When it comes to planning any holiday feast or gathering, the ability to prep or make food ahead of time can take a lot of stress off your plate. That’s where these Easy Christmas Appetizers come in! There’s a wide range of options, including recipes that are vegetarian or gluten free, as well as heartier appetizers featuring Italian cold cuts, meat, and seafood.
Our Top Christmas Appetizer Ideas For Holiday Parties
1. Antipasto Skewers
Tell me this isn’t the most beautiful holiday appetizer you’ve ever seen! We’re taking all your favorite Italian cold cuts, sliding them onto cute little skewers, and styling them into a festive holiday wreath. The beauty of these easy Christmas appetizers are that they can be completely assembled ahead of time and also customized to whatever cold cuts and cheeses you love best!
Be sure to leave a couple of skewers without meat for any vegetarian guests.
For a similar recipe without the hassle of making skewers, check out our Antipasto Salad — the entire thing gets tossed with homemade Italian dressing, then sits in a fridge until ready to serve.
2. Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Bacon-Wrapped Dates are one of the tastiest appetizers you will ever make! They’re both sweet and salty, and are loved by all.
Stuff pitted medjool dates with blue cheese or gorgonzola, then wrap with bacon and seal with a toothpick. Be sure to read through the post for tips on how to make sure the bacon is fully crisp on all sides! These are our all-time favorite!
3. Sausage Rolls
This Sausage Roll Recipe is a dream recipe for anyone who wants to prep weeks in advance! These take about 20 minutes to prep in their entirety, but then you have the option to freeze before baking (this is why we always make a double batch!), then cook days, weeks, or months later!
They bake from frozen — a huge win! — and are loved by all. These sausage rolls are flaky, savory, warm, and just the perfect addition to any Christmas menu.
4. Easy Make Ahead Salmon Rillettes
Truly the most elegant Christmas appetizer to ever be in existence! If you are a seafood lover, this Salmon Rillettes recipe is a must make! Salmon fillets are slowly poached in white wine with lemon juice and shallots, then flaked into small pieces and mixed with butter, sour cream, capers, and herbs.
It sounds simple — and it really is! — but it delivers a delicate salmon flavor with the most ethereal texture. You’ll love this spread on crackers, baguette, or even endive leaves.
5. Homemade Eggplant Caponata
Another recipe that is best made well in advance so the flavors have time to meld. This easy Eggplant Caponata is every bit as delicious as it is beautiful. It’s a perfect vegetarian appetizer, loaded with fresh veggies, lots of herbs, and a healthy drizzle of balsamic vinegar. If making in advance, simply serve with crostini on the side so they don’t get soggy.
6. Arancini (Italian Rice Balls)
Our Italian rice ball recipe (aka: Arancini) is a little more labor intensive than some of the quicker-to-make appetizers, but the payoff is huge. You’ll start with homemade risotto (but you can absolutely use leftover if you’ve got it!), stuff with a little bit of cheese, then coat in breadcrumbs and freeze.
You could stop right there and make these well in advance, taking some of the stress out of prepping in the days before Christmas. But if you want to go one step further, you can fry these in advance, then freeze. When you’re ready to reheat them, pop the cooked arancini on a sheet pan and heat up until crispy in a preheated oven. Easy!
7. Crab-Stuffed Shrimp
This one is for the crab lovers in your life! Not only do Crab-Stuffed Shrimp make an elegant appetizer for Christmas, but it serves double duty for a Feast of the Seven Fishes menu.
Can be enjoyed warm or room temp!
8. Whipped Feta Dip
Instead of a meat and cheese platter, consider making a crudité board with our easy Whipped Feta Dip! It’s a great way to use up leftover herbs, and can be jazzed up with chopped nuts if you want to add a little texture.
Serve with thinly sliced vegetables, your favorite crackers, fresh fruit, and more!
P.S. The leftovers make for a fantastic sandwich spread!
9. Green Olive Tapenade
Another dip that only gets better the longer it sits is our flavorful Green Olive Tapenade. This is absolutely bursting with flavor and so, so delicious! All ingredients get placed into a food processor, pulsed together until you reach the desired consistency, then serve room temperature.
10. Fried Goat Cheese Balls
Crunchy and cheesy, these tangy Fried Goat Cheese Balls are such a special holiday treat! Take them over the top by drizzling with a generous amount of truffle honey — so worth it! — then sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
Bet your guests won’t be able to stop after one! Yes, these are fried, but they cook in about 30 seconds per batch. For the cheese lovers in your life!
11. Cherry Tomato Confit
If you want your home to smell absolutely amazing, make this Cherry Tomato Confit. It’s about as low effort as a holiday appetizer can be, but man the results are amazing.
The tomatoes cook slowly until they are bursting with flavor, and don’t even get us started on that garlicky tomato olive oil that is left behind. You’ll want to have plenty of sliced baguette on standby for this one!
12. Oysters With Homemade Mignonette
If you have access to fresh oysters and are confident shucking them yourself, there is no more special a first bite than oysters on the half shell with mignonette sauce. You can even enlist one of your Christmas guests to help shuck (just make sure they have the proper tools!).
Make sure to serve oysters ice cold and, preferably, with bubbly!
13. Tuna Tartare
If there’s one Christmas appetizer that I’ll be hovering around all night long, it’s undoubtedly Tuna Tartare. It’s light, cool, and refreshing, with just the right amount of heat from minced jalapeño.
Serve it in a chilled bowl with rice crackers or wonton chips on the side. A crowd pleaser!
14. Phyllo-Wrapped Feta with Truffle Honey
Don’t overlook the simplicity of a really great piece of feta cheese wrapped and baked in phyllo dough. The feta gets warm and melty, while the phyllo is crispy. It’s texturally wonderful!
The drizzle of truffle honey makes this easy Christmas appetizer feel extra special. If you want an even easier feta cheese appetizer, try simple marinated feta. Make sure to use a high-quality, nutty extra virgin olive oil, as it will be front in center in this recipe.
15. Classic Fish Cakes
Of all the passed hors d’oeuvres at holiday parties, it always the crab cake or fish cakes that I go back for seconds and thirds. While we have a fantastic crab cake recipe on Well Seasoned (just make them smaller to be bite-size!), these Classic Fish Cakes are even more affordable and budget-friendly, but have a similar flavor profile that will be recognized and loved by all.
Serve on a platter with the tiniest little dollop of tartar sauce or remoulade. Deeeeelish!
16. Baked Ricotta Cheese
Baked Ricotta Cheese is exactly what it sounds like, and boy is it fantastic. It kind of has the texture of soufflé, but is creamier and cheesier. It’s both a little sweet and a little spicy. You could serve individual portions at a holiday party for a sit down appetizer or make a larger batch and allow guests to enjoy with crostini or crackers!
17. Smoked Salmon Salad
While Smoked Salmon Salad can 100% be enjoyed spread across a fresh bagel, it is a optimal make ahead Christmas appetizer idea as it is best served cold. Made entirely with store-bought smoked salmon, it’s got a generous salty bite from briny capers, a little spice from minced jalapeño, and a ton of fresh herbs. Oil-based dressing, so a great option for dairy-free guests!
18. Israeli Cheese Bourekas
There’s no denying that puff pastry appetizers are often sought-out for their light, flaky, buttery texture, and these Israeli Cheese Brouekas are no exception! You can fill them with a mix of cheeses or cheese and spinach (honestly, the filling options are endless), then prep in advance and freeze before baking.
We love to sprinkle Everything Bagel Seasoning Blend on top before baking. They’re so crispy and cheesy!
19. Cucumber Slices with Salmon
Make a big tray of these easy Cucumber Slices with Salmon because they always disappear quickly! They’re naturally gluten-free, which we love to hand on hand for guests, as needed, and can be topped with capers, fresh dill, or everything bagel seasoning blend — do a mix of toppings for a bit of variety. The cool, creamy Greek yogurt alongside the crispy cucumber and slow baked salmon is a match made in heaven!
Be sure to check out our Baked Pita Bites, which have a similar ingredient lineup, but are served on top of crispy baked pita!
20. Baked Brie Phyllo Cups
Take advantage of store-bought phyllo dough cups and enjoy this easy to prep Christmas appetizer idea: Baked Brie Phyllo Cups! They’re served with tangy sun dried tomatoes, salty prosciutto, and crispy fried sage leaves. An aged balsamic vinegar really rounds out the flavors.
Plus, the red and green just screams Christmas party! These are so fun to make, and even better to eat.
21. Stuffed Clams
Two words for you: Stuffed Clams! Steamed clams are finely chopped, then mixed with shallots, garlic, nduja, breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Pile the filing into halved clam shells, then bake stuffed clams (sometimes referred to as ‘Stuffies”) until crispy on top! A fun, impressive, and delicious holiday appetizer!
22. Shrimp Toast
Shrimp Toast is such a treat!! The shrimp mixture comes together easily in a food processor and can be assembled on top of white bread and fried in advance! Simply allow the shrimp toast to cool completely, then freeze in a single layer until solid. You can make this fun appetizer up to 3 months in advance, then reheat in a preheated oven when ready to serve.
Delightfully crunchy and packed with Asian flavors!
23. Spiced Cocktail Nuts
This is definitely more a nibble than an appetizer, but it’s just so easy to make a big batch of Spiced Cocktail Nuts and serve ’em up to a crowd! Go heavy on the pecans and cashews, they are the very best of the bunch!
Christmas Entrées The Whole Family Will Love!Beef Tenderloin With Parmesan Cream Sauce Slow Baked Salmon with Herb Shallot Butter Baked Cod With Panko British Fish Pie with Flaky Phyllo Dough Roasted Turkey Breast with White Wine Gravy
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