12 Indian Finger Foods That Are Surefire Party Hits

Spice up your next party with these tasty appetizers

Illustration featuring types of party-ready Indian-inspired finger foods

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

The next time you're looking for inspiration for hand-held party snacks, why not look toward Indian cuisine for inspiration?

The best party foods are those you can easily eat with your hands, and Indian cuisine offers an array of such choices. Take a break from the usual sliders, wings, and cheese and crackers, serve an array of sumptuous Indian snacks at your next get-together. From crispy filled pastries to grilled skewered chicken, there are plenty of easy-to-cook and easy-to-serve foods that your guests will enjoy. Who knows? Maybe they'll even make it into your permanent rotation alongside the tried-and-true favorites.

  • 01 of 12

    Kebabs

    North Indian Bihari Kabab recipe

    The Spruce / Chosen Posture

    Kebabs are a great party food as they are easy to make, offer a variety of recipes, and can be held in your hand as you eat. Indian cuisine has its fair share of flavorful kebabs, including Bihari kebab, a skewered beef recipe from Northern India, where the beef is marinated in a highly seasoned yogurt mixture for several hours, and then threaded and grilled.

    If you are looking for a chicken kebab, reshmi kebabs are a good choice, or for something vegetarian try a paneer kebab. Even better, create a mixed platter of all three and serve them with mint-coriander chutney.

  • 02 of 12

    Prawns Rawa Fry

    Prawns Rawa Fry

    Getty Images / BURCU ATALAY TANKUT

    Forget about popcorn or coconut shrimp and instead serve these spicy deep-fried prawns at your next party. By leaving the tails on, your guests will have the perfect "handle" to hold these succulent crispy large shrimp while enjoying with a bit of chutney. The shrimp are marinated in a mixture of ginger, garlic, green chilis, and lime juice; then the prawns are coated in a batter of eggs, semolina flour, and breadcrumbs before being deep-fried until golden brown.

  • 03 of 12

    Chicken Tikka

    Chicken tikka on skewers on a white plate

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    Chicken tikka is one of the most popular dishes in India and it involves marinating chicken pieces in special spices (coriander, garam masala, ginger paste) and yogurt to tenderize them, and then grilled on skewers. You can either make individual skewers or thread the chicken tikka onto large skewers and remove the chunks onto a platter for guests to pick up with toothpicks. Either way, this may be the most sought after app at the party.

  • 04 of 12

    Steamed Momos

    Steamed momos

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    This steamed wontons appetizer from the east Indian state of Sikkim can be filled with any minced meat of your choice; this recipe calls for pork, which is mixed with sautéed onion, garlic, soy sauce, and chile sauce. They can be steamed or pan-fried and are usually served with a fiery Sikkimese tomato chutney.

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  • 05 of 12

    Baida Roti

    Baida roti on a small plate
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    Pieces of roti or chapati (which are flatbread) are coated in egg, fried, and rolled up to make this tasty dish. You can also fill baida roti with anything you like, from paneer to spicy minced meat. To serve, cut a roll into bite-sized pieces, skewer each piece with a toothpick, and serve with a chutney of your choice.

  • 06 of 12

    Samosas

    Samosas on a rectangular white serving plate

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    For your next party, make mini samosas and serve with gunpowder chutney and a yogurt dipping sauce like minty yogurt dip. This popular Indian snack consists of crispy pastry filled with meat or mixed vegetables. In this vegetarian recipe, a homemade dough of flour and ghee are formed into cones and filled with potatoes and seasonings before being deep-fried.

  • 07 of 12

    Bhajias (Pakoras)

    Chicken Pakoras (bhajias) in a serving dish

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    Also known as pakoras, bhajias are little fritters that are the perfect quick party snack. You can make them with any vegetable you like, such as cauliflower or potato. Bengal gram flour and spices are mixed with water into a dough that coats the vegetables before frying them to a crisp, golden brown.

  • 08 of 12

    Vada Pav

    Vada Pav
    Vada Pav. Image © Kailash K Soni/ Dreamstime.com

    These potato patties (vada) in a bun (pav) are a terrific snack to serve your vegetarian guests, but no matter their diet, everyone will be gobbling up these little sandwiches. Mashed potato is seasoned with ginger and garlic pastes, green chilis, fried mustard seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric and formed into patties that are then coated in flour and deep-fried. Pav buns are dressed with chutney and filled with a crispy potato patty for a satisfying hand-held treat.

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  • 09 of 12

    Indian-Inspired Chips and Dips

    Buttered naan on a white plate

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    The varieties of crispy flatbreads—from chapati to naan bread—make the perfect vehicle for scooping up richly flavored dips such as baingan bharta (punjabi eggplant) and pyaaz ki (onion) chutney. Make a few of the dips and set out a selection for your guests to try.

  • 10 of 12

    Vegetable Pan Rolls

    Pan Rolls / Taquitos

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    Vegetable pan rolls may take time to make, but the result is well worth the effort. You will find that your guests (and you!) will have trouble eating just one! A pancake made from flour, eggs, milk, and water is filled with a mixture of potatoes, peas, and tomatoes, along with a variety of spices, rolled up and fried until golden brown. Delicious served either hot or room temperature with chutney on the side for dipping.

  • 11 of 12

    Khasta Kachori

    Kachori

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    Delicious khasta kachori is a popular snack in Northern and Central India. Khasta means "crispy" and that is exactly what these pastries are. A flour and ghee pastry is formed into a circle and filled with a seasoned lentil mixture; the dough is pinched into a purse and then deep-fried. Serve with chutney for dipping.

  • 12 of 12

    Galouti Kabob

    Kabab patty

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    In Indian cuisine, a kebab can refer to both grilled food on a skewer as well as a patty made of meat or vegetables that is grilled or pan-fried. Galouti kebab with lamb and papaya are the perfect finger food when made small enough to eat in a bite or two. Minced lamb is combined with flavorful spices and formed into a patty that is pan-fried in ghee.

    For a vegetarian version, try hara bhara kebab, patties made of potatoes, peas, spinach, and spices. Fry in oil, sprinkle with cashews, and serve with your favorite chutney.