38 Make-Ahead Appetizer Recipes to Always Have on Hand

Be prepared for parties and potlucks with make-ahead appetizer recipes that can be prepped the night before.

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Appetizer Tortilla Pinwheels

A friend gave me this recipe, and whenever I serve these tortilla roll ups, people ask me for the recipe, too! The cream cheese pinwheels can be made ahead of time and sliced just before serving, leaving you time for other last-minute party preparations.—Pat Waymire, Yellow Springs, Ohio

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Marinated Cheese

This special appetizer always makes it to our neighborhood parties and is the first to disappear from the buffet table. It's attractive, delicious—and so easy! —Laurie Casper, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
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Antipasto Kabobs

My husband and I met at a cooking class. We have loved creating menus and entertaining ever since. These make-ahead antipasto skewers are always a hit. —Denise Hazen, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Baby Swiss Appetizer Cheesecake

This beautiful cheesecake appetizer can be refrigerated up to 24 hours before serving, so it's the perfect make-ahead recipe for holidays, game days or special occasions. —Marilyn Edelman, Sabetha, Kansas
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Make-Ahead Sausage Pinwheels

Filled with sausage, sweet pepper and cream cheese, these roll-ups are excellent for unexpected visitors, Christmas appetizers, a cocktail party or a halftime snack. Besides being easy to make, they can be done way ahead and kept in the freezer. All you have to do is pop them into a hot oven! —Cindy Nerat, Menominee, Michigan
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Veggie Dill Dip

I like to keep this good-for-you dip on hand, along with a variety of cut-up vegetables, for an easy snack.—Hazel Baber, Yuma, Arizona
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Cheese/Grape Appetizers

These small bites are well worth the time they take. Serve them as part of an antipasto platter or as a cheese course alongside your favorite wine. —Eleanor Grofvert, Kalamazoo, Michigan
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Chicken Salad Caprese

This unique, flavorful salad and bread combo will get rave reviews—guaranteed. —Frances Pietsch, Flower Mound, Texas
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Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread

This festive dip is a snap to make ahead for Thanksgiving, taking only 10 minutes from start to finish. Thanks to its hint of sweetness, both kids and adults will gobble it up. —Frankie Robinson, Lockhart, Texas
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Herbed Cheese Wafers

These bite-sized snacks are rich, buttery and full of flavor. You can serve them alone or with a dip.—Mildred Sherrer, Fort Worth, Texas
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Layered Mediterranean Dip with Pita Chips

Not your ordinary layer dip, the bold combination of hummus and Greek yogurt will be a new most-requested recipe at your next baby shower or gathering. —Elizabeth Dumont, Boulder, Colorado
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Hot Crab Pinwheels

I got the recipe for these crabmeat bites from a friend. What amazed me most is that my husband, who hates seafood, couldn't stop eating them. —Kitti Boesel, Woodbridge, Virginia
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Mini Muffuletta

People love these hearty little sandwich wedges. The recipe is great for a party and can be made the day before.—Gareth Craner, Minden, Nevada
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Mediterranean Pastry Pinwheels

These quick appetizers are irresistible. The flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto balance beautifully. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
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Mini Grilled Cheese

If you're looking for a fantastic make-ahead snack, try these miniature grilled cheese sandwiches. They're nice to have in the freezer for lunch with soup or a salad. My family loves to nibble on them anytime. —Anita Curtis, Camarillo, California
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Crispy Sriracha Spring Rolls

While in the Bahamas, friends suggested a restaurant that served amazing chicken spring rolls. When I got home, I created my own version. Such a great appetizer to have waiting in the freezer! —Carla Mendres, Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Bacon Cheeseburger Slider Bake

I created this dish to fill two pans because these sliders disappear fast. Cut the recipe in half if you want one batch. —Nick Iverson, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Ginger Pork Lettuce Wraps

When I make Asian-spiced lettuce wraps with lean ground pork, I remind my family they’re meant to be an appetizer—but maybe I should just call it supper. —Mary Kisinger, Medicine Hat, Alberta
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Mini Phyllo Tacos

For a winning appetizer, serve crispy phyllo cups filled with taco-seasoned ground beef and shredded cheese. These handheld bites will be a surefire hit with a hungry crowd. —Roseann Weston, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
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Pork Taquitos

These taquitos freeze very well, so you can make a big batch and enjoy them anytime. Microwave the tortillas before filling for easier rolling. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Buffalo Chicken Pockets

Here’s my idea of pub food made easy: biscuits flavored with Buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese. They're my Friday night favorite. —Maria Regakis, Saugus, Massachusetts
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Broccoli-Cheddar Tassies

Our family adores broccoli casserole. I wanted to try it as an appetizer, so I used a pecan tassie recipe for the crust. The result? We’re talking scrumptious. —Gail Gaiser, Ewing, New Jersey
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Warm Goat Cheese in Marinara

Every family has a recipe they pull out time and again when the gang gathers, and goat cheese warmed in a marinara sauce is one of those household favorites. Minced basil and cracked black pepper give it that fresh and alive finish. —Jan Valdez, Chicago, Illinois
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Bacon-Cheddar Potato Croquettes

Instead of throwing out leftover mashed potatoes, use them to make this potato croquette recipe. The little baked balls are yummy with ranch dressing, barbecue sauce or Dijon mayonnaise for dipping. —Pamela Shank, Parkersburg, West Virginia
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Chicken Crescent Wreath

Here's an impressive-looking dish that's a snap to prepare. Even when my cooking time is limited, I can still serve this delicious crescent wreath. The red pepper and green broccoli add a festive touch. —Marlene Denissen, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
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Potato Chip Chicken Strips

This novel recipe is a fast and tasty change from fried chicken.—Sister Judith LaBrozzi, Canton, Ohio
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Hearty Pork & Black Bean Nachos

My husband and I are both graduate students right now, so we don't have a lot of time to cook dinner. Our family loves coming home to this incredible nacho platter, and I love how easy it is to prepare. —Faith Stokes, Chickamauga, Georgia
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Baked Egg Rolls

These egg rolls are low in fat but the crispiness from baking will fool you into thinking they were fried! —Barbara Lierman, Lyons, Nebraska
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Sweet 'n' Tangy Chicken Wings

I love the convenience of slow-cooker recipes for get-togethers. Start these sweet and sour chicken wings a few hours ahead of time and you'll have fantastic appetizers ready when your guests arrive. —Ida Tuey, South Lyon, Michigan
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Crispy Goat Cheese Appetizers

Want an amazing party starter? Coat slices of goat cheese with seasoned bread crumbs, fry them until golden-brown and top them off with tomato, basil, vinegar and pine nuts. —Julia TenHoeve, Richmond, Virginia
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Ham & Brie Pastries

Growing up, I loved pocket pastries. Now, with a busy family, I need quick bites. My spin on the classic ham and cheese delivers as a snack or for supper. —Jennifer Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
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Almond Cheddar Appetizers

I always try to have a supply of these appetizers on hand in the freezer. If guests drop in, I just pull some out and reheat to serve. They work great as a snack, for brunch or along with a lighter lunch. —Linda Thompson, Southampton, Ontario
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Dilled Mushroom Turnovers

My bite-sized mushroom pastries are hard to resist. For parties, I prep and freeze them ahead, then pop them into the oven when guests are on the way. —Isabella Michel-Clark, Sparks, Nevada
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Spanakopita Bites

For an easy spanakopita, try this version that is made in a pan, then cut into squares. It has all the wonderful taste of the classic version—buttery phyllo with a spinach-cheese filling—but is so simple to do. —Barbara Smith, Chipley, Florida
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Onion Brie Bowl

Golden caramelized onions are paired with buttery, silky brie in this warm spread. Make sure to have enough bread cubes or crackers to use up every gooey bit. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Sausage Wonton Cups

Here’s a tasty hot appetizer for all those parties that feature fun finger foods. I’ve made this recipe several times, and these bites always disappear so fast. It’s really easy. —Shirley Van Allen, High Point, North Carolina
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Crispy Baked Wontons

These quick, versatile wontons are great for a savory snack or paired with a bowl of soothing soup on a cold day. I usually make a large batch, freeze half on a floured baking sheet, then store in an airtight container. —Brianna Shade, Beaverton, Oregon