Our Favorite Hors d'Oeuvres Recipes for Cocktail Parties and Other Special Celebrations
Pass a platter loaded with these elegant small savory bites next time you entertain.
Some parties call for starters that go beyond your basic everyday snacks. When you want to pull out all the stops (or at least a few of them) and let your guests know that this is no ordinary occasion, consider the collection of hors d'oeuvres recipes that follows. These tasty, savory bites take more time to put together than simply setting out chips and dip, but the time spent is well worth it. The proof lies in every single bite.
Hors d'oeuvres are savory bites, a food served in small portions. Many of these hors d'oeuvres recipes create one-bite delights, and the rest can be enjoyed in two or three bites, tops. Arrange them on your nicest platters and trays, or better yet, pass them around the room while guests mingle and mix.
Canapés are a classic category of hors d'oeuvres, defined as any small cracker or bread with a savory topping. They may sound fussy, but they're remarkably easy to prepare and even more fun to eat. The Japanese Shrimp Toast pictured here are a good example of the category. Our recipe is a riff on a dim sum classic, updated with Japanese flavors, and we think it makes a delicious case in point.
Another reason why we like these small appetizers for entertaining? Hors d'oeuvres can be held in one hand while you hold a festive cocktail in the other. All of the recipes in this collection share a retro appeal—cheese straws, crab cakes, caviar-topped potatoes, croquettes, shrimp toasts, and that all-time classic, the deviled egg—but we've taken a modern approach with each, updating the ingredients, techniques, garnishes, and flavors. They are all party-worthy, Instagram-worthy, and absolutely delicious. Cheers!
Gruyère, Anchovy, and Olive Straws
You've probably had cheese straws, but you may not know just how easy they are to make. Puff pastry straws make any get-together feel instantly more festive, and they also take well to adaptation of kinds. See for yourself with these three super savory variations—gruyère, anchovy, and olive.
Lobster Salad Tostones
A coastal Maine favorite meets the flavors of the Caribbean in this light, bright take on the lobster roll. We used fried tostones in place of the usual soft sandwich rolls (which means that they're gluten-free) and mixed the salad with chiles, cilantro, lime, and a little olive oil (no mayo here). Avocado rounds out the tropical character of the bite-size delights.
"Twice Baked" Baby Potatoes with Caviar
Potato-Chip-and-Pimiento Mini Crab Cakes
The great state of Maryland is the home of crab cakes, a party favorite that soon made its way across the U.S. around the middle of the 20th century. It's also home to a much less known regional specialty: crab-flavored potato chips. Here, the two are combined to create one very tasty party morsel, topped with mayo that's flavored with one more local favorite (available in supermarkets nationwide): Old Bay seasoning.
Smoky Shrimp-and-Sausage Gravy
Beyond finger foods lay hors d'oeuvres presented in individual serving dishes, like this shrimp specialty from celebrated Southern chef Scott Peacock. Use the prettiest small cups you have on hand—ramekins, demitasse, or custard cups—and don't skip the biscuits and pickled vegetables on the side. All three components deliver out of this world flavors.
Feta-Stuffed Shishitos in Phyllo
Each of these little golden bundles boasts layers of flavor in each bite: cheese, peppers, flaky pastry, and sesame seeds. The best part? They can be formed ahead and frozen up to two weeks ahead, then baked just before the party.
Gooey Gouda Puff-Pastry Bites
Fried Macaroni-and-Cheese Bites
How do you take a comfort food classic and turn it into an easy-to-serve finger food that's sure to please any and all crowds? Find a way to cut it into squares and then deep fry it, as we did with an easy stovetop mac and cheese. This is one hors d'oeuvres that'll help you earn the title of "most popular host in town."
Tomato Burrata Bites
Honey, I shrunk the Caprese! All the best flavors and textures the classic summertime salad are here, but in miniature, one-bite form.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Fig Hearts
Love at first bite: Our little skewers of sweet, salty, and creamy manage to check all the flavor and texture boxes—salty, sweet, creamy, chewy—all in one heart-shaped package. Serve with a bottle of bubbly.
Roasted-Spring-Onion and Goat-Cheese Eggs
For an hors d'oeuvres that is the essence of easy elegance, combine equal amounts goat cheese and cream cheese to make a soft, rich, incredibly creamy mixture, then form into balls or other shapes, like the egg shapes pictured. Garnish with pretty toppings and serve with crackers or crudités.
Smoked Trout and Avocado Mousse in Endive
Don't let the word "mousse" fool you into thinking this is highbrow French fare. The term is used loosely to describe ingredients that are whipped until airy and light; though mousse often has cream or gelatin, this one is nothing more than avocado and lemon juice that are quickly pulsed to combine in a food processor.
Smoked Salmon-Radish Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs have multiple personalities. They can be right at home served at a backyard barbecue and at the swankiest soirée. Here, they lean into their more elegant side. Smoked salmon is mixed into the egg-yolk filling and used again as a garnish along with paper-thin radish slices and teeny tiny herbs.