ARTICLE / RECIPE ROUNDUP

Best Bites For New Year's Eve

Need ideas for your holiday hors d'oeuvres? Here are 40 of our favorite party appetizers to help you celebrate the New Year.

So you're hosting a New Year's Eve party this year, and want to make sure your guests don't go hungry. 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 guests 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 party center around the theme; however, it's a nice trick to help you narrow down your choices. Here are some recipe ideas to get you started:

Tapas Treats

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 friends in no time.

Spanish Garlic Shrimp

Bacon-Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates

The smell of bacon wafting from the oven will help liven up any party. 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 party.

Bacon-Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates

Choriqueso Empanadas

Empanadas make a fantastic appetizer because they can be made in advance and frozen. When it's party time, pop the frozen empanadas on a baking sheet and put them in the oven, then get back to entertaining.

Choriqueso Empanadas

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.

Stuffed Potato Balls (Papa Rellenas)

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.

Vegan Spanish Garlic Mushroom Tapas

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!

Pan Fried Spanish Cauliflower Tapas

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 make 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.

Vermouth Cherry Tomatoes, Caramelized

Mid-century Magic

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.

Sausage Stuffed 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 your unsuspecting guests.

Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts

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!

Baked Cheddar Olives

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.

Proscuitto and Cantaloupe Appetizers

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 party 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.

Smoked Salmon Canapes with Whipped Chive Cream Cheese

The Best Cocktail Sauce Ever

Putting out some cocktail shrimp is a super easy way to indulge your guests 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 fo Worcestershire, myself).

The Best Cocktail Sauce Ever

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.

Sriracha Mayo Deviled Eggs

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!

Parmesan Onion Canapés

Creamy Canapés

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.

Caramelized Onion and Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppers

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 party with your guests, not stuck in your kitchen.

Mini Crab Cakes

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.

Quick Crab Meat Salad Cracker Appetizer

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!

Pimento Cheese Fillo Cups

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.

Persimmon Goat Cheese Tartlets

Dreamy Dips

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.

Spicy Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese

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.

Zannie's Black-Eyed Pea Dip

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.

Hot Blueberry Cheddar Dip with Toasty Bread

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 Brie with Blackberry Compote and Candied Walnuts

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 worked into an antipasto board.

Baked Ricotta Appetizer

A Tasty Trip

Bacon Garlic Gougères

The French new what they were doing when they created the epitome of fancy hors d'oeuvres, the gougėre. 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.

Bacon Garlic Gougères

Chicken Satay

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.

Chicken Satay

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.

Dried Fig Souvlaki

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.

Pulled Pork Cornbread Tarts

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.

Mini Shrimp + Grits Appetizer

Tempting Toasts

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.

Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions, and Truffled Honey Crostini

Roasted Grape and Jalapeno 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.

Roasted Grape and Jalapeno Sweet Potato Crostini

Caprese Canapés

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.

Caprese Canapés

Fig Bruschetta

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.

Fig Bruschetta

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.

Crostini with Roasted Cherries and Thyme on Almond Ricotta with Honey and Balsamic

Cheesy Chews

Savory Olive and Goat Cheese Palmiers

Palmiers are impressive to look at but deceivingly easy to make. This quick and easy version takes advantage of prepared puff pastry dough and olive tapenade so all you have to do is spread, roll, and bake.

Savory Olive and Goat Cheese Palmiers

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.

Dried Apricot and Blue Cheese Canapés With Walnuts

The Mighty Cheese Cracker

Much like a bowl of spiced nuts, a simple cheese cracker brings much joy to guests of all ages. Make them spicy with chipotle peppers, or add speckles of poppy seeds for a milder cracker.

The Mighty Cheese 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.

Wisconsin Cheddar-Mushroom Bundles

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 so you can have them out while you prep your warm appetizer recipes.

Homemade Cheese Straws