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30 Best Cooking for a Crowd Appetizers

Here are the best appetizer recipes to leave a good first impression before the dinner even starts.

It's that time of year again—group dinners and the holidays are in full swing. The list of events and food-friendly happenings goes on and on. But whether you're hosting or heading over to a loved one's house, finding the best hors d'oeuvres for a crowd goes beyond the basics. If you really want to impress your guests or fellow party-goers, knowing some crowd-pleasing recipes is a must.

Here are 30 of the best hors d'oeuvres for a crowd, so you can impress people whenever and wherever you're headed this season.

1

Bacon and Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates Recipe

healthy stuffed dates
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

For those who love the combination of salty and sweet, these stuffed dates are the perfect way to kick off your party! Stuffed with savory blue cheese and wrapped in bacon, these dates will be the perfect pair for your favorite holiday cocktail happy hour.

Get our recipe for Bacon and Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates Recipe.

2

Cheese and Chorizo Stuffed Jalapeños Recipe

Healthy stuffed jalapenos
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Kick it up a notch with these spicy stuffed jalapeños! They may not be a traditional holiday food, but they sure are a delicious crowd-pleaser for those who love adding a spicy kick to their meal.

Get our recipe for Cheese and Chorizo Stuffed Jalapeños Recipe.

3

Mozzarella Spiedini Recipe

Healthy mozzarella spiedini
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

In this vegetarian-friendly version of a spiedini, we replace the meat with fresh mozzarella cheese, the bread crumbs with baguette crust, and the rest of the filling with cherry tomatoes and the skewers (or spiedini) with rosemary branches. They're easy to throw together for a holiday party, and they don't require any silverware to eat! This means fewer dishes for you to do at the end of the night.

Get our recipe for Mozzarella Spiedini Recipe.

4

Roasted Chicken Wings in an Asian Marinade Recipe

Healthy beijing wings
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Craving some crispy wings to start off your holiday party? These roasted chicken wings are packed with lots of flavors, and they're the perfect appetizer to get that party going with a spicy kick.

Get our recipe for Roasted Chicken Wings in an Asian Marinade Recipe.

5

Bruschetta, Two Different Ways

Vegetarian bruschetta two ways
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Why serve one kind of bruschetta when you can serve two? This recipe will show you how to make two delicious types of bruschetta, which can pair perfectly with a glass of red wine to start off your holiday party.

Get our recipe for Bruschetta, Two Different Ways.

6

Oven-Roasted Shrimp Cocktail Recipe

Healthy shrimp cocktail
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

While you could serve shrimp cocktail chilled at your holiday party, that wouldn't be as fun as roasting the shrimp, would it? These oven-roasted shrimp are great for dipping and serving to a large crowd.

Get our recipe for Oven-Roasted Shrimp Cocktail Recipe.

7

Caprese Tomato Tower Salad

Vegetarian caprese tomato towers
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Need a quick appetizer to throw together that doesn't require any cooking? This Caprese tower is one of the easiest holiday hors d'oeuvres for a crowd you'll ever make! Simply put together the ingredients, and voilà! All done.

Get our recipe for Caprese Tomato Tower Salad.

8

Potato Latkes

Finished latkes with sauces ready to eat on Hanukkah
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Latkes are certainly a Hanukkah staple, but they also serve as delicious hors d'oeuvres for a crowd when you need something easy! These crispy latkes are usually served with sour cream and applesauce, but if you're feeling adventurous, put some other toppings on the side and let your guests get creative.

Get our recipe for The Best-Ever Potato Latkes.

9

Spicy Potato Skins

Low-calorie spicy potato skins
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This recipe calls for a little 'shake-up' on the traditional potato skins. Rather than just cheese and tons of bacon (because you can never get enough bacon!), this recipe adds pickled jalapeños and minced chipotle pepper for a punch. This recipe will be super filling and hold off your guests until it's time for the next course.

Get our recipe for Spicy Potato Skins.

10

Fiery Buffalo Wings

Healthy fiery buffalo wings
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Another crowd-pleasing staple is buffalo wings, but these aren't just any wings. These are homemade, bursting-with-flavor chicken wings! And for the dipping sauce, this recipe calls for a mix of blue cheese and Greek yogurt for a creamy dip to cool off those wings. It's one of those hors d'oeuvres for a crowd that every guest will love. Plus, you can repurpose the recipe for your Super Bowl party!

Get our recipe for Baked Fiery Buffalo Wings.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

11

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Vegetarian artichoke dip
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Artichoke dip is the way to any cheese lover's heart! This recipe subs in whipped cream cheese and olive-oil based mayo for a slightly lighter twist to the usual dip, leaving your guests feeling satisfied but still up for indulging in other delicious holiday dishes and treats throughout the party.

Get our recipe for Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip.

12

Grilled Tuna Skewers

Low-calorie tuna satay skewers
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

For a filling, protein-packed appetizer, these tuna skewers are the perfect snack to start your holiday meal! Paired with some dipping sauces, these skewers will keep your guests feeling satisfied as the rest of your dinner cooks in the oven.

Get our recipe for Grilled Tuna Skewers.

13

Queso Fundido

Healthy queso fundido
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

If you have a fondue pot laying around, now is the time to use it. It's great for a party, as it will bring everyone together around a bowl of cheese, and come on, what better way to hang out with friends than while eating from a pot of queso fundido?

Get our recipe for Queso Fundido.

14

Chicken Pot Stickers

Paleo chicken pot stickers
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Fried and packed with flavor, these chicken potstickers make a great appetizer or side dish. All you'll need to make them is rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sriracha for flavor.

Get our recipe for Easy Chicken Potstickers.

15

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

Vegetarian warm goat cheese salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Want to get the greens but ditch the traditional for your holiday party? This goat cheese salad has all the basics: mixed greens, arugula, and pear, but it adds fresh cheese and bread crumbs for a warmer, savory-and-sweet flavor you'll love.

Get our recipe for Restaurant-Worthy Warm Goat Cheese Salad.

16

Asian Chicken Meatballs

Paleo asian chicken meatballs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Meatballs are one of the easiest side dishes to make—just get the meat and the sauces, and throw them in the crockpot! From rolling the meatball shape to adding fresh ginger, jalapeño, and lemongrass for flavor, this is a recipe that's homemade (and simple!) that your guests will love.

Get our recipe for Asian-Inspired Chicken Meatballs.

17

Steak Nachos

Steak nachos
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

While nachos may not seem like the typical holiday food, let's be honest: you can't go wrong with nachos, especially nachos with flank steak! Loaded with delicious toppings, it's one of the best hors d'oeuvres for a crowd that will leave your guests feeling satisfied until it's time for dinner.

Get our recipe for Mouthwatering Steak Nachos.

18

Guacamole

Guacamole
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Guacamole is always a crowd-pleaser! This recipe has all the basics for a zesty and fresh mix that beats the store-bought version every time. The best part? It only takes a few minutes to make, making it a stress-free dish to throw together for your guests.

Get our recipe for Best-Ever Guacamole.

19

Chipotle Honey Mustard Chicken Fingers

Gluten-free chicken fingers with chipotle honey
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Hors d'oeuvres for a crowd mean easy finger foods—and no extra utensils to clean! These oven-baked chicken fingers add a fun little twist to the traditional with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy flavor. Made with Dijon mustard, pepper puree, and honey, they have an unexpected flavor guests will love.

Get our recipe for Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers With Chipotle-Honey Mustard.

20

Smoky Deviled Eggs With Bacon

Healthy smokey deviled eggs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

More finger foods that don't require extra dishes to clean? Yes, please! These smoky deviled eggs are super easy to make, and your guests will absolutely love noshing on them. Try one of these 12 New Twists on Deviled Eggs That Are Deliciously Different for other deviled egg ideas.

Get our recipe for Smoky Deviled Eggs With Bacon.

21

Oven-Baked French Fries

Vegan crispy oven-baked fries
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

For the traditionalist, these oven-baked fries are simple to DIY and are far better than any store-bought frozen version. Made with sliced russet potatoes and coated with olive oil, garlic, grated Parmesan, and rosemary, they're simple but delicious for the holidays. And who can resist crispy fries?!

Get our recipe for Best-Ever Oven-Baked French Fries.

22

Southern-Style Biscuits

Low-calorie flaky southern biscuits
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Who doesn't love a good baked roll when the holiday season rolls around? These flaky, Southern-style biscuits have all the traditional flavors, perfect for pairing with your other delicious hors d'oeuvres.

Get our recipe for Southern-Style Biscuits.

23

Crockpot Chili

Healthy crockpot chilli
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Feeling lazy? Want a low-maintenance hors d'oeuvre that doesn't compromise on flavor? This crockpot chili recipe is super simple but has sirloin tips, chipotle spices, crushed tomatoes, and a secret ingredient—a bottle of IPA or stout—for a smoky flavor that only gets better with time.

Get our recipe for Smoky Crockpot Chili.

24

Coconut Shrimp

Healthy coconut shrimp
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Bring on the seafood! This coconut shrimp recipe is delicious and crispy but isn't fried, so you can easily bake them in large batches in your oven. Coated in panko bread crumbs, fresh sweetened coconut, and an Asian sweet chili sauce, this dish is mouth-watering!

Get our recipe for Crispy Baked Coconut Shrimp.

25

Turkey Swedish Meatballs

Paleo swedish meatballs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Hello, deliciousness! This Swedish meatball recipe uses a mix of ground chuck and turkey, plus Greek yogurt for a slightly lighter sauce. It's a crowd favorite, and if you're feeling lazy, throw it in the crockpot to simmer all day!

Get our recipe for Lean Turkey Swedish Meatballs.

26

Lettuce Wraps

Low-calorie thai beef lettuce wraps
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Lettuce wraps as hors d'oeuvres? Why not! Made with Thai-flavored beef and a mix of spices, they don't compromise on flavor. Instead of tortillas, this recipe uses lettuce, fresh cilantro, and a hint of lime! Yum.

Get our recipe for Thai-Inspired Beef Lettuce Wraps.

27

Melted Brie with Vegetables

Vegetarian melted brie vegetables
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Tired of deep-fried mozzarella sticks? Try this melted brie appetizer as an alternative! This finger food is similar to bruschetta, but with even more flavor. Oozing brie, slices of pear, zucchini simmered with thyme, and white wine all on a thinly-sliced baguette—can it get any better?

Get our recipe for Melted Brie With Vegetables.

28

Cheese Fries

Cheese fries
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Rather than store-bought frozen potatoes, this recipe calls for fresh-cut russets, plus paprika and chili powder for a little kick. And bacon, of course. Always bacon. For those guests who love to indulge in their favorite hors d'oeuvres for a crowd, these cheese fries are the perfect snack!

Get our recipe for Cheese Fries.

29

Crab Cakes

Paleo crab cakes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Have any guests stopping by that love seafood? This salty crab cake recipe is easy to make, with the perfect sweet mango-avocado salsa to pair!

Get our recipe for Baked Crab Cakes with Mango-Avocado Salsa.

30

7-Layer Dip

Healthy 7-layer dip
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Dips galore! These are the easiest hors d'oeuvres for the holiday season. All you need is a combination of beans, guacamole, salsa, and spices, and you're set! It's the perfect dip for your holiday party. But no matter what appetizer you decide to make, your guests will be thrilled to be sharing a meal with you this holiday season!

Get our recipe for 7-Layer Dip.

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Marisa Donnelly
Marisa Donnelly is a writing coach, editor, and freelance food and health writer. Read more
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