What Are the Different Types of Appetizer Party Ideas?

S. H. Williams

Appetizer party ideas are limited only by one's imagination and budget. One can either purchase all pre-made appetizers and appetizer platters, find easy recipes that involve few last-minute touches or hire a caterer. Appetizer party ideas focus either solely on the type of appetizers served or on an overall theme for the party.

Crostini with mozzarella cheese, chopped tomato and basil.
Crostini with mozzarella cheese, chopped tomato and basil.

A global appetizer party can either focus on a certain country or cuisine or can include appetizers spanning the entire world. At a Spanish appetizer party, for example, tapas and Spanish wine might be served. A Greek appetizer party might feature olives, dolmas, bite-size spanikopita and miniature Greek salads served in shot glasses. At a Southern party, fried macaroni and cheese, chicken drumsticks, grit stuffed shrimp and mini corn muffins might be featured. Other types of cuisine also would be suitable for an appetizer party.

Shrimp appetizers.
Shrimp appetizers.

Another theme appetizer party idea is serving food from a specific era, such as the 1960s. Possible menu items include clam dip, shrimp cocktail, Swedish meatballs, deviled eggs and ambrosia salad. Cocktails are an essential part of a 1960s appetizer party. A full bar can be set up, or a few specific cocktails can be selected.

Salmon canapés with crème fraîche, caviar and dill.
Salmon canapés with crème fraîche, caviar and dill.

Theme appetizer party ideas that revolve around the food can be influenced by flavor, the actual type of food, the time of day or the time of year. A summer appetizer party is a time when one can take advantage of local seasonal flavors. The menu for the party can revolve around what is available at local farmer's markets or farm stands. A menu for a brunch appetizer party could include a variety of flavors of deviled eggs, mini quiches made with phyllo dough or puff pastry in mini muffin tins, a toast platter with different varieties of breads and spreads and bite-size pastries and cinnamon rolls.

An antipasti platter.
An antipasti platter.

One theme that looks at the type of food is a party where the menu is entirely composed of different kinds of dips with crackers, bread and vegetable crudites for dipping. Another option in that vein is a crustini party serving toasted bread topped with several varieties of tapenades. Flavor profile appetizer party ideas include seafood, hot and spicy and barbecue.

Cheese and crackers are a popular appetizer.
Cheese and crackers are a popular appetizer.
Spinach dip can be served as an appetizer or hors dóeuvre.
Spinach dip can be served as an appetizer or hors dóeuvre.
Meat spreads with crackers may be served as appetizers.
Meat spreads with crackers may be served as appetizers.
Caviar appetizer with fromage blanc and fresh herbs.
Caviar appetizer with fromage blanc and fresh herbs.
Broiled, bacon-wrapped scallops.
Broiled, bacon-wrapped scallops.
A variety of potato chips should be offered at a party.
A variety of potato chips should be offered at a party.
Cocktail sausages are popular at get togethers.
Cocktail sausages are popular at get togethers.
Different types of pickles might be served at parties.
Different types of pickles might be served at parties.
Clam dip can be a great appetizer at a party.
Clam dip can be a great appetizer at a party.
Shrimps cocktails are a popular type of finger food served at parties.
Shrimps cocktails are a popular type of finger food served at parties.
Chicken wings are always popular at parties.
Chicken wings are always popular at parties.
When planning a cocktail party, be sure to include at least one vegetarian appetizer.
When planning a cocktail party, be sure to include at least one vegetarian appetizer.

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Discussion Comments

Wisedly33

I have two dishes that have never failed me for any kind of party: reuben dip and party ham and cheese sandwiches. Rueben dip is made in a slow cooker and has cream cheese, mustard, sauerkraut, cheese and corned beef, served with crisp rye crackers.

The party sandwiches are ham and cheese and a mustard-poppyseed dressing layered in between dinner rolls and baked. Both dishes generally disappear completely everywhere they go. They're not difficult and I've never seen anyone turn up their noses at those dishes. They're just universal favorites!

Scrbblchick

You could also do a potluck appetizer party, where everyone brings their favorite nosh. This would probably necessitate a sign up list so you don't have six bowls of spinach dip. People would then sign up for what they would like to bring, and the host(ess) would provide drinks and desserts.

In the South, we call these "finger food" parties, since it implies no one is bringing casseroles or pork roasts, but instead, dips, chips, small sandwiches, etc. I think a potluck appetizer party has to be one of my favorites because of the variety of the food!

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