Simple & Delicious Christmas Party Appetizer Ideas

The holiday season is upon us! If you’ve been invited to a potluck party and don’t know what to bring, we have you covered. For the record, we do not recommend that you bring:

  • Chips — everyone brings chips.

  • Discounted baked goods that are about to expire. Hard pass.

  • A 2L of Coca-Cola. Don’t be that person.

  • Kidney beans on a platter… Just don’t, you can do better.

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, these simple and delicious appetizers are sure to be the first to go at the party. (And will make it look like you know what you’re doing.)

Oh, and don’t put maple syrup on everything at the potluck.

Oh, and don’t put maple syrup on everything at the potluck.

Warning: these recipes are not for the lactose intolerant! Turns out that putting cheese in something apparently instantly makes it a party appetizer.

Cheese is a Crowd Pleaser

No, cheese is not a hot dog. (Confused? We are too.) Anyways, cheese is grate (hah). But seriously though, cheese is amazing. These cheesy recipes are simple to make and take almost no time at all!

Baked Brie

Baked brie is one of those appetizers that sounds super fancy and complicated, but it’s not. All you need to do is bring a wheel of brie to the party and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 350°F. Serve it with crackers and boom, done!

You can make your baked brie fancier by:

  • Wrapping it in puff pastry before baking. Be sure to give it an egg wash so the outside gets nice and golden brown!

  • Serving it with red pepper jelly, honey, or jam to spread on your crackers along with the brie.

  • Garnishing it with some herbs (rosemary is popular) or whatever you like to eat with your brie.

Ooey gooey brie.

Ooey gooey brie.

We ate our baked brie with balsamic Saskatoon berry preserves, and damn, it was delicious. And yes, we forgot the egg wash — don’t be like us.

Mini Cheese Balls

Everyone loves a good cheese ball! However, the problem with a single large cheese ball is no one wants to be the first one to ruin that beautiful crust of pecans (or whatever you coated the outside of your ball with). And if people aren’t a fan of the cheese your cheese ball is made of, it won’t get eaten.

Instead, make a few smaller cheese balls for people to choose from — they’ll be gone in a flash! Mini cheese balls are cute, easy to make, and can be made to please all palates. Look festive AF with red, white, and green mini cheese bites!

If you have time to make three different types of cheese balls (cream cheese, goat, and feta) try this recipe. Strapped for time? Make the standard cheddar cheese + cream cheese balls, but use different coatings.

Charcuterie & Cheese Board

A charcuterie board is the one of the easiest things to bring to holiday party, and is usually one of the first things to go at a party. Just pick up a few meats, cheeses, a baguette, and a few accompaniments (olives, pickles, grapes, etc), arrange them nicely on a board or platter, and you’re done! Learn more about the art of making a charcuterie board.

charcuterie board

Puff Pastry Sheets Are Your Friend

Puff pastry (aka pâte feuilletée) is delicious. It’s delicate, flaky, and very French. It is also an extraordinary pain in the ass to make. So skip that step and buy the stuff from the freezer aisle of the supermarket (it’s near the pie crusts). When you make a puff pastry based appetizer you’ll likely be wrapping something in the puff pastry — meats, cheeses, etc. This has the added benefit of giving you the chance to practice your gift wrapping skills — you’re welcome!

Sausage Rolls

Sure, you could buy sausage rolls from the freezer aisle at your grocery store. You’re already getting puff pastry from there, why not just skip to buying the fully assembled product? Because it’s garbage, that’s why. Frozen sausage rolls are greasy and gross. The puff pastry is important — but the filling inside is just as important, so take care of that part yourself.

Perfection.

Perfection.

All you need is: sausage meat of your choice, one puff pastry sheet, minced garlic, some chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and an egg for the wash. Sesame seeds are optional! For the meat you can buy a package of Johnsonville Italian Sausage (#notsponsored), or if you want to customize the spices in the meat, buy ground sausage that doesn’t have spices already added. Need detailed instructions? Check out this recipe.

Prep, refrigerate (or freeze if making a few days in advance), and pop them in the oven at the party! Easy.

Prosciutto Parm Twists

We love this recipe from Laura in the Kitchen, so we had to mention it in our list. All you need is prosciutto (yum), grated parmesan (also yum), puff pastry, and some Italian seasoning. (And of course an egg for the egg wash.) We’ve made these for a party before and they went fast. So make sure you eat one or two before the vultures arrive!

Everyone Loves Dips

Dips are the party glue that holds everything together. Go to any holiday potluck this year and if there’s food, we can guarantee that there will be at least one dip present. And that’s because almost all other party foods can be dipped in them. Crackers, breads, puff pastry things, veggies — the list goes on and on.

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Hot spinach artichoke dip is a classic, which is why it’s on this list. It isn’t a holiday potluck if there isn’t spinach artichoke dip. (Or at least we think so, anyways.) We recommend using this recipe by Chef John. Full disclaimer: we haven’t made it, so we can’t comment on exactly how good it is, but we trust Chef John — he has yet to lead us astray.

Queso

Queso can be as simple as dumping Velveeta and a can of Ro*Tel (diced tomatoes and chilies) into a pot, or it can be a bit more involved by sauteing jalapeños and onions, making a roux, and adding cheese, diced tomatoes, and spices like in this recipe.

queso

You may not think of queso when you think of holiday parties (typically it’s more of a game-night appetizer), but it’s delicious and deserves to be served at every occasion! The world needs more queso.

Baked Onion Dip

Baked onion dip is another pretty safe dip choice. But that’s not why you should make it, you should make it because it’s damn delicious! Caramelize your onions, add in some garlic right at the end and mix it with softened cream cheese, Swiss cheese, some mayo and seasoning to taste. Scoop it into a bread bowl and bake it at 350°F for 15 minutes and you have yourself a tasty dip!

Don’t be like us and buy disgusting organic sourdough bread. It did not taste right.

Don’t be like us and buy disgusting organic sourdough bread. It did not taste right.

If we were to make this again, we’d add in some fresh chopped parsley. On its own, the dip was a bit too rich and needed something to cut all the richness and cheesiness. That being said, we also found that it paired quite well with vegetables (carrots especially). So the main takeaway is this: if you’re serving it with veggies, you’ll be fine. If you’re serving it with anything else (just bread or crackers), consider adding in some parsley to cut the richness. Learn how to make baked onion dip.


We hope this post has given you an idea of what to bring to your holiday potluck party! (Especially if you’re like us and wait until the last possible second to make a decision.)

What’s your favourite holiday appetizer? Let us know in the comments below!

Wishing you a happy and relaxing holiday season — we’ll see you in 2019. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!