It’s almost that time! Christmas parties abound. The eating may last a couple hours, but the dreaming, planning, and shopping can go on for weeks. For many of us, this is the best part (aside from the actual eating). Because what can make or break a party? The food, of course! Whether it’s an office party, a neighborhood block party, or an intimate family gathering, we have 15 festive and creative ideas for Christmas appetizers that will leave your guests impressed and coming back for seconds!
1. Cranberry fluff salad
Mels Kitchen Cafe brings us an appetizer that just looks like Christmas. This cranberry fluff salad is so simple, you will not believe this little gem could be as decadent as it is. Rich and creamy from the cream cheese, cream, and marshmallows, paired with tart cranberries and tangy pineapple makes for the perfect appetizer marriage.
Dreamy and creamy this luscious salad (uh, dessert?) gets better with age. Let this baby chill out in the fridge for a bit before serving. As the cream cheese and cream have time to setup in the cold, they also take on more of the cranberry flavor and color. This extra time will let the whole mixture become even more rich and decadent.
If you like a little crunch, add some toasted walnuts to the salad. There are many ways to get creative with this recipe. Coconut shavings would be another great addition. Both are not only delicious, but healthy too. To entice the kiddos, adding mini chocolate chips is another idea that is sure to be a hit.
If the delicious, tangy, creaminess wasn’t enough, this appetizer even looks like Christmas! The natural bright red color of the cranberry skins color the whole dish a festive and beautiful pink-red. It’s not only tasty but adds a bit of pop to your table. We all know that with holiday parties, the look of the food is nearly as important as the taste. It is part of the decor — so this one is a winner on all levels!
2. Avocado crostinis
Our love affair with the almighty avocado continues. As it should. Probably on one of the world’s most perfect foods, avocados are delicious, creamy, versatile, and good for you! Filled with healthy unsaturated fats that keep you fuller longer and are packed with potassium and fiber. Best of all, they are a gorgeous pop of color on your Christmas buffet table.
The wonderful thing about avocados is their versatility. They are delicious but the flavor is subtle enough that you can blend them with practically anything and it will pair well. A House in the Hills shares their avocado crostini two-ways recipe with us. A perfect example of how versatile this magical fruit (yes, fruit!) really is. The first version is a classic savory treat. Smashed ripe avocado smeared over a toasted seeded baguette. Sprinkled with a few chili flakes for a bit of heat. Followed by a squeeze of lemon juice for a balance of tang to the rich and creamy avocado.
The second version is on the sweeter side with a bit of crunch. A drizzle of honey over the smashed avocado adds a touch of sweetness. Pistachios and a pinch of salt over the top balances the creamy sweetness with savory crunch.
Fit for any party, fancy or casual. The gorgeous green color of the avocado will spruce up even the most basic table decor. As if all of this wasn’t reason enough to get on this recipe for your next party, these avocado crostinis are a wonderful go-to, last minute, make on-the-fly appetizer. Nearly no prep work is involved, other than toasting your baguette. Just assemble and serve. Easy peasy.
3. Caprese Christmas wreath
It really doesn’t get more festive and fun than this caprese Christmas wreath appetizer from Cafe Delites. Caprese salad is a classic salad and appetizer. The only real difference is the way these delicious ingredients are assembled. Often for parties, as appetizers, this tasty number is put together on skewers. This makes for easy serving and eating while enjoying party-time fun. Here, the skewers are fashioned into a wreath design, making for a beautiful and festive appetizer display.
What’s not to love with this favorite party dish? Creamy fresh mozzarella, red ripe cherry tomatoes, and fresh bright green basil come together for the perfect Italian bite. A balsamic glaze for dipping adds the perfect touch of savory tang. Fresh and healthy, this Christmas appetizer will have you snacking guilt-free.
Bonus: red tomatoes, green basil, and white mozzarella, and you already have your Christmas colors set! Assemble the skewers clockwise around a circular plate, with a dish of balsamic glaze in the center, for a wreath-like affect. Voila! You have a perfect Christmas appetizer centerpiece for your buffet table.
Not only is this Christmas appetizer beautiful and healthy, but it is so easy to do. A few minutes of assembly, and you have a perfect party appetizer ready to go. The most work will go into making the balsamic glaze. You can buy the glaze at your local market to shave off even more time. But if you can skewer three ingredients, you can have yourself a gorgeous Christmas appetizer in no time!
4. Cinnamon pecans in the slow cooker
Nothing screams holidays like spiced nuts. The beauty of these cinnamon pecans in the Crock-Pot from Chocolate Covered Katie is that they make just as great a gift and they do Christmas appetizers. For a homemade gift that is tasty and healthy, these should be your new go-to.
After tossing all ingredients into your slow cooker, you can walk away and take a nap! When you come back (totally rested!) you will have the makings of a perfect little holiday gift. Grab some decorative tins or bags from your local craft store and you are good to go. Simply cool your pecans, and then bag or package in tins. Minimal cost and effort, with a super cute — and tasty — result. Don’t own a slow cooker? No worries! These tasty treats can be made in the oven as well.
As a Christmas appetizer, simply fill some pretty ceramic bowls with the cinnamon pecans and place throughout your appetizer table. They pair perfectly with your pre-dinner cocktails, eggnog, or glass of beer.
There is a lot of versatility in the recipe. You are not bound by pecans alone! Do a nut blend, or just walnuts — whatever your snacking heart desires. In addition to cinnamon, you could add nutmeg, cloves, or even a bit of chili powder or cayenne, if you have someone who loves heat. The real magic here is the fact that there is no refined sugar. Maple syrup and vanilla extract provide the background sweetness in the healthiest way.
Although you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy this delightful snack, you can rest assured knowing they are in fact animal product-free. So no one has to go without this holiday season.
5. Slow cooker BBQ turkey meatballs
After all the sweetness of the holidays, you will welcome this savory little number from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Her slow cooker BBQ turkey meatballs are to die for. And come on, who doesn’t love a good meatball?
One little secret with slow cooker cookery is browning your meat (or veggies) in a skillet on the stove top before transferring to your slow cooker. This direct heat allows the meat to brown and caramelize, adding depth of flavor. In this case, the browning also helps the meatballs to hold shape as they continue to cook in the slow cooker.
To serve as appetizers for your Christmas party, skewer these balls of flavor with toothpicks. There are many types of pretty, decorative or bamboo mini skewers to choose from. But for parties, meatballs on a skewer are your best bet for ease of eating. Don’t forget the sauce (hello, that’s the best part!) for dipping.
There is so much versatility in this recipe. For meat-lovers, use ground beef instead of turkey. If you like spice, add a dash of cayenne to the meat mixture. Or ditch the BBQ sauce altogether and use teriyaki sauce for an Asian flare.
Either way you make it, they are fun, easy, and tasty. The great thing about this recipe is you can make a huge batch and save some for leftovers. Incredibly versatile, these meatballs can be used for several lunches and dinners after your big party. Your guests will be asking how you did it and you will have leftovers for days. It’s a win win!
6. Shrimp wontons
If you weren’t hungry before, you will be now. These shrimp wontons from Rasa Malaysia will have you in a straightaway craving headlock until you decide to whip up a batch. For as fancy as they look and sound, they are super simple to make. Maximum impressiveness for minimal effort.
The most labor will go into assembling the ingredient list. Once you do that, preparation takes about 10 minutes. After you devein and chop the shrimp, mix with seasonings. Next spoon shrimp mixture onto wonton wrappers and seal shut with raw egg. Dunk into boiling water and watch the magic happen. All that’s left to do is prepare the vinegar dipping sauce. If you are short on time, getting an already prepared dipping sauce from the grocery store is a good option.
These wontons are as tasty as they are beautiful. It will be hard for guests to believe they only took 20 minutes to prepare. They are light and go well with beer or white wine. A perfect Christmas party appetizer. If you have a multitiered bamboo steaming tray, you can cook and serve them in this, to keep warm until devoured.
Want more? Check out these other Christmas appetizers