Party Appetizer Tips

Our party appetizer tips will help you plan your next dinner or holiday party. Eating appetizers offers a great way for guests to socialize while having something to do. You can place them strategically around your home to direct the flow of guest traffic and they are a nice thing to offer whenever alcohol is served so that guests don’t drink on an empty stomach.


These simple party appetizer tips will help you create a festive atmosphere and a memorable occasion without extra worry and stress. We offer tips to save you time when preparing appetizers, suggestions for how many appetizers to prepare and ideas for how to display the party appetizers for your guests.

Timesaving tips

  • Prepare dips and marinated dishes one or two days ahead.
  • Pre-slice and chop ingredients and store them in plastic bags or containers in your refrigerator – assemble them the day of the event.
  • Decorate the party area and set out non-perishables including serving utensils and dishes the night before.

How much should you prepare?

  • Appetizers: 6-7 per person/hour
  • Sweets: 3-5 per person
  • Beverages: 1 cup non-alcoholic beverages per person/hour
  • Coffee: ½ cup per person
  • Tea: ¼ cup per person

What should I serve?

Indeed, it would be impossible to anticipate what your guests will like because they will all like something different. When serving a group the best strategy is planning a menu with variety.

Common mistakes:

  • Repetition of food or flavors
  • All bland foods
  • Too many strong or distinctive flavors that conflict with one another
  • Lack of variety in textures and colors
  • Too many foods prepared the same way, such as fried foods

Success tips:

  • Balance number of dishes that are made ahead and last minute preparation. Offer cold dishes that are prepared in advance as well as ones hot from the oven.
  • If you don’t know all of the food preferences of your guests, be sure that you have something for vegetarians. Fruit slices and a simple veggie tray are an easy way to add color, variety and good nutrition for all your guests.
  • Be sure to have enough non-alcoholic and low calorie beverages on hand as well. If they are available, people will drink them.
  • Prepare as much as possible prior to your guests’ arrival so you spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your company.

Serving suggestions

  • Make appetizers small enough to be eaten in one bite for less mess.
  • Garnish serving trays with kale, olives, parsley or lemon peel and line bowls with cabbage leaves.
  • Serve appetizers and dips in interesting vessels such as hollowed cabbage, bread, pumpkins or watermelons.
  • Place appetizers in multiple locations rather than having one table. This encourages your guests to move around more.
  • Serve cold foods such as vegetables, shrimp and cubed cheese in a ring of ice.
  • Stash fresh trays of appetizers in the kitchen so you can quickly refill.
  • Provide easy-to-find receptacles for used napkins, skewers, or other consumable items.

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