49 Easy Party Food Ideas You’ll Make All the Time

Updated: Jan. 31, 2024

Keeping snacks on rotation makes for some happy guests, and we have all the party food ideas you'll need to make your celebration a success.

It’s party time! Big gatherings call for decorations and games, great music and, of course, lots of tasty food. When you’re cooking for a crowd, finger foods and one-bite appetizers are ideal, so your guests can nibble and chat without needing to be fully seated. From cheesy appetizers to decadent desserts, here are party food ideas that are fun for your guests and low-stress for you.

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Chicken Parmesan Slider Bake

The only thing better than cheesy, decadent chicken parm is a handheld appetizer version you can eat while you catch up with family and friends. You’ll want to make a double batch of these irresistible apps.
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Fontina Asparagus Tart

Frozen puff pastry does the heavy lifting for this party food idea that looks impressive, but is actually a breeze to make. Use a pizza cutter for easy slicing.
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Cream Cheese Cookie Cups

Store-bought cookie dough has never looked so good. Use a piping bag—or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off—to fill these pretty pastry cups with cream cheese frosting before serving.
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Mediterranean Pastry Pinwheels

Pesto, provolone cheese, cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and olives come together to create a flavor-packed party food idea. Make a batch and watch them disappear.
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Sweet & Savory Pineapple Cheese Ball

Cheese balls are a classic party food idea, but your guests will be pleasantly surprised by the sweetness of the pineapple. The recipe makes two cheese balls, so you can strategically place a plate on each side of the living room.
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Grilled Glazed Drummies

These crowd-pleasers are mild, so they’re great for adults and kids alike and sure to please any palate. Best of all, you can whip up two dozen in less than half an hour.
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Garlic-Cheese Flatbread

Be forewarned, this cheesy bread disappears fast. But thanks to a tube of refrigerated thin pizza crust, it couldn’t be easier to make more.
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Baked Asparagus Dip

This is the quintessential party food idea that never disappoints. Remember to cook the asparagus before chopping it into the dip—that way, it’ll be nice and soft. Use baked pita chips and veggie sticks for dipping.
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Apple Sausage Appetizers

Four-ingredient apps are perfect for a party. This party food idea makes 20 servings and takes less than an hour to cook, from start to finish. Best of all, your guests will spend the whole night saying, “Wow, your house smells amazing!”
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Bacon Quiche Tarts

Equally tasty for breakfast, lunch or dinner, these cute little quiches can be whipped up a few days in advance. Just reheat them on a baking sheet in the oven at 375°F until heated through.
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Picnic Bars

You don’t need to be out on a picnic to make these bars! They’ll be a tasty addition to your holiday table too. Keep the recipe in your back pocket for celebrations all year long.
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Marshmallow Fruit Dip

Talk about nostalgia. Kids and adults alike will devour this fun and easy dip, which goes from fridge to table in 10 minutes. Serve this party food idea with seasonal fruit and toothpicks.
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Fruit Compote With Brie

The party food idea calls for raisins and cherries, but you could try it with whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand, like cranberries or pears. If you have any leftover compote, stir it into yogurt or oatmeal the next morning.
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Pecan Pie Bars

Because pecans have a higher fat content than other nuts, their shelf life is shorter. Store them in the freezer to keep them fresh longer, then use any leftovers for more tasty pecan desserts.
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Savory Party Bread

Kids of all ages can help make this delightfully cheesy bread. Personalize it by switching the cheese for smoked Gouda or Brie, then adding bacon, ham, salami or olives.
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Buttery 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

The quality of the ingredients is key for these super simple shortbread cookies. Check out our Test Kitchen taste test for the best butter brands to bake with.
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Sage & Prosciutto Pinwheels

They’re crunchy, they’re salty, they’re cheesy and they only take half an hour to whip up. We think we just found our new favorite party food idea.
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BBQ Chicken Bites

Bacon, boneless chicken breasts, steak seasoning, horseradish and barbecue sauce combine forces to create a saucy, savory bite that all your guests will rave about. In fact, you’ll want to make a second batch just in case.
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Layered Mediterranean Dip with Pita Chips

While many of your guests probably won’t be worrying about their veggie intake, this dip is so nutritious, it’s practically a salad. If you’re on a time crunch, buy pita chips instead of making them yourself.
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Chocolate Mint Creams

Mint and chocolate are always a winning combo, and these cookies prove it. Serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to really take it over the top.
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Mini Party Burgers

Burgers are typically too messy for a cocktail party, but make them mini and wrap them with puff pastry, and they magically become portable. The meat is extra flavorful, thanks to ranch salad dressing mix.
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Apricot Turkey Pinwheels

It’s just not a party without pinwheels. This five-ingredient party food idea couldn’t be easier, with store-bought apricot preserves complementing salty sliced deli turkey.
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Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Bars

We didn’t think it was possible to improve on chocolate chip cookie dough…until we sprinkled it with chocolate-covered peanuts and marshmallows and drizzled it with butterscotch topping. This quick and easy party food idea is sure to satisfy every craving.
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Pesto Pull-Apart Bread

This bread is so cheesy, it’s practically a pizza. Making homemade pesto will give this recipe a wonderful flavor boost, but store-bought pesto works just as well when you have a bunch of other party foods to prep.
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Homemade Guacamole

Guac is a party favorite party food idea for a reason, and because avocado is packed with monounsaturated fat, it’s actually pretty good for you. Skip the mayonnaise if you want to keep the recipe more authentic (and more healthy!).
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Slow-Cooked Smokies

These smokies are extra saucy, so our readers suggest adding more smoked sausages if you prefer less sauce. Serve them with small cocktail forks or toothpicks.
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Caprese Salad Kabobs

Salad, schmalad. Veggie skewers are way more exciting than a veggie plate and tastier too. Use store-bought marinated mozzarella balls for extra flavor.
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Slow-Cooker Pizza Dip

Shake things up by swapping the ground beef and pork sausage for a pound of Italian sausage. Top this party food idea with sliced olives, pepperoni, grated Parmesan cheese and dried oregano to make it fancy.
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Shrimp Tartlets

There’s no need to prep or cook shrimp at home for this party food idea; just buy precooked shrimp that’s already been peeled and deveined from the seafood counter at the grocery store. Serve with minced parsley and lime wedges for extra tang.
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Cilantro Tomato Bruschetta

French bread has a short shelf life, so if it’s beginning to get tough, use this simple technique to make it soft again. Even better, you can use any leftover bread from the bruschetta to make croutons.
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Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Your hungry guests will be craving dessert, so get these quick and easy mini cheesecakes ready. They’ll be done in about 35 minutes, so they’re surprisingly low-stress. Plus, you won’t have to bother with cutting any cakes.
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Chocolate Chip Brownies

Speaking of dessert, we’re wild about these decadent, chocolatey brownies, which include two kinds of chocolate chips. If you’re not a fan of walnuts or a guest has an allergy, just omit them from the recipe.
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Champion Chicken Puffs

This fancy party food idea are almost like a stuffed croissant—and surprisingly, it takes only four ingredients and half an hour to pull them off. Serve with a side salad, or better yet, caprese salad kabobs.
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Marmalade Meatballs

These slow-cooker meatballs are bursting with flavor, thanks to Catalina salad dressing, Worcestershire sauce and—you guessed it—orange marmalade. Serve them with a loaf of sliced baguette to mop up the extra sauce.
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Chocolate Chip Blondies

If you’re unfamiliar with them, blondies are like brownies, but they’re made with brown sugar and vanilla extract instead of chocolate and cocoa powder. Baked blondies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days, making them a great make-ahead party food idea.
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Aussie Sausage Rolls

One reader recommends popping the assembled logs of dough in the freezer for a few minutes to make them easier to slice. This recipe makes three dozen sausage rolls, so there will be plenty to go around.
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Dutch Apple Pie Tartlets

The only thing better than homemade apple pie is an adorable mini apple pie tartlet. Frozen miniature phyllo tart shells sub in for pie dough, so there’s no rolling or kneading necessary.
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Tiny Taco Meatballs

We love tacos, but they aren’t exactly finger food, especially at a big party. Opt for a much more portable version, which pairs great with tortilla chips and guacamole.
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Lemon Pound Cake

This contest-winning recipe is time-intensive, but the moist, flavorful results are well worth it. Make sure the cake doesn’t stick to the pan by greasing it with shortening, then topping it off with an extra spritz of cooking spray.
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Broccoli & Chive Stuffed Mini Peppers

You can buy these adorable mini sweet peppers at most grocery stores. They’re mild, crunchy and perfect for stuffing with cheese and broccoli, but warning: this party food idea is addictive.
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Zucchini & Cheese Roulades

When you’re cooking for a crowd, it’s always a safe bet to include a few party food ideas for folks with dietary restrictions. This keto and gluten-free recipe is a tasty choice for everyone.
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Swiss Mushroom Loaf

Pull-apart bread is pre-sliced, so all your guests have to do is choose which cheese-slathered piece they’d like to grab. It’s a great alternative to large slices of plain bread with separate bowls of messy toppings at a party.
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Best Deviled Eggs

It’s just not a party without deviled eggs, and our version pulls out all the stops. Switch things up with bacon, chipotle peppers or crab…or make a tasting platter that features all three. Add a sprinkle of paprika and chopped parsley for a pop of color.
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

Pretzels, mini marshmallows, Rice Krispies, peanuts, peanut butter and chocolate chips join forces for a homemade candy bar that checks all the cravings boxes. Even better, this party food idea requires no baking and it’s ready in 20 minutes.
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Apricot-Glazed Bacon Spirals

Salty bacon and sweet apricot are the new peanut butter and jelly. Prediction: They’ll be gone as quickly as you serve them.
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Cucumber Party Sandwiches

Hey, it can’t all be pizza dip and cheesy bread. This light and crunchy party food idea is a refreshing palate cleanser so your guests can get ready for the next course.
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Baked Crab Dip

This crab dish is just as delicious without the bread bowl. Just grease an oven-safe bowl or dish before adding the dip, then bake at the same temperature for the same amount of time.
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Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Hummus

Hummus just got a glamorous makeover, thanks to beets, cumin, cayenne pepper, dill and Greek yogurt. If you don’t have time to bake the beets, buy pre-roasted beets at the grocery store.
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Cookie Sticks

Delicious alone or topped with ice cream, this party food idea is the perfect end to a successful party. Encourage your guests to take a few more for the road…or just eat the leftovers yourself.