36 Appetizers for Holiday Entertaining

Southern Starters Never Tasted So Good

Southern Appetizers
Jill Chen/Stocksy United

Although the South is not best known for its appetizers and finger foods, there are some noteworthy exceptions. For example, the Benedictine spread was created between 1893 and 1925 by Jennie Benedict, a caterer and restaurant hostess in Louisville, Kentucky. The cucumber-cream cheese spread is often tinted with green food coloring and served as a dip or on bread rounds. A fun and festive spread, especially for Christmas. 

Below, you'll find a long list of party food, including tortilla...MORE roll-ups, dips and spreads, meatballs, mushrooms, and so much more. So sit down and buckle up, because we are going to give you a crash course in some of our favorite Southern starters.

  • 01 of 36
    Pimiento Cheese Spread
    Diana Rattray

    Serve this delicious spread with pickles, olives and baguette slices. Or serve it with your favorite crackers or sturdy chips. The choice is yours. Either way, this starter is sure to delight.

  • 02 of 36
    Rotel Dip with Ground Beef
    Diana Rattray

    This dip is always a hit, and it's quite versatile. Ground beef is added to the cheese mixture along with tomatoes and onions. Add mushrooms, peppers or other ingredients if you'd like to dress this dip up further.

  • 03 of 36
    Bacon Wrapped Scallops Appetizer
    Iain Bagwell / Getty Images

    This impressive appetizer is super easy to prepare, and your guests will thank you! You might also like this bacon-wrapped shrimp.


  • 04 of 36
    Baked Spinach Balls
    Diana Rattray

    These baked spinach balls make an excellent appetizer for the vegetarians on your guest list. They're made with spinach, stuffing mix and Parmesan cheese.

    Many packaged stuffing crumbs include chicken broth, so be sure to check labels if you're making vegetarian spinach balls.

    Serve them with marinara sauce for dipping and enjoy!


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  • 05 of 36
    Diana Rattray

    A spicy peanut sauce flavors these baked chicken wings. Serve the chicken wings with a garnish of chopped peanuts and cilantro.

    If you like chicken wings, but are unsure about this spicy peanut sauce, we recommend checking out our list of 15 Chicken Wing Recipes and Dipping Sauces. We're confident you'll find a winner there!

  • 06 of 36
    pulled pork sliders
    Diana Rattray

    Make these sandwiches as big or as small as you like. If you make your own buns, you can control the size. Alternatively, you could use purchased slider buns or small dinner rolls. 


  • 07 of 36
    Bacon and Cheddar Puffs
    Diana Rattray

     These airy little cheese puffs are full of cheddar and bacon flavor.  Bake them for a party or family snack. They will be appreciated!


  • 08 of 36
    Basil Walnut Spread on Toast Rounds
    Diana Rattray

    This easy spread takes just a few minutes to make, and it is fantastic on toasted baguette slices or crackers. The spread is made with Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, fresh basil, walnuts, garlic and seasonings.


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  • 09 of 36
    tex mex taco sliders with beef and cheese
    Diana Rattray

    These Tex-Mex taco beef sliders are easy to prepare and assemble, and they're always popular with friends and family.


  • 10 of 36
    Tortilla pinwheels

    The Spruce


    Serve these easy tortilla roll-ups with your favorite salsa, guacamole, or Ranch dressing.

  • 11 of 36
    Clam Dip With Chips
    Diana Rattray

    This easy dip is made with canned minced clams, cream cheese and mayonnaise. You'll have a tasty, creamy dip in less than 10 minutes.


  • 12 of 36
    bacon wrapped hot dogs
    Diana Rattray

    Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are slow cooked to perfection with brown sugar. Use sliced hot dogs or mini wieners to create this hot-diggity-dog concoction.

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  • 13 of 36
    Diana Rattray

    Who doesn't love deviled eggs? This version is made with a combination of chopped dill pickle and some dried dill weed.

    If you love deviled eggs and want to check out some more sinfully delicious options, check out our top 7 Deviled Egg Recipes.

  • 14 of 36
    Macaroni and Cheese Croquettes with Sriracha Mayo
    Diana Rattray

    Serve these deep-fried delicacies with a spicy Sriracha mayo or aioli. They are amazing!

  • 15 of 36
    Party Ham Rolls
    Diana Rattray

    Everyone loves these little ham sliders, and they are a snap to prepare and bake.

  • 16 of 36
    Easy Bean Dip
    Diana Rattray

    Refried beans, cubed cheese and salsa are among the ingredients in this easy dip. Kick the heat up a notch with jalapeño peppers or some cayenne pepper.

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  • 17 of 36
    pizza crostini with pepperoni and cheese
    Diana Rattray

    All you need for this appetizer is a baguette, some chopped pizza toppings and cheese. Bake them until the cheese has melted and enjoy!

  • 18 of 36
    Cheese Ball with Crackers
    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    This tasty cheddar and cream cheese ball is rolled in chopped pecans. It's an excellent spread to serve with crackers.


  • 19 of 36
    Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
    Diana Rattray

    The stuffing for these mushrooms includes crab meat, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. 

  • 20 of 36
    Pepperoni Pizza Dip
    Diana Rattray

    This pizza dip is baked with all of your favorite topping items. There are lots of variations. We recommend making two batches: one for meat lovers and one for vegetarians.

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  • 21 of 36
    deep fried corn dogs with mustard
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    Use little smokies or cocktail wieners to make these snack-size corn dogs. 

  • 22 of 36
    Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese
    Heath Patterson / Getty Images

    These drumettes are baked to crispy perfection and then tossed with a spicy sauce. This is a recipe you'll make again and again.

  • 23 of 36
    Spinach, Bacon, and Fontina Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
    Diana Rattray

    Melted fontina cheese throughout the simple fresh spinach and bacon filling makes these stuffed mushrooms as delicious as they are easy. 

  • 24 of 36
    Meatball appetizers

    The Spruce

    Jazz up your favorite frozen meatballs with this easy currant jelly barbecue sauce. 

    If you are looking for some more meatball recipes that you could use to spruce up your holiday appetizer menus, we recommend taking a peek at 12 of Our Favorite Meatball Recipes

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  • 25 of 36
    Cocktail franks in barbecue sauce in slow cooker
    Getty Images/Paul Poplis

    A homemade tangy sauce is cooked and served from the slow cooker. Supply toothpicks, napkins and plates.


  • 26 of 36
    Grape jelly meatballs

    The Spruce


    These meatballs are one of the South's favorite appetizers. Smothered in grape jelly, what's not to love!

  • 27 of 36
    potato skins
    Diana Rattray

    Crispy baked potato skins make a tasty appetizer. Serve them with Picante sauce or fresh salsa.


  • 28 of 36
    Quick and Easy Shrimp Dip
    Diana Rattray

    This easy shrimp dip takes just a few minutes to fix, and it is a delicious dip to serve with crackers, chips or vegetables. 

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  • 29 of 36
    Sugared Pecans
    Diana Rattray

    These sugared pecans are a nice break from all of the savory appetizers.

  • 30 of 36
    Marinated Roasted Bell Peppers
    Diana Rattray

    These peppers make a nice topping for French bread slices. They're great for burgers or a sandwich tray as well.

  • 31 of 36
    cajun spicy wings
    Diana Rattray

    For those of you who are looking for a creole-style starter, we recommend making these spicy cajun-style wings. Feel free to make these chicken wings as spicy as you like.

  • 32 of 36
    Cheese Straws
    Ian O'Leary/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    A generous amount of sharp cheddar cheese and a dash of cayenne flavors these Southern cheese straws.

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  • 33 of 36
    Cheese Dip
    Diana Rattray

    Cheddar cheese, cream cheese and salsa get together in this tasty dip. Serve it with chips or crackers.


  • 34 of 36
    Crescent Roll Hot Dogs "Pigs in a Blanket"
    Diana Rattray

    Bake these yummy snacks for a holiday or game day gathering. Kids love them!

  • 35 of 36
    Stuffed Mushrooms With Clams
    Diana Rattray

    MInced clams with garlic and bread crumbs make a simple yet tasty stuffing for these mushroom caps.

  • 36 of 36
    Southern Deviled Eggs
    Diana Rattray

    Sweet pickle relish is the key ingredient in these fabulous Southern deviled eggs.