Our Best Portable Appetizers
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. The trick to bringing an appetizer to a party is making sure it arrives as beautiful, and as tasty, as when you left home. Save yourself the prepping, packaging, and hauling of food prep items and instead make a dish that travels beautifully. From basic dips to candied bacon, this collection of portable appetizer recipes has something for everyone.
Cheesy Sausage Roll-Ups
These southwestern-style roll-ups require just 5 ingredients.
Fingerling Potatoes with Avocado and Smoked Salmon
Potato halves serve as the base of savory Fingerling Potatoes with Avocado and Smoked Salmon appetizers.
Roquefort Cheesecake with Pear Preserves and Pecans
Make 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 Crudités
Make 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 Pitas
Pepper 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.
Cheesy Masa Pancakes with Pico de Gallo
Masa harina adds delicate corn flavor to these bite-size pancakes. Look for it on the baking aisle.
Jalapeño Cheese Straws
Try this fancy-looking cheese straw recipe for a no-hassle appetizer you can take on the go. This subtly spicy recipe even impressed our Test Kitchen staff!
Pecan-Rosemary-Cheddar Buttons combine nutty pecans and earthy rosemary to create a robust riff on the average Cheddar cheese straw.
Pepper Jack Grits Poppers
Prep everything before you arrive, and then pop the peppers until the broiler for a few minutes just before serving.
Smoked Salmon Dip
Smoked 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.
Contemporary Shrimp Cocktail
Revive 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.
Spanish olives and blue cheese bring distinct flavor to each bite of savory Olive-Blue Moons.
Add 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.
Country Chicken Pâté
You 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.
Mustard-Dill Tortellini Salad Skewers
Crunched 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.
Millionaire's Candied Bacon
Offer guests sweet-savory bites of Millionaire's Candied Bacon at your next party. You'll be amazed at how quickly they disappear!
Savory Spiced Shortbreads
These 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 Spread
Even 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.
Crostini with Cucumber, Smoked Salmon, and Dill
Top baked bread slices with cream cheese, cucumber, and smoked salmon to make this tasty appetizer.
Mini Bacon and Potato Frittatas
Our 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 Empanadas
You have a choice with these to-go appetizers – serve them at room temperature or reheat at your destination. Guests will devour them either way.
Olive and Onion Tapenade
Transform the party olive tray into a tasty, take-along tapenade. Serve this pungent, salty spread with baguette slices and crudités.
Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Wafers
These 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 Palm
This 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.
Alice describes these little bites as cheese straws with an olive stuffed inside. They were a special treat reserved for holidays and for whenever her parents hosted the supper club in their Birmingham, Alabama, home.
Offer 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 Cups
The 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.
Cranberry BBQ Meatballs
Cranberry jelly is the secret to these sweet and savory BBQ meatballs.
Artichoke and Fennel Caponata
Because 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.
Make 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 Prosciutto
Offering 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 Puffs
These rich pastry bites can be baked right from the freezer so your guests can eat them warm.
Roasted Carrot Platter
Scoop up these spiced carrots and seasoned yogurt with freshly toasted pita chips.
Chilled Mussels with Saffron Mayo
A spicy Provençal sauce called rouille inspired the mayo for this easy, elegant platter; you'll have enough extra for sandwiches.
Cleta Burden of Porterville, California, took traditional baklava and added everybody's favorite ingredient. The result: outrageous and addictive.
Field Pea-and-Radish Crostini
Combine ricotta, lemon zest, and black pepper and spread the ricotta mixture over each toast; top evenly with the pea mixture and serve.
Chicken Bites with Tomato Mint Salsa
If 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.
Pinched for time? Swap the dough for frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells.
Benne-Maple Roasted Pecans
Make these a few days ahead, and chill in an airtight container.
Crispy Potato Chips
Slice potatoes as thin as possible.
Dangerously delicious, this is the new popcorn for tree trimming--if you don't eat it all first.
Gumbo Rice Fritters
You can make the rice balls two weeks ahead and freeze. Bread and fry straight from the freezer.
Garlic, Avocado, and Tomato Toast
Quick, simple, and pulling in at under ten ingredients makes these toasts a great appetizer option.
Marinated Olives and Almonds
A 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 Cocktail
This fresh, colorful swap for creamy shrimp dip was inspired by reader Carolyn Coleman.
Sweet Pea Crostini with Ricotta
Impress your company with this easy-to-prepare appetizer. Making your own ricotta is incredibly simple and doesn't require special equipment.
Orange-Basil Baked Brie
Serve on a pretty cutting board with a cheese knife, and let guests cut their own portions.
Split Pea Mini Pancakes with Mushroom Relish
Garnish these festive bites with cilantro. They're best served hot but are also good at room temperature.
Sweet Potato Tartlets
These 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 Dip
Use sliced veggies or bread sticks with this popular and tasty dip.
Wine-Spiked Cranberry Cheese Log
Use 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 Sauce
Rice paper wrappers hold these slim-cut veggies together for a bright springtime treat.
Chicken Phyllo Turnovers
This 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.
Melon, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Skewers
Put out half of the skewers, and keep the remaining chilled until ready to serve. Everyone loves a good melon salad, so we took that idea and "skewer-ed" it. Salty cured ham meets creamy, fresh melon for the ultimate savory/sweet combination. With the addition of smooth mozzarella cheese, these skewers are texturally satisfying and not shy on flavor. Your guests will absolutley the easiness and accessibility of these skewers, and you'd be surprised at how impressed they'll be.
Bacon Bow Tie Crackers
There's nothing better than a simple appetizer. That is until you try this two-ingredient dish. Wrap crispy bacon around a buttery cracker for ultimate bite.
Spicy, Barely Sweet Supercrunch Granola
Our supremely crunchy, irresistible granola almost feels more like party mix (but still contains all those great whole grains). It stores well at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.
Greek Crab Dip
With the salty richness of feta cheese and brightness from fresh lemon juice and herbs, this is an incredible twist on a classic creamy crab dip. Lump crab meat gives the dip an added touch of decadence, but it could also be made with less-expensive claw meat. Served with warm, crusty baguette slices this savory crab dip is the perfect “something different” to bring to your next potluck or party.
Flamin' Hot Cheetos Stuffed Jalapeños
What do you get when you cross the most virally popular snack on the chip aisle with one of the most beloved appetizers of all time? Obviously, the hottest snacketizer around.
There is a whole lot of flavor wrapped up in these colorful little pinwheels. You can serve them cold as appetizers or a fun snack.
Start with frozen puff pastry to make these 6-ingredient Mediterranean-style appetizers featuring the savory goodness of tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.
Boysenberry Wine Compote with Goat Cheese and Basil
Here's one for your summer-party recipe stash. Wine and black pepper make the compote sophisticated, and you can put the whole thing together in minutes--for guests to serve themselves.
Sweet Pea and Avocado Dip with Baked Pita Chips
Incorporating green peas into this tasty summer snack not only reduces the amount of fat but also adds sweetness and further brightens the green color.
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. Fresh mozzarella bites, tomatoes, basil, and balsomic join forces for a summery, adorable appetizers that will have your guests swooning. Kids love the presentation, and the skewers allow for easy, mess-free eating. Caprese is always a party showstopper, and these cute mini-skewer ideas are no exception.
Crab Cake Hush Puppies
Serve these Crab Cake Hush Puppies with your favorite rémoulade or cocktail sauce for tasty appetizers. Hush puppies, a Southern classic made by deep-frying a cornmeal batter gets a seafood makeover. Served with a creamy, thick dipping sauce, these salty critters are a great option for a potluck meal or an appetizer that serves to impress. Freeze any leftovers and defrost up to 3 months later.
Cranberry-Goat Cheese Canapés
Make Ahead: Stir together the cranberry mixture up to 3 days ahead of time. Assemble the canapés the day of your party.
When 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.
Black-Eyed Pea Pâté
A touch of salty country ham and shiitake mushrooms adds deep flavor to this earthy, creamy Southern spread. Serve with crostini.
Curried Crab Spread
This 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.
Asparagus-Blue Cheese Canapés
Not a blue cheese fan? Use any soft, crumbly cheese you like atop these bite-sized toast squares.