Editor Favorites: Holiday Party Foods

When you think about food all day long, it's hard for a dish to win 5-star praise. Believe us when we say these holiday party starters are best in class.

  • Four-Seed Cheddar Triangles
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

    Four-Seed Cheddar Triangles

    "I usually make a double batch of these because I'll eat a lot of them myself! This recipe bumps ho-hum plain cheese straws into a more sophisticated category. They're great to look at, and even better to munch on. Always a crowd favorite." -Donna Florio
  • Pepper Jelly-Goat Cheese Cakes
    Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck

    Pepper Jelly-Goat Cheese Cakes

    “Southern Living's Pepper Jelly – Goat Cheese Cakes are always a crowd pleaser. It's hard to beat the flavor of tangy goat cheese with sweet, hot pepper jelly. These perfectly sized, showy bites that can be made a day ahead, might be the perfect party appetizer. Try them with a variety of pepper jellies. Right now, I'm in love with Mango Peach Habanero Jelly from Hot Damn! JellyCo.” –Jason Burnett, Editor MyRecipes.com

  • Spinach-and-Artichoke Dip
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Spinach-and-Artichoke Dip

    "I particularly like this dish because it's a combination of two dips that I love–spinach dip and hot artichoke dip. It's the best of both worlds. This dip does not compromise on flavor or texture, even with the reduced-fat cheeses and fat-free sour cream. Because of the spinach, it seems a little healthier than some of the other holiday dips. I like it so much that sometimes I just eat it as a side dish instead of scooping into it with a chip."–Anne Cain
  • Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

    "Believe it or not, this is actually the first Cooking Light recipe I ever made. My college roommate and I made it one evening for a get-together at our apartment and I've been making it ever since! The sweet-savory-tangy combo is divine and it's impressive yet incredibly easy to make. If I'm in a hurry, I just pick up a jar of fig preserves at the grocery store (shhh)." -Mallory Brasseale, CookingLight.com Editor
  • Sausage Balls
    Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Zapalowski

    Sausage Balls

    "This is one of the earliest holiday appetizers I can remember from childhood. Sharp cheddar is my all time favorite cheese and the sausage adds a little heat to lift your spirits. It also helps that they are bite size so you can easily pop one in while you grab another!" -Jim Sheetz, Production Manager MyRecipes.com
  • Seared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Seared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce

    "I like to serve an appetizer that can be filling and flavorful. This elegant, easy appetizer makes the most of pricy beef tenderloin by shaving it thinly for the sandwiches."-Ashley Kappel, Production Editor MyRecipes.com
  • Apple-Blue Cheese Chutney
    Photo: Marcus Nilsson; Styling: Robyn Glaser

    Apple-Blue Cheese Chutney

    "A simple, elegant bite. This is a great make ahead app. You could even take the crostini, chutney, and cheese to a party, then assemble when you arrive."-Hannah Klinger, Cooking Light Associate Food Editor
  • Deviled Eggs with Pickled Onions
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Lindsey Lower

    Deviled Eggs with Pickled Onions

    "I'm a deviled egg fiend during the holidays! I mean, come on; who doesn't love deviled eggs? Classic is great, but this recipe is stepped up a notch—lightened by using some Greek yogurt in place of mayo and spiced up with some Sriracha. The pickled onions are deliciously tangy and only take 15 minutes to make." -Michelle Klug, CookingLight.com Assistant Editor
  • Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie
    Photo: Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie

    "As soon as this dish comes out of the oven my family and I fight like sharks to get the perfect gooey bite. Nothing like stabbing your brother in the hand with the sharp edge of a cracker to promote holiday cheer, but it's just that good." -Erin McFarland, Assistant Editor MyRecipes.com
  • Pepita Pesto-Stuffed Mushrooms
    Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee; Styling: Kaitlyn Du Ross  

    Pepita Pesto-Stuffed Mushrooms

    “Every time a plate of stuffed mushrooms comes out on the floor, my husband and I immediately race to the platter to scoop up the succulent, flavorful bites. In our opinion, no party is complete without them.”- Rebecca Longshore, Production Assistant MyRecipes.com
  • Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
    Randy Mayor; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

    "Every bite packs a contrast of sweet, salty, tangy, bitter, creamy, and crunchy. They're easy to make, and I love to double the candied walnuts and save for another use such as salad toppings."–Mary Creel
  • Pancetta Crisps With Goat Cheese and Pear
    Ralph Anderson; Mindi Shapiro Levine

    Pancetta Crisps With Goat Cheese

    "I always look for quick appetizers with short ingredient lists when I throw a party, so the Pancetta Crisps With Goat Cheese and Pear is a perfect pick. The touch of honey with the pancetta and pear make for a winning combination of tastes and textures."–Ashley Leath
  • Spicy Chipotle Barbecue Sausage Bites

    Spicy Chipotle Barbecue Sausage Bites

    "I love these bite-size delights because they're easy to make and fun to eat. It never fails that this yummy appetizer is always the first to be gobbled up at parties. I never seem to make enough." -Virginia Switzer
  • Smoked Salmon Canapés
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Smoked Salmon Canapés

    "I love these buttery canapés because you can make the dough ahead and top it with just about anything that appeals to you: a tapenade, sour cream and caviar, or Stilton and sautéed mushrooms, for instance. They're very good with the smoked salmon topping, too."–Julia Rutland
  • Cranberry Liqueur
    Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Cranberry Liqueur

    "I made the Cranberry Liqueur to take to my sister's house in Georgia where my entire family was gathering. (Be prepared: It has to 'ferment' for a few weeks.) Before Christmas dinner I made up the Cranberry Cosmopolitans that are a serving suggestion with the recipe, and they were a hit. For a housewarming gift, I gave my sister some martini glasses to serve the drinks in."–Mary Creel
  • Salt-and-Pepper Cheese Puffs (Gougères)
    James Carrier

    Salt-and-Pepper Cheese Puffs (Gougères)

    "These are my favorite because of the sheer ease of baking them and because they are completely irresistible, especially when hot out of the oven and accompanied by a glass of chilled Champagne."–Margo True, Food Editor, Sunset
  • Feta Cheese Truffles
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey

    Feta Cheese Truffles

    "Serve a tray of these truffles with various veggies and crackers for an affordable variation on the traditional cheese plate. Have fun with the toppings by rolling the truffles in chopped parsley, basil, toasted pecans, or bacon." Holley Johnson
  • Peppered Three-Onion Tart with Smoked Salmon
    Jean Allsopp

    Peppered Three-Onion Tart with Smoked Salmon

    "One of my favorite recipes–Peppered Three Onion Tart with Smoked Salmon–gets multitasked into an appetizer, a side dish, or perhaps a brunch dish. It's so good I have to make more than I think I'll need because it disappears fast."–Julia Rutland
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