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I love entertaining, but I don’t love making entertaining so complicated that I’m exhausted by the time my guests arrive.

Easy Party Menu Appetizer and Dessert Ideas

I did that once and it was the worst party of my life. In fact, I cringed at the thought of hosting another one for a long time. Thankfully my guests all enjoyed themselves, but I can admit I cried when they all went home because I didn’t enjoy a single minute of it.

Ever since then I vowed that I would make my parties easy, low-key, and fun for even me. A hostess with the mostest is the hostess who has fun while serving up amazingly easy party appetizers.

Of course, knowing me, you would expect all homemade from-scratch recipes, right? Well, I’m going mostly homemade this year. A few shortcuts never hurt when you’re trying to make a party easy.

Easy Party Appetizers

  • Spicy Shrimp or Bacon Wrapped Shrimp – Make this bacon wrapped shrimp recipe without the bacon for a truly easy and still tasty dish. I can’t keep them on the plate at any party.
  • BBQ L’il Smokies – Every New Year’s Eve I throw L’il Smokies into a party-sized slow cooker with BBQ sauce because everyone loves them and it’s super easy. This year I’m using my sweet and spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce. My mouth is watering already!
  • Cheese and Charcuterie Plate – 10 minutes to an amazing cheese platter? Sign me up!
  • Dips and Spreads – I  like to use 1-2 dips or spreads each year. This year is the year of dips and spreads. I am having Blood Orange Honeyed Goat’s Cheese Spread, Smoked Gouda and Artichoke Hot Dip (recipe to come), hummus, salsa, and homemade guacamole. That guac turned my avocado hating husband into a loyal fan!
  • Carb Platter – Chips, crackers, and pretzels are super easy. I’m using 1 gluten-free cracker (Food Should Taste Good rice crackers are my fave), tortilla chips, and Snyder’s Pretzel Spoonz. Have you seen these things? They are the best for a party!
  • Veggie Tray – Cut up a few of your favorite vegetables and pile them on a plate.

Easy Party Desserts

  • Maple Sugared Cranberries – I was able to find a couple bags of cranberries so I am making these pretty little gems. Can’t pop just one!
  • Fruit Bars – I’m making these Cranberry Ginger Bars or a Cherry Oat Bar recipe I’m working on, plus a new recipe that debuts soon, Meyer Lemon Blueberry Bars.
  • Chocolate Mousse Puffs – Every party needs a bite of chocolate. I bought premade pastry puffs and will fill them with a chocolate pudding or a chocolate mousse. I’m rather partial to this egg-less chocolate stilton mousse but may keep it super simple with a pudding.
  • Tiramisu Shooters – I love tiramisu and it is so easy to make. I have cute little dessert cups that are classy yet throwaway to save me time cleaning up.

Stay Tuned: Tomorrow I’m sharing my tips for planning an easy party menu in under 10 minutes.

Easy Party Menu - Appetizers and Desserts

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