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How To Throw A Fabulous Appetizer Party

Updated on October 21, 2014

Easy Appetizer Recipes and Party Planning

Are you looking for easy appetizer recipes and appetizer party planning? A party that is perfect for you and your guests? I have thrown many parties through the years, some wonderful and some a great learning experience. Now I am so excited to share my ideas on how to throw an appetizer party.

Sampling delicious foods and socializing, what could be better? Throwing an appetizer party can be fun and easy! It's all in the planning and details. Your party can be as extravagant or simple as you want. It can be a huge event or a small, intimate gathering. The most important thing is to be comfortable and prepared for your party so you can enjoy the fun with your guests.

Image Credit: Flickr/Creative Commons

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First on the List: Choose A Date That Works

The date for your appetizer party is as important as the party itself. Check calendars to make sure that there is nothing else happening on that date.

Set the scene for your party as you pick the date. Do you prefer a Friday evening happy hour type party or a Sunday afternoon gathering? Would you like everyone to arrive at the same time or have a more casual open house?

These are all things to consider as you pick your party date.

Image: Print Shop Pro Publisher

Start with a

Cocktail

Having a special cocktail ready as

guests arrive sets

the stage for your party....

and guests enjoy not having

to ask for a drink or make a choice.

Champagne Punch

An easy punch that guests can serve themselves!

Champagne Punch

Ingredients:

1 bottle Champagne, chilled

1/2 cup cointreau

1/2 cup brandy

1 ltr. bottle club soda, chilled

Combine all of the ingredients in punch bowl and add ice. Serves 12

Photo Credit: Flickr/Creative Commons

Inexpensive Punch Bowls - that work for many different occasions

Invitations......

so many ways to invite!

Get your invitations out early (2-3 weeks) and include an RSVP date. There are many ways to invite by mail, email, or social networking sites.

Decide which would work better for your guests. Over-invite as there will always be some guests that will not be able to attend. If there are guests that have not responded after the RSVP date, it's perfectly fine to check in with them to see if they are attending.

Tip #1

Plan a Toast...

Once all of the guests have arrived, plan a toast. This is a wonderful way to officially get the party started. A good friends, good times impromptu toast is always welcome or choose a favorite quote to start the party.

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Planning the Menu

Easy or Elaborate, You Decide

An appetizer party can be anything from very simple to gourmet. If you are using new recipes, make and try them ahead of time. Recipes that can be prepared or frozen in advance are a huge timesaver.

If you are having the party catered, check to see if the caterer can have taste samples available weeks in advance. Try to have a variety of items while keeping in mind your guests tastes.

A balance of cold and hot appetizers makes a nice selection for any type of party. If you like to cook but time is a problem, prepare a few favorite recipes and order the rest. Most restaurants can put together appetizer platters for you.

Don't forget about your slow cooker. They are always handy for heating wings, dip or meatballs.

Image: Print Shop Pro Publisher

Crunchy Bacon Bites

Be prepared to share this recipe

2- 8 oz. cans whole, peeled, water chestnuts

1/2 lb. bacon

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbls. worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. celery seed

cooking spray

toothpicks

Preheat oven to 375'F.

Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil. Coat with cooking spray. Cut bacon slices into thirds. Wrap each water chestnut with a piece of bacon and secure with toothpick. Place in baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until bacon is crispy. Meanwhile place ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce and celery seed in a small saucepan, stir. Cover with lid and simmer for about 10 minutes. Dip the crunchy bacon bites into the sauce mixture and swirl to coat. Place on serving platter. Makes about 20 Crunchy Bacon Bites appetizers.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Creative Commons

Get Your Party Stuff On! - Fun recipes and entertaining ideas

Mozaik Premium Plastic Mini Appetizer & Dessert Tasting Set, 96 pieces
Mozaik Premium Plastic Mini Appetizer & Dessert Tasting Set, 96 pieces

Easy does it appetizer set, perfect size for one bite appetizers. Nice quality and takes the work out of serving appetizers.

 
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Preparing the Table

Small groupings are great for mingling!

Instead of placing your appetizers on one large table, it's fun to spread them out into smaller groupings. For instance, large appetizer dishes can be placed on the dining table, chips and dip, nuts and pretzels on the cocktail table and several dishes arranged on the kitchen countertop. The countertop is especially great if you are using warmers or slow cookers.

If you are having desserts, they can be placed on a side or folding table. If you have one spectacular appetizer that is showcased, this could be placed on it's own table to focus the attention. This technique will have your guests mingling and having fun while trying out the different appetizer stations!

Image: Print Shop Pro Publisher

Tip #2

Guest Favors...

Send your guests home with a treat. A few pieces of homemade fudge, cookies or candy can be a special way to end the evening. Package these in mini boxes or cellophane bags and tie with fancy ribbon.

Mediterranean Pinwheel Appetizers

Party Perfect Warming Tray, Stainless Steel - This is ideal for no-fuss entertaining!

Oster CKSTWTLS00 400-Watt 13-1/2-by-20-1/2-Inch Warming Tray, Stainless Steel
Oster CKSTWTLS00 400-Watt 13-1/2-by-20-1/2-Inch Warming Tray, Stainless Steel

This handy warming tray will keep your hot appetizers at just the right temperature while you are enjoying the party! Also perfect for casseroles and warm desserts. Free Shipping.

 

Appetizer Poll

What is your favorite type of appetizer?

See results
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Decorate with Flowers

A few pretty flowers will make your appetizer party come alive!

Flowers are a lovely and inexpensive way to create a fun and inviting atmosphere. Choose one large centerpiece for the main table or several smaller vases set on different tables. Float flowers in a decorative bowl for a unique look. Set herb plants in pretty containers for a fresh look.

For seasonal parties, choose tulips for spring, daisies for summer, mums for fall, and holly with berries for winter. Pick flowers with vibrant colors to make your arrangements stand out. Use unique containers for your flowers such as a hollowed out pumpkin, a vintage pitcher or crystal tumblers.

Image: Print Shop Pro Publisher

Top Party Appetizers - Always great party fare and available pre-made.

  • Wings
  • Meatballs
  • Veggies and Dip
  • Salsa and Tortilla Chips
  • Nachos
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Cheese Tray
  • Bruschetta
  • Stuffed Mushrooms

Tip #3

Appetizer Mingle...

Choose an appetizer recipe and ask each guest to bring one ingredient. Upon arriving, have the guests make the appetizer together. This is a great way for guests to break the ice and become acquainted!

Appetizer Party Picks - Add some fun and color to your party table!

I like to use party picks for fruit, veggies, cheese and appetizer finger foods.

Cheese Wedge Party Picks (set of 6)
Cheese Wedge Party Picks (set of 6)

These party picks are so cute, they will also be a conversation piece!

 

Plan Ahead with a

Make Ahead Appetizer!

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These freeze very well! Just place pre-made bites on a cookie sheet and place in freezer for 30 minutes. Seal bites in a zippered freezer bag.

  • Prep time: 30 min
  • Cook time: 25 min
  • Ready in: 55 min
  • Yields: 18

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 8 oz. shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 package puff pastry

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except puff pastry, set aside.
  2. Cut one sheet of puff pastry into 18 squares.
  3. Place one tablespoon of chicken mixture on each square.
  4. Brush edges of pastry with water, fold over and pinch edges together.
  5. Places on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 425F for 25 minutes.
Cast your vote for Southwest Chicken Bites

Serve Your Appetizers with Elegance!

Bia Cordon Bleu 18-Inch Rectangular Platter White Porcelain
Bia Cordon Bleu 18-Inch Rectangular Platter White Porcelain

Lovely appetizer platter for a beautiful presentation. Made from durable porcelain, this platter is dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer safe.

 

Tip #4

Drinks First...

Have the beverage or bar area set up first. That way if you are running late or guests arrive early they can help themselves to a drink, while you finish the preparations.

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Decorate with Candles

Candles are an easy way to decorate for your appetizer party!

A few well placed candles will soften the room and create a relaxing party atmosphere whether used inside or out. Scented candles can be placed on tables or mantels. Use unscented decorative candles near food displays as to not overpower the food aromas. One or two large pillar candles are always a good idea for the main food table.

Be careful not to place candles in the way where guests will be reaching for food or drinks. Floating candles make a lovely addition to the drink table.

Image: Print Shop Pro Publisher

Tip #5

Help Yourself...

If you are preparing a special cocktail for your appetizer party, print the recipe on a card and place it at the bar. This way guests can help themselves or offer to make a new batch.

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Apple Martini

Perfect drink with appetizers!

1 oz. vodka

1 oz. apple schnapps

1 oz apple juice

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker and add ice.

Shake and strain into a martini glass.

Garnish with a slice of green apple. 1 serving.

Image: Print Shop Pro Publisher

Need a super easy appetizer?

Prosciutto Wrapped Breadsticks-

8 slices prosciutto

8 thin breadsticks

Wrap a slice of prosciutto

around each breadstick.

Serve with aioli.

Easy Aioli

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  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 55 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbls lemon juice
  • 1 tbls. olive oil
  • black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mash garlic with salt until a paste forms.
  2. Whisk in mayonnaise, lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Add pepper to taste.
  4. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

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International Cheese Platter & Savoury Cheese Plate for Buffet

International Cheese Platter & Savoury Cheese Plate for Buffet

">Jörn Rynio

Super idea for serving small appetizer cheese portions!

Image Available at Allposters.com

Music Sets the Tone of the Party!

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Choose Your Music Theme

A little background music will give your appetizer party a whole new ambiance. First decide if you would like to match the music to the theme of the party or to your guests tastes. For instance if you are having a Christmas party, then you might want to choose favorite seasonal music or a beach theme party might include summer favorites. However, if the majority of your guests are in a specific age group, you could choose 70's disco or 80's ballads.

If you are planning a quiet cocktail party, the music of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett would set the tone very nicely. Whichever musical selections you choose, it will add that special mood to make your appetizer party come alive!

Image: Print Shop Pro Publisher

Favorite Party Music

What kind of music would you choose for your party?

See results

Share your tips for an appetizer party or just say hello!

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 2 years ago from Central Florida

      This is just the right kind of party for my neighbors. They each bring an appetizer and we have a great time visiting and snacking. Quite easy to put together.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      This appetizer party is rocking!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I want to come to your next party. You really know how to throw a delicious bash.

    • shana273 profile image

      shana273 4 years ago

      Great ideas!

    • profile image

      SamanthaHaupt 4 years ago

      Thanks for the awesome ideas!

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      Love all the tips - from the planning to the recipes and the extra special touches. I want to come to your next party.

    • ryanagv profile image

      ryanagv 4 years ago

      Great job here. Will try some for our next party!!

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 4 years ago from Kent, UK

      This is definitely going to come in useful!

    • zee-macmillan profile image

      zee-macmillan 4 years ago

      Love this lens! Appetizers are easily my favorite foods, so much you can do with them.

    • profile image

      Torrs13 4 years ago

      I do agree that everything is better with bacon!

    • Rosanna Grace profile image

      Rosanna Grace 4 years ago

      I'm always open to finding new ideas for appetizers. Thanks for sharing so many of yours! :)

    • profile image

      atomicgirl24 4 years ago

      I love appetizers so much that I wind up filling up on them before the main course. They just seem so much tastier to me for some reason!

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 4 years ago

      Nice party ideas! I'll bet your parties are a lot of fun!

    • InfoCoop profile image

      InfoCoop 4 years ago

      I'm not one who does a lot of entertaining just because of all the preparation involved but this lens really breaks it down into something that seems manageable. Thanks!

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 4 years ago from Texas

      Terrific ideas for appetizers. Thanks for the tips. Best Wishes

    • AnaHoffman LM profile image

      AnaHoffman LM 4 years ago

      Perfection means taking care of little details -- and this is going to be a perfect appetizer party!

    • graphite75 profile image

      Tom 4 years ago

      Lots of great appetizer ideas. Thanks for sharing!

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 4 years ago

      That champagne punch would be a fabulous start to a party! :)

    • RedHairedRockHead profile image

      RedHairedRockHead 4 years ago

      I am thinking about having a party this summer for 25-30, and some of your tips and recipes are going into my planning book. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens on party planning. I do a lot of parties myself and will use some of your tips next time I throw one

    • am23g23 profile image

      am23g23 4 years ago

      Great guide, will definitely have to think about using these tips for my next party. Thanks!

    • profile image

      myspace9 4 years ago

      Great tips, thanks for them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great info! Thanks for the tips. I like the recipe at the bar idea.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      I like it when other people offer to bring an appetizer, too. Then we end up with lots of unusual food items, and it isn't so much work for me!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'd have to have some form of stuffed mushrooms, and wings if the party wasn't too formal. Oh and hello!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 4 years ago

      An appetizer party sounds like a great idea. I will throw one this year.

    • profile image

      applejacking 4 years ago

      Super spicy appetizer. It's my best ideas but without any cheese.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 4 years ago

      We stayed home with the kids last night (New Year's Eve) and put out a bunch of appetizers and snacked all night. It was wonderful! I wish I had read your page ahead of time. Some great tips here! Happy New Year!

    • entetrix profile image

      entetrix 4 years ago

      This is a really great and helpful lens!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      It is so true that everything is better with bacon.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Some really cool ideas. And now I am hungry...

      ;)

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 5 years ago from US/TN

      Yum! I love appetizers. My aunt likes to serve TGI Friday's potato skins -- you can get them frozen at Sam's.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 5 years ago

      Appetizers are always in fashion! Liked.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 5 years ago

      I find mini pizzas and little sausage rolls are always popular.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Personally, I like appetizer parties over full-blown foodie parties. Delicious.

    • profile image

      kmyangel 5 years ago

      Appetizers are great for any party !

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I love appetizers! We serve an appetizer buffet every year on Christmas Eve - it's one of my family's favorite tradititions.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      Appetizers are one of my favorite things to eat when I go out and you have some really great ideas here.

    • profile image

      DigbyAdams 5 years ago

      I love appetizers! So it's no surprise that I've become good at cooking Tappas. That's small little Spanish dishes that you eat on or two of and move on to the next delicious morsel.

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I love appetizers anytime of the week and day :)

    • profile image

      dream1983 5 years ago

      Awesome lens, nicely done

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      I do an appetizer party when the guests are more then chars... but I call it buffet party... nice lens and good subject. thanks

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 5 years ago

      I never thought to have an appetizer party, but these recipes sound so good that I just might have to.

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Those pinwheel appetisers look delish!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Appetizer parties are great-love your recipes and suggestions :>)

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 5 years ago

      Great ides for appetizer party.

    • themeaparty profile image

      themeaparty 5 years ago

      Appetizers For Parties is really good idea!! I really liked your posts. Specially yours tips.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      I love doing appetizers for parties! I think I like puff pastry ones, or Swedish meatballs or anything on a toothpick! Blessed!

    • profile image

      sherioz 5 years ago

      These look good!

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      I love to have parties and get-togethers, but unfortunately have not been able to in the tiny place I am living at the moment. But I'll be moving by the end of the year, so then I will definitely be back to throwing a party or two. I have no tips - you have covered everything and more! Fabulous lens.

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 5 years ago

      I love to host and attend appetizer parties. Sampling appetizers with a glass of wine - can't get much better than that :) Excellent tips on hosting a party.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 5 years ago from London, England

      Great party ideas

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      great lens! thumbs up

    • CherryTriggerCola profile image

      CherryTriggerCola 5 years ago

      Love the article and pictures. Well done! Thanks for sharing.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      Delicious article. Blessed!

    • Wbisbill LM profile image

      Barbara Isbill 5 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      Beautiful and delicious idea!

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 5 years ago

      This is an ingenious idea. Would you mind terribly if I stole this concept for introducing people to a Forks Over Knives party? (if you don't know what that is, look at my lenses or Google it, it's a way of eating I'm trying t promote to everyone who will listen)>

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      Great recipes and just in time for a New Year's Eve appetizer party! Blessed

    • sarahrk lm profile image

      sarahrk lm 5 years ago

      These are some great looking appetisers. . . I love these kinds of appetisers.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      I love parties with appetizers... food is delicious :) Some great appetizers here I'll definitely have to try :)

    • Timewarp profile image

      Paul 5 years ago from Montreal

      Great party ideas, blessed!

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      i am planning to have a summer party next year. i was keeping on postponing it because of the bad weather. thank you for sharing. most of your appetizers are familiar. thanks for visiting my neighborhood again.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 5 years ago

      What fun, you've organized a great page on how to put on an appetizer party :)

    • I-Love-Astrology profile image

      I-Love-Astrology 5 years ago

      Love the tips you have here!

    • Mary Crowther profile image
      Author

      Mary Crowther 6 years ago from Havre de Grace

      @yourselfempowered: Thank you Lifeboost for the wonderful Blessing!

    • Mary Crowther profile image
      Author

      Mary Crowther 6 years ago from Havre de Grace

      @yourselfempowered: Thank you Lifeboost for the wonderful Blessing!

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 6 years ago from Gloucester

      What a great idea! I hadn't thought of having an appetizer party! And what fabulous tips and recipes you've shared! Blessed. :)

    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      This is a really well-done lens with loads of tips. I'd never thought about doing just an appetizer party. Thanks!

    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 6 years ago

      Lots of great ideas here. I feel inspired to have a party!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      love chips and dips but always love the occasional cheese platter especially some sort of cheese out of the ordinary. sure earned a 'thumbs up' from this guy.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      You've got some great recipes here. Looking forward to trying some of them.

    • anne mohanraj profile image

      anne mohanraj 6 years ago

      Exciting! Great tips!

    • SaintFrantic profile image

      SaintFrantic 6 years ago

      Great ideas.Thanks for sharing

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      Mini muffalettas

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      We've had a potluck appetizer party with the neighbors. Everyone brings an appetizer, so we have quite a variety of finger foods. It's not much work for anyone and there's plenty of food so people skip dinner and come hungry. Fun and less formal than a sit-down meal.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 6 years ago from USA

      I love those bacon bites...thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Just make sure you have plenty of those Bacon Bites! A fun idea for a party and appetizers really are about everyone's favorite food. My Mom used to make meatballs at Christmas using a jar of grape jelly and a bottle of chili sauce and there were never any left over. I especially like your idea of having guests bring an ingredient and work together on an appetizer. Many want to bring something and this makes it easy as well as encouraging conversation around a project.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We sort of have these appetizer parties everyday when we are together in the cottage so these tips are great.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 6 years ago from Canada

      I like appetizer parties much better than dinner parties.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      What an inspiring lens! Love the bacon recipe. Will try for my next dinner party.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      The idea of starting your appetizer party with a toast is a sure way to get everyone together in mind and spirit. I always think of a toast as being associated with a formal occasion, but that doesn't mean it has to be. Great suggestion!

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 6 years ago from Chicago area

      I often like the apps. at restaurants better than the entrees. Fun idea!