Need ideas for delicious and easy appetizers for a crowd? We’ve got some great ideas! While it’s been years since we had a large group of guests over for dinner, we are a family of eight. Almost every night feels like a dinner party! We hope you enjoy this list of delicious appetizers! We might not be able to travel to Japan or Korea right now, but we can take our taste buds on an adventure!
What’s in this post:
- Japanese Appetizers
- Korean Appetizers
- Game Day Appetizers
- Holiday Appetizers
I’d also like to mention what’s NOT in this post to help you avoid wasting your time. I’m allergic to fish and seafood, so there aren’t any recipes with those ingredients. We’re only sharing the things that we actually eat and enjoy. My oldest daughter regularly visits and is vegetarian, so you’ll find a few vegetarian-friendly options in here (and some recipes that can be modified!), but many contain meat.
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Want to serve Japanese appetizers at your next party? We’ve got you covered. Some of the best appetizers and finger foods around come from Japanese cuisine. The flavors are usually subtle which can be appealing to crowds. Here are some of our absolute favorites!
You might know these as potstickers, but the Japanese version is called gyoza. You can have them steamed, pan-fried, or deep-fried (some even throw gyoza in a soup!), but they are always delicious. This is my favorite food on the whole list, especially when I have a good dipping sauce.
Try this: Gyoza recipe
Japanese fried chicken is called karaage. It’s a staple at an izakaya (casual food and drink places in Japan) and it’s perfect for sharing. These tender yet crispy morsels are a real crowd pleaser! They are easy to make and the leftovers are great for lunch!
Try this: Karaage recipe
Walk down the streets of Tokyo or Osaka’s Dotonbori district and you’ll see street vendors selling these skewers. While the meat (and sometimes vegetables!) vary, we prefer to use chicken. You can easily pick the skewers up to nibble as you savor the sweet sticky sauce!
Try this: Yakitori recipe
This great appetizer is a meat and potato croquette. It’s super flexible, though, so if you want to make a vegan/vegetarian option, just skip the meat but keep the onion, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms. I’ve also been known to add corn!
Try this: Korokke recipe
We love miso soup. We eat it every day, sometimes several times a day. One of the best things about miso soup is that it’s easy to modify. We don’t eat tofu and I’m allergic to fish and seafood, so we keep it simple but you can play around with many different ingredients. It feels good in the belly…I think I need some right now!
Try this: Miso Soup recipe
When I was a kid, one of the first fried foods I had was tempura. My family loved it! While they were able to eat the shrimp, fish, and shellfish varieties, I had to stick with onion, corn, and sweet potatoes. Trust me, I did not suffer. The veggie version is just as good!
Try this: Tempura recipe
Go into any convenience store in Japan and you’ll find onigiri. The little rice balls contain a variety of fillings and are a popular snack. We love to eat them at home, but when we’re feeling fancy, we glaze and fry them in a pan. The crispy, sticky exterior and the fluffy rice interior is so good!
Try this: Yaki Onigiri recipe
Right now, there’s a huge Korean wave sweeping the globe. If you want to take these suggestions for appetizers for a crowd to the next level, serve something Korean. No one will be disappointed!
Korean Fried Chicken
If you’ve never had Korean fried chicken (and your diet doesn’t restrict meat), you’ve been missing out. At least once a month, I have to make it using full-size chicken pieces as a main dish. Boneless Korean fried chicken wings or tenders, however, make an excellent appetizer and should be at the top of your list. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Try this: Korean Fried Chicken recipe
For holidays, especially Chuseok, we love having pajeon. Basically, these are savory pancakes made with green onions (“pa” means green onions and “jeon” means pancake). It’s so easy to whip up and customize these scallion pancakes to your taste. While you’re at it, make a batch of hobak jeon which are zucchini fritters.
Try this: Pajeon recipe
One of my favorite things about Korean food is the soups and stews. There are so many, and they are all so delicious. This one is a spicy chicken and vegetable soup with a rich flavor that’s perfect for warming up during the cooler months.
Try this: Dakgaejang recipe
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Oh, friends. Whether it’s Japanese sweet potatoes or Korean sweet potatoes, one thing is clear — they are creamier and yummier than the ones in North America. It’s not uncommon to walk through the streets in the wintertime and see food carts selling roasted sweet potatoes. Just peel and eat! This is a different take, but one of the most perfect appetizers for a crowd.
Try this: Korean Candied Sweet Potatoes recipe
Let’s dissect the name of this appetizer, shall we? Corn. Cheese. Need I say more??? If you’ve eaten in a Korean restaurant, you may have noticed (or sampled!) this common side dish. It’s a small cast iron pan filled with bubbling cheesy goodness. So simple, yet amazing!
Try this: Korean Corn Cheese recipe
Like the Japanese gyoza, the Korean mandu might also be called a dumpling or potsticker in North America. I find the Korean version bulkier, juicier, and meatier than others I’ve tried. If you don’t want to make them from scratch, look for the Bibigo brand mandu at Costco or your local grocery store/Asian market. Again, have a good dipping sauce and some napkins ready!
Try this: Mandu recipe
Hands down, without question, this is my FAVORITE Korean snack. We regularly have these chewy, sticky, and spicy rice cakes for lunch with a side of rice and soup. Buy the rice cakes in the freezer section of your local Asian market and follow an easy recipe for the sauce. In a rush, here’s the ready-made tteokbokki sauce we love most. You can also get instant tteokbokki cups and samplers online. Be sure to finish with sesame seeds!
Try this: Tteokbokki recipe
Yes, ANOTHER tteokbokki recipe, but this one is SPECIAL! This dish is the Korean Royal Court rice cakes and it’s a more elevated dish than regular tteokbokki. Dating back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), this traditional version is mildly flavored with a soy sauce-based sauce (so it’s a little bit sweet). As the name suggests, this was once a high-class dish served as part of royal cuisine. It’s very different from the spicy, bright red street food but just as good!
Try this: Gunjang Tteokbokki recipe
Game Day Appetizers
We’re big sports fans in this house. Whether it’s hockey or football (or even tennis, but who makes a spread for tennis?!?!), we love game day appetizers. If you’re looking for appetizers to please a large crowd, you’ve come to the right place.
Corn and Jalapeño Dip Recipe
There is no right way to eat corn and jalapeno dip. You can grab some tortilla chips, pita chips, or a spoon. The cream cheese in this already cheesy recipe makes this extra delicious. You can skip the bacon for a vegetarian option and add more hot peppers if you like it spicy!
Try this: Corn and Jalapeño Dip recipe
Soft Pretzel Bites
We love making these on Sunday game days or for birthday parties. I’d never tried making pretzels before and was intimidated, but these were surprisingly easy to make! We love to serve this with a creamy cheddar cheese dip and/or mustard.
Try this: Soft Pretzel Bites recipe
French Bread Pizza
When I was in middle school, I’d eat those Stouffer’s French Bread Pizzas as often as possible. As an adult, I prefer to make them myself. These take almost no time at all and you’ve got a warm snack or appetizer that’s fun to eat.
Try this: French Bread Pizza recipe
Slow Cooker Buffalo Ranch Wings
While I love being in the kitchen, my Crock-Pot and Instant Pot are lifesavers on game day. Sometimes, I just want to sit on the couch and enjoy the action! This recipe for juicy and flavorful chicken wings makes that possible. Serve with a side of Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing.
Try this: Slow-Cooker Buffalo Ranch Wings recipe
Sheet Pan Nachos
There are few things in life that I love more than nachos. Layering tortilla chips with cheese, ground beef or ground turkey or veggie chili and then topping that with sour cream, black beans, and guacamole? It’s heaven. Gotta have some good pico de gallo to top it off, too.
Try this: Sheet Pan Nachos recipe
Hot Pizza Dip
Here’s another great option for pizza fans. Just look at that melted cheese and tomato sauce! Grab a few breadsticks (you can do the dry but I love soft ones straight from the oven) or warm sliced bread and dig in. Take it up a notch with some fresh basil!
Try this: Hot Pizza Dip recipe
Buffalo Chicken Dip
The first time we tried this, we were skeptical. After just one bite, we were believers. We also like to mix refried beans into it and put it all in the slow cooker. Set out a bowl of tortilla chips and/or flour tortillas and you’re set!
Try this: Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe
What is it about these savory beauties that render me helpless? You can get them in the freezer section of your grocery store, but making that creamy filling from scratch is much tastier. Top with some green onions and a dollop of sour cream and you’ve got one of the most popular appetizers around.
Try this: Potato Skins recipe
You’ve probably considered (or planned) the usual crudités and appetizers: a cheese board or traditional cheese plate, fresh veggies, or even garlic bread. Here are some of the best appetizers to delight party guests and beautify your holiday table.
Does it get more timeless or classic than meatballs? You can serve these with just about anything! They stay juicy and warm in a slow cooker so that you can just scoop them out (make sure you get some of the sauce!) and enjoy. You can also switch it up by making Cranberry Meatballs!
Try this: Party-Perfect Meatballs recipe
Spinach, Artichoke and Feta Bites
For artichoke dip fans, this appetizer will be a welcome addition. Take the original to the next level by adding spinach and feta cheese. By following this recipe, you won’t even need puff pastry, either!
Try this: Spinach Artichoke and Feta Bites recipe
Cranberry Brie Biscuit Dip
You’ve done it. You’ve found the perfect finger food! Melted white cheddary goodness nestled within a circle of warm, freshly-baked biscuits. You may have had baked brie before, but adding the cranberry really makes this such a wonderful holiday appetizer.
Try this: Cranberry Brie Biscuit Dip recipe
Meatball Parm Skewers
These are soooo delicious. I’m so excited to make these again. Maybe I should make some tomorrow…anyway, the flavor of the meat, sauce, fresh herbs, and parmesan cheese will blow you away. You can serve these on their own, with rolls, or even the French Bread Pizza could make the best pairing!
Try this: Meatball Parm Skewers recipe
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
Can you have a party without cheese balls? Well…of course, you can. For cheese lovers, though, these are a MUST! This recipe spruces up the classic, though, and the colors make these the most adorable bites!
Try this: Mini Cheese Ball Bites recipe
Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Balls
Do you share my love for mashed potatoes, bacon, and cheese? If so, you’re going to love these! They are reasonably affordable and easy to make, so this is definitely among the best appetizers for a crowd!
Try this: Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Balls recipe
We love, love, love bruschetta. The fresh tomatoes combined with garlic, balsamic vinegar, and basil takes me to my happy place. Plus, you can whip this up in minutes. Serve with toasted baguette slices and you’re good to go!
Try this: Classic Bruschetta recipe
Pull-Apart Crescent Christmas Tree
How cute is this pull-apart tree for the holiday season!? While I prefer to make my own dough for baking, I’ll be turning to Pillsbury for this festive appetizer. It’s quick and easy, perfect as an appetizer or a midday snack while we wait for the turkey! My kids are going to love digging into the melted cheese!
Try this: Pull-Apart Crescent Christmas Tree
Best Appetizer Recipes
We hope you enjoyed our suggestions for finger foods and appetizers for a crowd. We know our lives have been changed forever by recent events, which is why it’s more important than ever to celebrate and cherish special moments. Bon appetit!