11 Perfect Cocktail Party Appetizers for any Occasion

April 14, 2024 by Helena Lombard

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If you’re planning a cocktail party and looking for some snack satisfaction, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to ‘The Mixer’s cocktail party appetizers kitchen!’ If you thought that was a mouthful, wait until your taste our delicious appetizers! We give you two of our favorite recipes to get you started, loads of other mouth-watering cocktail party appetizer ideas, and the cocktails to pair them with.  

 So, pour yourself a drink, put on your apron, and let’s get cooking! 

1.  Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

Close-up of bacon-wrapped Jalapeño appetizer

Yields: 24 Bacon Jalapeño Popper halves
Serve with: Classic Lime Margarita
Top tip: Turn these into vegetarian versions by keeping them bacon-free!

Salty, cheesy, creamy, and spicy! There’s a lot to love about these easy cocktail party appetizers. One word of advice? You’ll be working with hot chili so do not touch your eyes (or any other body parts) while prepping these. It won’t end well! 


  • 1 ½ cups cream cheese 
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella  
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 large pinch of coarse salt  
  • 1 large pinch of cracked black pepper 
  • 24 rashers of streaky bacon 
  • 12 large jalapeños, sliced in half—lengthways 


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F 
  2. Remove any seeds from halved jalapeños and set aside 
  3. Mix together the cream cheese, mozzarella, garlic and seasoning. 
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop the cream cheese mixture into each jalapeño half. 
  5. Wrap each half in a rasher of streaky bacon and secure with a toothpick. 
  6. Arrange the poppers onto a greased baking tray 
  7. Pop into the oven and bake for around 25 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the cheese has melted. 
  8. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then serve! 

You might also like: How to Pair Cocktails with Spicy Food 

2. Crispy Fried Calamari

Crispy fried calamari rings on parchment paper

Yields: 12 portions
Serve with: Moscow Mule
Top Tip: Serve your crispy fried calamari in paper cones and cocktail forks for easy eating!

Crispy fried calamari are hearty appetizers for a cocktail party that everyone will love. The best part? You can pull it with just a few inexpensive ingredients that are probably lurking in your pantry. This is our favorite recipe, but feel free to play around and use different herbs and spices. Make sure you soak the squid in buttermilk or whole milk for perfectly tender calamari.  


  • 70 Oz cleaned calamari rings 
  • 32 Oz bottle of buttermilk  
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 5 Oz cornmeal  
  • 1 Tbsp paprika 
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano 
  • 2 Tbsp coarse salt  
  • 2 Tbsp cracked black pepper 
  • Vegetable oil for frying 
  • Aioli for dipping 
  • Lemon wedges 


  1. Place calamari rings in a large bowl, cover with buttermilk and leave to soak for 20 minutes 
  2. Add flour, seasoning spices and herbs to a bowl and set aside 
  3. Add vegetable oil to a large skillet and let it heat up  
  4. Take a large handful of the calamari letting the excess buttermilk drip back down into the bowl, then toss it in the prepared flour until evenly coated. 
  5. Carefully place the first batch in the hot oil and fry for about 3 minutes until golden and crispy 
  6. Remove the fried calamari with a slotted spoon, and place it on paper towel to dry  
  7. Pop into the oven to keep warm while you fry the rest, batch by batch 
  8. To serve, sprinkle with salt, scoop into paper cones, add a cocktail fork and serve with lemon wedges and aioli on the side 

3. Arancini

Golden Arancini on parchment paper

These famous fried Italian risotto balls are cheesy, crispy and super easy to make at home. To make these, you’ll combine cooked Arborio rice with butter, eggs, mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan, fresh parsley and seasoning. Once mixed, roll them into bite-size balls and coat them in seasoned flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Fry them in batches until golden and heated through. Serve on a platter on top of a rich tomato marinara sauce. Because Arancini is a classic Italian dish, we suggest pairing it with an equally classic Aperol Spritz. 

4. Clams Casino

Clams Casino with lemon wedges

Clams Casino are elegant appetizers for a cocktail party and a great choice if you’re hosting something a little more formal. These scrumptious clams are served on a half-shell, topped with crispy bacon bits, diced green pepper, minced garlic, breadcrumbs and parmesan and baked in the oven for about 5 minutes. These epic seafood cocktail party appetizers are a firm favorite in Rhode Island so if you’re ever there, do yourself a favor and order them off the menu! Clams Casino can be prepped a day ahead of your event, so go ahead and do that for a fuss-free evening with friends. Oh, and while we’re busy telling you what to do, we suggest you serve your clams with a zesty and sweet gin and honey Bee’s Knees cocktail.  

You might also like: A Guide to Choosing the Best Cocktail Party Attire & Cocktails to Match 

5. Cocktail Meatballs

Cocktail Meatballs

If you can serve it on a stick, it totally counts as cocktail party appetizers—and these meatballs are a classic choice. We suggest you remember this golden rule of appetizer etiquette before tucking in. Cocktail meatballs are served with a dipping sauce, and while it’s tempting to do, never double dip your meatball! Don’t say we didn’t warn you! 

When it comes to the type of meatballs you can make, you’ll be spoilt for choice. You can create beef ones served with a tomato dipping sauce, spicy chicken ones with salsa on the side or vegetarian versions with a zesty garlic mayo for a delicious twist. Serve your meatballs with Gin Bramble cocktails on the side for the ultimate appetizer experience.  

6. Pigs in a Blanket

Pigs in a Blanket with tomato dipping sauce

What’s not to love about these fancy-looking mini hot dogs? Making Pigs in a Blanket is quick and easy, and they always please the crowd. Simply wrap cocktail wieners in puff pastry, brush with melted butter, sprinkle over coarse salt and bake them in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes. Serve with a tomato and sweet chilli dipping sauce and some spicy Mexican Mule cocktails to wash them down.  

7. Bruschetta

Fresh tomato Bruschetta

Just because it’s simple to make, doesn’t mean these tiny toasts won’t be delicious! Bruschetta is so much more than just toast with tomato. These super easy cocktail party appetizers are packed with delicious flavor and is a great choice for a warm evening. This classic appetizer looks and tastes like summer, so it makes sense serving it with a refreshing cocktail like a Hugo Spritz 

8. Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms with chili and parsley

Whoever said that life’s too short to stuff a mushroom definitely had the wrong recipe! Making these delicious ‘fun-guys’ couldn’t be easier. All you’ll need are large portobello mushrooms, which you’ll stuff with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, herbs and parmesan and then top with breadcrumbs. The stuffed mushrooms are baked in the oven until the cheese has melted and breadcrumbs are crispy. To complement the earthy taste of the mushrooms we suggest serving a zesty Sidecar cocktail.   

9. Shrimp Toast

Crispy shrimp toast topped with toasted sunflower seeds

This is fusion food at its best, and simply delicious. To make Shrimp Toast, you’ll whip up a shrimp paste mixture with tons of ingredients including fresh ginger, garlic, chopped shrimp, cilantro, water chestnuts, soy sauce and sesame oil. Once you’ve made your paste, spread it over sliced bread cut into triangles. Fry the bread slices in a hot pan until golden and crispy, and served with a sweet chilli sauce for dipping. These Shrimp Toasts will be a hit—especially if you pair them up with classic Gin Martinis. Yummy toasty perfection!  

10. Deviled Eggs

Top view of deviled eggs with radish and paprika

Deviled eggs were a hit in the 60s, 70s and 80s, and they’re still a cocktail party staple today! To make them, hard-boil about a dozen eggs. Take them out the shell, and slice them lengthways. Remove the egg yolks and put it in a bowl, along with mayo, mustard, seasoning and chopped chives. Combine into a paste-like consistency and then scoop the yolk filling back into the halved eggs. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with paprika. 

These classic cocktail party appetizers are easy to make ahead of time, leaving you with more time to focus on the really important task of mixing up some fab cocktails. Which, by the way, should be a Pisco Sour 

You might also like: Your Guide to Making Egg White Cocktails the Easy Way

11. Spinach-Artichoke Zucchini Bites

You should always keep your more health-conscious guests in mind when creating an appetizer menu. Spinach, Artichoke and Zucchini Bites are carb-free snacks filled with flavor. Simply top sliced Zucchini rounds with a mixture of cream cheese, chopped spinach and artichokes, sour cream, garlic and seasoning. Sprinkle over grated parmesan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then serve with any of our awesome low ABV cocktails 


The last thing you want is not enough food to feed the crowd. So, follow this rule: If you’re having a dinner party, stick to 6 appetizers per person, but if you're having a cocktail party, around 10-12 per person will do nicely.

There are loads of tried and tested appetizers to serve at your cocktail party. Some of the most popular dishes include pigs in a blanket, crispy calamari, chicken liver pâté and bruschetta.

You can either create an appetizer buffet, where guest can help themselves, or serve them straight to guests while they mingle around. The best way to serve appetizers is so that it can be held and eaten with ease.

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