40 Party-Perfect Appetizer Recipes (2024)

This roundup will give you all the inspiration you need to keep your guests coming back for more. After all, a party is only as good as its food (in our opinion).

We’ve covered all our bases, from dips to bacon-wrapped things to seafood, there’s so much to choose from. Curate your own hors d'oeuvres bar or make one dish to let it shine alone. Either way, we guarantee you won’t have leftovers.

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Acadian Salt Cod Cakes

Salt cod is mashed with fluffy potatoes to make these bite-size pan-fried cakes from Prince Edward Island. Get the recipe for Acadian Salt Cod Cakes »

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Tuna Melt Canapes

Curry powder, raisins, and chutney pair nicely with cheddar cheese in this dressed-up tuna melt. Get the recipe for Tuna Melt Canapes »

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Creamy Watercress Dip

Creamy cottage cheese combines with watercress, lemon, chive, and parsley to make a bright dip for raw vegetables or chips. Get the recipe for Creamy Watercress Dip »

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Pan-Fried Salt Cod Chips (Fritas de Bacalhau)

A thin batter of salt cod, garlic, and onions is shallow-fried to make fine, crisp chips.

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Angeli Caffe's Focaccia

Evan Kleiman, the chef and owner of Angeli Caffe (see Family Style) in Los Angeles, gave us this recipe for Italian flat bread, which she tops with ‘nduja, a spreadable Italian cured meat. You can buy ‘nduja from the San Francisco-based pork store, Boccalone.

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Roasted Carrot and White Bean Dip

Carrots are roasted with rosemary and garlic until tender and slightly caramelized before being puréed with cannelini beans and coriander to make a vibrant, sweet, and earthy dip for raw veggies or pita chips.

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Empanadas de Carne (Beef Empanadas)

The classic Argentine empanada is shaped like a half-moon, but the pattern of its seal differs to indicate the unique flavors inside. This recipe, with a braided crimp and a spicy beef filling, is baked rather than fried in Argentine style.

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Ricotta and Roasted Pepper Frittata (Frittata con Ricotta e Peperoni)

Calabrians in Italy sometimes add sliced cured sausage to this popular frittata on Easter, to celebrate the end of Lent.

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Lemon Parmesan Dip

Creamy and bright-tasting, lemon parmesan dip makes for an excellent accompaniment to a chip or crudité platter.

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Champiñones Rellenos de Chorizo (Chorizo-Stuffed Mushrooms)

Roasted mushrooms are stuffed with a chorizo, onion, and cheese filling in a popular snack enjoyed at asados in Buenos Aires.

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Marinated Sardine Crostini with Salsa Verde and Fennel

These little sandwiches have a big range of flavors, from the salty sardines to to the tangy flavors of tarragon and chive salsa verde.

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Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleons

These elegant appetizers come from Wolfgang Puck’s Los Angeles restaurant Spago. Laurie Ochoa wrote about the groundbreaking chef in “The King of LA,” part of our special Los Angeles issue (March 2010).

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Fried Chicken Livers

Fried Chicken Livers

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Feta Tart (Alevropita)

Made with a simple egg batter, this feta-studded tart hails from the region of Epirus. Get the recipe for Feta Tart (Alevropita) »

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Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmades)

A meze of stuffed grape leaves is served with a cucumber-yogurt sauce. Get the recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmades) »

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Tarta de Jamón, Huevo y Tomate (Ham, Egg, and Tomato Pie)

A semolina crust encases a savory filling of ham, cheese, tomato, and eggs, perfect for a quick filling lunch.

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Fried Cucumbers with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Sour cream and fines herbes make a great sauce for cooling down a spicy snack like our fried cucumbers. Get the recipe for Fried Cucumbers with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce »

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Zucchini Fritters (Kolokitho Keftedes)

Based on a recipe from author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, this Cretan meze dish can be served hot or at room temperature.

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Flatbreads with Two Toppings (Laganes)

In Greece, these flatbreads are traditionally cooked on a hearthstone set over hot coals (a cast-iron skillet on the stove works well, too) and served with tomato sauce or sautéed zucchini and feta.

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Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta (Garides Saganaki)

The term saganaki refers to the skillet in which Greeks cook ingredients with cheese. In this appetizer, shrimp is topped with crumbled feta and broiled. Get the recipe for Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta (Garides Saganaki) »

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Fennel and Herb Phyllo Pastries (Hortopita)

Get the recipe for Hortopita »

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Yankee Fish Cakes

These lemon-and-dill-flavored fish cakes are a favorite of northeastern Massachusetts.

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Prosciutto, Chile, and Onion Pizza

Spicy and salty, with just the right amount of earthy sweetness, this homemade pizza makes a perfect appetizer or main course.

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Grilled Green Onions with Romesco

Traditionally, this recipe calls for Spanish calçots and ñora peppers. Scallions and ancho chiles are good substitutes. Get the recipe for Grilled Green Onions with Romesco »

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Fried Onion Rings

These are the perfect accompaniment to any burger.

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Montasio Cheese Crisps

Lidia Bastianich, who owns New York’s Felidia and operates a restaurant, called Frico, with her son, grew up eating this irresistible fried-cheese snack in her hometown of Pula, Croatia (once part of Italy). Frico may be stuffed with a variety of fillings. When making this simple version, we added a little flour to help the frico to hold its shape. Get the recipe for Montasio Cheese Crisps »

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Crab-Stuffed Jalapeños

This dish is based on the crab-stuffed jalapeños found on menus throughout southeast Texas. We found that chilling the chiles after stuffing them makes them easier to coat with bread crumbs and fry.

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Bacon Wrapped Dates with Almonds

At the Red Cat in New York City, these are a popular choice on the bar menu.

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Stuffed Celery

Hot sauce and worcestershire sauce season the cheesy filling for this dish.

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Caramelized Green Beans

This recipe is borrowed from cookbook author Anne Willan, who developed it at her cooking school, La Varenne, in Burgundy, France. Willan calls them “burnt beans” in her book From My Chateau Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, 2000), noting that they are “a revelation to those familiar only with crisp beans”.

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Italian Stuffed Clams

Foriana sauce makes a great alternative for the bread crumb stuffing often used on baked or broiled clams.

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Duck Pate

Patience is the key to making this flavorful pate. Before it is assembled, the ingredients should marinate overnight, and the finished pate should set for at least a day after it’s cooked so that the flavors meld.

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Salmon Croquettes

It’s important to chill the patties for these sumptuous croquettes (from Atlanta’s Watershed) before frying them so that they hold together in the hot skillet. Get the recipe for Salmon Croquettes »

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Guatemalan Tamales with Ancho Chile Sauce

These banana leaf-wrapped tamales are covered with an outer layer of foil, which ensures that they stay closed when steamed. Alternatively, the foil may be omitted and the tamales tied with kitchen twine. (Parchment paper may be substituted for the banana leaves, as well.) Get the recipe for Guatemalan Tamales with Ancho Chile Sauce »

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Mexican Seafood co*cktail

This dish is a favorite at Goode Company Seafood in Houston. It goes perfectly with fried tortilla chips and cold beer.

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Peppers Stuffed with Feta (Piperies Gemistes me Feta)

This meze is made in Macedonia with sweet Florina peppers, though Fresno or Anaheim chiles (the former being hotter than the latter) can be substituted. Get the recipe for Peppers Stuffed with Feta (Piperies Gemistes me Feta) »

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40 Party-Perfect Appetizer Recipes (2024)
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