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8 Quick-and-Easy Appetizers to Satisfy All Tastes and Ages

I've hosted many a party, and having tasty finger food at the ready is a must! Here are eight of my favorite recipes.

In my experience, these appetizers are the most requested and most quickly devoured finger foods at any party. Most of these only have 2–3 ingredients, but all of them will satisfy hearty appetites. They're easy to make, and they're all the no-fuss, get-er-done-in-a-hurry kind.

8 Simple and Delicious Appetizers

  1. Cheesy Sausage Balls
  2. Velveeta and Hormel Chili-Cheese Dip
  3. Pigs in a Blanket
  4. Cream Cheese With Green Pepper Jelly
  5. Boiled Shrimp
  6. Trail Mix
  7. Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels
  8. Rice Krispie Treats

Pick out your favorites to serve on poker night, tailgating, at a Super Bowl Party, or while watching movies. Grab a paper plate and load it up!

Cheesy Sausage Balls

Cheesy Sausage Balls

1. Sausage Cheese Balls

These freeze perfectly, so you can make them ahead of time. This item will probably be the first thing to go at your get-together. The picture above shows exactly what they will look like straight from the oven.


  • 3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick)
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage (uncooked)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (pre-shredded in a bag is fine)
  • 4 tablespoons water (or use 2 tablespoons hot sauce and 2 tablespoons water)


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Break ground sausage into hunks first (this will make it easier to work with). Then, mix all ingredients well (by hand or stand mixer) in large bowl. If using stand mixer, mix in 2 half batches if necessary.
  3. Continue "kneading" the mixture until the mix holds together and there are no unincorporated ingredients in the bottom of the bowl. This might take a few minutes, but it will all come together.
  4. Shape mixture into balls, rolling in your hand until they're smooth.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spray lightly with cooking spray. Place sausage balls on aluminum foil covered pan so they are not touching.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Use a spatula transfer sausage balls to serving tray.

Serve with a variety of squeeze bottle mustards.

If you want to make these ahead of time, go ahead and prepare it as stated above, and let them cool completely after baking. Freeze in freezer bags until needed. Reheat by microwaving in 10 second increments until hot.

2. Velveeta and Hormel Chili-Cheese Dip

Don't miss this one! This is the cheese dip that always gets devoured at parties. It's really simple, popular, and delicious.


  • 1 box (16-ounce) Velveeta brand cheese, cubed
  • 1 can (15-ounce) Hormel brand chili (no beans)
  • Optional: 1 can (10-ounce) Rotel brand diced tomatoes with green chiles


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  1. Place chili and cubed cheese (and Rotel chiles if desired) in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave on high (100% power) for five minutes, stirring after three minutes.
  3. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

You can also try many variations of this, for example, you can make it with just the Velveeta and diced tomatoes and green chiles and omit the chili. If that sounds good to you, try it!

You can't go wrong with pigs in a blanket.

You can't go wrong with pigs in a blanket.

3. Pigs in a Blanket

This is everyone's all-time favorite finger food. Remember these? They're perfect for a Super Bowl party, or you can make it your winning contribution to the office Christmas party. Better yet, make 'em anytime to enjoy.


  • 1 package crescent rolls (such as Pillsbury)
  • 1 package (16-ounce) cocktail link smoked sausage (the Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies brand is great)


  1. Pull apart the crescent roll triangles and cut each triangle into about 5-6 long strips. They won't look perfect but that doesn't matter. Just make sure they are long enough to wrap around the cocktail links.
  2. Wrap each cocktail link with a strip of crescent roll.
  3. Bake on a slightly greased (cooking spray works best) cookie sheet according to the instructions on crescent roll package.

4. Cream Cheese With Pepper Jelly

Strange but true—this is a fabulous flavor combination. Whoever thought to mix the two is a genius. Who knew? The first time I saw it, I had to ask three times what it was. Now I dive for it on buffet tables.


  • 1 (8-ounce block) cream cheese
  • 1 jar pepper jelly


  1. Place cream cheese on plate and let it sit out for about 10 minutes to soften.
  2. Scoop a dollop of jelly on top.
  3. Leave a couple of cheese knives out for guests to use to serve themselves

Serve with crackers. Don't use buttery crackers though, they will interfere with the flavors. Use a bland or lightly flavored cracker like a water cracker or something similar.

Update: A visitor to this webpage (thanks mbgphoto!) said that she mixes the two ingredients together before serving. I like this idea very much. So there's another option for you.

5. Boiled Shrimp

There's no mystery here. Boiled shrimp is straightforward, simple, and delicious.

Quick note: A VERY common question people have is, "Do you peel shrimp before you boil them?" The answer is NO! You boil shrimp with the peel on. You peel them after they are boiled and right before eating them.


  • Uncooked shrimp with shell on
  • Couple tablespoons Old Bay seasoning


  1. Fill large pot 3/4 full with water and add Old Bay.
  2. Bring water to a boil and add raw shrimp. Bring shrimp back to a boil and let boil for a minute.
  3. Remove from heat and let the shrimp sit in the pot of water for 2 minutes. Shrimp are cooked when they turn pink. Don't overcook.
  4. Dip out shrimp and rinse in colander with cold water. When cool, place on bed of ice in large bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Serve with cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.

Trail mix is a classic party favorite.

Trail mix is a classic party favorite.

6. Trail Mix

Or, as some call it: GORP—Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. In other countries, it's also called "scroggin" or studenterhavre (student's oats) in Denmark.


  • M&M's
  • Peanuts
  • Raisins
  • Granola
  • Whatever else you like!


  1. Prepare it however you want to! Mix together equal parts (or not) of your favorite snacks.
  2. Put the mixture in a bowl with a large spoon for serving.

The combination of sweet and salty is satisfying and the protein from the nuts is filling.

7. Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

Delicious, and it couldn't be easier to make.


  • 1 bag large pretzel sticks
  • 1 bag milk chocolate morsels (or white or dark chocolate, whatever you prefer)


  1. Put chocolate morsels in microwave safe dish. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat as necessary until chocolate is almost melted.
  2. Continue to stir until completely melted. Be careful not to overcook the chocolate—it burns easily.
  3. Dip 3/4s of the pretzel stick in the chocolate, leaving the remaining 1/4 not dipped as the handle.
  4. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and refrigerate until chocolate is firm.

Variation: If you want to jazz it up, dip the chocolate covered pretzel in chopped pecans while the chocolate is still soft.

Update: Since writing this article, we've been making these for snacks on a regular basis and I've noticed that if you remove them from the fridge and eat them right away, the chocolate may crack and fall off the pretzel. Let them sit out on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving.

8. Rice Krispie Treats

Everybody loves these!


  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10-ounce) regular marshmallows (or 4 cups of miniature marshmallows)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal


  1. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
  3. Using a buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Let cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Another variation: Spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet (instead of 13 x 9 x 2 pan) so that it is about 1/2 inch thick. Then, use shaped cookie cutters to cut out the treats. Like footballs or fish to match the theme of your party.

More Appetizers

© 2009 puzzlerpaige

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