Posted: 16 November 2017
Some people love to spend hours planning a dinner party menu; others are content to order a pizza or grab a bucket of chicken for when the gang comes over.
If you fall somewhere in between, check out our suggestions for easy, delicious dinner party starters that will set the tone for a successful social event!
1. Chicken Satay Skewers
Tender, seasoned chicken and spicy, creamy, sweet peanut sauce? This is one of those dinner party starters with near-universal appeal. Although you can certainly make your own Thai-style marinade and peanut dipping sauce, no one will notice if you substitute premade versions.
The only other things you’ll need are a package of chicken tenders and some bamboo skewers. By assembling these early in the day, you’ll save yourself time — and the marinade means they’ll be extra tender.
2. Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Bites
This starter can also be made ahead of time, and since these bites are easy to eat, they’re perfect to serve while guests are enjoying cocktails before sitting down at the table.
You’ll need an English cucumber, a package of smoked salmon, some cream cheese or herbed cheese spread, and fresh dill. To assemble, slice the cucumber into 1/4 inch slices. Top each slice with a schmear of the cheese spread, a small portion of salmon, and a sprig of dill.
Not a fan of dill? Use parsley or minced chives instead. Arranged on a large platter with some lemon wedges, these are truly elegant (but easy) dinner party starters.
3. King Crab Legs
Want to really impress your dinner party guests? Serve them king crab legs!
Crab legs are simple to prepare — all you need to do is boil or steam them for about 8-10 minutes, and serve with a small ramekin of melted garlic butter. Since king crab legs are so large, you’ll only need one or two legs per guest.
However, if your guests are staying for the weekend, why not make extra crab and use the leftover meat for a fabulous next-day brunch? Crab eggs Benedict is the perfect way to keep the celebration going!
4. A Sophisticated Salad
If you’re serving a rich, heavy meal, you want dinner party starters that are light but full of flavor. A salad of baby greens can be turned into an elegant first course with the addition of just a few ingredients.
Roasted beets or butternut squash add sweetness, while toasted nuts (think walnuts or pecans) provide a textural element. Blue cheese lends a tangy note, and a vinaigrette made with fruit makes the salad sing.
Don’t forget to use a variety of greens. Baby arugula, frisee, baby spinach, and baby endive will all bring unique flavors, as well as visual interest, to this salad.
5. Baked Brie
There aren’t many dinner party starters that people rave about as much as baked brie. After all, who can resist ooey gooey cheese and flaky puff pastry?
Depending on the formality of your party, you can bake one prebought wheel of brie, or portion the cheese into individual puff-pastry or phyllo cups. Either way, serve a spiced fruit-and-nut spread and plenty of crackers or French-bread toasts to ensure that every bite of brie is as delicious as possible.
Let the Festivities Begin With These Dinner Party Starters
Now that you have your dinner party starters all sorted, it’s time to turn down the lights, pour some wine, and get ready to cement your reputation as the “hostess with the mostest!”
What’s your go-to appetizer or first course? Let us know in the comments!