App-cuterie board
App-cuterie board

The best appetizer ideas for parties

Charcuterie boards are popular for a reason: They’re easy for hosts to assemble, and even easier for guests to enjoy. Swap in pre-made appetizers for the usual meat and cheese and you’re just a well-stocked freezer away from hosting a successful party.

How to build the best appetizer board

The same concepts that make charcuterie boards great apply to app-cuterie boards. Aim for a variety of flavours and don’t be afraid to get creative with the sauce pairings. Just as a charcuterie board needs jams and condiments to reach perfection, an app-cuterie board is best served with a selection of complimentary sauces. (See our sauce recommendations below.)

  • Mix up your appetizers. Crispy and soft, meat-filled and vegetarian, sweet and savoury, big bites and small: Including a variety of apps in different sizes, flavours and textures is a sure way to please all palates.
  • Bring on the sauces. Look for flavours that complement through contrast: think rich and creamy sauces for savoury or sweet appetizers, and sour or spicy sauces to pair with seasoned bites.
  • Fill the board. There’s nothing like an overflowing appetizer board to signal the start of a good time. Once the apps are cooked — and, if necessary, cooled — start loading the platter or board, starting with sauce containers and the largest appetizers first, adding smaller apps one by one until the board is full.
  • Decorate. Still have a few spaces left? Use fruits, veggies and herbs to cover them. Fresh grapes and cherry tomatoes or sprigs of rosemary and thyme look lovely any time of year; while decorative gourds, evergreen boughs, or edible flowers can subtly celebrate their respective seasons.

Five fun appetizer and sauce pairings for a festive appetizer board

Mozzarella Sticks with Chipotle Mayo Spread

Mozzarella Sticks with Chipotle Mayo Spread

Coated in satisfyingly crispy herbed breading and filled with oozing cheese, our Mozzarella Sticks are a popular choice for entertaining. Pair them with savoury Chipotle Mayo Spread for a hint of warming spice.

Chicken Strips and Plum Sauce

Chicken Strips with Plum Dipping Sauce

Our Chicken Strips are tender and juicy on their own, but they taste even more decadent when dunked in sweet Plum Dipping Sauce. Seasoned with hints of lemon and garlic, it’s a subtly gourmet take on the classic nugget dip.

Jumbo Coconut Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

Jumbo Coconut Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

We give classic shrimp cocktail a tropical twist with a delicious, toasted coconut and crunchy breadcrumb coating. Traditional Cocktail Sauce adds a mild horseradish zing — a surprising (and pleasant) counterpoint to the sweet coconut.

Fried Battered Pickles with Buttermilk Dill Dipping Sauce

Fried Battered Pickles with Buttermilk Dill Dipping Sauce

Compliment the zesty, acidic crunch of Fried Battered Pickles with creamy Buttermilk Dill Dipping Sauce (which does double duty as a dip for Chicken Strips, too.)

Chicken Spring Rolls and Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls with Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

Chicken Spring Rolls and Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls with Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

Covered in a flaky wrap and stuffed with shredded cabbage, water chestnuts and veggies, our Chicken Spring Rolls and Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls irresistible. Serve them together and you’ve got nibbles for veggies and meat eaters alike. Pair both versions with pineapple-sweetened Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce for a nostalgic combo that’s always in style.

What to drink with your appetizers

A good app-cuterie spread can be surprisingly filling, so consider pairing it with celebratory beverages on the lighter side of the flavour spectrum: sparkling lemonade, prosecco or light lager. Or try bitter or sweetly-flavoured aperitifs — drinks traditionally served before a meal — to cut through the rich flavours. An Aperol spritz, Negroni or soda water splashed with bitters are good options. Seeking something simpler? Flavoured bubbly water is a hit with kids and grownups alike.

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