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45 Last-Minute Holiday Appetizers

These last-minute holiday apps might be fast to fix, but they definitely don't skimp on elegance and flavor.

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Caprese Salad Kabobs Exps Hcka19 123345 C05 11 1b 6

Caprese Salad Kabobs

Trade in the usual veggie platter for these fun kabobs. In addition to preparing these for get-togethers, I often make these as snacks for my family. And because assembly is so easy, the kids often ask to help. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California
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Brie-Leek Tartlets

My family is picky, but everyone loves these little bite size appetizers. I make dozens of them at a time because they’re gone the second I turn my back. —Colleen MacDonald, Port Moody, British Columbia
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Shrimp and Cucumber Canapes

These cute stacks really stand out in a holiday appetizer buffet. Tasty, cool and crunchy, they come together in a snap. —Ashley Nochlin, Port St. Lucie, Florida
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Pumpkin Hummus

Our home economists give traditional hummus an autumn appeal with the addition of canned pumpkin. Hot pepper sauce lends just the right amount of heat.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pesto-Goat Cheese Toasts

I came across this recipe years ago. Everyone who tries these little toasts absolutely loves them. The pesto is easy to find in the grocery store, and it blends beautifully with the tangy, creamy goat cheese. —Jennifer Kunz, Troy, Michigan
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Apple-Gouda Pigs in a Blanket

For New Year’s, I used to make pigs in a blanket with beef and cheddar. But now I like apple and Gouda for an even better flavor celebration. —Megan Weiss, Menomonie, Wisconsin
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Gorgonzola Polenta Bites

I needed a brand-new appetizer for a big party. I covered polenta with Gorgonzola and a tangy sauce. That’s how you spread holiday cheer. —Margee Berry, White Salmon, Washington
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Parisian Chicken Bites

When a friend of mine returned from a trip to Paris, she raved about the food she had and described one of her favorite meals. It inspired me to create a similar hors d’oeuvre. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Oyster Cheese Appetizer Log

When you say “holiday tradition” around our house, this appetizer comes to mind immediately. Every winter, I make lots of cheese logs and freeze them for when I’m expecting company or need to take food to someone’s home. The blend of smoked oysters, chili powder, nuts and cream cheese tastes good. Even people who don’t like oysters enjoy this interesting appetizer. —William Tracy, Jerseyville, Illinois
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Cucumber Canapes

I always get requests for the recipe for these canapes whenever I serve them. They're delicate finger sandwiches with a creamy herb spread and festive red and green garnishes. —Nadine Whittaker, South Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Party Pesto Pinwheels

I took a couple of my favorite recipes and combined them into these delicious hors d'oeuvres. The colorful and impressive snacks come together easily with refrigerated crescent roll dough, prepared pesto sauce and a jar of roasted red peppers. —Kathleen Farrell, Rochester, New York
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Cranberry Meatballs And Sausage Exps Cplbz19 22218 E11 01 8b 8

Cranberry Meatballs and Sausage

Years ago, I found a version of this sausage and meatballs recipe in a cookbook. At first taste, my family judged it a keeper. The tangy, saucy meatballs are requested by our friends whenever I host card night. We also take the yummy dish on camping trips. —Marybell Lintott, Vernon, British Columbia
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Sweet Potato Crostini

For party time, I turn this sweet potato side dish into an appetizer by serving it on slices of a French baguette. —Steve Westphal, Wind Lake, Wisconsin
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Black Forest Ham Roll-Ups

We love to entertain at home and the office. Ham and cheese rolled in tortillas make a quick and easy appetizer that's easy to transport. —Susan Zugehoer, Hebron, Kentucky
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Cider Cheese Fondue

Cheese lovers are sure to enjoy dipping into this creamy quick-to-fix fondue cheese dip that has just a hint of apple. You can also serve this appetizer with pear wedges. —Kim Marie Van Rheenen, Mendota, Illinois
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Herb-Roasted Olives & Tomatoes

Eat these roasted veggies with a crunchy baguette or a couple of cheeses. You can also double, or triple, the amounts and have leftovers to toss with spaghetti the next day. —Anndrea Bailey, Huntington Beach, California
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Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

I first tried these bubbly treats at my sister-in-law's house. The tender mushroom caps and creamy filling were so fabulous that I had to get the recipe. It's hard to believe how simple, fast and easy they are. —Angela Coffman, Kansas City, Missouri
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Caramel Havarti

Havarti cheese is a wonderful dessert cheese and is made even better by pecans, caramel topping and apples. This recipe is elegant yet simple. —Tia Thomas, Mountain City, Tennessee
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Broccoli Chive Stuffed Mini Peppers Exps Hplbz18 152760 C05 16 4b 7

Broccoli & Chive Stuffed Mini Peppers

There's plenty of both crunch and cream in these party appetizers. Fresh chives help them really stand out. —Jean McKenzie, Vancouver, Washington
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Candied Bacon-Wrapped Figs

I stuffed figs with cream cheese and wrapped them in bacon and spices for an addictive flavor combo that’s sweet, salty and delicious. You can use dates, too. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Camembert Cranberry Pizzas Exps Thca17 108761 B05 17 1b 6

Camembert & Cranberry Pizza

Appetizer pizza takes several steps up in elegance with creamy Camembert cheese. The bright red color and tangy flavor of the cranberries make this a welcome addition to any holiday party. —Sue Sans, Buckeye, Arizona
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Gorgonzola Pear Tartlets

Whether you serve these simple tartlets as an appetizer or dessert, they’re too good to pass up. I leave the peel on the pear to add texture. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin
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Cherry Cheese Logs

Our party guests flock to this holiday gem of an appetizer - cherry-studded cream cheese served with graham or water crackers and pears. —Libby Walp, Chicago, Illinois
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Christmas Meatballs

Cranberry sauce and brown sugar create a tangy glaze for moist meatballs that are good Christmas appetizers or Christmas dinner ideas. We love them so much, I prepare them year-round. —Joyce Bentley, Redlands, California
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Marinated Mozzarella

I always come home with an empty container when I bring this dish to a party. It can be made ahead to free up time later. I serve it with pretty frilled toothpicks for a festive look. —Peggy Cairo, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Creamy Buffalo Chicken Dip Exps Mrmz16 26915 B09 09 1b 1

Creamy Buffalo Chicken Dip

This slightly spicy dip cleverly captures the flavor of Buffalo chicken wings. Using canned chicken eases preparation. —Allyson DiLascio, Saltsburg, Pennsylvania
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Mini BLTs

Celery adds a nice crunch to these easy, delightful appetizers. They’re always popular at parties and get-togethers. —Elizabeth Borgemenke, Mason, Ohio
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Deviled Eggs with Bacon

These yummy deviled eggs went over so well at our summer cookouts, I started making them for holiday dinners, too. Everyone likes the flavorful addition of crumbled bacon. —Barbara Reid, Mounds, Oklahoma
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Garlic-Parmesan Cheese Ball

This garlic cheese ball is one of our entertaining mainstays. It complements most meals and is so easy to prepare and dress up with a variety of garnishes. —Susan Seymour, Valatie, New York
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Blue Cheese-Stuffed Shrimp

Cooked shrimp become something more extraordinary when stuffed with blue cheese. The mild flavor has mass appeal. —Amy Dollimount, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
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Festive Holiday Sliders

Turkey sliders with ginger, horseradish and cranberry sauce refrigerate well, so I keep them ready for get-togethers when we bake gifts and wrap presents. —Pamela Miller, Big Rapids, Michigan
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Lemon-Herb Salmon Toasts

Quick, light and tasty, my salmon toasts make irresistible finger food. —Christie Wells, Lake Villa, Illinois
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Tomato Artichoke Bruschetta Exps109162 Hc143213c12 11 3bc Rms 1

Tomato & Artichoke Bruschetta

A healthy and refreshing appetizer, I enjoy bruschetta anytime of year. For serving guests, I like to slice the garlic instead of chopping it for both beauty and flavor infusion. This is also a simple make-ahead dish: You can mix it up, cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. —Gina Bergamino, Chanhassen, Minnesota
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Bacon Cheese Wreath Exps Gbhrbz17 19544 C07 07 4b 2

Bacon Cheese Wreath

My grandmother makes this smoky bacon and Parmesan spread for parties and holiday get-togethers. For a pretty yuletide presentation, decorate the cream cheese wreath with green parsley and red pimientos. —Lisa Carter, Warren, Indiana
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Shrimp Tartlets Exps Sddj18 24589 C08 02 4b 1

Shrimp Tartlets

Fill mini tart shells with a cream cheese mixture, then top with seafood sauce and shrimp for a picture-perfect look and delightful taste. This recipe makes a fantastic appetizer, and several make a fast, light meal. —Gina Hutchison, Smithville, Missouri
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Tuscan Truffles

For holiday potlucks, I make an appetizer truffle out of prosciutto, figs and toasted pine nuts. Mascarpone and goat cheese make them melt-in-your-mouth creamy. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Apricot-Glazed Bacon Spirals

Here’s a real crowd-pleaser for an appetizer table or brunch buffet. A whole piece of crispy bacon is rolled into each spiral. It's so good with the apricot preserves, which make it a sweet-and-salty treat. —Kellie Mulleavy, Lambertville, Michigan
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Goat Cheese Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are superstars in the hot appetizer category. I use baby portobello mushrooms and load them with creamy goat cheese and sweet red peppers. —Mike Bass, Alvin, Texas
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German Beer Cheese Spread

We love recipes inspired by our German heritage. This tangy spread is fantastic served alongside everything, including pretzels and pumpernickel or crackers and sausage. Choose your favorite beer—the flavor really comes through. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida
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Pomegranate Pistachio Crostini Exps Sddj17 181270 C08 25 5b 2

Pomegranate Pistachio Crostini

Pomegranate seeds intrigue me, so I sliced French bread, smeared it with cream cheese, and added seeds, pistachios and chocolate. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Cranberry Jalapeno Cheese Spread Exps Hpbz16 41687 D05 17 2b 5

Cranberry Jalapeno Cheese Spread

This easy spread is based on several different relishes and spreads I've tasted or made before. I love the sweet and spicy combination of flavors. —Diane Nemitz, Ludington, Michigan
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Bacon-Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

When I had my kitchen remodeled, I lost the recipe for these mushrooms. But I'd shared it so many times, I had no trouble finding someone to “lend” it back to me. —Beverly Pierce, Indianola, Mississippi
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Pumpkin Pie Dip

I came up with this rich, creamy pumpkin dip when I had a small amount of canned pumpkin left in the fridge after my holiday baking. It's also great served with sliced pears and apples, or as a spread on zucchini bread. —Laurie LaClair, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Puff Pastry Christmas Palmiers

Palmiers (pronounced palm-YAY) come from France. They're usually sweet, but to make them savory, I swirl in pesto, feta and sundried tomatoes. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Cherry Tomato Bites

Cherry tomatoes may be small, but these are full of amazing flavor. Plus, they add color to any table. —Rev. David Bostedt, Zephyrhills, Florida

Annamarie Higley
Annamarie Higley is an Associate Print Editor for Taste of Home magazine, as well as the brand's special issue publications. A midwestern transplant originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, trivia-ing, and—you guessed it!—all things cooking and baking.

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