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Make Ahead Holiday Appetizer Recipes

For Your Refrigerator, Freezer, and Pantry

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Pesto Torte

Pesto Torte

Linda Larsen
I love appetizers; in fact, sometimes I make an entire meal of them! Appetizers can buy time when you're trying to finish meal preparation, they can take the edge off hungry teenager's appetites in the middle of a busy day, and they are the perfect cozy touch to welcome unexpected or drop-in company. And as a bonus, if packaged in a nice jar, pot, or container, they make great last-minute presents. Make ahead holiday appetizer recipes can solve many a problem during this busy season.

Chutneys are great for spicing up sandwiches as well as pouring over slightly melted Brie or fontina cheese. Snack mixes keep well in a tightly covered container in the pantry, and salsas just need a bag of crisp tortilla chips. Frozen snacks can be popped into the oven or microwave to heat up, and terrines and spreads, surrounded with crackers and some fresh fruit, make a beautiful presentation.

Keep a few of these recipes in your freezer, fridge, or pantry for the holidays. Make sure to follow storage instructions carefully for food safety reasons. Change the flavors of these recipes and use your favorite ingredients. Just a bit of time spent in the kitchen will save you time and hassle in the busy weeks ahead.

Make Ahead Holiday Appetizer Recipes

  • Mini Quiches
    These delicious little mouthfuls can be flavored with anything from tiny shrimp to chopped olives.
  • Filo Onion Rolls
    Make long rolls of this appetizer, or fold into triangles using the flag folding method. Bake them just before serving.
  • Tapenade
    Tapenade is a spread made with different types of chopped olives; it's a great appetizer.
  • Apple Mint Chutney
    This sweet and spicy chutney makes a great Christmas gift; you'll also find my tip for sterilizing jars.
  • Blue Cheese Terrine
    Use Granny Smith apples in this great recipe; they will not turn brown as quickly as other varieties.
  • Pesto Torte
    This rich and beautiful appetizer has the colors of Christmas!
  • Corn Salsa
    Try this salsa with blue corn tortilla chips for a beautifully colored appetizer.
  • Praline Cranberry Dip
    This rich, creamy, and crunchy dip is really wonderful with shortbread cookies, apples, and pears for dipping.
  • Curried Chex Mix
    I developed this recipe after learning how good curry powder is for you. This mix, which combines healthy nuts, whole grain cereal, and spices, is delicious and addictive.
  • Original Chex Party Mix
    The holiday classic!
  • Apricot Salsa
    This isn't a true salsa because the fruit is cooked, but the flavor is really fabulous with salty corn chips.
  • Brie with Cherry Chutney
    Use the cherry chutney as a sandwich spread or pour it over cream cheese or another mild cheese for an appetizer.
  • Marinated Olives
    These olives in a pretty jar would be a great Christmas gift for someone special.
  • Creamy Cheese Spread
    The combination of cream cheese, white cheddar, and blue cheese is so delicious. Top this spread with any of the chutneys on this page for a special treat.
  • Swedish Nuts
    This is one of my favorite holiday recipes. Use any type of nut you want; pecan is my personal favorite.
  • Jalapeno Poppers
    Just like the popular appetizers in restaurants, this great recipe freezes well.
  • Pimento Cheese
    Sandwich spread or appetizer? This versatile recipe can be either.
  • Crab Spread
    You could substitute shrimp or smoked salmon for the crab in this elegant recipe.
  • Blueberry Chutney
    This was the first chutney I ever made, and it's stayed in my repertoire because it's so beautiful, delicious, and easy.
  • Onion Jam
    Don't be put off by the name; this recipe is fabulous. It's my husband's favorite served over cream cheese with a selection of crackers. A bit of the jam also perks up turkey sandwiches.
  • Tex Mex Snack Mix
    If you like spicy, this is the recipe for you; this crunchy, spicy, and hot snack mix won't last long.
  • Sugared Crockpot Nuts
    These nuts, made in the slow cooker, are sweet and spicy. Use a combination of your favorite nuts in this easy recipe.
  • Pineapple Salsa
    Fruit salsas are easy to make, store well, are delicious, and are good for you too! Serve these with low-fat tortilla chips to make your health-conscious friends happy.
  • Cherry Orange Snack Mix
    Another crunchy and sweet snack mix is just perfect for the holidays.
  • Hot and Spicy Pecans
    Reheat these in the oven just before you serve them to bring out the flavors.
  • Praline Cherry Munch
    I developed this delicious recipe for a low-fat cooking demonstration; you won't be able to tell it's low-fat!
  • Gingerbread Caramel Corn
    The flavors of gingerbread combined with sweet and crunchy caramel corn; this snack is one of my favorites.
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