40+ Make-Ahead Christmas Appetizers
Cut back on the chaos this Christmas. Our best make-ahead Christmas appetizers (like this festive Christmas Owl Cheeseball, this easy-to-assemble Frudité Platter with Mint-Lime Dip, and these Classic Cheddar Cheese Straws) allow you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with family this holiday season.
Christmas Owl Cheese Ball
For a holiday appetizer that’s as adorable as it is delicious, you can’t go wrong with this owl cheese ball.
We took the classic spinach-artichoke dip and made it easier to enjoy while holding a cocktail. Try arugula instead of spinach for a peppery flavor.
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.
Vegan Mini Pumpkin Spice Bites
For a guilt-free, vegan dessert that's sure to get you in the fall spirit, there's no better option than these adorable mini pumpkin spice bites. Encased in a simple walnut-pecan-date crust, the key to this autumnal treat lies in the silken tofu filling. Providing a creamy consistency without affecting flavor, silken tofu is the best kept vegan dessert secret.
Beet Chips with Turmeric-Yogurt Dip
Here's a lighter, more colorful take on the usual chips and dip. Beet chips crisp up in a flash in the microwave. Keep close watch on them to make sure they don't scorch.
Frudité Platter with Mint-Lime Dip
For a show-stopping party appetizer or dessert that will appeal to both kids and adults, you can't go wrong with a fruit platter. Accompanied by an easy, ultra-creamy, homemade dipping sauce that's bursting with fresh lime and mint, this starter offers plenty of fruit combinations that are refreshing and sweet.
Brown Sugar-Spiced Nut Mix
Achieve a bronze-like patina on these candied nuts by keeping a close watch near the end of their roasting time. Too long and they'll over-darken and take on a bitter flavor.
Artichoke and Spinach Dip
You'll love this healthier, colorful update on a crowd favorite. Leftovers are delicious tossed with hot pasta.
French Onion Cheese Ball
Rather than serving French Onion soup topped with bread to a crowd, serve a more easily-shared, portable version with all of the same flavor.
Creamy Artichoke Dip
This is a creamy, rich, yet healthier riff on the classic—and is great for entertaining. We process half of the artichokes to sneak more veggies into the dip, plus a little tofu to help cut back on cheese and boost protein. Using frozen artichokes instead of canned helps keep sodium in check. Serve each ramekin with different sides—we like a medley of vegetables, crackers, or bread. Or keep it super simple and bake in one larger baking dish.
This delicious dip celebrates all the best flavors of this favorite sandwich that hails from The Big Easy. Parmesan cheese helps hold ingredients together. You can also serve this versatile recipe with crackers over a block of cream cheese or toss leftovers in a Caesar salad.
Buffalo Chicken Cheese Ball
The buffalo flavor that we all know and love is typically made by combining vinegar, butter, and a cayenne pepper-based hot sauce. Skip the intense prep that buffalo wings require-- get all of the flavor you crave with a buffalo cheese ball. Prepared Buffalo wing sauce makes it easy to make and the blue cheese gives each bite an addictive richness. This cheese ball's spiciness is a wonderful complement to sweet holiday fare.
Chicken Sausage Puffs with Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce
Italian-Style Antipasti Platter
Lunch: Keep hunger pangs away with these healthy and delicious dishes! 150 calories and under. Lose weight the 5:2 way. This healthy, quick and easy recipe is featured in the lunch section of the new 5:2 Starter's Guide to The 2-Day Diet. The book provides a selection of over 100 tasty recipes that meet the daily 500 calorie allotment for the 2 days of intermittent fasting, as required by the 5:2 Diet.
Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
Everyone will gobble up these spicy grilled sweet potato fries topped with honey and salty queso fresco. Serve them as a fun appetizer or alongside burgers or your favorite grilled protein. Microwaving the sweet potatoes before they hit the grill ensures the fries will be tender throughout and helps them cook up quickly.
Microwave Sweet Potato Chips
When the chip craving strikes, look no further than these healthy, homemade chips. Pro tip: You'll need a mandoline to slice the potato thin enough to crisp.
Million Dollar Dip
Million Dollar Dip is like pimiento cheese, but better. The mixture of cheddar cheese, bacon, almonds, green onions, and mayonnaise will please anyone with a cracker or slice of celery. According to The Vintage Church Cookbook, it originated in the Neiman Marcus department store restaurant in the 1950s and became an instant favorite. This recipe doubles effortlessly, so go ahead and make a bigger batch. If there are any leftovers, you can always use it in a sandwich.
Creamy Feta-and-Herb Dip
The real secret to a crowd-pleasing crudités platter? A rich, tangy homemade dip. Choose feta that’s sold in blocks stored in brine. Crumbled feta contains an additive that prevents clumping, and it will not blend as smoothly. Serve on a tray piled with colorful baby vegetables such as rainbow carrots, English cucumbers, and French Breakfast radishes. This dip can easily be made ahead, refrigerated, and transported for a party. Instead of the usual plastic container, choose to store the dip in a mason jar, which can also double as your serving dish. If you do make it ahead, give the dip a quick stir before serving to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
Southwest Black-Eyed Pea Dip
This cheesy appetizer will be the talk of any game day gathering. We took the ingredients in Texas caviar (a classic chilled Southern dip made with black-eyed peas) and turned them into a warm and gooey multi-layered dip topped with diced tomatoes, zesty cilantro, and spicy jalapeños. Best of all, Creamy Southwest Black-Eyed Pea Dip can be made in advance. Prepare the dip through Step 2 (omit preheating the oven) and chill the dish, covered, overnight. Let the dip stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking and add 10 minutes to the covered bake time. Top the dip as directed in Step 4. Serve with cold beer and plenty of your favorite tortilla or pita chips for dipping. Before you know it, this dip will become your new signature dish for game day parties or any get-together with family and friends!
Carrots add a pretty orange hue and subtle sweetness to this smooth and creamy hummus. Choose milder red chiles, such as New Mexico-style or guajillo dried chiles, for heat that's not overpowering.
Creamy Tahini Hummus
The key to achieving this rich hummus’s creamy texture is an unexpected pantry staple: baking soda. Simmering dried chickpeas in a baking soda solution helps the legumes break down faster and more efficiently, resulting in an impossibly smooth spread. While 1/2 cup may seem like a generous measure of tahini, this is what will give your hummus its signature deeply toasty flavor—so don’t cut yourself short. We especially love Soom brand tahini, as this is a high-quality product made from single origin sesame seeds. Better than anything you’ll buy in your grocery store deli, this velvety and delicious homemade hummus is perfect served with warm, fluffy pita and crudite, or spread onto sandwiches.
Prosciutto-Asiago Pimiento Cheese
This recipe gives some Italian flavor to Basic Pimiento Cheese. With crispy prosciutto and Asiago cheese, you’re definitely stepping up your dip game. Friends and family will think it is oh-so-fancy but you will know it was super simple. From backyard cookouts to a porch party, this recipe can work for any occasion. It also makes the perfect snack for those long summer days. Hand shred your cheese for a better texture and flavor. We also prefer diced pimientos over sliced.
Goat Cheese and Gouda Pimiento Cheese
We’ve turned a classic on its head. If you want to turn your Basic Pimiento Cheese up a notch, try switching up the cheese you use. We’ve combined sharp white Cheddar, Gouda, and goat cheeses to make an extra creamy and rich pimiento cheese that is sure to impress your guests at the next summer party. What are the two steps to a better tasting pimiento cheese? Hand shred your cheese. It tastes so much better than the pre-graded stuff. Also, go for diced pimiento over sliced. Top this spread with toasted walnuts or pecans for a crunch everyone will love.
Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sausage Balls
If you thought you had your perfect, go-to sausage ball recipe—wait until you’ve tried these. Using prepared pimiento cheese in this party food favorite eliminates the need to shred cheese when it comes time to prep your sausage balls, and keeps them from drying out in the oven—as sausage balls are prone to do. In other words, this ultimate appetizer recipe is as genius as it is delicious.
Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs
Two appetizer favorites team up for one incredible bite in these pimiento cheese-loaded deviled eggs. Combining two types of cheese creates a robust, smoky-sharp flavor for the eggs' filling that's richened even further by the addition of egg yolks. Especially for deviled eggs (when keeping the white intact counts most), steaming is the way to go. This cooking technique makes for near foolproof, easy peeling--the egg shells practically slip right off. Just make sure to give the hot eggs a few minutes to rest in ice water, this makes a huge difference when it comes time to peel the shells off.
Nacho Sausage Balls
Nothing says PARTY like two of the all-time greatest finger foods uniting as one. And that is exactly what is happening with these Nacho Sausage Balls. Adding chorizo, Mexican cheese, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, and crushed nacho cheese flavored Doritos to the mix gives traditional sausage balls a hit of spicy personality. They’re perfect for tailgating or holiday parties—plus, these next-level sausage balls can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 1 month. For ease, form the sausage ball and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet; once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to serve, pop them straight from the freezer to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve your nacho sausage balls with favorite nacho condiments, like sour cream, salsa, and guacamole, for dipping.
French Onion Cheese Ball
Rather than serving French Onion soup topped with bread to a crowd, serve a more easily-shared, portable version with all of the same flavor. A French Onion Cheese Ball with toasted baguette slices makes the perfect game-watching appetizer and it much less likely to spill during the celebration of a big play.
Crisp and Spicy Snack Mix
Take this to snack on before dinner. And if there's any left, toss it on a salad.
Cheddar Cheese Straws
Cinnamon Apple Pull-Apart Bread
For a special breakfast that’s sure to impress, this easy Cinnamon Apple Pull-Apart Bread is a must. Not only is it a looker, but every fluffy crevice and golden fold of this loaf is smattered with irresistibly buttery, apple and cinnamon-brown sugar goodness. Using canned biscuits keeps this pull-apart bread recipe simple enough for bakers of all skill levels; however, it’s what you bring to the convenience dough product that yields a treat that tastes completely homemade. If you find that your melted butter begins to re-solidify slightly after you’ve stirred in the vanilla extract, no worries—just pop it back into the microwave for a few seconds and proceed with brushing the biscuit dough rounds. When arranging the stacks of dough into your pan, keep in mind that the dough will need space to rise and expand a bit as it bakes. A tangy cream cheese drizzle over the warm cinnamon-apple bread is certainly a welcome finishing touch, but it’s not essential if you’d rather dig in immediately.
Try a unique twist on a classic recipe by cooking meatballs in a decadent, cranberry, orange marmalade and soy sauce mixture.
Coffee and Brown Sugar Bacon
Time: 40 minutes. Everyone loves waking up to the smell of coffee and the smell of bacon, and the flavors are pretty awesome together too. Add some molasses-y brown sugar, and you'll reach bacon nirvana.
Looking for a side that’ll stand out this Thanksgiving? Look no further than these charred, super tender carrots cooked in a spiced harissa oil. Smoky sweet carrots are balanced by brightness from the lemon zest, and the harissa paste mixture helps the carrots achieve a nice spice crust and char in the oven. Reserve some of that oil and drizzle it on at the end for a burst of flavor.
Bacon-Wrapped Potatoes with Queso Blanco Dip
You can keep the queso blanco warm in a fondue pot or 1-qt. slow cooker. These are hearty, and would be a winner for a tailgate too.
Warm Gumbo Dip
Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites
These bite-sized appetizers are steeped in a mixture of garlic, soy sauce, ginger, citrus, and honey. The marinade is then reduced and used to glaze the chicken.
Cheddar Cheese Shortbread Crackers
These crisp, buttery crackers make an impressive hostess gift alongside a bottle of wine. We’ve included a classic Cheddar option, as well as three creative flavor variations if you want to mix things up: Pimiento Cheese,; Pecan-and-Thyme; and Bacon, Borubon, and Benne Seed.
Pimiento Cheese Crackers
Here is the approximate way my thinking went when I was dreaming up these crackers:
I have delicious pimiento cheese. I should eat that.
It will be best upon a cracker.
What type of cracker would be the superior vehicle for the cheese?
Sweet Fancy Moses, what if the cheese WERE THE CRACKER?????
After all, in my forays into cracker-making I had discovered that many crackers are just fat and flour and seasonings. And I had made cheese crackers which were just fat and flour and seasonings and cheese. Well, pimiento cheese is cheese and fat and seasonings, so what would happen if I just added flour and baked it?
Magic, people, this is what happens, pure alchemical wizardry.
Bacon Bow Tie Crackers
Candied Bacon Sticks with Garlic Butter Drizzle
Sweet and salty bacon wrapped around crunchy breadsticks makes for heaven on a stick. Crunchy, salty, and with just the right amount of garlic to give bacon the upper hand (not that it needs it) these crispy appetizers are the perfect way to get the party started. Thin breadsticks can be found in the cracker aisle at the grocery store, and be sure to use thin-sliced bacon to easily wrap around these breadsticks. Feeling even more daring? Uses these flavorful sticks to stir up a savory-sweet cocktail.
Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Dates with Brie
These yummy little bites are not your normal appetizer. Make sure to use large dates, which are much easier to handle and fill than small ones, and center cut bacon—thick cut bacon will take too long to cook. If a date splits while you’re filling it, just press it back together. These are best warm, right off the grill, but are still good at room temperature.