Our 12 Favorite Winter Appetizers

Winter appetizers are one of the most underrated food categories in the history of mankind. But everywhere we go during the holiday season—family and friend gatherings, work parties, football tailgating, and random food samples in department stores—these delicious finger foods are there. And what we love most about winter appetizers is that almost any flavors are fair game, from classic hors d’oeuvres to fusion concepts, so you never know what you might encounter with your next bite. Check out our favorite winter appetizer recipes below!

Winter Appetizers That Makes You Feel Classy

Want to knock out everybody at the party with a single bite? These Italian Stuffed Mushrooms are it. Slap ‘em in the face with bacon, gorgonzola, mozzarella, Italian herbs, and balsamic glaze, and they’ll all be shouting “Che buono!” Winter appetizers like these are easy to bang out in bulk, so you’ll get a little extra meditation time while you’re stuffing 100 mushrooms on a Saturday afternoon.

Bar Food-Style Winter Appetizers

Everybody loves hot wings, but nobody at a party wants their whole head and ugly Christmas sweater covered in hot sauce. Take all those spicy, garlicky, saucy hot wing flavors and add some cheese, then roll them up to make the mess way more manageable. What makes winter appetizers so crowd-pleasing is that, much like Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls, they take our favorite flavors and make them into easy-to-eat finger foods.

Quick & Easy Winter Appetizers

Feel a little underwhelmed when you set out the Sabra with week old celery and carrots for guests? This Rosemary Garlic White Bean Hummus is so simple to make, and it packs a TON of flavor! Swapping in cannellini beans for garbanzo make all the more creamier, too. The holidays are a busy time, so often we’re looking for winter appetizers that won’t take half a day to prep. Not only is this a quick recipe—it’ll wow the whole crowd.

The Fanciest Winter Appetizers

If you want to blow everyone at the party away with your cooking prowess, these Arancini are your secret weapon. Yes, they’re time-consuming, but when you take the first bite, it’s like if risotto and mozzarella sticks had a baby and blessed it with lemon. Sometimes, we need winter appetizers that make the whole party hold you hostage until you give them the recipe. But we warned you—make them once, and you’ll be asked to make them for every party that ever happens anywhere.

Perfect Winter Appetizers for Game Day

Not every winter gathering is a holiday—unless you consider game day a religious observation. You’ve had jalapeño poppers before, but have you had them with pineapple and Tajin in the mix? Everybody loves winter appetizers that can show up for any occasion—Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or the Super Bowl—that day you never get to enjoy because your team didn’t even make the playoffs.

Healthy But Yummy Winter Appetizers

Not all winter appetizers have to be 1,500 calories per bite. These Air Fryer Zucchini Fries are not only healthy—they’re addicting—so addicting that you might want to make a double batch. And they’re super easy to make—slice the squash, dredge them in flour, egg, and seasoned bread crumbs, then fry them. Believe us—nobody will be disappointed that you brought an appetizer that’s kind to the waistline.

Winter Appetizers That Fill You Up

When you think about popular winter appetizers, soft pretzels might not be your first idea. But these Bavarian Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese will definitely change your mind. You can make them traditional style, or with jalapeño slices and cheese baked right into them. And what takes them to the next level is the pub-style beer cheese dipping sauce. These pretzels are super filling, too, so they’re ideal to make when booze is involved.

Winter Appetizers That Even Kids Will Love

Don’t forget the kids when you’re whipping up winter appetizers! These Pizza Zucchini Bites are sure to keep the little ones happy, because, after all, they’re really just pizza. They won’t notice the zucchini—we promise. And the rest of the adults we’ll be just as happy that you brought them, too.

Winter Appetizers That Put A Twist on Classic

Everybody loves Coconut Fried Shrimp, but have you tried it with a green curry lime dipping sauce? The complex flavors of the curry add so much depth to the sweetness of the coconut that it makes these crunchy shrimp impossible to put down! And never fear—for anyone that’s not a big fan of Thai, or curry in general, the dipping sauce is by no means heavy-handed. Just enough to add an interesting spin on a classic app.

Colorful and Yummy Winter Appetizers

One of our favorite things about winter appetizers is that, not only are they rich and delicious, but they’re usually beautiful to look at. These Pomegranate Persimmon Crostini will bring a huge pop of color to any holiday spread, and the tart pomegranate with the honey-sweet persimmon offers a nice counterpoint to the rich whipped feta.

Winter Appetizers That Remake A Classic

Some food just isn’t as beautiful as it is yummy. Meatballs are, well, balls of meat. Delicious as they are, they need to be dressed up a little, and all it takes is a nice breadcrumb coating and a quick deep fry. Add a nice gooey mozzarella cheese center and even Nonna will be slapping herself about how good these Italian Fried Meatballs are.

Japanese Winter Appetizers

Every holiday party needs some global influence, not just the usual middle American fare. These Pork Gyoza (Steamed Dumplings) offer up a super tasty appetizer that’s easy to make in bulk in a short amount of time. Stuff, fold, seal, steam. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The Gyoza dipping sauce is a must, as it adds a nice little punch of umami and ginger and tang.