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Appetizer Recipes for Holiday Entertaining and Other "Fancy" Parties


For some parties, all you need is a couple dips, and a few bags of chips. The following recipes are not for those parties. These appetizers are for what we call in the business, "fancy parties." The good news is that while these recipes sound, taste, and look fancy, they are all fairly simple to make.

Clams Casino

Photo (c) John Mitzewich

Clams casino is simply the best clam recipe ever. Whenever bacon and butter appear in the same recipe, you know you're in for a treat! Not only is clams casino an easy recipe to prepare, it can be made ahead of time and popped into the broiler whenever you're ready.

Sausage-Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Photo (c) John Mitzewich

These sausage-stuffed cherry pepper poppers are a great appetizer when you're entertaining and want to do something a little out of the ordinary.

Maryland Crab Cakes

Photo © Flickr user Stu Spivack

An easy and authentic version of this Maryland classic. The key to Maryland crab cakes is not to over mix and shred the crab.

Creamy Deviled Eggs

Photo (c) John Mitzewich

The addition of a little cream cheese to the traditional deviled eggs filling gives this recipe an interesting twist. Deviled eggs are a kitschy classic, and while people may poke fun, they're an American party food icon for a good reason!

Seared Scallops with Orange and Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Photo (c) John Mitzewich

This seared scallops recipe is a light, bright, and easy appetizer that only takes about 5 minutes to cook. The combination of the sweet scallops, fresh citrus, and spicy dressing makes for a memorable first course.

Candied Bacon Strips

Photo (c) John Mitzewich

These sweet and savory candied bacon strips can be used as a party snack, as a breakfast meat, or to build the world's best BLT! Just make sure you make enough since these are sure to go fast

Cheddar Cheese Puffs

Photo (c) John Mitzewich

This cheese puff recipe is a retro party food favorite! Cheese puffs are easy to make and can be done with whatever sharp cheese you enjoy most.

Mushroom Ragout on Garlic Toast

Photo (c) John Mitzewich

This easy and elegant mushroom ragout dish is as versatile as it is delicious. It can be served as a first course, a main course, or even as a sauce for chicken or meat.

Wine Poached Figs and Sausage Skewers

Photo © John Mitzewich

This skewered fig and pork sausage hors d'oeuvre was created for a food and wine pairing, and used wild boar sausage, but it's delicious with almost any pork sausage.

Artichoke Hearts Gratin

Photo (c) John Mitzewich

This broiled artichoke hearts gratin recipe makes for a great appetizer. This can be served with just some fresh lemon, but a nice aioli would also be a delicious choice.

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