gorgonzola grapes on a tray

Canapé Recipes that Will Impress Your Guests

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Who doesn’t love little party food? Here are some fancy canapé recipes that will definitely impress your party guests. We love a little pass around appetizer tray. These recipes feature easy to eat party food – many of them are one or two-bite nibbles.

If you’re hosting a fancy cocktail party, wedding shower, holiday party, or Oscars party – you’ll want to serve substantial food that looks good, tastes great, and is easy to eat. We’re avoiding things like dips or anything that would require using a full plate. None of these canapés are cumbersome to eat.

These hors d’oeuvres can all be plated or they can be served pass around style on trays. And, we’re only sharing the chicest of recipes – no old school shrimp cocktail here!

Delicious Canapé Recipes for Parties

What’s the difference between canapés and appetizers?

The difference between canapés (or hors d’oeuvres) is that appetizers are usually the first course of a meal and canapés are a small one or two-bite item that’s often passed around on trays or served at a standing reception. You can thing of canapés more as finger food – you don’t want to serve small bites that require large plates or is cumbersome to eat.

Canapés and hors d’oeuvres are largely the same, although you can think of an hors d’oeuvres of a slightly more substantial canapé. Hors d’oeuvres might have a dressing or an extra layer of sauce.

How many canapés should you have per person?

If you are hosting a standing cocktail party or a reception where only canapés will be served, you’ll want at least 8 to 10 savory items per person, and 2 to 3 sweet items per person. This is assuming no other food will be served.

If you’re having a cocktail hour and then a dinner party, you’ll only need 2 to 4 items per person.

How to serve canapés?

Pass around canapés served by wait staff is obviously so elegant, but if you’re just doing a smaller dinner party or hosting a shower, you can plate each item on a large serving tray. Multi-tiered trays look great with one type of canapé per tier. We love this three-tier rectangle plate set – it looks very modern. If you want something a little more timeless, we recommend this three-tiered cake stand.

What are the best dishes for canapés?

If you want to have plates for your guests to use for their canapés, we recommend something small that can be held in one hand. Typically someone will also be holding a drink, so it’s ideally small enough that it can be set down easily on an end table as well. You could use a tapas plate or an appetizer plate for this.


What are your favorite canapé recipes? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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  1. This is a lovely collection of recipes and so informative too on how to serve canapes. They are fun, but over or under catering is my usual mistake in the past.

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