‘Tis the season for allll the festive gatherings. And as we all know, appetizers are the best part of every holiday meal (am I wrong?) There’s nothing better than walking into a party and making a beeline to delicious bites, ready for grazing. From family dinners to gatherings with friends, a well-curated selection of holiday appetizers for hosting can set the tone for an unforgettable celebration.
So today we’re deep diving into exactly what makes the best holiday appetizers for hosting all your guests. From artisanal cheeses to cured meats to toasts topped with deliciousness, we’re sharing recipes that will not only satisfy taste buds but also create a visually stunning centerpiece for your holiday table. Enjoy!
11 Holiday Appetizers to Wow Your Guests
Why We Love It: With rich shades of red from jewel-toned pomegranate seeds and touches of green from scattered rosemary springs, this holiday board is all you need for the best gatherings this season. Add your favorite spreads, dips, and snacks—and bonus points if they’re seasonal ingredients!
Hero Ingredient: These slow-roasted tomatoes are to die for.
Why We Love It: Tinned fish is a unique take on your traditional charcuterie. This board is quick and easy, with fresh veggies, savory cheeses, and of course, French bread. If you’re looking for a low-stakes board with a little something for everyone, put these ingredients on your shopping list.
Hero Ingredient: Tinned fish is the star of the show—don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!
Why We Love It: Sometimes, some fresh produce is exactly what your (rich) holiday menu needs. This dips and crudite board offers a bit of everything—from homemade dips to crunchy nuts. The vibrant colors and fresh flavors provide a little much-needed contrast to all the sweet indulgence this season is known for.
Hero Ingredient: Caramelized onions, in dip form? Zero leftovers, guaranteed.
Why We Love It: Talk about an elegant side—this kale, pea, and ricotta spread is the perfect bite-sized holiday appetizer. In addition to your favorite crudites, the spread itself is fresh and creamy—the perfect complement to heavier dishes.
Hero Ingredient: Ricotta, though humble, is this recipe’s pièce de résistance.
Why We Love It: For a holiday appetizer that uses minimal dishes (score!), this ricotta board is a simple and quick way to curate a delicious variety of snacks for grazing. There’s something about the ricotta/honey/apple combination that never gets old, no matter the time of year.
Hero Ingredient: Pistachios give this board the perfect nutty crunch.
Why We Love It: A holiday cheese board won’t break the bank? This guide makes it possible. All you need is a good serving board and some seasonal ingredients. When the weather is cooler, I like to add in a mix of hard and soft cheeses like gruyere, gouda, or creamy brie.
Hero Ingredient: Pomegranates or cranberries can add a festive touch.
Why We Love It: If your goal is to impress your guests, you have to try your hand at this tarte soleil. The pastry is filled with savory and sweet elements like brie, chili powder, and apricot preserves. It’s an instant crowd-pleaser that’s hard to beat.
Hero Ingredient: Herbs are an easy way to pack nuanced flavor into any dish. Here, we recommend rosemary and thyme.
Why We Love It: For all the brie lovers, this charcuterie board makes the creamy cheese the star of the show. Pair it with other favorites like gorgonzola or parmesan slivers for a delightful dish full of varied flavors. Add in fresh and dried fruit as a sweet complement and a sliced baguette for the board of your dreams.
Hero Ingredient: A drizzle of honey and brie go hand-in-hand.
Why We Love It: When it comes to appetizers for hosting big crowds, everyone goes crazy over pastries. And the holidays are a perfect time to whip up some of your top tarts. If you’re a fan of spinach and artichoke dip, give this pastry a try for all of your hosting occasions.
Hero Ingredient: Sour cream is key for creating a rich filling and addicting tarts.
Why We Love It: Every table needs a good dip to snack on before the main meal, and this dip is a top-tier option. Loaded with spices and bold flavors, it’s far better than any pre-packaged dip you’ll find at the store.
Hero Ingredient: The eggplant is obviously the heart of this dip.
Why We Love It: You can never go wrong with a plate of potatoes, especially when they’re covered in a nutty pesto and rich parmesan flakes. When serving, add some caramelized and roasted garlic paste and a bit of zingy lemon to cut through the richness of the potato and cheese.
Hero Ingredient: Yukon golds are your best bet here, but feel free to use whatever potato you have on hand.