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How Do I Choose the Best Cold Appetizer?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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When you are trying to choose the best cold appetizer, consider the people who will be eating it, and the way it will be served. For instance, the appetizers and snacks chosen for an outdoor picnic, where a bunch of kids will be attending, will be different than the appetizers selected for a more formal, indoor event. Consider clean-up as well, and convenience of eating the cold appetizer; do you want people to be able to eat it with their fingers, or will it be necessary to set out plates and forks? Also, determine whether the appetizer needs to be kept cold, or if it is all right to serve it outdoors, or at room temperature.

Finger sandwiches make some of the best choices for a cold appetizer. They are easy to make, enjoyed by people of all ages, and can be customized in virtually endless combinations. There are plenty of vegetarian options for finger sandwiches as well, not just deli meat. Tomato and basil, cucumber and cream cheese, or egg salad are some of the most popular options. Another one of the easiest cold appetizer options is various types of homemade or store bought dips with vegetables, chips, or crackers provided. People can then make a small plate of snacks and dip, and it requires very little preparation or cooking. Some people even make a sweet dip to be used with fresh fruit.

Some cold appetizer choices require a bit more effort, but may be a nicer option for serving before a meal. Deviled eggs are pretty easy to make, but tend to be a crowd-pleaser. Individual quiches, for which many different recipes can be found online, can also be baked ahead of time and then served cold in some instances. A shrimp cocktail is also a delicious option that is always served cold.

Many people enjoy making miniature wraps or roll-ups, then cutting them into individual bite-sized pieces. These can also be customized with a number of different cold ingredients such as vegetables, meats, or egg. A simple bruschetta served with individually cut pieces of French or Italian bread are an excellent simple, and an equally delicious choice. You have numerous options for the cold appetizers you are able to serve at an event; just consider the tastes of the people who are coming, and the amount of time you want to invest in shopping and preparation.

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Discussion Comments

By Lostnfound — On Feb 05, 2015

Don't ever underestimate the power of a peanut butter and jelly finger sandwich! Kids and adults love them. If no one has a peanut allergy in the family, these are a great addition to any cold appetizer selection, except for the most formal. And even then, if you use an exotic fruit jam, you can still get away with it.

I also love Texas caviar, which is when you mixed a can of rinsed, black beans, rinsed shoepeg corn, chopped onion, tomato, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper and serve it as a dip. A shortcut is to mix a jar of your favorite salsa with the beans and corn. It's all good with tortilla chips, anyway, and it keeps well.

By Grivusangel — On Feb 04, 2015

My favorite finger sandwiches are homemade pimento cheese and homemade chicken salad. Pimento cheese is easy. You just use grated sharp cheddar cheese, a jar of pimentos, a little sour cream or mayonnaise, some garlic and hot sauce. Mix it all together for a really awesome dip or finger sandwich spread.

I don't like a lot of mayonnaise, so my chicken salad has a yogurt base. I also add dried cranberries and either curry powder or Old Bay seasoning, along with chopped pecans. I use wheat bread and it makes a heck of a great finger sandwich. I don't like egg salad or cucumbers, so the pimento cheese and chicken salad are my go-to finger sandwich fillings.

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