30 easy make ahead Christmas Appetizer Recipes that will impress your guests! These easy recipes are simple, beautiful and always crowd pleasers!

There’s nothing fun about working away in the kitchen while all your guests arrive. These make-ahead appetizer recipes allow you to prep in advance, creating an effortless entertaining spread that everyone will love!

Enjoy 30 festive and delectable Christmas appetizers perfect for the holidays.
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My years in catering taught me that anything that can be prepped in advance is ideal for entertaining. Honestly, I still live by this motto today! If it can be prepared ahead, it’s often more likely to be a part of my holiday menu.

That’s because when guests are arriving, the last thing I want is to get stuck in the kitchen working away at the last minute. First and foremost, I want things to be stress free.

Even if your traditional Christmas entrée requires some last minute baking, frying, slicing or dicing, your appetizers can surely be carefree. This round-up of my favorite make ahead appetizers for Christmas is one you’ll want to pin and save for later!

We’ve all been there, sweating and racing around the kitchen, worrying about our timeline. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Make your holiday celebrations so much easier this year with these make ahead Christmas appetizers.

Individual cheeseball bites, covered in dried cranberries with pretzel sticks sticking out of each on a white plate.

Make Ahead Appetizers for Christmas

Small finger foods are also known as Hors d’oeuvres, and I’ve been professing my love for them for years. There are some great traditional holiday hors d’oeuvres listed in this round-up, because some of my favorite Christmas finger foods can certainly be made ahead!

In addition, you’ll find plenty of options for sharing. There are dip recipes and cheese balls that can be prepped ahead, and thrown in the oven or finished with a small flourish as guests arrive.

In fact, there are fruit dips, veggie dips, and cheese dips both chilled and warm. Like I said, there will be something for everyone – and all of them are created with ease in mind. Delicious and oh-so-easy? Everybody wins!

If you love these recipe round-ups, don’t skip Easy Appetizers for a Crowd.

A pesto cheese ball topped with cherry tomatoes on a white plate.


  • Plan Ahead – Get organized a week or so in advance, if possible. This allows you to get your groceries ordered or take an efficient shopping trip!
  • Prep – Each of these 30 make ahead appetizers for Christmas can be made ahead, but some need to be warmed in the oven prior. Do all your chopping, mixing and creating in the 48 hours prior to your event. The more you accomplish ahead of time, the better you’ll feel on the day of your party!
  • Arrange Serveware Ahead I like to think ahead about which dishes, bowls and platters I’ll need for serving and get them lined up on our island or table. Of course, same goes for the bar area!

30 Make Ahead Christmas Appetizers

Marinated Cream Cheese

An elegant, easy appetizer drizzled with olive oil and marinated in herbs and spices for delightful flavor!

A white plate with a piece of fish in a sauce, perfect for Christmas starters.

Bacon Cheese Dip

Incredibly easy Bacon Cheese Dip that’s always a favorite for game day or get togethers! This creamy mix of bacon, cheddar, cream cheese and sour cream topped with green onion is irresistible!

This warm dip comes together quickly with simple ingredients and is low carb and keto friendly.

If you’re short on time, you can make this dip the day before by tossing all the ingredients together in a baker and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake and take.

bacon cheese dip surrounded by chips and crackers for a Christmas appetizer

Stuffed Mushrooms

These bacon and cream cheese Stuffed Mushrooms are an easy crowd pleasing appetizer made with just a few simple ingredients. This stuffed mushroom recipe is perfect for parties and perfectly poppable! You can’t stop at just one!

Make filling and stuff mushrooms. Then you’ll keep them covered for up to a day in the fridge and bake as directed before serving.

Bacon stuffed mushrooms on a white platter.

Homemade French Onion Dip

French Onion Dip is an easy crowd pleasing appetizer you can make in ahead in minutes! Caramelized onions are folded into a creamy dip for amazing flavor in every bite.

Make this dip as directed and let it cool to room temperature to make ahead. Keep it covered in the fridge. It will last well for 3 to 4 days.

dip bowl surrounded by chips

Reindeer Bacon Cheddar Cheeseball

This Bacon Ranch Cheddar Cheeseball is so cute and festive for the holidays! Shaped into a charming reindeer, this Christmas cheese ball will be the hit of your parties this year – a bacon cheese ball has never looked so cute!

A reindeer cheeseball Christmas appetizer

Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon

These bacon wrapped dates are stuffed with decadent cream cheese… it’s the ultimate combination of sweet and savory flavors. Textural, creamy and oh-so-delicious, you’re going to love this incredible appetizer!

To make ahead, follow the prep directions as noted. Refrigerate up to a day in advance, and bake as directed when ready to serve and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

A single stuffed date wrapped in bacon on a white plate, with a dish full of them in the background.

Cheese Ball Bites

Mini cheese ball bites are the ultimate easy appetizer to serve at parties! They are filling, savory and delicious… not to mention so easy to customize.

To make ahead, simply wrap tightly and add toppings and pretzel sticks just before serving.

Mini cheese ball bites covered in dried cranberries, with a pretzel stick in the center, resting on a white platter.

Pomegranate Christmas Cheese Ball

Why buy a boring store bought cheeseball when it’s so easy to make your own? This recipe is a savory Christmas cheese ball with a vibrant taste of sweet and sour pomegranate seeds.

This is delicious at room temperature but it can certainly be served cold right out of the fridge. Great either way, which is why it’s such a perfect make-ahead party food!

A pomegranate Christmas cheese ball shaped into an ornament, surrounded by crackers on a round white plate.

Marinated Chèvre Cheese

A Chèvre Cheese spread is one of the easiest appetizers you’ll ever make! With just 3 ingredients and 5 minutes hands on time you’ll have a Goat Cheese Spread that will have everyone talking!

White platter with a chevre goat cheese log, marinated in herbs andd oil.

Pesto Cheeseball

This Pesto Cheeseball wreath makes the most festive holiday Pesto Appetizer. Cream cheese, basil and cherry tomatoes create a Pesto Cheese flavor explosion!

Easy to make with just five ingredients, this gorgeous wreath will be the star of your Christmas party.

A plate with a wreath of crackers and tomatoes, perfect as Christmas appetizers.

Baked Artichoke Dip

This easy Baked Artichoke Dip Recipe is a hot artichoke dip with cream cheese and mayo that pairs well with beer bread, sourdough, veggies and more.

Refrigerate covered for up to five days. Before warming, allow to set out 20-30 minutes to prevent dish from breaking between refrigerator and oven.

dipping into artichoke dip in bread bowl

Cranberry Salsa

This sweet and spicy cranberry salsa is an incredible way to spice up your holidays! When you blend the tart juicy bite of fresh cranberries with fiery jalapeños, magic happens.

This salsa is the ultimate addition to your holiday appetizer spread – it’s one of the prettiest, most festive Christmas appetizers ever!

A block of cream cheese topped with cranberry salsa, surrounded by crackers for Christmas appetizers

Creamy Spinach Dip

This is such an amazing cream cheese spinach dip that is full of flavor! Perfect for pairing with tortilla chips, flatbread, veggies or crostini.

Perfect to prep ahead and throw in the oven right before guests arrive!

A white bowl full of spinach dip with cream cheese, gold spoon in the bowl and tortilla chips to the side.

Easy Pesto Dip

This pesto cheese dip is so easy and quick to make, it’s the perfect appetizer for the holidays, game days or general entertaining. You need just three ingredients for this simple recipe that’s perfect for a crowd.

Full of flavor, you can serve this as a hot dip or make it ahead of time.

Marble surface, single slice of crostini topped with pesto cheese dip and a cherry tomato, spreader on top.

Veggie Dip

The best veggie dip recipe that will have everyone begging for the recipe! This vegetable dip makes a large batch perfect for get-togethers!

This vegetable dip keeps well and is great to make ahead, refrigerated for up to five days in an airtight container.

A bowl of veggie dip surrounded by colorful veggies

Blue Cheese Dip

This Blue Cheese Dip Recipe is made with just 5 ingredients in less than 5 minutes. It’s the perfect addition to holiday get-togethers and more! It pairs well with chips, veggies and chicken wings.

Make this dip up to three days ahead of time, and always allow the flavors to marinate for at least 4-5 hours prior to serving.

dip on platter with chips

Little Smokies

Little Smokies are the easiest appetizer! They’re made with just three ingredients in minutes! This Little Smokies recipe is the perfect party food to serve a crowd.

To make ahead, wrap the weenies in the bacon and secure them with the toothpicks and place them in the pan and cover with brown sugar. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Bake and enjoy!

A white tray with bacon wrapped little smokies, each with a toothpick.

The Best Homemade Boursin Cheese Recipe

Homemade Boursin is a soft, creamy cheese blended with garlic and herbs – the most delicious herb cream cheese! This Boursin Cheese Recipe is so irresistible, you’ll want to dip on repeat.

Make ahead and store in an airtight container up to two weeks.

White bowl of herb cream cheese with crackers, and a hand spreading cheese onto a cracker. #homemadeboursin

Whipped Goat Cheese Spread

Goat Cheese Spread is an easy goat cheese appetizer made with whipped goat cheese, honey, herbs and fresh cracked pepper. It takes less than 5 minutes to make and is always a crowd pleaser!

Refrigerate for up to one week in an airtight container.

Whipped goat cheese with honey in a white bowl, on a platter of crostini for dipping.

Deviled Eggs

Get the secrets to make the best deviled eggs. These deviled eggs with relish make a great appetizer year round or you can dress them up for holidays.

Deviled eggs can be made up to two days in advance!

A white deviled egg platter featuring the world's best deviled egg recipe.

Peppermint Fruit Dip

This peppermint fruit dip is made with just 3 ingredients and only takes 5 minutes to make. An indulgent sweet dip that’s perfect to serve a crowd.

This peppermint dip is perfectly festive and made for the holidays, it’s such a great Christmas appetizer!

3 Ingredient Fruit Dip Recipe

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco, a recipe for a restaurant-style white queso dip without a lot of effort. This creamy, cheesy Queso Blanco is made on the stovetop (or in a CrockPot) with just four ingredients; white cheese, heavy cream, jalapeño and tomato!

Make ahead and allow to warm through in a crockpot.

tortilla chip dipped in queso blanco dip in a white bowl

Easy Pimento Cheese Recipe

This easy creamy pimento cheese recipe also makes a great dip or spread for crackers and veggies. 

Make ahead and refrigerate overnight for the very best flavor!

pimento cheese in a white bowl

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip is the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful fruit platter. It’s sweet, yet balanced and made with just three simple ingredients!

Store in an airtight container or in a bowl covered with saran wrap for up to five days refrigerated. It’s a great make ahead dip for entertaining!

A white ceramic tray full of cut fruit and a small white bowl of cream cheese marshmallow fruit dip.

Santa Fe Cheese Ball

This easy Santa Fe Cheese Ball recipe is a deliciously addicting last-minute appetizer recipe that’s always a crowd pleaser.

A spicy cheese ball on a white plate surrounded by crackers.

Frozen Grapes Marinated in Wine

These frozen grapes marinated in wine are the most refreshing adult treat you’re going to love! Light on calories and bursting with fresh flavor, this is a decadent dessert without the guilt.

Christmas cranberries in a white bowl on a marble table.

Santa’s Hat Cranberry Cheese Ball

Make it festive this holiday season with a delicious Cranberry Cheese Ball shaped like Santa’s hat! This is one of the most adorable Christmas appetizers ever – and it’s so easy to make!

Cheese balls are perfect for making ahead. Read all the details in my complete cheese ball guide.

A cranberry cheeseball in the shape of a Santa's hat, on a plate surrounded by crackers.

Sour Cream Dip

The best Sour Cream Dip that is delicious, mild in flavor and always a crowd pleaser. It’s the ultimate sour cream dip recipe for game day, summer get togethers and beyond!

Allow it to marinate for up to 24 hours for the best flavor, but it can be served immediately. It stores well for up to five days!

sour cream dip in a bowl surrounded by chips on a platter

Dill Dip

This creamy dip recipe is an easy make-ahead appetizer you can serve with vegetables, chips, crackers, and bread! This is wonderful for more than a Christmas appetizer – it’s great all year round.

A hand dipping into a bread bowl full of dill dip

I’d love to hear from you! What are you making for the holidays this year? And what’s your favorite appetizer to bring to Christmas parties?

More Holiday Inspiration

A basil pesto wreath make ahead christmas appetizer on a white plate
5 from 3 votes

Make Ahead Appetizers for Christmas: Pesto Cheeseball Wreath

Find the easiest make ahead appetizers for Christmas and beyond! We've got a collection of my favorite easy appetizers and Christmas finger foods, as well as a printable recipe for our famous pesto cheeseball wreath to get you started!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 16
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  • 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 cups mozzarella shredded
  • 1 cup basil ½ cup in the pesto, and ½ cup reserved for topping
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup parmesan fresh grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half (for garnish)


  • In a food processor, combine basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. 
    1 cup basil, 1 tablespoon pine nuts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon garlic, ½ cup parmesan, salt and pepper, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • In a large mixing bowl or the fitted bowl of your stand mixer, combine softened cream cheese with shredded mozzarella and the pesto sauce from your food processor.
    16 ounces cream cheese, 2 cups mozzarella
  • Stir thoroughly or beat at a low-medium speed until well mixed. 
  • Shape into wreath form.
  • Cover, refrigerate for three hours or until firm.
  • Add your remaining chopped basil and sliced cherry tomatoes to the top for the wreath effect. 
    1 cup basil, ½ cup cherry tomatoes

Julie’s Tips

There are a couple ways to create this wreath form! Here’s are two methods that will create different looks.
  1. Make a cheeseball in a bowl – just a classic round/circular shape. Create a hole in the center, pressing and shaping to flatten. Invert onto a platter and then smooth it out. 
  2. Use a bundt pan! Line your bundt pan with plastic wrap, and scoop the cheese mixture into the bundt. Press firmly until it’s evenly flattened throughout. 
Another tip: Take a shortcut for this recipe!
Eliminate the pesto (ingredients placed in the food processor in the instructions above) and use store bought pesto instead! Simply drain any excess oil and replace those ingredients with 1/3 cup store bought. 
Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 611IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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