Make Ahead Appetizer Recipes:
Easy Party and Finger Foods

Having a few good make ahead appetizer recipes in your arsenal is a really, really wonderful way to take some of the stress --sometimes a HUGE amount of the stress-- out of planning a party menu (or a dinner party menu). When you don't have to worry about putting together all of your menu items during the party itself, you might actually get to... you know, enjoy your party. Wow. Unheard of, right?

Now, there are lots of ideas out there for make ahead appetizer recipes that you can put together in the days or hours before serving. Some of them are going to be simple cold appetizers that you assemble and pop in the fridge. You serve them cold, so there's not much left to do. Some of them will require a bit more minimal last-minute preparation right before serving.

Beside the great recipes you'll find below, which are some of my favorite appetizers you can make ahead, also look for these sorts of appetizer recipes:

  • Cold Dips (or hot ones that can be pre-mixed)
  • Marinated Cheeses
  • Antipasti
  • Cold Tartlets
  • Cold Seafood Dishes (like Smoked Salmon or Shrimp Cocktail)
  • Crockpot Appetizers (just set 'em and forget 'em)
  • Tortilla Pinwheels
  • Ceviche

There are a lot more options out there, too. If you go to the main Appetite4Appetizers page and look around, you'll find tons of options for all of these... with new ones being added all the time!

My advice? When planning your menu, make an effort to include as many make ahead appetizer recipes as humanly possible! You'll want to kiss yourself in thanks later on.

Cherry Tomato Bites with Herbed Feta Appetizers

Tomato and Feta Cheese Bites for an Appetizer
This is a wonderful make ahead appetizer recipe for a summer get-together, or whenever you want some really fresh, bright flavors. Try to opt for high-quality, ripe cherry tomatoes. Cherry pear tomatoes, if you can find them, are wonderful in this recipe.

Bought some cherry tomatoes that aren't quite ripe enough? Instead of popping 'em in the fridge, put them near the window for a day or so (in a bowl-- take them out of their plastic container) and they should sweeten up.

Click the plus sign to leave or read reviews. No need to join or sign in!

8 oz feta cheese, 1/2" cubed
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed and diced
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped finely
12 cherry tomatoes
6 Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise

Instructions: 1. In a small bowl, combine feta, oil, shallot, garlic and oregano. Toss well. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Cut each tomato in half crosswise. Using a teaspoon or small melon baller, remove seeds. Place a feta cube into the center of each tomato half and top with an olive quarter. Place stuffed tomatoes on a serving platter and drizzle with a little more olive oil.

3. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

4. Can be refrigerated up to 8 hours, covered with plastic wrap.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Stuffed Endive

This is one of those make ahead appetizer recipes that seems so simple on the surface... but it's actually an amazing mix of flavors. Something about the bitter crunch of the endive with the tanginess of the goat cheese and the slightly raisin-y sweetness of the sun dried tomato is just heaven. Definitely more than the sum of its parts.

Tip: Want to make this appetizer recipe look really pretty? Use only the smaller, more tender inside leaves of the endive. Also, instead of smearing the goat cheese mixture onto each endive leaf, let it come to room temperature, place it in a pastry bag, and pipe it on the leaf in a pretty design.

Click the plus sign to leave or read reviews. No need to join or sign in!

1/2 cup diced black olives
2 tablespoons pine nuts
8 oz goat cheese
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomato packed in oil, diced
3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 heads Belgian endive

Instructions: 1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except endive. Mix until well incorporated.

2. After trimming ends from endive, separate leaves and arrange on serving platter.

3. Spread cheese mixture evenly onto each endive leaf.

4. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired.

5. Can be pre-made and refrigerated up to 2 hours. (Cover with plastic wrap)

Tangy-Sweet Mini Tarts with Roquefort, Black Pepper, and Pear

Phyllo Tarts MAke Ahead Appetizers with Pears and Roquefort Recipe
There's something so unassumingly elegant about this appetizer-- it's a really good option for an event like a baby shower or a wedding event. The roquefort's pungentness is really softened by the touch of pear, and the whole dish is given a surprising bite with the black pepper.

This can be made on the spot, or easily used as a make ahead appetizer recipe. Simply assemble up until step 2, cover loosely with foil, and refrigerate up to 4 hours. Then bake as directed. Easy peasy! And delicious, too.

Click the plus sign to leave or read reviews. No need to join or sign in!

1/2 cup roquefort cheese, crumbled
2 small pears, ripe, peeled, cored and diced
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp light brown sugar
Dash pepper
1 pkg mini phyllo tart shells

Instructions: 1. Bake tart shells according to package and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine cheese, pears, cream, brown sugar and pepper. Mix well.

3. Divide mixture evenly among the cooled tart shells and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 13 to 16 minutes.

4. Serve warm.


Custom Search

More Goodies!

More Make-Ahead Recipes

Want a few more good ideas for make ahead appetizer recipes that are as tasty as they are easy? Check out these recipe pages:

Cream Cheese Crab Dip Recipes


Hot and Cold Shimp Salad Recipes


Join in at A4A!



Return to top

Copyright© 2009-2011 by  All rights reserved.

ADD TO YOUR SOCIAL BOOKMARKS: add to BlinkBlink add to add to DiggDigg
add to FurlFurl add to GoogleGoogle add to SimpySimpy add to SpurlSpurl Bookmark at TechnoratiTechnorati add to YahooY! MyWeb