How to make a great appetizer menu

It’s almost party time! Need a little help deciding which appetizers to serve? Here are a few tips to help you create an appetizer menu with a little something for everyone — from hungry carnivores to hard-core vegans.

Hot and cold appetizers

Mix it up

Remember to offer a variety of appetizers with different flavors, colors, textures and temperatures. A good rule of thumb is to serve an appetizer from each of these categories: cheese or antipasti plate, dips and spreads, cold finger foods and hot bites. By including a range of choices, you’ll be sure to offer something appealing for all of your guests.

10 quick party appetizers >>

Get inspired

Take advantage of the many online resources to find appetizing inspiration. Turn to Pinterest, or your favorite food blogs, and do a quick search to reveal the amazing creativity in the delicious world of appetizers. Find one or two inspirational ideas, and use them as a jumping off point. While you do want to offer variety, flavors should complement each other.

Choose a theme

Having a theme for your party will provide direction to the menu, as well as the music, decor and even party attire. A Mexican fiesta calls for margaritas and spicy bites. Retro holiday parties might lead you to re-imagine classic appetizers like deviled eggs and cheese balls, to mix up some ice-cold martinis and download your favorite Frank Sinatra tunes.

Retro Hors d’oeuvres >>


The right presentation can elevate even the simplest appetizer. Mini serving vessels not only have a great visual impact, they also make it easy for guests to take and eat a single portion. Use plastic shot glasses to serve soup topped with a tiny sandwich triangle, or veggies standing upright in dip. If utensils are needed, add a mini bamboo spoon or fork to each serving. Wooden or bamboo skewers are also a fun way to serve up appetizers like caprese on a stick, using half a cherry tomato (flat side down), topped with a folded piece of basil and a cube of fresh mozzarella.

Go vegan

There’s a good chance you’ll have at least one vegetarian or gluten-free eater at your party. Choose from the many healthy and delicious options, and serve some vegan and gluten-free munchies. Use the link below to find recipes, including gluten-free baked brie, fig and rosemary and gluten-free lentil bruschetta.

Gluten free holiday appetizers >>

Watch: How to make bruschetta with figs and prosciutto

Want to make a fresh appetizer with the flavors of Italy? Try bruschetta with figs and prosciutto!

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