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100 Retirement Party Food Ideas

Look through our collection of apps and finger foods for the best retirement party food ideas. Recipes all serve at least 20, so don’t worry about the guest list!

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Southwestern Pulled Pork Crostini

As a different take on crostini, these apps are great for tailgating and casual parties. —Randy Cartwright, Linden, Wisconsin
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Saucy Asian Meatballs

Go ahead and help yourself to these peppery, sauced-up meatballs. Ground turkey moves them to the lighter side. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Deviled Eggs with Bacon

These yummy deviled eggs went over so well at our summer cookouts, I started making them for holiday dinners, too. Everyone likes the addition of crumbled bacon. —Barbara Reid, Mounds, Oklahoma
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Spinach-Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

I used this recipe when I was in a culinary-arts program and had to prepare an entire buffet by myself. It’s an impressive party appetizer yet goes together so easily. —Amy Gaisford, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Inside-Out Veggie Dip

Kids have fun eating these bite-sized veggie snacks. Change up the seasonings in the dip to fit your family's tastes. —Judie Thurstenson, Colcord, Oklahoma
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Smoked Gouda & Bacon Potatoes

A hearty, special appetizer you'll need to eat with a fork! Creme fraiche gives these bites a decadent flavor. —Cheryl Perry, Hertford, North Carolina
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Paddy's Reuben Dip

This slow-cooked spread tastes just like the popular Reuben sandwich. Even when I double the recipe, I end up with an empty dish. —Mary Jane Kimmes, Hastings, Minnesota
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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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Spinach Turnovers

The flaky cream cheese pastry adds sensational texture to these hot appetizers—and just wait until you taste the wonderful filling. I usually fix a double batch and freeze some to have on hand in case unexpected guests drop by. — Jean von Bereghy, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
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Party Crab Puffs

I received this recipe years ago from my grandmother. She also told me to have fun being creative and experimenting in the kitchen. My friends request these little puffs at every gathering. —Jean Bevilacqua, Rhododendron, Oregon
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Cheesy Beef Taco Dip

Try this recipe for a warm, hearty snack with a bit of a kick. It's a hit with my family, and guests rave about it, too. Ideal for parties, it makes a big potful. The only "utensil" you'll need to serve it with is a brimming bowl of tortilla chips. —Carol Smith, Sanford, North Carolina
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Party Appetizer Meatballs

These are a favorite at parties and gatherings. The recipe is easy, and the meatballs can be made well ahead of time and frozen until needed. I think what makes them taste so good is the sauce. —Nathalie Guest, Caledon, Ontario
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Zesty Marinated Shrimp

These easy shrimp look impressive on a buffet table and taste even better! The zesty sauce has a wonderful spicy citrus flavor. I especially like this recipe because I can prepare it ahead of time. —Mary Jane Guest, Alamosa, Colorado
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Spicy Crab Dip

With cayenne pepper and hot sauce (both optional), this delicious dip doubles up on the heat. Chock-full of crabmeat, this appetizer feels special, yet it only takes minutes to prepare. —Carol Forcum, Marion, Illinois
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Bacon Cream Cheese Pinwheels

It's hard to resist a crescent roll, bacon and cream cheese in one bite! Kids, friends, everyone will scarf these cream cheese pinwheels down. Now I bake a double batch whenever we have a get-together. —Krista Munson, Sharpsburg, Kentucky
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Chili con Queso

Years ago, my husband invented this gooey cheese dip. I may be biased, but I have to say it's excellent. If you like heat, rev it up with finely chopped jalapenos. —Patricia Leinheiser, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Shrimp & Cucumber Rounds

I always make these appetizers for our get-togethers. They're easy to prepare and a snappy addition to any party. —Kelly Alaniz, Eureka, California
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Artichoke Crescent Appetizers

This colorful appetizer is sure to please guests at any affair. My family loves it served both warmed up and chilled. —Mary Ann Dell, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
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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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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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Cranberry Sauerkraut Meatballs

I tried these meatballs at a birthday party for a friend, and now I make them all the time. They are super easy to make and perfect for a potluck or a Sunday afternoon football game. —Lisa Castelli, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
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Bourbon Candied Bacon Deviled Eggs

At our house, it doesn’t get any better than deviled eggs with bacon—bourbon candied bacon, that is. See if you can resist them. We can’t. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Tzatziki Shrimp Cucumber Rounds

I created this recipe with what I had on hand one night, and now it’s one of my husband’s favorites! The bacon-wrapped shrimp, garlicky sauce and burst of cool cuke flavor make this a crowd pleaser. —Shannon Rose Trelease, East Hampton, New York
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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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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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Cucumber Party Sandwiches

This is one of my favorite appetizers. We have lots of pig roasts here in Kentucky, and these small sandwiches are perfect to serve while the pig is roasting. —Rebecca Rose, Mount Washington, Kentucky
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Petite Sausage Quiches

You won't be able to eat just one of these mini quiches. Filled with savory sausage, Swiss cheese and a dash of cayenne, the mouthwatering morsels will disappear fast from the breakfast or buffet table. —Dawn Stitt, Hesperia, Michigan
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Ham 'n' Cheese Biscuit Stacks

These finger sandwiches are filling enough to satisfy hearty appetites. I've served the fun little stacks at every event, including holiday gatherings, showers and tailgate parties. —Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey
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Classic Swedish Meatballs

I'm a "Svenska flicka" (Swedish girl) from northwest Iowa, where many Swedes settled at the turn of the century. This recipe was given to me by a Swedish friend. It's obviously a 20th century version of a 19th century favorite, since back then they didn't have bouillon cubes or evaporated milk! I think you'll agree that these modern-day "Kottbullar" are very tasty. —Emily Gould, Hawarden, Iowa
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Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites

After making little bacon-wrapped sausages for years, I needed a change! I had an extra sweet potato and half a package of bacon on hand, so I put on my thinking cap and came up with this treat. —Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey
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Mandarin Turkey Pinwheels

Curry, smoked turkey and mandarin oranges give these pinwheels their unique flavor. My cousin and I made them for an open house and people came back for seconds...and then thirds! —Lorie Miner, Kamas, Utah
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Five-Spice Chicken Wings

Bird is the word when it comes to these wings. They’re baked to a perfect golden brown and hum with mild, delicious Asian spices. Thanks to an overnight marinade, the chicken inside stays tender while the skin maintains that signature crunch. —Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado
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Makeover Stuffed Potato Appetizers

We barely noticed the difference in this lightened-up version of our favorite dish. We tried it with friends and loved it. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Flaky salmon and creamy sauce go so well over hard-boiled eggs. Drizzle the sauce or serve it on the side; it's great either way. —Marinela Dragan, Portland, Oregon
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Black Forest Ham Roll-Ups

We love to entertain at home and the office. Ham and cheese rolled in tortillas make a quick and easy appetizer that's easy to transport. —Susan Zugehoer, Hebron, Kentucky
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Beef and Blue Cheese Crostini

These little gems are easy, impressive and delicious. They are ridiculously easy and inexpensive to make. Seriously, you will look like a total rock star when you serve these! —Mandy Rivers, Lexington, South Carolina
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Greek Deli Kabobs

For an easy Mediterranean-style appetizer, marinate broccoli and mozzarella, then skewer with sweet red peppers and salami. Everybody loves food on a stick! —Vikki Spengler, Ocala, Florida
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Garbanzo-Stuffed Mini Peppers

Mini peppers are so colorful and are the perfect size for a two-bite appetizer. They have all the crunch of pita chips but without the extra calories. —Christine Hanover, Lewiston, California
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Aussie Sausage Rolls

I was born and raised in Australia, but moved to the U.S. when I got married. When I long for some Australian recipes, I bake up a batch of this sausage roll recipe and share them with neighbors or co-workers. —Melissa Landon, Port Charlotte, Florida
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Sesame Chicken Bites

These bites have been a party favorite at our house for many years. You can make the sauce the night before to make day-of prep even easier. —Kathy Green, Layton, New Jersey
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Chickaritos

This recipe is one I created, substituting chicken for beef and omitting the frying, when our son grew fond of a fast-food restaurant's "junior burritos." They've been a big hit with our whole family ever since! —Nancy Coates, Oro Valley, Arizona
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Mushroom & Leek Strudel

This elegant hors d'oeuvre is almost effortless. Use fresh herbs if possible, and feel free to sub in whole wheat phyllo. —Lisa Diehl, Edina, Minnesota
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Bacon, Cheddar and Swiss Cheese Ball

When it’s time for a party, everyone always requests this ultimate cheese ball—it’s such an impressive appetizer. And if you’re a party guest, it makes a fabulous gift for your hosts.—Sue Franklin, Lake St. Louis, Missouri
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Greek Veggie Tartlets

The mixture in this recipe was originally a salad I made after a trip to Greece. When my husband suggested I serve it in phyllo cups, it became my most-requested appetizer!—Radelle Knappenberger, Oviedo, Florida
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Ravioli Appetizer Pops

Ravioli on a stick is a tasty appetizer everyone talks about. They’re simple and fun to make and eat. Use packaged dipping sauces, or make your own. Get my recipes on my blog, thehopelesshousewife.com. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Slow-Cooker Spinach & Artichoke Dip

With this creamy dip, I can get my daughters to eat spinach and artichokes. We serve it with chips, toasted pita bread or fresh veggies. —Jennifer Stowell, Montezuma, Iowa
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Baked Pot Stickers with Dipping Sauce

Twisting these wonton wrappers like little candies makes them fuss-free, and the dipping sauce is packed with sweet heat. —Taylor Marsh, Algona, Iowa
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Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs

My daughter Sara loves spicy Buffalo chicken and deviled eggs, so I combined the two. Make and chill a day ahead so the flavors mingle. —Robin Spires, Tampa, Florida
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Cajun Pork Sandwiches

This recipe's simple spice rub gives pork tenderloin an irresistible flavor. You'll watch in delight as these tasty open-faced sandwiches disappear from the buffet table! —Mae Kruse, Monee, Illinois
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Zippy Party Roll-Ups

A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, these zesty appetizers are a great way to pep up a party! The recipe won a blue ribbon at the county fair, and even though I always double the recipe, I never seem to make enough. —Dana Gonzalez del Valle, Battle Ground, Washington
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Sage & Prosciutto Pinwheels

I love, love, love to make appetizers and I especially like this recipe because I can make the rolls ahead, freeze them, and then slice and bake when needed. —Kate Dampier, Quail Valley, California
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Mini Rosemary-Roast Beef Sandwiches

Roast beef sandwiches never last long at a party, especially if you dollop them with mayo, mustard, horseradish and pickled giardiniera relish. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin
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Beer Dip

Ranch dressing mix flavors this easy dip packed with shredded cheese. It's perfect paired with pretzels. Be forewarned, though—it's hard to stop eating once you've started! The beer cheese dip can be made with any type of beer, including nonalcoholic. I've taken it to many parties and I am always asked for the recipe. —Michelle Long, New Castle, Colorado
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Appetizer Tortilla Pinwheels

A friend gave me this recipe, and whenever I serve these tortilla pinwheel sandwiches, 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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Almond-Bacon Cheese Crostini

For a change from the usual toasted tomato appetizer, try this baked crostini recipe. If you like, slice the baguette at an angle instead of making a straight cut. —Leondre Hermann, Stuart, Florida
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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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Cucumber-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Besides being tasty, these little tomato poppers are extra awesome because you can make them ahead of time. At parties, I often triple the recipe because they disappear fast. —Christi Martin, Elko, Nevada
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Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Everyone will simply devour this savory and delicious dip with shredded chicken throughout. The spicy kick makes it a perfect football-watching food, and the recipe always brings raves. —Janice Foltz, Hershey, Pennsylvania
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Avocado Salsa

I was planning a party and thought it might be fun to try a different kind of avocado salsa. This recipe was an absolute success. Scoop it up with chips, spoon it over chicken or steak, or eat it on its own! —Susan Vandermeer, Ogden, Utah
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Mini Sausage Quiches

These bite-sized quiches are loaded with sausage and cheese—and all nestled into easy crescent roll dough. Serve the cute muffinettes at any brunch or potluck gathering. —Jan Mead, Milford, Connecticut
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Pistachio-Turkey Meatballs in Orange Sauce

Pistachios and a bright, spicy orange sauce flavored with honey and basil make these mini meatballs a real party favorite. — Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Tortellini & Shrimp Skewers with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

These fresh skewers and tasty sauce will have guests nibbling all night! —Cacie Biddle, Bridgeport, West Virginia
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Moroccan Stuffed Mushrooms

Coriander and cumin are zesty updates to the familiar stuffed mushrooms. The addition of couscous makes them very filling and delicious. —Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario
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Sweet Gingered Chicken Wings

I first tasted this delicious chicken dish when I attended a class on using honey in cooking. When I prepare this recipe for a party, it's one of the first dishes to disappear! —Debbie Dougal, Roseville, California
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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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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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Bacon & Sun-Dried Tomato Phyllo Tarts

Frozen mini phyllo tart shells are so convenient and easy to use. Just add a savory filling featuring sun-dried tomatoes and bacon, then pop them in the oven.—Patricia Quinn, Omaha, Nebraska
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Pancetta, Pear & Pecan Puffs

I was recently at a wedding reception where the menu was all small bites. Here’s my rendition of the pear pastries they served. They're the perfect combo of savory and sweet. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
70 / 100

Shrimp & Feta Cucumber Rounds

I love the contrasting tastes and textures of these rounds. Each bite balances the refreshing burst and crunch of cucumber with the rich flavor and creaminess of the filling.—Donna Pochoday, Morristown, New Jersey
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Brie Toasts with Cranberry Compote

Just six ingredients are all I need to create an elegant appetizer perfect for entertaining. The tart cranberry compote pairs well with creamy Brie cheese. —Katherine Watson, Omaha, Nebraska
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Greek Pita Spread

I first tried this at a family gathering and was blown away! I have since made it for my co-workers, and they just love it. I've gotten many requests for the recipe. —Joyce Benninger, Owen Sound, Ontario
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Tomato & Artichoke Bruschetta

A healthy and refreshing appetizer, I enjoy bruschetta anytime of year. For serving guests, I like to slice the garlic instead of chopping it for both beauty and flavor infusion. This is also a simple make-ahead dish: You can mix it up, cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.—Gina Bergamino, Chanhassen, Minnesota
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Candied Bacon-Wrapped Figs

I stuffed figs with cream cheese and wrapped them in bacon and spices for an addictive flavor combo that’s sweet, salty and delicious. You can use dates, too. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Reuben Waffle Potato Appetizers

I love Reubens, so I turned the classic sandwich into a fun appetizer with corned beef and sauerkraut on waffle fries. —Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois
76 / 100

Smoked Pimiento Cheese Crostini

Pimiento cheese has long been a favorite in our family, so these bite-sized appetizers are a treat! I add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to give them a little kick. Caramelized onions create another layer of flavor. You can make the cheese and onions three to five days in advance; they store well. If you need to save time, you can use premade jalapeno pimiento cheese. —Caitlyn Bunch, Trenton, Georgia
77 / 100
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Avocado Goat Cheese Truffles

Give guests the VIP treatment with luxurious truffles you can make in your own kitchen. The goat cheese is mild, and red pepper heats up each bite just a bit. Crackers are the perfect accompaniment. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
78 / 100

Pork Meatballs with Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is a tangy herb sauce that comes from South America that's often served with steak. If you've never had it with meatballs, it's time to give it a try! —Amy Chase, Vanderhoof, British Columbia
79 / 100

Marinated Almond-Stuffed Olives

Marinated stuffed olives go over so well with company that I try to keep a batch of them in the fridge at all times. —Larissa Delk, Columbia, Tennessee
80 / 100

Loaded Baked Potato Rounds

I was trying to create an appetizer that could be served at my teenaged daughters birthday party that the kids would love but that would appear elegant enough for the adults to be interested as well. These are made with simple ingredients yet yield a sophisticated result. Feel free to get creative with the flavors. Try shredded white cheddar in place of mozzarella or thyme instead of the rosemary. Take it up another notch by topping the rounds with smoked fish. —Amanda Digges, South Windsor, Connecticut
81 / 100

Party Vegetable Dip

This is an excellent dip for holiday parties; I’ve had several compliments. It’s fast to make and great-tasting, too. Enjoy! —Amy Engle, Geneva, Nebraska
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Flank Steak Crostini

This recipe is perfect for gatherings, holidays, or as a special Sunday football snack. My kids love it and so do my friends and family. You can substitute butter for the olive oil, or any kind of steak for the flank steak. —Donna Evaro, Casper, Wyoming
83 / 100

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs with Dill

My family is of Danish heritage, and my husband makes our smoked salmon. To use it, I came up with these dilly deviled eggs. They're a real treat and nice addition to any meal. —Charlotte Giltner, Mesa, Arizona
84 / 100

Gingered Lemon Cheese Balls

Roll your cheese balls in the gingersnap crumbs just before serving to keep the cookie bits crisp and crunchy —a nice contrast to the smooth, creamy spread underneath. —Libby Walp, Chicago, Illinois
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Teriyaki Salmon Bundles

If you're bored with the same old appetizers, give this one a try. I serve the little salmon bundles on skewers for easy dipping. Standing the skewers in a small vase filled with table salt creates a festive presentation. —Diane Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas
86 / 100

Gorgonzola Pear Tartlets

Whether you serve these simple tartlets as an appetizer or dessert, they're too good to pass up. I leave the peel on the pear to add texture. —Susan Hein, Burlington, WI
87 / 100

Baked Crab Rangoons

When I'm dining out, crab rangoons are one of my go-to dishes. I decided to create a better-for-you version at home. —Emily Higgins, Wingdale, New York
88 / 100

Crab Phyllo Cups

I always like a little extra chili sauce on top of these easy snacks. If you're out of crab, try them with water-packed tuna. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
89 / 100

BBQ Chicken Grits Bites

I love grits and barbecued chicken, so I decided to combine them into a jaunty appetizer. You can also use shredded pork instead of chicken. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
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Broccoli & Chive Stuffed Mini Peppers

There's plenty of both crunch and cream in these party appetizers. Fresh chives help them really stand out. —Jean McKenzie, Vancouver, Washington
91 / 100
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Chocolate-Covered Cheese with Black Sea Salt

Every time I make these for guests or for a cooking demo about real food made simply, people rave about them. They're surprising as an addition to an appetizer table—or even served after dinner paired with a nice cabernet or port. —Dorothy McNett, Pacific Grove, California
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Rustic Tuscan Pepper Bruschetta

If you love sweet red, yellow and orange peppers, pair them with fresh mint for a cold kitchen appetizer. Marinate for up to one hour before assembling. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Artichoke Phyllo Cups

I wanted to create a bite-sized version of rich, creamy artichoke dip. These adorable phyllo cup appetizers were a total success! —Neel Patel, Champaign, Illinois
94 / 100
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & 3-Cheese Crostini

Brussels sprouts for a snack? Oh, yes. Combine these roasted goodies with cheese for the ultimate toast topper. —Athena Russell, Greenville, South Carolina
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Canadian Meatballs

Whenever we have a brunch at school, I always make these meatballs, and everyone looks forward to sampling them. They make about 5 dozen so they are ideal for potlucks. —Terry Skibiski, Barrington, Illinois
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Hoisin Meatball Lettuce Wraps

I make these tangy-sweet appetizers every year during the holidays, and it doesn't take long for them to disappear.—Elaine Sweet, Dallas, Texas
97 / 100

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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Sesame-Beef Pot Stickers

I enjoy having these potstickers as a late-night snack. They also work well as a quick appetizer for family parties. —Carolyn Turner, Reno, Nevada
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Apple-Gouda Pigs in a Blanket

For New Year’s, I used to make beef and cheddar pigs in a blanket, but now I like apple and Gouda for an even better flavor celebration. —Megan Weiss, Menomonie, Wisconsin
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Polenta Mushroom Appetizers

Simple ingredients—in fact you probably have most if not all in your kitchen— are used to create a fantastic, but different appetizer.—Meta West, Abilene, Kansas

Lara Eucalano
Lara is a writer, editor and gardener who loves to cook almost as much as she loves to eat. She will absolutely hop on a plane in search of good food!
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