15 Party-Perfect Chinese Appetizers

Chicken wings with Hoisin sauce in a roasting dish
Ian Garlick / Getty Images

Put down the takeout menu and pick up your kitchen implements! Chinese appetizers are even better when made at home than ordered from your favorite restaurant, and you'll have the added satisfaction of telling your guests you made them yourselves. From egg rolls to dumplings to lettuce wraps, Chinese-inspired starters are the perfect party food, even if your party isn't strictly Asian themed.

Some of these recipes are considered Asian-fusion fare, while others are traditionally Chinese. Feel free to put your own spin on them once you master the techniques to suit your audience.

  • 01 of 15

    Healthier Baked Egg Rolls

    Home cooked baked crisp pork and Asian vegetable egg roll served with sauces
    Jacqueline Alpers/Taxi/Getty Images

    Egg rolls are always popular when ordering Chinese takeout, but you don't have to fire up a pot of hot oil to make them. This easy baked recipe uses ground chicken and foregoes the oil, for a lighter version. When assembling egg rolls for a party that requires eating while standing, roll each one small enough to hold and eat in about two bites. For a different flavor, try stuffing them with marinated pork, mushrooms, water chestnuts, cabbage, and bean sprouts.

  • 02 of 15

    Chinese-Style Spareribs

    Grilled spare-ribs with rosemary

    Ian Garlick/Getty Images

    Spareribs are often part of a pu pu platter — a selection of Chinese appetizers. There's a range of flavors that can be used, and they're all delicious. Some enjoy the flavors of honey and garlic, others go for a spicier presentation, and still others use black bean and oyster sauce. This hoisin version is relatively simple and wallet-friendly. This recipe will serve 4-6 people as a meal portion, or about double that as an appetizer.

  • 03 of 15

    Chinese Pork Potstickers

    Potstickers on a bamboo plate

     YinYang/E+/Getty Images

    These popular dumplings, steamed on one side and pan-fried on the other, are very easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. Choose a basic pork recipe for the same flavor you've enjoyed before. This version also includes instructions for making the dough, but you can buy pre-made wrappers too, if you prefer. They're delicious served with soy sauce and ginger, hot chili oil or dumpling dipping sauce.

  • 04 of 15

    Traditional Crab Rangoon

    Crab Rangoon
    Dave Scantland

    Crab rangoon, also called crab puffs, are an American-Chinese invention featuring a crispy fried wrapper and a creamy crab and cheese interior. Instead of rolling into a log or pinching into a half moon, crab rangoon are formed into triangles or flower shapes before frying, which makes them especially pretty on your appetizer platter. Dip them in a little soy or hoisin sauce for extra zing.

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  • 05 of 15

    Chinese Chicken Wings

    Chicken wings with Hoisin sauce in a roasting dish
    Ian Garlick / Getty Images

    No matter the flavor, you just can't go wrong with chicken wings. The Chinese-inspired kind have become popular to serve in place of the spicy Buffalo version— these have the same addictive crispy exterior but are coated in Asian-inspired flavors. With a garlic, hoisin, and honey marinade, these are bound to get people licking their fingers.

  • 06 of 15

    Vegetable Spring Rolls

    Egg rolls
    FooDFactory/Getty Images

    Spring rolls are an excellent choice for a party, since they can be eaten with your fingers and don't make a mess. If you're looking for a vegetarian or even vegan option for your guests, these veggie spring rolls will satisfy everyone. Make sure to chop the vegetables finely and mix well, to ensure they cook through.

  • 07 of 15

    Asian Lettuce Wraps

    Chinese lettuce chicken wraps
    Jen Voo Photography / Getty Images

    Just because you're watching what you eat doesn't mean you can't enjoy a fun finger-food at the party. Diet-friendly lettuce rolls don't skimp on the flavor. The chicken and vegetables are stir-fried in an oyster-flavored sauce before being wrapped in iceberg lettuce. If you have leftover chicken in the fridge, this recipe comes together even quicker; just add the chicken towards the end of stir-frying to blend the flavors.

  • 08 of 15

    Fried Shrimp Toast

    Shrimp toast

     goodiesfirst/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    A popular dim sum appetizer, shrimp toast lives on Chinese restaurant menus all over the country for good reason. It does require a few steps, but enjoying crisp, savory shrimp toast at your party is well worth it. Don't skip the lard; it gives the toast a crunchy, airy texture just like at the restaurant. If you'd rather not deep-fry them, this recipe also includes a baked option.

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  • 09 of 15

    Tiger Bites Pig Bao

    Tiger bites pig gao bao recipe and step-by-step photo-1
    Liv Wan

    This delicious, popular Taiwanese snack is called "tiger bites pig" because the piece of succulent pork belly stuffed inside a fluffy bao bun looks like a tiger chewing on a piece of bacon. All the ingredients can be found at a well-stocked supermarket, and these tasty little finger sandwiches will definitely impress your guests.

  • 10 of 15

    DIY Steamed Pork Buns

    Char Siew Bao (roast pork steamed bun)

     Carlina Teteris/Moment/Getty Images

    There's simply nothing like that feeling when the top comes off the steamer basket at a dim sum restaurant, revealing pillowy, meaty steamed buns inside. Replicate that joy at home with homemade char siu bao, or pork buns. The slightly sweet umami meat complements the fluffy bun perfectly, and they'll definitely elevate your get-together.

  • 11 of 15

    Fried Shrimp Balls

    Chinese Shrimp Balls
    Gary Stevens/Flickr/CC

    These delicious shrimp balls include water chestnuts for a little extra crunch, and taste great with sweet and sour sauce, cocktail sauce, or Chinese spicy mustard. You can also make them gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce and cornstarch in the recipe.

  • 12 of 15

    Lotus Leaf Wraps

    Lo Mai Gai
    MielPhotos2008 / Getty Images

    Pretend you're running your own dim sum restaurant with these sausage-filled lotus wraps. Give yourself a couple of hours to soak the lotus wraps ahead of time, so they're easier to fold. The black mushrooms also need about half an hour to soften, and the chicken can marinate during that time as well. It takes some work to make these at home, but the results are delectable.

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  • 13 of 15

    Chinese Soup with Tofu

    Spinach and Tofu Soup

    When you need a starter for a sit-down party, a warm clear-broth soup is just the thing. Cubes of tofu, healthy spinach, and hearty mushrooms will be the perfect kickoff to your meal. Use Chinese soup spoons — available online or at your local Asian market — for authentic flare.

  • 14 of 15

    Chicken Satay and Chinese Vegetables

    Delicious Chicken Satay Recipe
    Delicious Chicken Satay Recipe. Chris Radley

    Food on a stick is just as much fun for adults as it is for kids, but this chicken satay with pickled vegetables tastes all grown up. If you can't find Chinese white sesame paste for the marinade, tahini or even smooth peanut butter will work just as well.

  • 15 of 15

    Baked Chicken Wonton

    Chicken and Scallion Wontons
    Chicken and Scallion Wontons. Credit: James Baigrie/Getty Images

    The great thing about wontons is that you can fill them with pretty much anything your heart desires. These baked chicken wontons will surprise guests who are expecting pork, and make a nice contrast if you're also serving pork buns and crab rangoon.