Best Bites for New Year's Eve — Our Favorite NYE Appetizers
Need ideas for your holiday hors d'oeuvres? Here are 40 of our favorite appetizers to help you celebrate the New Year.
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New Year's Eve is coming! But what do you serve? Put down the bag of tortilla chips, and back away from the cheese ball! (They're messy, the crackers always break, and frankly, they don't taste that good.) Instead, choose one of these bite-size appetizer recipes that let your family stay classy and satiated.
When picking out your recipes, just think about contrasts: hot and cold, spicy and sweet, fatty and light. Put out a mix of flavors, colors, and textures, and you're on your way to a smashing success. If you like, you can pick a theme to build your menu around. You don't have to make your whole night center around the theme; however, it's a nice trick to help you narrow down your choices. Here are some recipe ideas — from Spanish-inspired tapas to classic "Mad Men" style 1950s apps — to get you started.
No one does finger food like the Spanish, who serve tapas-style "pinchos" with their cocktails. Take a note, and kick off the New Year with a selection of these savory snacks that will make sure no one goes hungry.
Spanish Garlic Shrimp
These tapas style shrimp are a tasty treat that will fly off the platter. Not only are shrimp incredibly popular, but they cook up super fast. This recipe requires less than five minutes at your stove, so you'll be back celebrating with your family in no time.
Bacon-Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates
The smell of bacon wafting from the oven will liven up any holiday. Dates and chorizo play off each other beautifully with sweetness and savory spice in this simple but tasty appetizer. You can assemble these up to a week in advance, pop them in the freezer, and then cook them to order on the day of your celebration.
Empanadas make a fantastic appetizer because they can be made in advance and frozen. When it's time, pop the frozen empanadas on a baking sheet and put them in the oven, then get back to relaxing.
Stuffed Potato Balls (Papa Rellenas)
Similar to a stuffed Italian rice ball (arancini), these fried potato balls are filled with Cuban picadillo before being fried to crispy perfection. Feel free to substitute cheese or leeks for the meat filling to make a vegetarian dish.
Vegan Spanish Garlic Mushroom Tapas
This easy appetizer recipe is a nice way to balance out the creamy, cheesy items on your menu. Better yet, it takes just two minutes to cook. For real.
Pan Fried Spanish Cauliflower Tapas
These paprika and breadcrumb-dusted cauliflower bites can be fried ahead of time and reheated in the oven right before serving. For authenticity, try to find a nice Spanish smoked paprika. It's a simple recipe without many ingredients, so splurge on quality and let the natural goodness of the vegetables shine through!
Vermouth Cherry Tomatoes, Caramelized
While this recipe may not be a traditional Spanish tapa, it certainly fits in with the rest in spirit. A simple dish of tomatoes and herbs caramelized in olive oil and vermouth makes for a tasty vegetable bite to round out your menu. Served alone, with a cheese plate, or alongside your shrimp appetizers, these versatile tomatoes can take on many roles.
Stir up a highball and nosh on these classic New Year's Eve appetizers from the 1950s. There's a reason why these recipes have endured: Each one is a crowd pleaser!
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Italian sausage teams up with parmesan cheese in these flavorful stuffed mushrooms. Using panko in the stuffing adds extra crunch to balance out the meaty texture of the mushrooms.
Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts
A bowl of spiced nuts is one of those small details — not unlike an understated pair of cufflinks — that adds class to a dressy affair. Simple to make and delightful to snack on while sipping a glass of Scotch whisky, this recipe begs to be tucked in a pretty silver dish and placed discreetly on a side table to surprise hungry family.
Baked Cheddar Olives
I grew up eating these delightful treats on special occasions, and have made it a mission to make sure these treasures don't get lost in the 1950s. One bite, and you'll understand why. Olives and cheddar make a terrific flavor pair (and are wonderful on their own as well), but the real star of the show here is butter. The flaky, cheese-flecked dough keeps you coming back to the dish for one bite after another. Make more than you think you'll need!
Proscuitto and Cantaloupe Appetizers
These bites bring lovely color to your table and a lively sweet-salty taste to your mouth. Be generous with the freshly ground pepper on top; it's a spice just like any other and an important component of this recipe. These would be great with a dollop of soft fresh ricotta cheese as well.
Smoked Salmon Canapes with Whipped Chive Cream Cheese
Smoked salmon recipes seem to pop up on every appetizer list — if you haven't made these classic appetizers before, give it a try and see why! In a season filled with excess (excess sugar, excess butter, excess alcohol), a simple bite of fish with clean, crunchy cucumber on savory rye is just what the doctor ordered.
The Best Cocktail Sauce Ever
Putting out some cocktail shrimp is a super easy way to indulge everyone while putting in very little time and effort yourself. Don't ruin the effect with a poor-tasting jarred cocktail sauce. This recipe is the only one I use anymore — it's everything I want a jarred sauce to taste like and comes together in a jiffy with ingredients you most likely already have on hand. You can also adjust the proportions to make it taste exactly how you like (I prefer to add a little extra horseradish and a few extra shakes of Worcestershire, myself).
Sriracha Mayo Deviled Eggs
The classic deviled egg gets a modern twist with the addition of sriracha sauce in this contemporary recipe from Noble Pig. If you really want to up your deviled-egg game, make a trio of eggs, rounding these out with a traditional paprika topped egg and a spicy wasabi egg.
Parmesan Onion Canapés
Served on round toasts, this classic endures for a reason. Feel free to substitute rye bread for the white bread, but don't pass on the paprika!
Party food was meant to be indulgent, so bring on the cream cheese (and mayo, and sour cream, and goat cheese ... you get the idea)! Besides, just the word "canapé" adds instant class to your New Year's Eve.
Caramelized Onion and Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppers
Take the idea of veggies and dip up a notch with just a little bit of prep. These pretty party appetizers combine the flavors of a French onion dip with soft roasted peppers for a portable bite that's infinitely easier to eat.
Mini Crab Cakes
Adding seafood to your appetizer menu always makes the evening feel a little more elegant. These mini crab cakes can be prepped in advance then warmed up right before you serve them, so you can spend your New Year's with your family, not stuck in the kitchen.
Quick Crab Meat Salad Cracker Appetizer
If you're looking for a simpler way to serve up some crab, then this recipe is for you! Just stir up some crab meat with some chopped onion, red pepper, mayo, and sour cream and serve with crackers. It's the best of both worlds: easy and delicious.
Pimento Cheese Fillo Cups
I have yet to meet a person who can resist the allure of pimento cheese. Here, a quick-mixed pimento cheese gets layered into a fillo cup then baked for 10 minutes. A couple of these bites, a few candied nuts, and a champagne cocktail — now that's what I call a perfect New Year's Eve!
Persimmon Goat Cheese Tartlets
These tartlets are elegant looking with a sophisticated taste. A bit of honey adds sweetness to the tartlets and balances out the tangy goat cheese. The tartlets are easily made with store-bought puff pastry and a wine glass to create perfect little circles.
Yes, you can go with the old standby of artichoke dip, but why not try something with a little more panache? These elegant cheese dips make a classy companion to a glass of bubbly.
Spicy Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese
Take advantage of fresh cranberries to make this addictive dip that's sweet, creamy, and spicy all at once. Serve with a sturdy cracker that won't break when you spread the dip.
Black-Eyed Pea Dip
Black-eyed peas are a traditional New Year's recipe thought to bring good luck for the year to come. In this dip, the peas are combined with salsa, sour cream, and cheddar cheese for a Tex-Mex style appetizer.
Hot Blueberry Cheddar Dip with Toasty Bread
Blueberries and cheddar? Trust us on this one — it works. The bite of the white cheddar is balanced out with smooth cream cheese, while the blueberries add a sweet touch. And it's just plain lovely to look at! Drizzle some olive oil on sliced French bread to make tasty toasts to dip in the blueberry bowl.
Baked Brie with Blackberry Compote and Candied Walnuts
This lovely baked brie is another appetizer that almost too beautiful to eat. If it weren't so temptingly tasty, that is. There's a lot of complexity in the flavors here, with sweet sugar and honey, spicy cinnamon and cayenne, citrusy orange zest and lemon juice, and savory thyme, all blended up with nuts, fruits, and the oozy warm brie.
Baked Ricotta Appetizer
Ricotta and parmesan make for a light and fluffy dip scented with garlic and Italian spices. Use your imagination when serving this versatile spread — it works with bread, crudités, breadsticks, or featured in an antipasto board.
A Tasty Trip
Take your family on an international tour with these regional party recipes from around the globe.
Bacon Garlic Gougères
The French knew what they were doing when they created the epitome of fancy hors d'oeuvres, the gougère. This version adds garlic and bacon for a savory twist, but if you're looking for a vegetarian option, they're delicious plain or with herbs as well.
This Asian classic is a great way to add something a little more substantial to your New Year's Eve menu. Served on sticks, these work great on a buffet, and the peanut sauce alone is guaranteed to win fans.
Dried Fig Souvlaki
These dainty fig bites are inspired by Greek cuisine. Filled with feta and wrapped in prosciutto, these figs are salty, sweet and meaty all at once.
Pulled Pork Cornbread Tarts
Bring a taste of the South to your New Year's Eve with these little pulled pork tarts. It brings the classic tastes of pork and cornbread that you love into an elegant little bite that's fit for a celebration. For a Southern-themed spread, pair this with the Mini Shrimp & Grits Appetizer and the Black-Eyed Pea Dip.
Mini Shrimp + Grits Appetizer
This appetizer was inspired by the author's childhood in the lowcountry of South Carolina. These are beautifully presented in little cups, and are perfect for a smaller gathering.
The new year won't be the only thing you'll be toasting with a gorgeous selection of crunchy crostini, bruschetta, and canapés.
Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, and Truffled Honey Crostini
Caramelized onions and cheese are natural companions, while a touch of sweet honey balances out their rich flavors. You can be flexible with this recipe and swap out the honey for any type you please. If you can find honeycomb, these would be stunning with a wedge on top.
Roasted Grape and Jalapeño Sweet Potato Crostini
These "crostini" will be a hit with the gluten-free crowd! There's no actual toast here; thick slices of sweet potato play that role in these curious concoctions.
The iconic combination of mozzarella, tomato, and basil goes bite size in these classy canapés. As with any good caprese, get the best quality ingredients you can find for a perfect bite.
These toasts feature a double dose of fig: a balsamic fig puree is spread over a layer of creamy ricotta, then topped with fresh cut figs and a sprinkle of thyme and chopped pecans.
Crostini with Roasted Cherries and Thyme on Almond Ricotta with Honey and Balsamic
Have you ever tried almond ricotta? It can be found at some Whole Foods stores, or you can make your own. Despite its name, it is a nut cheese — no dairy involved in this recipe! You can easily make this dish vegan as well by substituting agave for the honey.
Cheese isn't just for ooey-gooey dips. For apps that keep your family coming back for more (and more...and more...), try one of these crunchy snacks that are perfect for grazing.
Savory Olive and Goat Cheese Palmiers
Palmiers are impressive to look at but deceivingly easy to make. This quick and easy savory version takes advantage of prepared puff pastry dough and olive tapenade so all you have to do is spread, roll, and bake.
Dried Apricot and Blue Cheese Canapés With Walnuts
This is a lovely way to feature your favorite blue cheese. A simple little bite, these canapés burst with flavor from the sweet apricots and honey, while creamy cheese contrasts with the crunch of the walnuts. Bonus: These are also gluten-free.
The Mighty Cheese Cracker
Much like a bowl of spiced nuts, a simple cheese cracker brings much joy to celebrants of all ages. Make them spicy with chipotle peppers, or add speckles of poppy seeds for a milder cracker.
Wisconsin Cheddar-Mushroom Bundles
These savory bundles were inspired by a bacon cheeseburger! There's no beef in here, but rather a creamy cheddar cheese sauce with chopped mushrooms and bacon. Flaky phyllo dough wraps it all up into a delightful little package you'll be happy to open long after Christmas day.
Homemade Cheese Straws
These parmesan cheese straws are easy to make and beautiful to look at. They can be put out alone or alongside an antipasto tray. Serve them upright in a pretty glass for elegant appeal. They're also a good choice to make ahead of time and put out early.