These Holiday Appetizers Are the Most Delicious Way to Get the Party Started

labneh dip with caramelized onions and fennel

Get festive with these celebratory bites. From classic deviled eggs to a sublime shrimp dip, we're sharing an array of bites that set the tone for a fabulous gathering.

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Gooey Gouda Puff-Pastry Bites
Con Poulos

Appetizers are important: They set the tone for the meal or party to come. But they're never more important than they are during the holidays, when there are more occasions requiring pre-dinner snacks, appetite enhancers, and small plates accompanied by festive cocktails or cups of punch. Even now, in the age of COVID-19, when holiday gatherings will be smaller than usual, the importance of celebrating these special occasions is clear. That's why we've taken the liberty of putting together a stellar selection of holiday appetizers. There's something for everyone, from the traditional to the adventurous.

If you're looking for Martha-level recipes for holiday appetizers, you're in luck: We're sharing some you'll actually find at our founder's festive gatherings (we're looking at you Shrimp and Crudité Platter with Two Sauces). For something that's simple to make but still so classy, the Gouda Puff Pastry Bites shown here are your answer. Made using store-bought puff pastry, these impressive one-bite snacks require just 15 minutes of hands-on time, but your loved ones will never know it. Of course, there are also the classics—we'd be remiss if we didn't include a recipe for deviled eggs. They're one of those appetizers that define the party, and since they're so delightfully versatile, we had a hard time choosing just one variation to highlight here. In the end, our traditional take was the winner, since it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, but we have many other tasty deviled egg ideas to explore. Our wildcard entry just might be the ultimate high-low hors d'oeuvres: Fried Macaroni-and-Cheese Bites. These cute cubes with a crispy panko exterior and a soft, rich mac-and-cheese interior have been a sure-fire hit at all our holiday parties.

Also in this collection are celebratory holiday bites that are super easy to make (think: two-ingredient wonders like smidgeons of smoked trout atop rounds of cucumber and olives warmed in olive oil with cracked coriander) as well as dips (one made with caramelized onions and fennel is an addictive take on classic onion dip) guaranteed to wow.

Try all of these holiday appetizer recipes as you celebrate the season in delicious fashion and look forward to a new year with friends and family.

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Spicy Shrimp Dip

Armando Rafael

Tender shrimp, fiery serrano chiles, and plenty of fresh lime juice and cilantro take this creamy dip to the next level. A crunchy panko topping is the perfect finishing touch.

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Classic Deviled Eggs

Bryan Gardner

Classic for a reason. What's a holiday gathering without deviled eggs? In fact, you could make the menu all deviled eggs and offer all our delicious variations.

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Baked Camembert with Bacon, Rosemary, and Pine Nuts

Marcus Nilsson

Here's a secret: You don't have to spend a fortune on cheese. Just heat Camembert, or another inexpensive triple cream like Brie, right in its box until melting. Set it out with crostini and a mixture of finely chopped bacon, rosemary, and pine nuts for sprinkling onto each gooey dollop.

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Spanish Chorizo Balls

Spanish Chorizo Balls recipe
Con Poulos

For those occasions when you need a hot appetizer, we suggest these half-pork, half-chorizo meatballs. Serve them alongside plenty of crusty bread to sop up all of the delicious citrus-spiked tomato gravy.

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Crème Fraîche Salmon Spread

creme fraiche salmon spread
David Malosh

Here's a quick, easy, and sophisticated spread: tangy crème fraîche unites poached and smoked salmon for the perfect topping to crisp crackers.

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Warm Olives with Cracked Coriander

warm olives with cracked coriander
Justin Walker

When you want to prepare an impressive but oh-so-easy appetizer, this four-ingredient wonder is exactly what you need. Coriander seeds are toasted in olive oil until fragrant, then tossed with olives and bay leaves.

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Fried Macaroni-and-Cheese Bites

David Malosh

This snackable form of the perennial favorite pasta dish is sure to be a hit at any party. Make the stove-top mac and cheese a few days ahead so it can firm up in the refrigerator, then wow your family with this irresistible bite.

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Shrimp and Crudité Platter with Two Sauces

winter grand aioli on platter
Justin Walker

Here's a Martha-level appetizer spread that's sure to delight. It's a feast of raw and steamed vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, and chilled seafood served with a side of jarred mayonnaise doctored with anchovies and oil-packed tuna, as well as a vegan avocado-based green-goddess dip.

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Chicken-Liver Mousse with Raspberry Jelly

Christopher Testani

Both exquisite and easy, the rich combination of chicken livers and butter is beautifully complemented by sweet-tart raspberry jelly in this chic appetizer.

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Puff-Pastry Cheese Straws

David Malosh

These twisty hors d'oeuvres just keep on giving: Everyone loves them, they are easy to eat out of hand, and they pair well with practically any drink. Another bonus: They're easy to make using store-bought puff pastry.

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Fingerling Potatoes with Wild Salmon Roe

David Malosh

A fancy three-ingredient appetizer, steamed fingerling potatoes topped with mascarpone and wild salmon roe make a more affordable and totally delicious take on the traditional caviar and potato-pairing.

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Labneh Dip with Caramelized Onions and Fennel


Consider this a new take on a classic: It's essentially a more inspired take on caramelized onion dip. Like it's inspiration, it's sure to be the first thing to go at a party.

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Smoked Trout and Cucumber

Bryan Gardner

Just two ingredients are all you need for this super easy but sophisticated hors d'oeuvre. Make them for a last-minute get together or a more formal soirée.

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Date, Olive, and Goat-Cheese Tart

date olive goat cheese tart
Louise Hagger

This chèvre tart is like a cheese plate in a single bite, with luscious dates, briny olives, and pickled chiles, all cradled in a buttery pastry shell.

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