8 Easy Party Appetizers

Just when you need some no-hassle party bites, here are our all-time favorites.

Cheese FondueCheese Fondue
Quick Cheese Fondue
Heat oven to 500°. Put a 1/2-lb. piece of slightly oozy brie cheese in a 2- to 3-cup shallow baking dish and bake until melted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Grind black pepper on top. Set dish on a heatproof surface and serve with toasted baguette slices, walnut bread, or sliced apples and pears.

Makes: 12 servings 

Time: 10 minutes
Have some drinks ready, too

Sausage Mushroom CapsSausage Mushroom Caps
Sausage Mushroom Caps
Rinse 24 medium-size button or cremini mushrooms (about 1 lb. total). Trim stems; save for another use.

Mix 1/3 lb. seasoned bulk pork sausage with 3 tbsp. seasoned dried bread crumbs. Mound sausage mixture in mushrooms, then set, filled side up, in a rimmed 10- by 15-in. baking pan.

Broil 6 to 7 in. from heat until sausage is well browned, about 5 minutes. Lift mushrooms onto a platter, brush with extra-virgin olive oil, and top each with a leaf of flat-leaf parsley.

Makes: 24 

Time: 20 minutes

Finger-food feast

Cracked Green Olives with FennelCracked Green Olives with Fennel
Cracked Green Olives with Fennel
Drain 10 oz. green olives with pits and discard brine. Using the back of a spoon, press each olive just hard enough to crack it open (leave pits in).

In a small bowl, combine olives, 1 tsp. fennel seeds, 1 piece orange peel (about 1/8 in. wide and 3 in. long), 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

Turn olives to coat. Serve right away or let marinate, chilled, up to 1 month.

Makes: 1 cup 

Time: 10 minutes
More party appetizer ideas

Hasty HotsHasty Hots
Hasty Hots

Cut 1 slender baguette (1/2 lb.) in half, slice each half lengthwise, and place, cut side up, on a 12- by 15-in. baking sheet. Broil about 3 in. from heat until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup diagonally sliced green onions, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, and 1/2 cup grated or finely shredded parmesan cheese.

Spread mixture on bread. Return to broiler and broil until lightly browned, about 1½ minutes. Let cool about 2 minutes to crisp. Cut each piece in thirds.

Makes: 12 

Time: 15 minutes

Spiced Fried ChickpeasSpiced Fried Chickpeas
Spiced Fried Chickpeas

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 tsp. fine sea salt, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp. each chipotle powder and ground coriander, and 1/8 tsp. cayenne.

Drain and rinse 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzos); spread on paper towels and pat dry. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 2 in. vegetable oil to 350° to 375° (drop a chickpea in―when it sizzles, the oil is ready).

With a large metal strainer, lower chickpeas carefully into oil (they'll spatter). Cook chickpeas until crisp, about 3 minutes. With strainer, transfer chickpeas to several layers of paper towels to drain, then toss with spice mixture.

Makes: 6 servings 

Time: 25 minutes

Cocktail party menus

Herbed Cheese LogHerbed Cheese Log
Herbed Cheese Log

On a 12- by 15-in. piece of plastic wrap, mix 1 tbsp. each minced fresh chives, cilantro, and basil leaves.

Roll a 5 1/2- to 6-oz. log of fresh goat cheese in herb mixture to coat evenly. Set on a small serving dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil.

Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Makes: 8 servings 

Time: 10 minutes

Soft Tacos with Chiles and Cheese Soft Tacos with Chiles and Cheese
Soft Tacos with Chiles and Cheese (Rajas con Queso)

Broil 3 fresh poblano chiles, turning to char and blister on all sides. Let cool. Discard stems and seeds; cut chiles into thin strips.

Cook 1 sliced white onion in 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in chile strips and top with jack cheese slices.

Cover and cook over low heat until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Scoop chile mixture into 6 small warm corn or flour tortillas.

Makes: 6 

Time: 20 minutes

More easy appetizers

Garlicky White Bean DipGarlicky White Bean Dip
Garlicky White Bean Dip
In a food processor, whirl 1 or 2 peeled garlic cloves until finely chopped. Scrape down bowl and add 2 cans (15 oz. each) drained and rinsed white beans, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp. finely shredded fresh lemon zest, and 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice. Whirl until smooth.

Transfer dip to a small bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp. very finely chopped fresh oregano leaves, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with assorted fresh vegetables or pita bread.

Makes: 2¼ cups 

Time: 10 minutes

Add some dessert!