Tension headaches, sweaty palms, sleepless nights. Do you suffer from anxiety when trying to find the perfect foods to serve at a get together? Take some deep breaths and then keep reading to find out how to make the best finger foods for a party.
You want to keep it simple so people can mingle and so you aren’t stuck in the kitchen the whole time. Appetizers are always the best party foods as they aren’t that filling and you don’t have to coordinate a giant sit down meal. They also lend themselves to people stopping by and leaving at different times. Finger foods always make good choices as people can usually stand or walk around when eating. Besides you can have a continual variety of finger foods for a party to serve throughout. I always start with some basic chips and dip set out for the first guests to arrive. Then I move on to cold appetizers followed by hot ones once more people show up. You don’t want to serve hot appetizers too soon because they will get cold quickly if not many people are there to eat them.
We often have date nights once a week and create meat and cheese boards to go with Rick Steves Monday Night Travel. However, here I focused on easy things for entertaining that don’t require too much time or effort. I have also included some sponsored links for festive serving ware.
How do you calculate finger foods for a party?
The worst thing that can happen is to run out of food or drinks at a party. However, it is hard to know how much finger food for a party you will need. When unsure, I always say it is better to have too much. You can always leave unheated apps in the freezer for next time. However, Foodie and wine has a formula for calculating how much finger food per person for a party you will need. According to their website you should allow for a pound of food per adult not including dessert or drinks. For children, calculate half a pound.
Finger Foods: Caprese
This is a good finger food for a Christmas party due to the red and green colors.
- Mozzarella cheese cut into thick 1”x2” slices
- Cherry, grape, or Roma tomatoes
- Fresh basil leaves
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- Place cheese slices on a serving platter.
- Then wash basil leaves, dry and top each cheese slice with a piece of basil.
- Also wash and dry tomatoes. If you are using grape or cherry tomatoes, then cut them in half. If you are using Roma tomatoes, then slice them crosswise into thin slices.
- Place both halves of tomatoes on top of basil, skin side up, or place one slice of Roma tomato on basil.
- Drizzle with Balsamic vinaigrette. Serve.
Tip: Fresh home grown basil and tomatoes really add flavor to this simple appetizer.
Party Finger Foods: Buffalo Chicken Dip
This is a really simple finger food for a party that doesn’t take long to make. If you can find red and green chips, it makes a great holiday food.
- 2 cans chicken
- 1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup either Frank’s Hot Sauce or Frank’s Wings Sauce
- tortilla chips or crackers
Mix ingredients together breaking up chicken. For more of a spread you can add a bit of cream cheese. Also, you can add additional mayo or sour cream for smoother consistency. We made this during the holidays last winter so we bought these festive red and green chips.
If you are looking for fancy finger foods, these fit the bill, while still being fairly simple to make.
- 1 box of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
- 10 oz. fresh spinach (use less if using frozen)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- Cook onions in a tablespoon of butter or oil until they are clear. Then add spinach and cook until wilted adding a few tablespoons of water if necessary.
- After that, let cool for a few minutes and mix with the feta cheese.
- Once mixed, spread to within 3/4 inch of the edge of the puff pastry sheet. Then roll up into a log.
- After that cut 1/4 inch slices and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake following package directions.
Nachos: Messy Finger Foods for a Party
- jalapeno seeded and chopped
- shredded pepper jack cheese
- 8 oz. pulled pork
- 8 oz black beans rinsed and drained
- tortilla chips
- fresh salsa of choice
- Tostitos Nacho Cheese sauce
Layer chips, cheese, beans, pork, and jalapenos on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then bake at 400F in the oven between 5-10 minutes depending on if you just want the cheese melted or if you want the chips browned. When ready transfer to a platter with a bowl of salsa and bowl of cheese sauce. We used cauliflower chips for a healthier version. We also made a tasty watermelon, mango, tomato salsa from ingredients we already had in our refrigerator. If you want, you can heat the cheese sauce prior to serving.
Scoopable chips are always a great thing to have for a party. You can serve them with either hot or cold dipping sauce. You can even keep sauce warm in a mini slow cooker.
BBQ Chicken Salad on Whole Grain Crackers
These are great party finger food ideas on a budget because it can be made using leftover BBQ chicken.
These easy finger foods for a party can be made with things you most likely have on hand already. We used leftover BBQ chicken thighs, and cut up the meat, but canned chicken works just as well.
- 10 oz. cut up BBQ chicken or 1 12.5 oz. can of chicken, drained
- 1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. of your favorite BBQ sauce
- whole grain crackers such as Triscuits
- 2 chopped green onions
Make sure chicken in finely chopped. Then mix in mayonnaise and BBQ sauce, adjusting amounts to taste. When ready to serve, spread on crackers and garnish with chopped onion. The chicken salad can be refrigerated until ready to use.
Fancy crackers are great to keep on hand and are great for coming up with last minute party food recipes. We threw together some brie bites by placing a piece of brie on a cracker and topping it with a piece of roasted red pepper. A sturdy cracker works well with dip recipes as an alternative to chips.
The Original Finger Foods for a Party: Deviled Eggs
These are the original outdoor finger foods, perfect for a BBQ. But they are very versatile and can be used for indoor gatherings as well. We added some avocado when we made our Halloween appetizer platter.
I almost never have any leftovers when I make these finger foods for a party. I have been to many gatherings where the hosts make fancy deviled eggs with pickles, olives, etc. However, I find simpler is better when it comes to these appetizers. I also usually hard boil an extra egg or two in case I break one too badly.
- 7 hard boiled eggs, peeled
- 1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
With a sharp knife, slice eggs in half lengthwise. Then scoop out the yolk carefully with a small spoon and place in a bowl. Place the whites on a plate and set aside. After that mash egg yolks with a fork while mixing in mustard and as much mayonnaise as needed to get the consistency you like. When you are ready to serve, spoon yolk mixture evenly into space in egg white. Sprinkle with paprika.
I usually make this ahead of time an store the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use. The whites can easily be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated as well. Then fill the eggs when ready to serve. If you fill them and then refrigerate, plastic wrap tends to stick to the filling. However, I have included some sponsored links below for deviled egg trays, one of which has its own lid.
Tuna Bites: Simple Finger Foods for a Party
These cold finger foods for a party make a great starter while you are heating up hot appetizers.
Again, this is another easy finger food for a party. It also makes a great appetizer for unexpected guests since these are ingredients you are likely to already have. As an alternative, you can use smoked salmon in place of the tuna.
- 2 cans solid white albacore tuna drained
- 1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise, depends whether you like it dry or more creamy
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- pickles, green onions, or olives to garnish
- whole grain crackers
Begin by breaking up the tuna with a fork, and add enough mayo to get the consistency you like. Add in the onion powder. Then spread on crackers. Top with either slices of dill pickle, green olive slices, or chopped green onion. Or get creative and make up your own garnishes.
Cauliflower Pizza: Healthy finger foods for a party
What are some good gluten free finger foods for a party? Veggies and blue cheese dressing along with chicken wings are great, as long as the wings aren’t breaded. However, this year we decided to try this easy appetizer that is a healthy variation of a classic finger food idea. We bought a two pack of already made cauliflower crusts. We have made our own in the past, but it was a lot of work. When having company, the focus is on easy appetizers so you want recipes that aren’t going to keep you in the kitchen the whole time.
We followed the cooking directions on the package. It came with sauce packets, but we used our own sauce. Then we topped it with shredded mozzarella. We even added some sliced mini bell peppers to half. Delicious!
For different variations, you could top it with goat cheese or a white cream sauce and add spinach and tomatoes for more veggies. The crust is thin and crispy so it is easy to eat with the fingers.
Potato Skins: Finger foods for kids
Wondering ” what are some easy finger foods for a party?” Potato skins are easy appetizers that kids love. We baked our potatoes the day before. My husband’s ideas for cooking these shave off some time. He microwaves them on a plate for 8 minutes. Then he wraps them in foil and cooks them on the grill for about 45 minutes to an hour. However, you can cook them in the oven. Once they have cooled, I cut them in half lengthwise, and carefully scooped out the insides leaving about a fourth inch shell. The insides can be saved or frozen for another time.
If you are looking for food ideas for using the leftover potato insides, make them into mashed potatoes as a side for a future meal. Or you can add them to a stew, make potato soup, or top a shepherd’s pie.
When you want to prepare the potatoes for company, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top them with shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, and chopped green onions. Bake them in a convection oven at about 350F for about 15 minutes. If you want them a bit crispier, you can cook them at a slightly higher temperature or use an air fryer. Serve them with sour cream. If the potatoes are large, you can cut them in half after cooking. I don’t recommend cutting them prior to cooking because the cheese will run out onto the cooking tray.
Stuffed Mushrooms: Versatile finger foods for a party
I have written about stuffed mushrooms before. We have stuffed them with escargot for our Valentines meat and cheese board. We also stuffed them with blue cheese for an American appetizer platter. Here we used a combination of canned clams, feta cheese, and cooked spinach. Mushrooms are versatile and really can be stuffed with anything.
To begin, wash the mushrooms and carefully remove the stems. The stems can be chopped and added to the filling or they can be added to soups or a stir fry. I don’t like to waste any food so I usually slice them up and put them in the freezer. Once the stems are removed, gently pat the mushroom caps dry, and place them in a baking dish. Then stuff the mushrooms with whatever filling you want. When they are ready for the oven, drizzle some melted butter on them. Then bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes. Make sure you let them cool a little before putting them on a serving trey. You don’t want your guests to burn themselves.
I would love to hear any variations or improvements you make to any of these recipes. Meanwhile, happy holidays!
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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