Appetizers, Hors D'Oeuvre and Snacks

Course | Appetizers Image

Appetizers and hors d'oeuvre are the enticing entrance to a full meal. They pique the appetite without satisfying it and encourage easy conversation among gathered guests. Appetizers can be plated or passed, but they are most often finger food, easy to eat while standing and never overly messy in the hands.

Image Creative Commons by Special*Dark

Appetizers are mini meals that go by different names around the world. Spaniards have tapas, delicious bar food with a deep history. The Italians throw together antipasti platters with elegant simplicity. Hunger pangs in the eastern Mediterranean are calmed with meze and a beverage. Cantonese diners pick out an entire meal from dim sum carts. And the spicy chaat of India are some of the most flavorful snacks in the world.

Appetizer Recipes

Akkra

Appetizers | Akkra Image

(Senegalese black-eyed pea fritters)

These bean fritters originated in Western Africa, but with the slave trade they spread to the Caribbean and Brazil. Crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle, they are variously known as akra, acra, accra, acrat and acarajé. Read more »

Alcapurrias

Appetizers | Alcapurrias Image

(Puerto Rican stuffed fritters)

Say the word "alcapurrias," and most Puerto Ricans think "beach food." These scrumptious fritters are usually made with a batter of taro (yautía) and green bananas (guineos verdes), and are stuffed with either a meat (pino) filling or with crab, shrimp or lobster. Sold by vendors on the beach, they make a great snack for hungry stomachs after a long day in the sun. Read more »

Angels on Horseback

Appetizers | Angels on Horseback

(English bacon-wrapped oysters appetizer)

Angels on horseback were a favorite British Victorian after-dinner nibble. The name apparently comes from the way the curled bacon looks like angels wings. I don't know about that, but the popularity of these delightful appetizers flew across the Pond around the turn of the 20th century, and they are still popular at weddings and celebrations in the American Northeast. Read more »

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush Image

(Middle Eastern eggplant dip)

Baba ghanoush is a very popular appetizer and dip in the Middle East. Its smoky, rich flavor of the eggplant goes well with wedges of pita bread or with raw vegetables. Try using it as a sandwich spread or rolled up in wraps. Read more »

Baleadas

Appetizers | Baleadas

(Honduran flour tortillas with beans and cheese)

A quick and satisfying breakfast or evening meal, baleadas are thick flour tortillas folded over a variety of fillings. The most common filling for baleadas is a simple mix of beans, cheese and the Honduran-style sour cream known as mantequilla. Read more »

Banh Xeo

Appetizers | Banh Xeo Image

(Vietnamese filled crepe)

Banh xeo ("bahn SAY-oh") is a popular street snack in Vietnam, especially the south. The name means "sound crepe," and it indicates the sound the batter makes when it hits the hot skillet. The shrimp-studded crepe is rolled up in a leaf of lettuce and dipped in a flavorful lime-scented sauce before it gets popped in your mouth. Read more »

Bao

Appetizers | Tsen Bao Image

(Chinese steamed, filled buns)

Bao, also known as baozi, are pillowy, soft buns that are either steamed or baked. They come with a variety of fillings and are a common item in dim sum shops. Bao are a favorite breakfast or mid-morning snack. Read more »

Bichak

Appetizers | Bichak

(Afghani stuffed savory and sweet pastries)

These triangular baked pastries come in both sweet and savory versions and are perfect as appetizers or with a cup of tea. The main recipe here is for meat (gosht) bichak, but try the pumpkin, cheese or jam versions too. Read more »

Bruschetta alla Romana

Appetizers | Bruschetta Image

(Italian grilled bread with tomatoes)

Bruschetta, at its most basic, is bread that is grilled and then rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil. Topping these tasty toasts with fresh tomatoes makes a popular Roman antipasto, just perfect for the dog days of late summer. Read more »

Buffalo Wings

Appetizers | Buffalo Wings

(American chicken wings in spicy sauce)

A classic bar food, Buffalo wings came to us from Teresa Bellissimo, owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. Chicken wings are deep fried and tossed with a spicy, vinegary butter and hot pepper sauce. Read more »

Buñuelos de Queso

Ingredients | Grated Cheddar Cheese

(Puerto Rican cheese fritters)

These small cheese fritters are an excellent and easy side dish for a Puerto Rican meal. Read more »

Cachapas

Breads | Cachapas

(Venezuelan fresh corn pancakes)

Cachapas are rib-sticking pancakes made with fresh corn. They are sold as road-side snacks in Venezuela, wrapped around queso fresco, mozzarella, chopped ham, chorizo or spread with butter, cream cheese or sour cream. Cachapas are a great, gluten-free option for people who can't tolerate pancakes made with wheat flour. Read more »

Cancha

Appetizers | Cancha Image

(Ecuadorian, Peruvian toasted corn snack)

Cancha, a popular snack in Peru and Ecuador, is made with a special type of large-kerneled corn called maíz chulpe or maíz cancha chulpe. The dried kernels are tossed with oil and toasted in a hot skillet until they are browned and puffed. A simple sprinkling of salt and the cancha is ready to eat. Cancha is often served with ceviche or a cold beer. Read more »

Conch Fritters

Ingredients | Conch Shell

(Caribbean deep-fried conch snacks)

The conch, pronounced "conk," is a large sea snail whose flavorful meat is a favorite of Caribbean Islanders. Conch is made into delicious soups, salads and these tasty fritters. Conch meat can be tough, so it's important to chop it very finely. The meat may be hard to find outside the Caribbean, but you can sometimes find it canned. For a good substitute, use chopped canned or fresh clams. Read more »

Coxinhas

Appetizers | Coxinhas

(Brazilian deep-fried chicken croquettes)

These little drumstick-shaped treats are a favorite snack in Brazil. Shredded chicken and cheese are encased in a flavorful dough and the coxinhas are then deep fried to a crispy, crunchy golden-brown. The word coxinhas is Portuguese for "little thighs," a reference to their shape. Read more »

Dolmathes

Appetizers | Dolmathes

(Greek grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat)

The Greek word dolmathes, or dolmades (ντολμαδες) comes from Turkish dolma, which is a general term for stuffed vegetables. Greek dolmathes, often known simply as dolmas in English, are stuffed grape leaves. This fresh and healthy finger food is also popular in Turkey, the Middle East and the Balkans. Read more »

Domatokeftedes

Ingredients | Tomatoes

(Greek tomato fritters)

This recipe for simple fritters from Santorini is a great way to use up garden tomatoes in late summer. The herbs add amazing flavor and highlight the fresh, late summer ingredients. Use only fresh tomatoes, not canned. Read more »

Empanadas

Meats | Empanadas Image

(Latin savory stuffed pastries)

Empanadas are meat pies popular throughout the Latin world. They probably originated in Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain. Spanish settlers introduced empanadas to the New World, and they are a special favorite in Chile and Argentina. The variety of fillings for empanadas is endless and includes stewlike mixtures chicken, beef, ham and cheese, fish and seafood. Other fillings include spinach, peas, potatoes, pumpkin and beans. Read more »

Falafel

Sides | Falafel Image

(Middle Eastern fried chickpea patties)

Falafel is the original veggie burger and is a common dish throughout the Middle East. It is found in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and is especially popular with Palestinians. In Egypt it is known as tamiyah or taamiyah. Israelis sometimes call it the "national food of Israel." Read more »

Gamberetti all'Agro

Fish | Gamberetti all'Agro

(Italian lemon-marinated shrimp)

Gamberetti all'agro is a simple antipasto is popular all along the Italian coast. The simple flavors of the poached shrimp mingled with citrusy juice make a perfect finger food for a summer's evening get-together. Read more »

Gefüllte Eier

Appetizers | Deviled, Stuffed Eggs

(German deviled, stuffed eggs appetizer)

Stuffed eggs are easy to throw together, and they make great finger food at family get-togethers, parties and celebrations. You can make them up ahead, giving you plenty of time to tend to other duties. They also make a simple yet elegant supper or brunch when paired with a side salad. Gefüllte Eier are also a tasty way to use up leftover Easter eggs. Read more »

Gravlax

Fish | Gravlax

(Swedish cured salmon)

Gravlax--also spelled gravlaks, gravadlax, or gravadlaks — is a classic Swedish way to preserve salmon. It is often served as part of the first course of a smörgåsbord. Gravlax is delicious on a slice of rye bread with a bit of hovmästarsås or a squeeze of lemon. Read more »

Guacamole

Sauces | Guacamole Image

(Mexican avocado sauce)

Guacamole is a popular condiment made of mashed and seasoned avocados. Guacamole originated in Mexico, but it is enjoyed throughout Central America, as well as in the American Southwest and in Tex-Mex cuisine. The name comes from the Aztec words for avocado (ahuacatl) and sauce (molli). Read more »

Htipiti

Ingredients | Feta Cheese

(Greek feta and roasted red pepper spread)

A simple spread with loads of flavor, htipiti — also known as tirokafteri or kopanisti — is the perfect addition to a Mediterranean meze spread. The salty bite of feta cheese marries perfectly with the smoky sweetness of the roasted peppers and a touch of heat from hot pepper flakes. Read more »

Hummus bi Tahina

Appetizers | Hummus bi Tahina

(Middle Eastern chickpea and sesame dip)

Hummus is popular appetizer, or meze, throughout the Middle East. Serve with grilled or toasted pita bread cut into wedges. Or use as a sandwich or wrap spread. Read more »