The holidays are filled with parties, and nothing can make a Christmas party more memorable than serving these fun and festive Make-Ahead Christmas Appetizers.
Whether you need menu ideas for feeding a crowd at an elegant Christmas Eve party, hosting an informal gathering of friends for New Year’s Eve, or need easy appetizers to serve on a buffet or before your Christmas dinner, you will find it here.
This collection of easy make-ahead holiday appetizers includes recipes for cocktails, finger foods, canapes, relish trays, Hors D’ oeuvres, desserts, and party snacks for adults and children.
From the perfect choice for any occasion, delectable Bourbon Pecan Brie Bites, or Cranberry Brie Bites, to classic southern make-ahead appetizers like Fried Crab Claws or Jezebel Sauce over Cream Cheese.
Or, lighter fare such as Spinach and Goat Cheese Tarts, there is something for everyone in this unique make-ahead Christmas appetizer roundup.
Cranberry Brie Bites – Grits and Pinecones
Just in time for the holidays, I am bringing you a very merry and festive cranberry and brie Christmas appetizer recipe. Easy Cranberry Brie Bites, with only 3 ingredients, will take you less than 15 minutes to prepare and can be made ahead.
Bourbon Pecan Brie Bites – Grits and Pinecones
Bourbon Pecan Brie Bites are a show-stopping bite-size, make-ahead Christmas appetizer that’s perfect for holiday entertaining. Whether you make them for Christmas or New Year’s, no one will be able to resist the flaky phyllo shells full of creamy brie cheese, roasted pecans, brown sugar, and just a touch of bourbon.
Chocolate Cranberry Christmas Mini Cakes – Nirvana Cakery
Chocolate Cranberry Christmas Mini Cakes are simple cakes that aren’t complicated to make, and that would look great on a festive table. These vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free little sponge cakes are filled with cranberry chia jam and topped with luscious chocolate and fresh cranberries.
Quick and Easy Fried Crab Claws – Grits and Pinecones
Fried Crab Claws, sometimes called Fried Crab Fingers or Fried Cocktail Crab Claws, is a quick and easy appetizer. This simple recipe features blue crab claws soaked in buttermilk, dredged in seasoned corn flour, and deep-fried until golden brown, crispy and delicious.
Jezebel Sauce over Cream Cheese – Grits and Pinecones
Jezebel Sauce is a funny name for an extraordinarily versatile and delicious southern condiment. Spread it over cream cheese and serve it with crackers for an incredible make-ahead holiday appetizer.
Chocolate Christmas Mice – Pudge Factor
Chocolate Christmas Mice are the perfect holiday party food. They’re sure to bring a twinkle to the eyes of the grown-ups and a smile to the faces of your little ones. They are easy to make and delicious too!
Cranberry Pecan Mini Goat Cheese Balls – Grits and Pinecones
Cranberry Pecan Mini Goat Cheese Balls, with their festive holiday colors of red and green, are the perfect make-ahead Christmas appetizer to serve to your family and friends or take to a holiday party.
Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip – Grits and Pinecones
Try this super simple but deliciously creamy and tangy, make-ahead Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip appetizer for your next holiday party or gathering. The red and green colors of the raw cranberry mixture are perfect for the holidays, and you won’t believe how good it is.
Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls– Recipe Tin Eats
They look great, they taste amazing, and they’re (pretty) healthy! The peanut dipping sauce is sensational! These are so fabulously fresh, and I’ve got a few tips to make rolling these up a breeze.
Quick and Easy Hanky Panky Recipe – Grits and Pinecones
There is nothing improper about this Hanky Panky Recipe for old-fashioned, delicious cocktail rye bread appetizers. If you have never had a Hanky Panky appetizer, you are in for a treat! They only take a few minutes to prepare and even less time to heat up and serve. They are perfect for the holidays!
Roquefort Cheesecake with Roasted Red Pepper and Peach Jam – Grits and Pinecones
Roquefort Cheesecake with Roasted Red Pepper and Peach Jam topped with crunchy toasted pecans is not only delicious, but it’s also the ultimate make-ahead holiday party appetizer.
Make-Ahead Spinach Artichoke Tartlets – Pudge Factor
Spinach Artichoke Tartlets are just in time for your Christmas or New Year’s Eve appetizer table. The spinach and artichoke mixture comes together in minutes in your food processor and can be made ahead of time.
The Ultimate Relish Tray Guide – Grits and Pinecones
Discover the ultimate guide for making beautiful, family-friendly, and flavorful relish trays that will have everyone raving! And learn creative and modern ideas for quickly putting together these unique platters for holiday parties and special occasions.
Ultimate Blue Cheese Spread with Pecans – Grits and Pinecones
The Ultimate Blue Cheese Spread with Pecans is the perfect make-ahead holiday appetizer. I have made this easy appetizer recipe every year now for over 20 years for a special holiday party with girlfriends. I wouldn’t think of bringing anything else. It’s a long-standing tradition, and who am I to mess with tradition?
Cranberry Brie Crescent Wreath – My Modern Cookery
This Cranberry Brie Crescent Wreath is the perfect appetizer for the holiday season. Plus, it’s super easy with the help of a can of crescent rolls.
Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms – Grits and Pinecones
Whether you are looking for appetizers for a Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or game-day party, I have you covered with these delicious and easy Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms. If you like hot artichoke dip and also like stuffed mushroom caps, you will love the combination of flavors.
Easy Frozen Cranberry Margaritas – Grits and Pinecones
I have the perfect make-ahead Christmas cocktail to kick off the holidays, Easy Frozen Cranberry Margaritas! Not only are they a beautiful rosy color, but they are delicious and oh-so-easy to make.
The secret to this delectable cranberry margarita recipe is canned cranberry sauce! Yes, you read that right, canned cranberry sauce! It gives these mouthwatering libations a beautiful color and delightful cranberry flavor.
Layered Shrimp Cocktail – Pudge Factor
If you like shrimp cocktail, you’ll absolutely love this New Orleans-inspired Layered Shrimp Cocktail Spread. It’s quick and easy to prepare and tastes as good as it looks! It consists of spicy cocktail sauce and succulent shrimp on top of a savory cream cheese base.
Quick and Easy Stovetop Candied Pecans – Grits and Pinecones
Three-ingredient Quick and Easy Stovetop Candied Pecans only take about 10 minutes, and you won’t believe how simple they are to make! They are a classic party favorite. Oh, and did I mention they are delicious?
Make-Ahead Caprese Skewers – Grits and Pinecones
This easy recipe for elegant Make-Ahead Caprese Skewers with pesto dressing is simple yet delicious. Featuring fresh mozzarella balls, basil, cherry tomatoes, and tortellini topped with pesto dressing, these mini Caprese bites are the perfect appetizer to serve at holiday parties!
Goat Cheese Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms – From a Chef’s Kitchen
Goat Cheese Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms are easy, impressive, and so delicious! Best of all, they can be made well in advance! Soon to become your favorite party appetizer!
Spinach and Goat Cheese Tartlets – Grits and Pinecones
Are you looking for an easy, delicious, festive, and healthy make-ahead appetizer to serve at a Christmas or holiday party? If so, check out this incredible recipe for Spinach and Goat Cheese Tartlets.
Santa Claus Christmas Punch – Grits and Pinecones
Santa Claus Christmas Punch is an extra-delicious, easy, make-ahead holiday punch that’s perfect for a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party. This festive alcoholic punch is so good you will want to plan a party just so that you can serve it to your friends.
Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bites – Pudge Factor
Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bites are loaded with grated zucchini, bread crumbs, and cheddar cheese. They’re the perfect appetizer eaten plain or dipped in ketchup or spicy marinara. The mixture can be made ahead of time and baked when you need them.
Crispy Southern Cheese Crackers – Grits and Pinecones
These flavorful crackers make a wonderful make-ahead Christmas appetizer or the perfect homemade gift for the foodies in your life.
Savory Havarti and Sun Dried Tomato Cheesecake – Grits and Pinecones
A great appetizer option for any party, homemade Savory Havarti and Sun-Dried Tomato Cheesecake is quick and easy to prepare and features smooth and creamy Havarti cheese, sweet/tart sun-dried tomatoes, and a rich buttery crust made with Ritz Crackers.
Christmas Party Purses – Root and Revel
It’s not Christmas without my favorite holiday appetizer: chicken party purses, a festive mushroom and chicken crepe filled with creamy Boursin cheese. Indulgent, savory, delicious…but so worth it, and cleaned up with a gluten-free crepe batter recipe, too.
The perfect Christmas party appetizer idea (it’s even shaped like a gift!) and a great way to start your own fun holiday tradition with your family and kids.
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates with Almonds – Grits and Pinecones
Easy Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates with Almonds are a perfect appetizer to kick off a holiday gathering. Think about it; sweet dates stuffed with creamy cream cheese and crunchy almonds all wrapped up like a present with crispy, smoky bacon. What’s not to love?
The Best Roasted Pecans – Grits and Pinecones
Roasted pecans, often called the “little black dress of appetizers,” are one of the easiest, healthiest, and quickest make-ahead holiday appetizers to prepare. Toasting pecans in the oven brings out their natural oils and intensifies their rich, irresistible, nutty flavor.
Sausage and Cheese Crescent Ring – Pudge Factor
Sausage & Cheese Crescent Ring transforms three simple ingredients into an amazing and crowd-pleasing dish. It can be assembled ahead of time and baked to perfection in less than 25 minutes.
Wild Mushroom and Baked Brie – The View from The Great Island
Wild Mushroom and Hazelnut Baked Brie is a stunning appetizer showcasing gorgeous mushrooms, crunchy hazelnuts, and buttery brie cheese. This easy-baked cheese (it looks a lot fancier than it is) will be the star attraction of your next party; just add wine and a roaring fire.
Holiday Glazed Turkey Meatballs – Pudge Factor
This make-ahead, tender, and flavorful turkey meatballs appetizer glazed with a sweet-savory sauce will be a winner at your next holiday gathering.
Loaded Hasselback Potato Bites – Pudge Factor
If you like loaded potatoes and Hasselback Potatoes, you’ll absolutely love Loaded Hasselback Potato Bites. They are a mini version of the ever-popular Hasselback Potatoes all dressed up with classic loaded potato fixings. They make the perfect appetizer to serve at your holiday party, or anytime for that matter.
Cranberry Brie Pull-Apart Bread – Half-Baked Harvest
It’s true what they say, sometimes the simplest things are the best, and this bread is simply the best. I mean, come on, do you see all that brie? What’s not to love about that? No joke, this bread is full-on amazing and perfect for a holiday appetizer.
Easy Holiday Queso Blanco – Pudge Factor
Easy Holiday Queso Blanco is an amazing dip that takes minutes to make and only uses a handful of ingredients. With the busy holiday season, it’s a perfect appetizer to put together and serve for those impromptu visits from family and friends.
Cranberry-Sage Mini Meatballs – Gluten-Free with LB
Sage and cranberry mini meatballs are the perfect gluten-free appetizer for your Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or holiday party!
Christmas Tree Charcuterie Tray – Cooking with Janica
What I love about this Christmas charcuterie tray is it’s very much festive and fun to build. You can add and change whatever you want, and that’s the beauty of it, you can be creative and add your own little spin on things.
Cranberry Pecan Baked Brie – Damn Delicious
Simple, elegant, and an absolute crowd-pleaser! Best of all, this is one of the easiest appetizers EVER with only 5-10 min prep!
Ham and Cheese Pinwheels – Pudge Factor
Ham and Cheese Pinwheels are a four-ingredient wonder that is certain to become your most requested holiday appetizer. Flaky puff pastry surrounds ham and cheese accented with Dijon mustard.
Veggie Skewers with Creme Fraîche – Fork in the Kitchen
Veggie Skewers with Creme Fraîche Dip – beautiful vegetables ready for dipping in a creamy, herb-filled, tangy sauce.
Elegant Make Ahead Mushroom Croustades – Pudge Factor
Make-Ahead Mushroom Croustades is an elegant bite-sized holiday appetizer. With rich and creamy mushroom filling in a crispy toasted bread shell, they will WOW your most discerning guests.
Easy Creamy Crab Mornay Dip – Grits and Pinecones
This fabulous and Easy Creamy Crab Mornay Dip is a flavorful appetizer and perfect for holiday parties or anytime you are entertaining and want to serve your family or guests something special!
Easy Cheesy Sausage Balls – Pudge Factor
Easy Cheesy Sausage Balls are a perfect appetizer. With only three ingredients, these little gems have it all. They’re super simple to make, taste incredible warm or at room temperature, freeze beautifully, and are just as good reheated. Who could ask for more?
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Truffles – Berly’s Kitchen
These dark chocolate peppermint truffles are a delicious guilty pleasure. A luscious combination of decadent chocolate and peppermint.
Dark Chocolate Billionaire Candy – Grits and Pinecones.
Not only are Dark Chocolate Billionaires delicious, but this easy make-ahead confection makes the perfect dessert appetizer and a wonderful homemade Christmas candy for those special people in your life.
Frequently asked questions:
You want a make-ahead appetizer that can travel well, doesn’t need to be refrigerated or reheated, and a dish that can be served at room temperature. Good examples of this include Roasted Pecans, Southern Cheese Crackers, Caprese Skewers, or a Relish Tray.
A general rule of thumb is to plan for a total of six to ten pieces or servings per person for a cocktail party. You should also plan to offer a variety of five to six different types of appetizers, including meat and seafood, cheese balls, dips and platters, and relish trays or veggie trays.
If your guests will be standing most of the time, remember to serve easy-to-eat finger foods that don’t require a knife and fork.
One final piece of advice, don’t think you have to make everything yourself. Make a few dishes, order a few and serve a few really easy ones like roasted pecans or something along those lines. Also, consider asking each guest to bring a dish.
More Christmas recipe collections:
**This post was originally published on December 11, 2016.
I was disappointed not to find the recipe for Manchego and Tomato Jam tartlets that you mentioned on your website after I made the spinach & goat cheese ones and loved them! Does it really exist somewhere?
Hi Donna, I am so sorry, but unfortunately, that recipe never passed the thinking about it stage. I planned to make it, but life must have gotten in the way. However, if you are still interested in making it, here is a link to my Cranberry Brie Bites Recipe (https://www.gritsandpinecones.com/3-ingredient-easy-cranberry-brie-bites/). You could just follow this recipe but substitute manchego cheese for the brie and either purchased tomato jam or homemade tomato jam (https://www.gritsandpinecones.com/tomato-jam-recipe/) for the cranberry sauce. I’ve never seen tomato jam to buy at regular grocery stores, but I have often seen it in specialty kitchen shops or specialty food stores.
If you do make it, please let me know how it turns out.
All the best and the merriest of Christmases!
Everything looks amazing! This will be very helpful, as I will be entertaining my stepson, his wife and grandkids this Christmas. YAY!!!