Christmas is the time of year when we’re obligated to spend time with family, even if it’s a pain. It’s a time of get-togethers, and of course a time for family dinners.
The Christmas family lunches or dinners need a ton of preparations, of course. You have to buy food, spend hours making all those delicious dishes, and remembering every little ingredient and detail to make it perfect. It can get quite crazy sometimes.
Cutting back on the chaos is the key to a stress-free holiday, and that means less time in the kitchen. Here are seventeen appetizers that are easy to make and won’t stress you out.
17 Best Christmas Appetizers
1. Cheese-Stuffed Celery
This is a family tradition, for my family at least. Every year there would be celery stalks filled with a cheesy filling. Usually, this is at least partly cream cheese, but I’ve seen the filling include sour cream, mayonnaise, and cheddar cheese.
The celery can also have other foods on it or mixed with the stuffing. Olives, herbs, pimentos, onions, and other vegetables. And the best part? It only takes a few minutes to mix the filling and apply it.
2. Cranberry Brie Bites
Fruit and cheese go very well together and cranberries with brie are no exception to that rule. These pieces of brie, cranberry sauce, and pastry dough or crackers will be a hit at the party.
This dish is ready in under twenty minutes. It tastes even better with pecans or rosemary on top. I’ve also heard of using cream cheese instead of brie.
3. Cheese Ball
This is a rich combination of soft cheese and usually nuts rolled up into a ball. Cheese balls are often seen at holiday parties with crackers, pretzels, or crunchy vegetables.
You can make a cheese ball at home, but you don’t have to use nuts. I’ve also heard of bacon bits, onions, bagel seasonings, or herbs used in this dish.
4. Pumpkin Dip
Pumpkins might seem more like a Halloween food than a holiday one, but pumpkin dip is a savory dip. It’s ready in twenty minutes and it’s healthy, too.
The dip combines pumpkin puree with zucchini, garlic, and ginger. Add some spices like turmeric and other flavorings, and some good food to dip in for a delicious appetizer.
5. Salmon Pinwheels
Salmon pinwheels are made by wrapping smoked salmon along with filling like bread crumbs, mayonnaise, or cream cheese in something flat and delicious. Something like a wrap or bacon will do the trick.
These pinwheels are visually pleasing. They remind me a little of cinnamon buns but are much healthier and you can experiment with vegetables and other flavors for the filling.
6. Fruit and Cheese Platter
It’s a bit cliched, but fruit and cheese make good finger food. You can also throw vegetables, meats, and nuts into that category. So why not make a platter from any combination of them?
The beauty of platters is that you can find them at any supermarket, especially during the holidays, or buy some fruit and cheese and make them yourself at home. They’re simple but effective.
7. Pigs in a Blanket
Pigs in a blanket are hot dogs with a slightly different bun. Wrap hot dogs, either regular sized cut down a bit or the smaller cocktail size, in crescent rolls or puff pastry and put them in the oven.
If you want more flavor, add cheese or mustard to the hot dogs. Pigs in a blanket are very popular with kids…and the young at heart, too!
8. Garlic Pull-Apart Bread
Pull-apart bread is bread dough baked with different ingredients, both sweet and savory. These concoctions are made so that it’s easy to tear a small piece away to eat.
With many flavors, it’s very hard to choose just one. So, why did I choose garlic? Because it tastes great. The only problem is you have to wait until after you’ve been under the mistletoe to eat it!
9. Stuffed Mushrooms
Another winning finger food, stuffed mushrooms are mushroom caps with savory filling inside. The type of mushroom and what is used in the filling varies.
Stuffed mushrooms can fit into almost any diet: Vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. The cooking time depends on the filling, but it always comes out as a winner.
Spanakopita is also known as spinach pie. It’s a Greek dish that includes layers of spinach, feta cheese, and scallions between sheets of phyllo dough.
Spinach pie is a Christmas tradition every year with my family. It might take a bit longer than most of the other items on the list, clocking in at around a half-hour of baking time, but the end result is worth it.
11. Shrimp Cocktail
A classic combination of cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce can’t be beaten! And it’s very easy to make, too: cooked shrimp, flavorings, and cocktail. All ready in twenty minutes.
The shrimp can be cooked in many ways: grilled, boiled, or steamed. And that’s not all; the cocktail sauce is just as quick and easy to make at home.
12. Bruschetta Bites
Bruschetta is a little bit like a crispy open-face sandwich. The ingredients change from recipe to recipe, but the most consistent ones are tomatoes, garlic, basil, and onions.
The bites go from ingredients to table in under an hour. It’s vegetarian-friendly, can be made vegan-friendly, and really brings home a taste of Italy.
13. Mixed Nuts
Okay, this might be cheating a little. Mixed nuts don’t need anything other than a bowl when being served, which makes them a very quick dish.
If you want to do something different with the nuts, there are plenty of options. Recipes for seasonings and roasting will make a good thing even better.
14. Vol Au Vent
Vol au vent is a small tube of puff pastry filled with something tasty. Usually, some sort of meat filling like chicken or brie and cranberries.
It’s easy to make vol au vent, getting them to the table in around a half-hour. In fact, it’s best if you prepare them right before serving since the pastry absorbs liquid and can get soggy.
15. Caramel Dipped Popcorn
I have fond memories of making garlands out of popcorn and cranberries for Christmas. Those memories are my main experience with popcorn over the holidays, but it’s not the only use for popcorn.
It’s easy to find caramel dip at a local supermarket, although you can make your own. The end result is a gooey, sweet treat that kids love.
16. Pretzel Bites
Pretzels, both hard and soft, are great for parties. Now add a tasty dip, like cheese dip or something with garlic in it and you’re ready for the crowd.
A plate of soft pretzel bites makes good finger food, and as a bonus, it’s good for many diets. Most recipes have large batches so you might not have to worry about running out.
17. Cheesecake Dip
The holidays are the time of year for sweet things, after all. So why not bring a sweet dip in along with cookies to dip them?
A cheesecake dip is made from cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. The ingredients are all creamed into a bowl, with a preparation time of under ten minutes. No baking needed!
Some of these dishes might not sound like they belong at a Christmas party, but sometimes a good appetizer is all about the presentation. Arrange the dish into holiday shapes, or add ribbons and frosting or sauce in the form of, say, snowflakes to the dishes.
And there you have it, seventeen delicious appetizers for the holidays. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and that your holidays are safe and stress-free.