20 Delicious Christmas Appetizers That Can Be Made Ahead of Time
Make the holidays easier (and less stressful) with make-ahead Christmas appetizers. These festive and flavorful dishes can be prepped a few days in advance, which means that when Christmas comes around you can spend more time with your loved ones opening presents and sitting around the tree. Recipes like Crudité Vegetable Wreath with Ranch Dip and Pear-Pecan Cheese Ball are healthy, easy and will put everyone in a jolly mood.
EatingWell Crudité Vegetable Wreath with Ranch Dip
Take your veggies and dip to the next level with this colorful crudité wreath that's the perfect make-ahead Christmas appetizer. This vegetable appetizer is a stunner with white cauliflower, red tomatoes and green broccoli, green beans, snap peas, kale and Brussels sprouts. It's also a delicious way to start your celebration with veggies (which there are rarely enough of at parties and holidays).
Pear-Pecan Cheese Ball
Sweet pear, salty Cheddar cheese and crunchy nuts make this healthy cheese ball recipe an alluring holiday treat. Serve with an array of crudités and crisp party crackers.
Garlic-Chile Marinated Olives
Simply pour warm aromatic oil over a selection of olives to infuse them with loads of flavor fast. These olives are a wonderful easy party appetizer—add any leftovers to salads or simply snack on them.
Spinach-Feta Dip with Dill
Try this spinach dip, infused with fresh dill and briny feta cheese, as a sandwich spread—or serve alongside crackers or crudité.
Roasted Beet Hummus
This vibrant hummus recipe couldn't be easier—just toss a few ingredients in the food processor and whir away! Roasted beets make this healthy dip extra flavorful. Serve with veggie chips, pita chips or crudités.
Everything-Bagel Crispy Chickpeas
Crispy, salty and packed with everything-bagel goodness, these crispy chickpeas are a delicious, healthy snack that can be enjoyed on their own or tossed into a salad for added crunch. Removing the skins from the chickpeas helps achieve a better crisp. Look for "everything bagel seasoning" in the spice aisle; it's now available in most supermarkets.
Saffron-Raisin Cheese Ball
Saffron gives this cheese ball a bright yellow hue. Serve with a drizzle of honey and lots of crisp crudités.
This easy recipe produces the lightest, silkiest hummus you've ever had. Chilling the cooked chickpeas ensures that, when they're blended with the oil and cold tahini, the hummus will come out creamy rather than oily.
Curried Butternut Squash Dip
This healthy squash dip recipe, spiced with curry and made creamy with the addition of coconut milk, is a delicious alternative to hummus. You can also use other types of winter squash, pumpkin or sweet potatoes in place of the butternut squash in this dip. Serve with crisp raw vegetables or toasted pitas for dipping.
Carrot Rillettes with Dukkah
Traditional French rillettes are made by slowly cooking pork or duck in its own fat to make a spread. This recipe takes inspiration from that technique to make a plant-based version with carrots. Serve with crackers or bread.
Çerkez Tavugu (Circassian Chicken)
Circassian cooking is from the North Caucasus, which was at different times part of the Ottoman and Persian empires. This chicken stew recipe is made with a creamy walnut sauce and was originally served as a main dish, but became a mezze somewhere along the way. Serve at room temp along with some bread for dipping.
Pumpkin Spice Cheese Ball
All the fall spice flavor you crave but folded into creamy cheese and coated with cranberries. Serve with an array of crudités and crisp party crackers.
Lovage tastes like cardamom and celery had a baby. If you can't find lovage, increase basil to 1 3/4 cups and add 1 1/2 cups celery leaves. Recipe by Chef/Farmer Stacey Givens of The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen, Portland, OR.
Smoked Tuna Spread Canapés
Need an appetizer for your next cocktail party? Look no further than these easy canapés. A blend of smoked tuna and seasoned cream cheese is stacked with crisp cucumber slices atop crunchy almond crackers in an appetizer that your guests will be reaching for first.
Jalapeño Cheese Ball
Serve this spiced jalapeño cheese ball with tortilla chips or use it as a spread for your next burrito.
Herb & Cheddar Gougères
Don't let the fancy French name for these cheese puffs mislead you—this is an easy appetizer recipe. They're traditionally made with Gruyère or Comté; we couldn't resist turning to our Vermont roots and using good old Cheddar instead.
Easy Scallion-Salmon Dip
Inspired by the classic combination of smoked salmon and cream cheese, this spread is perfect for slathering on a bagel or serving as a dip with bagel chips. This dip recipe is a great way to use up salmon leftovers.
Serve this vegetarian pâté recipe as an appetizer with crackers and pickled onions or try it as a sandwich spread. Nutritional yeast, rich in vitamin B12, adds a cheesy flavor without any dairy. Look for the yellow yeast powder or flakes in natural-foods stores.
Lemon-Thyme Whipped Ricotta
This stunning yet easy appetizer recipe infuses creamy ricotta with fresh herbs and lemon. Serve with whole-grain crackers and cut-up vegetables or use as a spread for sandwiches or sauce for pasta.
Update your guacamole recipe by adding protein-packed yogurt to make a healthy dip recipe. For an extra kick, add minced jalapeño or your favorite hot sauce. Serve this healthy dip recipe with crunchy vegetables, pita chips or pretzels, or use as a sandwich spread.