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40 Contest-Winning Appetizers to Make for Your Next Party

These appetizers have been put to the test and have proven better than all the rest! Our best appetizers are sure to be a hit at your next gathering.

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Orange-Glazed Chicken & Chorizo MeatballsTaste of Home

Orange-Glazed Chicken & Chorizo Meatballs

These tasty southwestern meatballs warm up a buffet. I add pomegranate seeds, jalapeno pepper jelly and cilantro to make everything pop with color. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota

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Mushroom Bacon BitesTaste of Home

Mushroom Bacon Bites

This is the perfect appetizer for most any occasion. The tasty bites are easy to assemble and brush with prepared barbecue sauce. When we have a big cookout, they're always a hit...but they make a nice little "extra" for a family dinner, too. —Gina Roesner, Ashland, Missouri

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Apple Salsa with Cinnamon ChipsTaste of Home

Apple Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

Both my husband and I were raised on farms, and we prefer home cooking to eating out. That works out fine since I love trying new recipes! I've served this apple salsa as an appetizer and a snack. Plus, it's sweet enough to be a dessert. It's easy to transport besides. —Carolyn Brinkmeyer, Golden, Colorado

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Sesame Chicken DipTaste of Home

Sesame Chicken Dip

I can't tell you how many times I'm asked to bring this easy dip to holidays, birthday parties or girls' weekend getaways. It's fresh and light, and it has the Asian flavors that make it stand out. The rice crackers are a must! —Dawn Schutte, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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Fried Prosciutto TortelliniTaste of Home

Fried Prosciutto Tortellini

My take on Italian street food, these fried tortellini are crunchy, gooey good. For the sauce, use the best quality tomatoes you can find. —Angela Lemoine, Howell, New Jersey

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Baked Chicken NachosTaste of Home

Baked Chicken Nachos

This chicken nachos recipe is delicious and so simple. Rotisserie (or leftover) chicken keeps it quick, and the seasonings and splash of lime juice lend fantastic flavor. My husband enjoys this snack so much that he often requests it for dinner! —Gail Cawsey, Geneseo, Illinois

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Mini Mac & Cheese BitesTaste of Home

Mini Mac & Cheese Bites

Young relatives were coming for a Christmas party, so I wanted something fun for them to eat. Instead, the adults devoured my mini mac and cheese. —Kate Mainiero, Elizaville, New York

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Spicy Butterscotch WingsTaste of Home

Spicy Butterscotch Wings

We love big-time-spicy chicken wings. I do a caramel sauce to balance the heat, but you could also glaze the wings with melted brown sugar. —Aaron Salazar, Westminster, Colorado

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Turkey Sliders with Sweet Potato "Buns"Taste of Home

Turkey Sliders with Sweet Potato "Buns"

In this healthier take on sliders, I sandwich a burger between roasty slices of sweet potato. My wife took one bite and approved these tasty little guys. —Guy Martino, Charleston, South Carolina

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Fried Chicken and Pulled Pork Cornbread PoppersTaste of Home

Fried Chicken and Pulled Pork Cornbread Poppers

These fun little apps are an instant conversation starter wherever they're served. We love them on game day, but they'd be a hit at brunch, too. —Crystal Schlueter, Babbitt, Minnesota

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Taco Meatball RingTaste of Home

Taco Meatball Ring

While it looks complicated, this attractive meatball-filled ring is really very easy to assemble. My family loves tacos, and we find that the crescent roll dough is a nice change from the usual tortilla shells or chips. There are never any leftovers when I serve this at a meal or as a party appetizer! —Brenda Johnson, Davison, Michigan

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Pomegranate Pistachio CrostiniTaste of Home

Pomegranate Pistachio Crostini

Pomegranate seeds intrigue me, so I sliced French bread, smeared it with cream cheese, and added seeds, pistachios and chocolate. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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Spiced Cranberry-Orange ChutneyTaste of Home

Spiced Cranberry-Orange Chutney

Here’s an easy, orangey chutney to serve on toast, Brie, cream cheese or crackers. Pecans give it a little extra crunch. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado

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Dilly Cheese BallTaste of Home

Dilly Cheese Ball

The whole family devours this herby cheese spread—even my son, the chef. Serve it with your favorite crackers. —Jane Vince, London, Ontario

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Pickled Pepperoncini Deviled EggsTaste of Home

Pickled Pepperoncini Deviled Eggs

It's hard to resist these adorable deviled trees on our buffet table. The avocado filling has pepperoncini and cilantro for extra zip. —Carmell Childs, Clawson, Utah

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Hot Collards and Artichoke DipTaste of Home

Hot Collards and Artichoke Dip

Anyone can pull off spinach and artichoke dip—so brighten it up using collard greens for a southern twist. Serve this dish with warm garlic naan or tortilla chips. —Billie Williams-Henderson, Bowie, Maryland

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Meatballs in Plum SauceTaste of Home

Meatballs in Plum Sauce

A tasty sauce made of plum jam and chili sauce coats these moist meatballs beautifully. Make sure these delightful appetizers are on your holiday menus. —Mary Poninski, Whittington, Illinois

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Jalapeno Chicken WrapsTaste of Home

Jalapeno Chicken Wraps

These easy appetizers are always a hit at parties! Zesty strips of chicken and bits of onion sit in jalapeno halves that are wrapped in bacon and grilled. Serve them with blue cheese or ranch salad dressing for dipping. —Leslie Buenz, Tinley Park, Illinois

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Grilled Nectarine & Cheese CrostiniTaste of Home

Grilled Nectarine & Cheese Crostini

At our house, we love the summer tastes of sweet grilled nectarines and fresh basil over goat cheese. I can usually find all the ingredients at the farmers market. —Brandy Hollingshead, Grass Valley, California

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Margarita Granita with Spicy ShrimpTaste of Home

Margarita Granita with Spicy Shrimp

While tinkering and tuning up recipes for my spring menu, I came up with a snazzy little appetizer that's perfect for Cinco de Mayo. It features two favorites: shrimp and margaritas! —Nancy Buchanan, Costa Mesa, California

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Roasted Pumpkin NachosTaste of Home

Roasted Pumpkin Nachos

Previously, I had made this dish with black beans and corn off the cob in the summer. Wanting to try it with fresh fall ingredients, I replaced the corn with roasted pumpkin—yum! It's also good with butternut squash. —Lesle Harwood, Douglassville, Pennsylvania

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Queso FundidoTaste of Home

Queso Fundido

Dig in to this rich, warm one-skillet dip, topped with fresh tomato and green onions, and enjoy the gooey cheese and spicy kick from the chorizo and pepper jack. —Julie Merriman, Seattle, Washington

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Fried Green Napoleons with Mandarin ColeslawTaste of Home

Fried Green Napoleons with Mandarin Coleslaw

Fried green tomatoes are stacked and smothered with pimiento cheese in this seriously comforting dish that doubles up on two of my favorite southern classics. The mandarin coleslaw makes it bright and fresh. —Amy Freeze, Avon Park, Florida

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Salmon Mousse CupsTaste of Home

Salmon Mousse Cups

I make these tempting little tarts frequently for parties. They disappear at an astonishing speed, so I usually double or triple the recipe. The salmon-cream cheese filling and flaky crust will melt in your mouth. —Fran Rowland, Phoenix, Arizona

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Feta BruschettaTaste of Home

Feta Bruschetta

You won't believe the compliments you'll receive when you greet guests with these warm appetizers. Every crispy bite offers the savory tastes of feta cheese, tomatoes, basil and garlic. They're terrific for holiday parties or most any gathering. —Stacey Rinehart, Eugene, Oregon

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Calzone PinwheelsTaste of Home

Calzone Pinwheels

Once you try these mini-sized calzones, you may never go back to the large ones. Not only do these pretty bites take advantage of convenient refrigerator crescent rolls, but they can be made ahead and popped in the oven right before company arrives. No one can eat just one and people love the cheesy, fresh taste! —Lisa Smith, Bryan, Ohio

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Tuscan TrufflesTaste of Home

Tuscan Truffles

For holiday potlucks, I make an appetizer truffle out of prosciutto, figs and toasted pine nuts. Mascarpone and goat cheese make them melt-in-your-mouth creamy. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California

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Loaded Baked Potato DipTaste of Home

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

I never thought of using waffle-cut fries as a scoop for dip until a friend of mine did at a baby shower. They’re ideal for my cheesy bacon and chive dip, which tastes just like a baked potato topper. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota

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Asian Tuna Bites with Dijon Dipping SauceTaste of Home

Asian Tuna Bites with Dijon Dipping Sauce

Quick, easy and fresh with big, bold and bright flavors, this healthy dish is a snap to make and beautiful to serve. You can make it up to 8 hours in advance, which is convenient for entertaining. —Jamie Brown-Miller, Napa, California

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Cheddar-Veggie Appetizer TorteTaste of Home

Cheddar-Veggie Appetizer Torte

A line forms quickly behind this quiche-like torte at family gatherings. The wedges are easy to eat as finger food, plus it's delicious hot or cold. — Barbara Estabrook, Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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Steak Crostini with Carrot-Horseradish MarmaladeTaste of Home

Steak Crostini with Carrot-Horseradish Marmalade

I've been making little tweaks to this family favorite for years. Prep everything ahead, then layer up the crostini right before party time. —Greg Fontenot, The Woodlands, Texas

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Raspberry SauceTaste of Home

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Raspberry Sauce

What a delightful way to kick off a summer party! This upscale asparagus appetizer will make guests feel like you went all-out for them. But with only four ingredients, it's incredibly easy—and so yummy. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota

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Warm Feta Cheese DipTaste of Home

Warm Feta Cheese Dip

We’re big on appetizers, so this dip is a mashup of our favorite tastes, like cream cheese, feta, basil and sweet peppers. Serve with bread or chips. —Ashley Lecker, Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Bacon Cheeseburger BallsTaste of Home

Bacon Cheeseburger Balls

The first time I served these, my husband and kids thought we were having plain meatballs. Then they cut into the flavorful filling inside! —Cathy Lendvoy, Boharm, Saskatchewan

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Appetizer Tortilla PinwheelsTaste of Home

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 CheeseTaste of Home

Marinated Cheese

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

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Cola Hot WingsTaste of Home

Cola Hot Wings

These delectable wings are so easy to make, and they offer year-round versatility, from summer cookouts to autumn tailgates. My husband likes them so much he'll stand out in the snow to grill them! —Lisa Linville, Randolph, Nebraska

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Cucumber Fruit SalsaTaste of Home

Cucumber Fruit Salsa

Our garden always gives us way more cucumbers and tomatoes than we know what to do with. But we’ve learned how to handle the unexpected with a surprise of our own. This is our pretty, fresh way to use up the bounty. —Anna Davis, Springfield, Missouri

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Ground Beef Snack QuichesTaste of Home

Ground Beef Snack Quiches

My husband, Cory, farms, so supper can sometimes be quite late. A hearty appetizer like these meaty mini quiches is a perfect way to start the meal. They taste super made with ground beef, but I sometimes substitute bacon, ham, ground pork or sausage. —Stacy Atkinson, Rugby, North Dakota

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Brie Cherry Pastry CupsTaste of Home

Brie Cherry Pastry Cups

Golden brown and flaky, these bite-sized puff pastries with creamy Brie and sweet cherry preserves could easily double as a scrumptious dessert. —Marilyn McSween, Mentor, Ohio

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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