40 Appetizers for a Crowd That Are Easy and Unexpected

Whether you’re hosting an all-out dinner party or just gathering friends for cocktails, you’re going to need something to nosh on—preferably with your fingers. But beyond the usual crudités and dip (yawn), what’s a hostess to serve? Easy: any one of these 40 appetizers for a crowd, all of which are easy to make and even easier to eat.

The 21 Best Party Appetizers for Stressed-Out Hosts

1. Mini Chicken And Waffles

Whether it’s a barbecue, movie night or brunch, these adorable bites will undoubtedly be a hit. Serve them with maple syrup for dipping and watch them disappear.

2. Avocado Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are always a crowd-pleaser. Why not dress them up for the party? Avocado and chives add a little something that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

3. Roasted Mixed Nuts

These aren’t just any old bar nuts. They’re tossed in a mix of spices and herbs before roasting, making them completely irresistible. Even better, you can use whatever nuts suit your fancy. Feel like adding pistachios? Go for it.

4. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Name a better combination than buffalo and anything. We’ll wait (with blue cheese dressing in hand).

5. Italian Pinwheels

It’s like an entire charcuterie board in one bite-size package, and it takes less than 30 minutes to make a full batch. What’s not to love?

6. The Classiest Cheese Balls In The Universe

If your idea of a cheese ball is straight out of 1975, this recipe is for you. The secret? A trio of modern toppings keeps the cream-cheese-based app feeling fresh.

7. Mozzarella Bites

They’re just like mozzarella sticks, but smaller. That means you can eat more of them, right? (The things we tell ourselves for cheese…)

8. Spinach Artichoke Squares

We’re artichoke dip fans through and through. Add puff pastry, and we’re positively swooning. They’ve got the same cheesy goodness as the retro dip, without the need for crackers or chips.

9. Cranberry-brie Pie Crust Bites

In a room full of store-bought crackers and cheese, be a homemade cranberry-sauce-and-Brie-topped pie-crust bite.

10. Goat Cheese And Honey Bites

Once again, cheese proves itself to be a no-brainer dinner party snack. These guys are creamy, salty, crispy and a little bit sweet (and the best pairing for a glass of wine).

11. Brussels Sprouts Sliders

Behold, the cutest crudités you’ve ever seen. Aside from roasting the Brussels sprouts, they take about five minutes to put together—and even less time to be gobbled up.

12. Mini Peach Tarts With Goat Cheese And Honey

No one will even suspect that you used store-bought puff pastry in these sweet and savory beauties. (You might want to make a second batch; they’re that good.)

13. 7 Layer Dip

Sour cream, guacamole and salsa all in one dish? Pass the tortillas chips, please.

Unexpected Dip Recipes That Will Take Your Party to the Next Level

14. Bacon-wrapped Cheese Straws

How many appetizer recipes can you name that require only three ingredients? Add this one to your short list.

15. Spicy Ricotta-stuffed Phyllo Rolls

If you want something fancier than cheese dip but equally low-effort, reach for these unexpected dippers instead. They’re practically foolproof.

16. Crispy Bacon-wrapped Brussels Sprouts

Finally, we have definitive proof that the ultimate party app is one part green vegetable, one part crispy bacon.

17. Pull-apart Bread With Caramelized Onions And Goat Cheese

Each bite has layers of buttery dough and a creamy filling. Serve it straight from the oven and prepare for oohs and ahhs.

18. All-green Crudités Platter

If you’re going to do crudités, up the ante with this stunning monochromatic board. It takes any spread from blah to brilliant.

19. Fruit And Cheese Board

A traditional cheese plate is always a good idea, but why not switch it up with this drop-dead gorgeous “fruicuterie” platter? Not only is it tasty, it’s also a classy way to mind the vegetarians in the room.

15 Drop-Dead-Gorgeous Charcuterie Boards to Elevate Your Dinner Party

20. Delicata Squash Rings With Garlic-lemon Sauce

Onion rings better watch out: These easy, elegant squash bites are certain to steal the show. And about that dipping sauce: It’s just three ingredients, plus salt and pepper.

21. Mozzarella-stuffed Pizza Bread

Say hello to the snazziest way to serve pizza at your next get-together. The cheese is stuffed inside and the sauce is swirled around the exterior for an impressive presentation.

22. Roasted Poblano And Corn Guacamole

Fans of chunky guac, this one goes out to you. Spicy, zesty and sweet, it’s just the update your tortilla chips are looking for.

5 Easy (and Unexpected) Guacamole Recipes You Need to Try

23. Rainbow Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

You’re 15 minutes away from an Instagrammable appetizer. Heirloom tomatoes not in season? Not a problem—swap them out for cherry tomatoes.

24. Cheesy Polenta Bites With Brussels Sprouts And Pancetta

The beauty of these guys—which taste like the deliciously crispy parts of cornbread—is that the toppings can be customized to your heart’s desire.

25. Pimento Cheese Stuffed Shishito Peppers

These are like the jalapeño pepper’s hip and trendy younger sibling. They also take less than 30 minutes to make, hint hint.

26. Ultimate Cheese Plate With Roasted Grapes

If you’ve never had roasted grapes before, you’re in for a treat. They’re tossed with salt and pepper, and come out of the oven like no salty-sweet snack you’ve had before.

27. Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs

If elote and deviled eggs had a very delicious baby, it would be this entertaining-ready take on a classic.

28. Carrot Pigs In A Blanket

Introducing the vegetarian version of everyone’s childhood favorite. Serve these with green goddess dressing and you may never go back to the original.

29. 15-minute Mezze Plate With Toasted Za’atar Pita Bread

Homemade herby pitas? Check. All your favorite Mediterranean small bites? Check. Yep, this all seems in order.

30. Baked Mac-and-cheese Bites

Some appetizers just make sense. Serve them hot or at room temperature—either way, they’ll be gone by the end of the night.

31. Crispy Baked Cauliflower ‘wings’

We love a sneaky vegetable snack, especially when it’s doused in hot sauce and paired with a dipping sauce. (We’re partial to ranch.)

32. Sweet Potato Crostini

Swap the usual toasted bread for thinly sliced roasted sweet potatoes, then go wild with the toppings. Might we suggest smoked salmon and cream cheese?

33. Bacon, Fig And Ricotta Tartines

They’re irresistibly sweet and salty, not to mention a breeze to whip up. (We suggest making extra.)

34. Crudités With Romesco Sauce

This platter is so pretty, we might have a crush on it. Our advice? If you use store-bought roasted peppers for the sauce, you’ll cut the assembly time down to almost nothing.

35. Vegan Arancini

The only thing tastier than cheesy, creamy risotto is cheesy, creamy risotto that’s been fried into these rice balls. Even the non-vegans in the roomwill devour them.

36. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches

Pick and choose your favorite Italian cold cuts—we like prosciutto and Genoa salami, but the choice is yours. Whatever you do, don’t forget the pepperoncini.

37. Chicken Parmesan Bites

They’re fancy, homemade chicken nuggets. Need we say more?

38. Maple-candied Bacon

Bacon as an appetizer? Yes—especially when it’s this sticky, salty-sweet candied version. You’re going to want extra napkins.

39. Mini Skillet Pizzas With Mushrooms And Roasted Tomatoes

Two things everyone loves: pizza and mini food. Voilà, the most fool-proof appetizer ever. Use store-bough pizza dough and your guests will be none the wiser.

40. Serena Wolf’s Boss Bean Dip

You’re 20 minutes and two steps from chip-dip heaven.