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.
These tender, buttery snack rolls are akin to cinnamon buns in structure… but they’re full-on pizza perfection in flavor. Using canned crescent roll dough and prepared marinara sauce keeps both the prep time and ingredient list short, making these cheesy, kid-friendly bites easy to whip up at a moment’s notice. Of course, you can also prep them ahead to enjoy as after-school snacks or on-the-go breakfasts throughout the week. Feel free to customize you homemade pizza rolls with your own favorite toppings.
Brie-and-Fig Puffed Pastry Bites
You don’t need a culinary degree and ample free time to create impressive appetizers for your next party. In fact, all you need is three simple ingredients and about ten minutes of hands-on work to whip up these easy and delectably cheesy bites. They’re yet another reason that puff pastry is the true MVP when it comes to entertaining.
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.
Hasselbaguette with Gorgonzola and Garlic Butter
There’s no doubt, you know as soon as you tear off a slice of this hasselback beauty that it’s the type of thing you shouldn’t eat more than once in a given calendar year. But that’s exactly why this recipe makes a great appetizer for holiday gatherings. You’ll definitely want to pick up a good quality baguette (we tested using bread from Whole Foods) for this recipe in order to avoid having your bread disintegrate during its decadent butter bath.
Easy Party Meatballs
Using frozen meatballs makes this 5-ingredient take on a crowd favorite perfect for easy, affordable, no-fuss entertaining. Feel free to use whatever type of meatballs you like best for this delightfully spicy-sweet slow cooker appetizer—chicken, beef, or turkey all work great.
Things we love: Impressive appetizers that require minimal time and minimal ingredients. Things we really love: Impressive appetizers that require minimal time and minimal ingredients, and make use of the leftovers in your fridge—i.e. these easy, cheesy potato purses. Supposing you’re not looking to use up leftover spuds, you can also substitute prepared, store-bought mashed potatoes, such as Bob Evans brand, in this recipe.
Honey-Pepper Grilled Goat Cheese
Keep 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 Hummus
Get 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.
Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates
Use 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 Salmon
Just 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.
Blue Cheese and Honey Bruschetta
When 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.
Crispy Baked Ravioli
You need 15 minutes and 5 ingredients to make a tasty alternative to fried cheese sticks for your crowd.
Cheddar Cheese Straws
Savory 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.
Thread 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 Toasts
This 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 Bites
Don'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 Chips
Pita 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 Leaves
The 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 Sandwiches
These 5-ingredient, money-saving mini sandwiches will satisfy the heartiest of appetites. Using premade frozen meatballs keeps preparation swift and simple.
Bacon Bow Tie Crackers
Warm Rosemary Olives
A 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.
Jarred 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 Bites
Serve 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 Bites
Coat 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.
Serve this easy, 3-ingredient gazpacho in tall shot glasses garnished with cucumber sticks for an eye-catching appetizer.
Pancetta Crisps With Goat Cheese and Pear
Top 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 Bites
Use 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 Bites
These 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 doubt about it—simple guacamole is the best guacamole. When you’re working with such an incredible line-up of fresh ingredients (avocado, lime juice, garlic, and cilantro), you really don’t need bells and whistles to make your dip stand-out delicious. If you opt to make your guacamole a few hours in advance, simply squeeze a bit of lime juice over your guac, then gently press a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the dip to prevent browning.
Cherry-Pecan Brie is a five-ingredient appetizer you can have ready in about 10 minutes.
Easy Party Pizza Sticks
If you’re searching for an easy and inexpensive appetizer for a crowd, the hunt stops here. These crispy, cheesy pizza sticks are the perfect snack to whip up for a Super Bowl spread, birthday party, or a casual family get-together. Besides being inherently kid-friendly, these tasty pizza sticks are endlessly customizable—just pile on your favorite toppings!
Cranberry-Goat Cheese Pinwheels
Entertaining is stressful enough (especially during the holidays)—keep the party starters simple. Tangy goat cheese dresses up canned crescent dough and canned cranberry sauce like you wouldn’t believe in these easy, 3-ingredient appetizers.