From dips to nut mixes, these appetizers will keep your guests fed while you prepare for the main event.

By Bridget Hallinan
Updated December 09, 2019
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Hosting for the holidays involves a bona fide marathon of cooking—appetizers, salads, soups, mains, sides, and of course, the all-important desserts. Not to mention, you have to make sure your guests are entertained and fed while you pull everything together.

That’s where party snacks come in. They’re relatively low-fuss—you don’t have to worry about them getting cold or melting—and can be prepared in large batches, too, so everyone can pick as they please before dinner. Some of our favorites include our Tiki Snack Mix, one of our 40 best recipes of all time, and nostalgic appetizers like the cheese ball. Find those recipes and 10 other grazing snacks we love below.

Greg DuPree

Sugar-and-Spice Nuts

With a mix of salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and sugar, this nut mix has a tasty sweet-savory-spicy flavor profile that will keep guests coming back for more. The recipe yields five cups, but you can adjust the serving size depending on your party.

Get the recipe here.

Tiki Snack Mix

Greg DuPree

There’s a reason we named this recipe one of our 40 best—the combination of soy-and-honey-glazed peanuts, bacon, and chewy pineapple makes it absolutely irresistible.

Get the recipe here.

Pickled Pepper Cheese Ball

Justin Walker

Josh Miller’s nostalgic pickled pepper cheese balls are almost reminiscent of pimento cheese, thanks to their combination of aged cheddar and pickled sweet Peppadew peppers. The recipe yields two, and together, they can serve 14-16 people. All you need is a sleeve of crackers and you’re good to go.

Get the recipe here.

Fig-and-Stilton Squares

These squares can be enjoyed at room temperature for minimal fuss—plus, sweet fig preserves and tangy Stilton make a great combination.

Get the recipe here.

Brussels Sprouts Baba Ghanoush

Greg DuPree

Michael Solomonov’s riff on baba ghanoush has a seasonal twist with the addition of roasted brussels sprouts and hazelnuts. The cool dip is served with pita and serves eight.

Get the recipe here.

Boiled Shrimp with Spicy Mayonnaise

QUENTIN BACON

Instead of shrimp cocktail, opt for these boiled shrimp with spicy mayonnaise. They’re already served cool, so you don’t have to worry about them losing their heat.

Get the recipe here.

Marinated Olives with Orange

© John Kernick

These olives are not only tasty, but quick to prepare, too—you can whip them together in 15 minutes. Serve them during cocktail hour before everyone sits down for dinner.

Get the recipe here.

Everything-Bagel Popcorn

© Eva Kolenko

Jen Pelka’s everything-bagel popcorn goes perfectly with Champagne, so it would make a great snack for New Year’s Eve. It’s flavored with caraway, sesame, onion, garlic and flaky salt—good luck taking just one handful.

Get the recipe here.

Crudités with Creamy Pistachio Dip

© Anna Williams

Swap classic onion dip for this pistachio dip, which is deliciously salty and creamy. We love to serve it with Belgian endives or thinly sliced black radishes.

Get the recipe here.

Idaho Potato Chips

© JOHN KERNICK

Potato chips are always a party classic—why not make your own? All you need is Idaho baking potatoes, kosher salt, and vegetable oil for frying.

Get the recipe here.

Herbed Salmon Tartare with Chips

Ditte Isager

Take those homemade potato chips and serve them with this herbed salmon tartare, prepared with both salmon fillet and hot-smoked salmon. It’s a refreshing appetizer, and a good entry point for people who aren’t sure if they like raw fish.

Get the recipe here.

Stilton-Stuffed Pickled Peppers

Greg DuPree

The red and green color scheme of this quick appetizer is festive—plus, the peppers are ready in 25 minutes, so you can easily prepare them day-of.

Get the recipe here.