19 Last Minute Party Snacks and Appetizers

Keep last minute guests fed, entertained, and happy with these quick and easy party snack and appetizers.

Last minute snacks and apps

In my experience, the best get-togethers are often done on the fly: a spontaneous dinner party, a Sunday potluck planned one day ahead, a last-minute holiday gathering. The question of what to serve is almost an afterthought since it’s more about making merry than having everything “just so.”

These 19 last minute party snacks and appetizers are just the thing when you want to gather, but don't have a lot of time to plan. You’ll find recipes that range from entirely unfussy to just a bit fancy. And all of them are easy enough to do an hour or so before guests arrive. 

Since it’s always nice to have a few festive tricks up your sleeve, here are some ideas to get the party started. 

  • Offer a signature cocktail. Rather than having a full bar, offer a single fabulous cocktail that you can prep ahead and pour as needed. It elevates any party and can be as simple as a glass of Prosecco with a splash of pomegranate juice (or get inspired with our cocktail recipes). 
  • Get out the good stuff. It’s high time you stop saving your wedding china or prettiest platter for the right occasion. There’s no easier way to dress up the simplest snack or appetizer! You’ve got the goods, now is the time to show them off.  
  • Minimize dishware. Not into post-party clean up? Stick with finger foods, such as Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms or Kimchi Deviled Eggs that require little more than a cocktail napkin. 
  • Fill in with quick fixes. In addition to from-scratch snacks, feel free to rely on store-bought hummus and pre-cut veggies, a jar of good olives (warm them on the stove with a few strips of lemon peel), pre-made tapenade with crackers, and soft goat cheese drizzled with olive oil. 
  • Herb-Spiced Mixed Nuts

    Herb-Spiced Mixed Nuts
    Alison Conklin

    If ever there was a recipe to make just before guests arrive, this is it. A savory and sweet mix of walnuts, almonds, and pecans, they are best served straight from the oven while still warm. Plus, your home will smell divine. It’s perfect to pair with a holiday cocktail.

  • Kimchi Deviled Eggs

    How to Make Deviled Eggs with Kimchi
    Sabrina Modelle

    We’ve given deviled eggs, a party favorite, a delicious twist by working a few Korean kitchen staples into the mix. The result is an elevated deviled egg topped with gochujang chili paste, diced kimchi, sesame seeds, and scallions. In a word: Delish!

  • Easy Muhammara

    What is muhammara
    Alison Bickel

    If you’re a fan of flavorful dips and spreads, muhammara may be your new best friend. It’s a lip-smacking mix of roasted red peppers, walnuts, and a touch of pomegranate molasses. Pita chips or cucumber slices make the ideal scooper. 

  • Curried Chicken Salad With Endive

    Curried Chicken Endive Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Little boats of endive are a party-perfect way to turn chicken salad into an easy-to-eat appetizer. The salad is dressed up with curry powder and crushed pineapple, which give it a throw-back vibe. Make things go even more quickly by picking up a rotisserie chicken to use for the salad. 

    Continue to 5 of 19 below.
  • Golden Cheddar Cheese Crisps

    Golden Cheddar Cheese Crisps
    Sally Vargas

    These paper-thin cheddar crisps should come with a warning: Impossible to eat just one. Light and delicate with a pleasing crunch, they’re the ideal party snack to accompany a glass of wine or flute of champagne. 

  • Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Toasts

    Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Toasts
    Elise Bauer

    Crostini is one of the most foolproof party snacks out there. Spread herbed goat cheese over toasted baguette slices, top with smoked salmon, garnish with lemon rind, and you’re done. Make it even easier on yourself by using store-bought herb goat cheese rather than making your own. 

  • Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas

    Crispy Chickpeas in the Air Fryer
    Alison Conklin

    These crispy chickpeas are tailor made for last minute party prep. Cooked in the air fryer means plenty of crunch without the mess of stovetop frying. The recipe offers four different seasoning blends, from Italian herbs to hot chilies, so pick whatever strikes your fancy. 

  • Mushroom Caviar

    Mushroom Caviar
    Elise Bauer

    Mushrooms, shallots, sour cream, herbs, and a bit of butter? What’s not to love about this savory mix of sautéed mushrooms to scoop up with crackers? It’s vegetarian-friendly and can be made ahead. 

    Continue to 9 of 19 below.
  • Classic Cheese Ball

    The best cheese ball is in the center of a platter and surrounded by crackers.
    Nick Evans

    There’s a reason cheeseballs were all rage back in the day: they’re easy, festive, and very tasty. This is a pretty classic interpretation, featuring cheddar cheese, cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder, all rolled in chopped pecans. The whole operation will take under 10 minutes to tackle and it will disappear in no time at all. 

  • Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms

    Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms
    Elise Bauer

    Mushrooms are a handy vessel for making appetizers. All it takes here are three ingredients and about 15 minutes of prep. You’ll have 24 scrumptious bites at the ready. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. 

  • Honey Hazelnut Baked Brie

    Honey Hazelnut Baked Brie
    Elise Bauer

    Drizzled with a caramelized honey vinegar sauce, this baked Brie hits the mark for being both easy and elegant. Finish with chopped hazelnuts and set out tart apple slices for dipping into the oozy cheese.  

  • Shrimp Cocktail

    Shrimp Cocktail
    Jaden Hair

    Once you try our take on this party classic, there is no going back. This recipe is a “how to” on properly cooking shrimp with a spicy homemade cocktail sauce that will make you want to double dip. 

    Continue to 13 of 19 below.
  • Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Figs

    crispy bacon-wrapped figs cooked in the air fryer
    Nick Evans

    Sweet, salty, smoky, and crispy, these pint-sized bar bites hit all the high notes for flavor. And the recipe involves no more than 10 or so minutes of hands-on time. Don’t have an air fryer? Not to worry. Just pop the figs under a broiler for about three minutes per side.

  • Edamame Avocado Dip

    avocado and Edamame Dip
    Elise Bauer

    If you’re looking for a party snack that’s on the lighter side, this is a good bet. It’s a clever twist on guacamole and is excellent with pita chips or cut up crunchy vegetables. Any leftovers are excellent as a sandwich spread the next day. 

  • Hot Crab Dip

    Hot Crab Dip with Cream Cheese and Mayo
    Elise Bauer

    This quick and easy hot crab dip is a crowd-pleasing party snack. Use any mix of crabmeat you like, then dress it up with onions, parsley, horseradish, and Tabasco. Cook the dip until creamy and bubbling and serve it straight from the oven. Baguette, crackers, and crudité are all fair game for dipping.  

  • Perfect Popcorn

    Perfect Popcorn
    Elise Bauer

    Popcorn isn’t just for movie night. It’s actually a pretty terrific party snack, especially using this straightforward stovetop method. Elevate your buttery bowl of popcorn by adding a favorite spice mix, such as za’atar, ras el hanout, or herbes de Provence. 

    Continue to 17 of 19 below.
  • Goat Cheese Bacon Pops

    Goat Cheese Bacon Pops
    Sabrina Modelle

    How cute are these savory snack pops? The recipe makes a festive appetizer and calls for ingredients you’ll find in any ordinary supermarket. If you have vegetarians in your midst, set aside some of the coating without bacon and make a few meat-free pops as well. 

  • Quick and Easy Artichoke Dip

    Quick and Easy Artichoke Dip
    Elise Bauer

    Everyone loves an artichoke dip and this one couldn’t be easier to make. It’s got just three ingredients (along with salt and pepper) and can be done in the microwave or oven. No advanced planning needed!

  • Easy Baked Brie in Puff Pastry

    Baked Brie
    Elise Bauer

    Bring back the 80s culinary glory days with this decadent appetizer. Known to the French as Brie en croute, it’s a wedge or wheel of cheese wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden. This version elevates the whole affair with the addition of tangy raspberry jam, which plays deliciously off the melted cheese and flaky pastry.