For a fun change of pace, ditch the traditional sit-down dinner in favor of an appetizer dinner party. Serving tasty finger foods can be inexpensive, low-stress, and a great conversation starter. The trick is to find delicious appetizer recipes that mimic a traditional dinner menu. We've got plenty of easy appetizer ideas, plus tips to help you throw a fresh, fun party from start to finish.
To guarantee a diverse appetizer spread, serve a combination of easy appetizers that satisfy several of the following food categories:
Editor's Tip: If your guests have dietary restrictions, consider making an assortment of appetizer recipes that cater to their needs. Having vegetarian appetizers or gluten-free appetizers, for instance, might be a priority if you are inviting vegetarians or people with gluten sensitivities.
The number of party appetizers you serve depends on the number of guests you invite. As your guest list increases, so should the appetizer selections.
Here's a quick guide to how many appetizers you should serve at your party:
For more party planning help, check out our Free Appetizer Quantity Guide. If you're still worried about running out of food, keep easy appetizers that don't require preparation -- such as cured meats, cheeses, and chips or crackers -- in the refrigerator or pantry.
You want to relax and enjoy the party, too. So set your appetizer menu, and then develop a schedule for shopping for and preparing the appetizers. Create a to-do list, and use our Party Planner Checklist to make hosting easy.
Two weeks to a month before the party:
A week before the party:
A day or two before the party:
The day of the party:
Editor's Tip: Many party foods taste better when served around room temperature -- not piping-hot or ice-cold. However, perishable appetizers should not stand at room temperature for longer than two hours. Switch out serving plates, or serve them in heated chafing dishes or bowls of ice to maintain appropriate temperatures.