If you are someone who loves hosting parties and entertaining, then one of the most important decisions you face is what to feed your guests. There is no shortage of options either. You can always go big, and lay out a feast that rivals a Medieval Times dinner and tournament show.

Perhaps you could drown your partygoers in 101 of your favorite dips. And throw them for an even loop by offering 102 of your favorite crackers. There is no end to the ways that you can dress up your event menu, but there is one particular party food that you should never leave out. Finger food.

No matter the size of the occasion or how casual or formal your guest list; people love to eat with their hands. So now you ask yourself, what finger foods should I add to complete the menu of dishes, drinks, and desserts laid out for my guest’s consumption?

There’s always that fine line to walk when flesh and bone are the utensisl instead of aluminum and silver. Should they be one bit or two? Did I make enough? Should I have gone appetizer only? All great questions.

How about we get those hands a little greasy, answer a few questions, and tuck into some finger food recipes to find out what makes them tick. And so darn tasty.

Can I Start You Off With An Appetizer?

Bacon wrapped dates

Image via Eat Well 101

Depending on the type of event you’re looking to host, determining the right mix of finger foods can be a challenge. A good host puts a little bit of thought into this. A great host thinks about it a lot.

If your gathering is serving a main meal or several courses throughout the night, you’ll want something lighter for your guests. Fewer main plates and heavier on the hors-d’oeuvres?  That allows you the opportunity to get a little creative and offer various choices that otherwise wouldn’t pair well together.

The key here is to give your attendees some options to satisfy their taste buds. Why? It’s because food makes us happy.

And a happy partygoer is a fun partygoer. And a happy and fun partygoer is far more likely to be appreciative and complimentary of your effort and hard work. Get it wrong, and people might not show up for the encore.

Finger food or party snacks run the culinary spectrum. That can make it difficult to decide how and which ones to use at your next event. We’ve found it helpful to break down this vast array into three simple, but distinct categories. The Classics. The Modern Take. Easy Does It.

Why these three? Almost all finger foods can fit into one of the above groups. The classics are your staples that can fit in almost anywhere at anytime. The modern take has options that give us a newer taste or slightly different take on what we know as a party snack.

And easy does it is, well, easy. Easy to make, easy to eat, and easy to mix in with any style event or menu. Though its safe to stick to one group or snack type, remember that variety isn’t a bad thing.  Your guest list certainly won’t be one size fits all, why should your finger foods be any different.

Let’s break down these three groups a bit more, and see some examples of each. You’re sure to find that letting your fingers do the heavy lifting is no trouble at all.

The Classics

Whatever the theme of your party, there are always a few classic go-to’s that most everyone will be happy to see. Sliders. Something wrapped in something else. Anything fried that can be gobbled up in a single bite. That last one is always a particular favorite.

Yes, there will probably be some requirement for dipping sauce involved, but these four staples are hard to beat. Good for an informal get together (and even some that are formal), you can position all of these options as hors-d’oeuvres to a larger feast or serve them in tandem with a wider selection of appetizers.

Sliders

These miniature burgers come in all flavors including ones that ditch the beef for chicken or turkey and ham. But since we’re talking all-time favorites here, we’ll suggest the bacon cheeseburger option. Why? Cause it’s awesome, that’s why.

Mini Crescent Dogs

mini crescent hotdogs
Of all the hors-d’oeuvres, appetizers, and finger foods consumed in the history of humankind, the sausage wrapped in bread option may very well be the singular entity that gave life to them all. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much, but have you ever been to a party where these were not on a platter? Exactly.

Baked Buffalo Wings

Perhaps the most versatile of the classic finger foods, wings have such popularity that entire business models are built around their consumption. For the at-home version, you can opt to bake or fry or grill and then sauce and season them however you choose. Rare is the menu choice that can leave everyone satisfied.

Cocktail Meatballs

When you were young, chances are your parents brought you to an uppity party or two where the cool thing about it was the tray covered in tiny balls of meat. Only as an adult did you recognize their real genius. Easy to make, easy to eat, and always full of flavor. Add them to your next party menu, and some kid will remember you 30 years from now.

The Modern Take

Are you and those you throw parties for more into Asian-Fusion mashed up with a little Cajun-Creole? Maybe you like a little whimsy with your beef wellington that was made from a food truck and consumed on a curb in a revitalized downtown. Or perhaps you are fans of the rebirth of art nouveau and its influence on contemporary society.

Okay, that last one might be a touch far-fetched. The point being though, the classics are fine, but you enjoy venturing out with your taste buds and seeing where they take you. A lot of finger foods come about by trial and error, and some of our favorites once started out as odd concoctions and curiosities.

For the adventurous, here are four modern-day takes on finger foods:

Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are not a new thing. But taking them from their well-known restaurant setting to your at home party menu is sure to impress. Colorful and delicious these are a great way to get everyone to eat their greens.

Fried Olives

If you ever get tired of the cliché fried finger food, frying something that isn’t chicken is indeed a good way to breath new life into your appetizer tray. Dropping some green olives stuffed with blue cheese into that vat of simmering oil? That most certainly is a breath of fresh air.

Mushroom Quesadilla

A lot of modern day foods emphasize taking something well worn and turning it on its head. Such is the case with this meatless take on the quesadilla. Pretty much any veggie or veggies will do just fine since melted cheese will go with anything.

Lobster Toasts with Avocado

There was no way we were going to finish up this section without mention something with avocado. The world is in love with avocado. Thankfully you also love the lobster that is paired with the avocado.

Easy Does It

Spending a ton of time figuring out what party guests are going to pick off disposable plates is not everyone’s idea of a good time. We get it. You’re looking for easy party food. We’ve got you covered there too.

Some of these you could call classics, some you could consider more modern, but all are easy to toss together and get out on a plate. Better yet, they’re even easier to eat.

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Mozzarella sticks

Image via Genius Kitchen

These could have gone under the classics, but we wanted to make a point that the best cheese sticks do not come from your grocer’s freezer. You can quickly whip up about two dozen of these in under an hour. Don’t forget the marinara sauce.

Strawberry Bruschetta

If you’re more the warm weather type, then your parties will probably need a shot of refreshing freshness. If that is indeed a thing, chances are you’ll find it in this light but satisfying single bite recipe.

Salami and Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

A lot of the easiest finger foods involve something sitting on a cracker. Two fingers, one bite, and done. The speed of this action depends on the taste of what’s on that cracker. The salami and cream cheese combo rates somewhere above light speed.

Loaded Potato Pinwheel

Everybody loves a yummy pinwheel now and then, right? What if that pinwheel involved mashing up some potatoes, mixing in a few bacon bits, baking it up nicely on a crescent roll and then covering it in sour cream and more bacon bits? Everybody loves a yummy pinwheel all the time, right?

Finger Licking Good

Sorry, but we couldn’t resist. 12 different ideas for finger foods do send one’s palette fluttering. Nothing unites us quite like food, and nothing is more communal than consuming that food with our hands. Formal. Informal. Or perhaps it’s something in between.

Regardless of the event, any of these recipes or the countless others that are available will add a little extra to your party and your guest’s taste buds.

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