Different Types of Appetizers

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Appetizers are small portions or bite-sized delicacies that are served before a meal. Appetizers can be eaten during cocktail hour or can serve as the only meal at a casual party or small gathering. There are a variety of types of appetizers that make for a delicious and filling treat.

Homemade mini pizzas on a wooden board
Homemade mini pizzas on a wooden board (Image: vertmedia/iStock/Getty Images)

Dips

Dips as an appetizer are served with chips, pieces of bread, or vegetables. Dips can be served hot or cold. Different types of dressings, cheeses, meats, chicken, or vegetables can be featured within or served next to the dip. Dips commonly used as appetizers at parties include spinach and artichoke dip, taco dip, pizza dip, buffalo chicken dip, bean dip, and salsa.

Spinach and artichoke hummas with toasted mini bagel slices
Spinach and artichoke hummas with toasted mini bagel slices (Image: Mark Stout/iStock/Getty Images)

Vegetable and Fruit Trays

Vegetable and fruit tray appetizers are often featured at parties and group gatherings. These trays feature a variety of vegetables and fruits arranged in an eye-pleasing fashion and are often accompanied by a dip or spread. Vegetable trays often include carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, tomatoes, and a host of other vegetables along with a ranch dressing or vegetable dip. Fruit trays offer strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon, pineapple, and other fruits paired with a sweet or yogurt based dip. Vegetable and fruit trays can allow guests to enjoy fresh and healthy appetizers.

Close-up of a vegetable plate with dip
Close-up of a vegetable plate with dip (Image: Elena Elisseeva/iStock/Getty Images)

Meal and Cheese Trays

Meat or cheese trays are another appetizer option and feature a variety of meats and cheeses for guests to choose from. Meat trays offer cold cuts ranging from salami, pepperoni, ham, roast beef, and turkey. Cheese trays frequently include American, Swiss, cheddar, hot pepper, and sometimes exotic cheeses such as brie. Sandwich rolls are often included on meat and cheese trays so guests can make sandwiches, but the meats and cheeses can also be served alone as finger foods.

A cheese platter with a few grapes
A cheese platter with a few grapes (Image: adlifemarketing/iStock/Getty Images)

Hot Appetizers

Hot appetizers are served warm and are often bite-sized. These appetizers can be either finger foods and snack type foods or small portions of main course dishes, such as miniature sandwiches. Popular hot appetizers include chicken wings, mini quiches, mini tacos, meatballs, nachos, onion rings, and potato skins. Hot appetizers can also include some dips and even gourmet offerings, such as cheese fondue.

A plate of mini quiches
A plate of mini quiches (Image: Elena Elisseeva/Hemera/Getty Images)

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