78 Best Christmas Appetizers to Kick Off Your Holiday Party

These easy and elegant finger foods are the best way to start any gathering this season.

salmon rillete in a bowl with slices of bread on the side
Mike Garten

When it comes to Christmas dinner, your main course is the star of the show, but the delicious appetizers and finger foods are what really get the party started. You can keep things simple with an appetizer that can be prepped ahead of time, or go for something elegant that will truly wow everyone at the table. If you're looking to keep things lighter, there are plenty of healthy appetizers to explore, including vegan options that will have people reaching for seconds. These cheery Christmas appetizers are the perfect way to kick off a festive meal, whether you're cooking for two people or twenty.

This list of Christmas appetizers includes everything from holiday salads that make the most of winter veggies to cozy cheese plates that come together in minutes. But there's no reason you can't get creative with something like homemade salsa or flavorful chicken wings. Some of these dishes even come together in the air fryer, saving you time and kitchen space for the rest of the meal.

If you're looking for even more inspiration for Christmas dinner, we've got you covered with ideas for holiday side dishes, seasonal cocktails, and of course, Christmas desserts. After all, it's not a dinner without Christmas cookies and other festive, sweet holiday treats to cap off the night!

cranberry baked brie
Mike Garten
1 of 78
Cranberry Baked Brie

Pass the baguette! This melty, cranberry-covered Brie will be the star of your hors d'oeuvres spread.

Get the Cranberry Baked Brie recipe.

beef empanadas
Mike Garten
2 of 78
Beef Empanadas

Delicious at any holiday event, but especially a Nochebuena celebration, these flaky empanadas are filled with ground beef, spices and briny olives.

Get the Beef Empanadas recipe.

salmon rillette in a bowl with toasted rye bread
Mike Garten
3 of 78
Salmon Rillette

This elegant appetizer brings together smoked salmon and salmon poached with white wine and shallots. Go fast, because this won't last long at any party.

Get the Salmon Rillette recipe.

christmas appetizer snowman cheese board
Mike Garten
4 of 78
Snowman Cheese Board

To recreate this adorable holiday app, you'll need three cheese wheels, prosciutto for the scarf, sugared cranberry buttons, raisin eyes and a chile pepper nose. So easy, and so cute!

delicata squash pizza sliced for sharing
5 of 78
Delicata Squash Pizza

With provolone, blue cheese, onion and sliced delicata squash — what's not to love? Cut into shareable slices for guests to munch on before the big dinner.

Get the Delicata Squash Pizza recipe.

parmesan seeded crackers
Mike Garten
6 of 78
Parmesan Seeded Crackers

While all your guests will be super impressed that you made your own crackers, only you will know the simple secret — pie dough. Pair these savory snacks with your favorite dip recipe!

Get the Parmesan Seeded Crackers recipe.

crispy skillet carrot latkes in mini cast irons
Mike Garten
7 of 78
Crispy Skillet Carrot Latkes

These crispy, delicious latkes come together in mini cast-iron skillets, which might be the perfect way to serve everything.

Get the Crispy Skillet Carrot Latkes recipe.

lauren conrad apple brie tart  christmas appetizers
Mike Garten
8 of 78
Brie and Apple Tart

If you're all about looking fancy with zero effort, this sweet and savory tart is for you.

Get the Brie and Apple Tart recipe.

popover baked goods
Mike Garten
9 of 78
Good Housekeeping's Famous Popovers

It doesn't get easier than this classic starter that comes together with just five ingredients. You can serve these with butter for a simple Christmas appetizer.

Get the Famous Popovers recipe.

marinated feta cheese on a green plate
Mike Garten
10 of 78
Marinated Feta

Get the party started with briny, flavorful feta cheese marinated with chili, lemon and rosemary. Serve them alone or with bread and crackers.

Get the Marinated Feta recipe.

goat cheese log with cranberries, chives, and black pepper
Mike Garten
11 of 78
Goat Cheese Log with Cranberries, Chives and Black Pepper

Nothing tops a tray of cheese and crackers ... well, unless it's a whole log of cheese.

Get the Goat Cheese Log with Cranberries, Chives and Black Pepper recipe.

roasted artichokes with a side of tomatoes and cucumbers
Mike Garten
12 of 78
Roasted Artichokes

These tender roasted veggies are the perfect unexpected addition to the snack table. Plus, they come together in just 10 minutes, leaving you free to tend to the rest of the meal.

Get the Roasted Artichokes recipe.

garlicky wings shishito peppers on a white plate
Mike Garten
13 of 78
Garlicky Wings and Shishito Peppers

This might be the most flavorful appetizer ever. It brings together fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and garlic, paired with smoky shishito peppers. Did we mention it comes together in the air fryer?

Get the Garlicky Wings and Shishito Peppers recipe.

RELATED: 23 Easy Chicken Wing Recipes to Make

cheese fondue in a bowl
14 of 78
Cheese Fondue

Gooey, melty cheese + crusty bread = an appetizer everyone will enjoy!

Get the Cheese Fondue recipe.

christmas appetizers pigs in a blanket
Mike Garten
15 of 78
Pigs in a Blanket

Forget game day — pigs in a blanket deserve a spot on your holiday table. Arrange the dogs in a circle formation for a more striking display.

Get the Pigs in a Blanket recipe.

black bean salsa fresca in a bowl
Mike Garten
16 of 78
Black Bean Salsa Fresca

This easy appetizer can be prepped ahead of time, leaving your kitchen free for the rest of the meal. It's definitely an upgrade from jarred salsa!

Get the Black Bean Salsa Fresca recipe.

onion flatbread on a cutting board
Mike Garten
17 of 78
Onion Flatbread

This tasty appetizer makes the most of in-season onions and fennel. It's basically getting to eat pizza before your real dinner, and who doesn't like that?

Get the Onion Flatbread recipe.

tzatziki dip in a green bowl
Mike Garten
18 of 78

Serve this creamy dip with some crunchy veggies for a lighter appetizer before a big Christmas dinner.

Get the Tzatziki recipe.

RELATED: 80 Best Party Dip Recipes to Feed a Crowd

spinach artichoke tartines on a white plate
Mike Garten
19 of 78
Spinach Artichoke Tartines

Dips, while delicious, can be messy. Avoid the inevitable by topping slices of crispy bread with a cheesy artichoke spread.

Get the Spinach Artichoke Tartines recipe.

christmas appetizers  french onion dip
Mike Garten
20 of 78
French Onion Dip

If you really want to impress your guests, tell 'em that you made this homemade dip without soup mix. It's true!

Get the French Onion Dip recipe.

sweet and sour meatballs on a white plate
Mike Garten
21 of 78
Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Still have Thanksgiving leftovers? Turn cranberry sauce into a glaze to sweeten up frozen cocktail meatballs.

Get the Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe.

RELATED: 51 Juicy Meatball Recipes That Are Simple to Make

goat cheese rolled in herbs on a white plate with toasted bread
Mike Garten
22 of 78
Goat Cheese Appetizer

Meet the ultimate make-ahead app: Coat the cheese log with the lemony herb mixture on Christmas Eve, then pull it out of the fridge 30 minutes before guests arrive at your door.

Get the Goat Cheese Appetizer recipe.

christmas appetizers  pickled mushrooms
Mike Garten
23 of 78
Pickled Mushrooms

Serve these tangy mushrooms on a sliced baguette or eat them plain — they're incredible either way.

Get the Pickled Mushrooms recipe.

christmas appetizers
Mike Garten
24 of 78
Arugula Pesto

Sneak arugula into this pesto for added nutrients and color. Drizzle it over a slice of fresh bread or in this case, on top of ricotta-coated crostini.

Get the Arugula Pesto recipe.

christmas appetizers dill dip with vegetables
Mike Garten
25 of 78
Dill Dip

Freshly-cut veggies are way more exciting after they're dipped in a bowl of creamy dip. Or skip the veggies altogether and go straight for the good stuff: salty chips and seedy crackers.

Get the Dill Dip recipe.

oysters with mustard horseradish relish
Mike Garten
26 of 78
Oysters with Mustard-Horseradish Relish

Balance out the oyster's salty flavor with a bite of mustard, horseradish and lemon zest.

Get the Oysters with Mustard-Horseradish Relish recipe.

charred scallion tart
Mike Garten
27 of 78
Onion Tart

You may think scallions are fit for springtime, but they're just as flavorful in the winter months. Take our word for it by layering them on top of a cheesy tart.

Get the Onion Tart recipe.

christmas appetizers
Mike Garten
28 of 78
Beet Tapenade

Beets are a staple in the winter months — and this recipe really makes them shine. In a bowl, toss 6 oz cooked beets (cut into 1/4-inch pieces), 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp orange zest and 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper. Fold in 1/4 cup green olives (chopped), then spoon onto endive leaves and sprinkle with chopped basil.

christmas appetizers cherry tomato confit
Mike Garten
29 of 78
Cherry Tomato Confit

Add a spoonful of this four-ingredient confit onto crusty bread slices for a tasty bruschetta.

Get the Cherry Tomato Confit recipe.

christmas appetizers rustic potato fennel galette
Mike Garten
30 of 78
Rustic Potato and Fennel Galette

This cheesy, golden galette will warm you right up.

Get the Rustic Potato and Fennel Galette recipe.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Christmas Recipes