingredient appetizer comes together in about fifteen minutes, making it a perfect after-party snack or last-minute recipe for unexpected guests.
Cowboy CaviarMake a dish that only gets better as it sits. Mix it up the night before then pull it out of the fridge and pair it with tortilla chips for a savory, crowd-pleasing snack.
Hot Ricotta Spinach LoafWhether you call it an appetizer or a light sandwich, this delicious warm dish is loaded with spinach, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan. Serve with warm marinara sauce, for dipping.
Green Grape Tomato AppetizerWith bright yellow-green clusters that look like bunches of large Muscat grapes, Green Grape tomatoes have a sweet flavor and bright acidity that call for creamy cheeses and rich fillings. A chef's favorite.
Green Garlic Prosciutto ToastsServe these robustly flavored open-face sandwiches as a light dinner with a big salad, or as appetizers, using small slices of baguette.
Mini Peppers Filled with Goat Cheese and AsparagusFor easy entertaining, set out this elegant, quick appetizer created by Sunset reader Priti Malhotra of Los Gatos, California. Serve it with a crisp wine like Sauvignon Blanc.
Olive and Pistachio BruschettaThis combo has everything we love in a great appetizer--it's salty, crunchy, savory, and just a little decadent. If you're doubling or tripling the recipe for a party, you can set out the toppings and the grilled toasts brushed with olive oil to let your guests build their own.
Crab CroquettesSunset reader Herbert Roebuck of Clovis, California, suggests chilling the formed crab balls for an hour or up to 1 day, if you have time, to make them easier to roll in panko. They're delicious served with tartar sauce in addition to the hot sauce.
Sesame Fried ArtichokesThis easy-to-eat appetizer borrows from Roman-style fried artichokes and adds Asian flavors. They're a snap to whip up.