27 Perfect Christmas Appetizers
Whether you’re looking for something cheesy, meaty, or somewhere in between, these appetizers would make wonderful additions to your Christmas menu. Think bacon-wrapped dates, warm spinach-artichoke dip, and sausage-stuffed fried olives—if you’re looking for seafood recipes, you can try scallop lollipops, salmon skewers, and more. Read on for the full spread.
Marinated Olives with Orange
Olives marinated in citrus juice, garlic, and spicy crushed red pepper become a sensational cocktail snack.
Maple-Dijon Salmon Skewers
These simple skewers feature a glaze of maple syrup, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, and a little bit of grapeseed oil.
Boiled Shrimp with Spicy Mayonnaise
Mustard and white pepper amp up the heat in this homemade mayo for shrimp.
Herbed Salmon Tartare with Chips
Potato Rösti with Pastrami
“Once finished, you can blanket it in smoked salmon and crème fraîche, or layer it with pastrami and whole grain mustard,” Gail Simmons writes. “Or even simpler: enjoy it under a gently fried egg for breakfast. It doesn’t get much cozier than that.”
Sweet Potato and Feta Bourekas
Bourekas are crisp, savory little parcels filled with anything from vegetables and cheese to ground meat. Inspired by his grandmother’s recipe, Michael Solomonov’s version is stuffed with sweet potato, Bulgarian feta, dill, and olives.
Brussels Sprouts Baba Ghanoush
After a whirl in the food processor, Brussels sprouts and tahini come together to form a creamy dip in this riff on baba ghanoush. Michael Solomonov serves it topped with more roasted Brussels sprouts and hazelnuts, and with warm pita for dipping.
Duck Liver Pâté with Blackberry Conserva
The tartness and texture of the blackberry conserva is a nice contrast to the rich, silky pâté. Spoon leftover blackberry conserva on pancakes, waffles, or ice cream.
Sea Scallop Lollipops
Sweet and meaty sea scallops make the perfect skewer, great for dipping into this sweet-spicy sauce from chef Matt Jennings.
Ricotta and Roasted Grape Crostini
Athena Calderone’s signature aesthetic comes through in this striking appetizer. Roasting the grapes concentrates and deepens their sweetness.
Cookbook author Nik Sharma’s book Season weaves inspiration from his upbringing in Bombay with stories and experience from his adult life in the U.S. The result is a culinary memoir filled with craveable recipes like this one. Sharma notes that any mix of nuts will work for this recipe—just be sure to let them cool completely before serving or storing to ensure a crisp, not sticky, texture.
Pigs in a Blanket with Black Pepper Pastry
Jen Pelka loves serving Champagne with playful bite-size foods like pigs in a blanket. To take them up a notch, she brushes the puff pastry with a tasty mix of honey, mustard, and fresh black pepper before rolling up with the hot dogs and baking.
Crudités and Fermented Soybean Dip
This dip is the perfect way to show off whatever fresh vegetables you can get your hands on.
Carrots en Croûte
This filling appetizer stars curry-and honey-roasted carrots wrapped in flaky puff pastry. For best results, look for carrots that are 5 to 6 inches in length. Pre-roasting carrots with curry and thyme balances their natural sweetness with rich, savory flavor, making them a satisfying stand-in for sausages.
A perfect cocktail snack, bacon-wrapped dates are chewy, crispy, sweet, savory, and smoky all at once. Plump and tender Medjool dates are stuffed with a mixture of blue cheese and cream cheese, and a toasted walnut stands in for the pit. Fresh goat cheese could easily be swapped for the blue cheese, and roasted salted almonds can replace the walnuts. For sweeter stuffed dates, drizzle them with honey before serving.
Cheesy Sausage Cocktail Toasts
“The topping for these toasts can be made a few days ahead, and it’s as straightforward as browning some Italian sausage and melting in the cheeses,” Andrea Slonecker writes.
This classic fondue from chefs Bruce and Eric Bromberg includes Jarlsberg, Emmental, Gruyère, and Parmigiano, plus just the right amount of kirsch. It’s creamy, gooey and perfectly balanced.
Oysters with Pikliz
The pikliz for this oysters recipe from Edouardo Jordan can keep in the refrigerator for up to three months.
Pimento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers
Carla Hall makes her own crunchy crackers to serve with her cheese spread, a riff on a Southern classic.
Stilton-Stuffed Pickled Peppers
Two high-impact ingredients—funky Stilton cheese and pickled sweet or spicy peppers—come together to form the ultimate one-bite snack. Pickled peppers, like spicy peperoncini and mild Peppadew, are packed with enough flavor to stand up against strong cheeses. You can use most blue cheeses here, including Gorgonzola and Roquefort.
Chile Crisp-Glazed Bacon Bites
For this snack, meaty bites of slow-roasted slab bacon are tossed with a homemade chile crisp that's studded with freshly toasted chunks of dried chiles, fresh ginger, and garlic. Native to Mexico, slender and spicy dried Japones chiles lend their heat to this quick and easy version of the popular Chinese condiment. For an even easier version, try this with your favorite store-bought version of chile crisp.
Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip
Filled with four kinds of cheese and plenty of tender artichoke hearts, this dip is creamy with a crisp, golden top. Be sure to drain the thawed frozen spinach well to avoid excess water, which can break the cheese sauce.
Spiced Sweet-and-Sour Ribs
Rubbed with toasted ground spices then lacquered with a sweet and tangy glaze of maple syrup and a duo of vinegars, these meaty ribs have a deep flavor and an irresistibly crackly crust.
Sausage-Stuffed Fried Olives
Buttery, mild Castelvetrano olives add just enough salt and tang to these fried sausage snacks that pair beautifully with a crisp martini or chilled glass of wine. Use a high quality Italian sausage for the best texture and flavor.
Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Dip
Inspired by merguez, a North African lamb sausage, these meatballs are loaded with cumin, garlic, and paprika for the ideal one-bite nosh. Harissa gives them a fiery heat that’s tempered by the herby dip. Not a fan of lamb? Try preparing these make-ahead meatballs with ground beef or a plant-based meat alternative, such as Impossible.
Mushroom Toasts with Délice de Bourgogne
Délice de Bourgogne, a triple-crème cheese that’s even more luscious than brie, is topped with pan-roasted mushrooms and herbs in this elevated appetizer.
Four-Layer Caviar Dip
Layers of creamy egg salad, crisp red onion, herbed cream cheese, and salty, briney caviar come together in a beautiful molded dip that serves up an entire caviar platter in one dish.