So, you invited over your friends for a get together and figured you'd just run out to the grocery store before hand to pick up some easy-to-assemble-and-serve snacks. But then life happened, and now you barely have time to dry your hair before they arrive, let alone put together an appetizing spread. Though you might be tempted to text your friends to pick up food on the way, or have a few bags of chips and dip delivered, there's an even better option. Trader Joe's party appetizers will not only fill the table and feed your guests, but will actually trick them into thinking you spent way more time on preparing than you did.
The key to an impressive spread is a mix of warm and cold dishes. If you just empty out a few bags of packaged food into bowls for instant serving, you'll end up with a spread that's one note. Instead, mix in some hot bites so that the guests who are starving can have something substantial to eat right away, and the guests who are in grazing mode can just pick at everything else.
Below, you'll find appetizers at your local Trader Joe's that are worthy of space in every host's arsenal of go-to party pleasers.
1. Crispy Rice Salmon Bites
These Crispy Rice Salmon Bites are going to be gone before they cool. They're sweet, they're savory, they're crunchy, they're dippable, and they're going to be consumed quickly, so buy more than you think you need.
2. Cornbread Bites
These Cornbread Bites might look friendly but inside of that sweet and savory corn bread and cheese shell is a spicy combination of chile peppers that make this appetizer way more fun than it looks.
3. Hold the Corn! Appetizers
As the name suggests, Hold the Corn hand-held bites are made with sweet corn, water chestnuts, green onions, and wood ear mushrooms, seasoned with lemongrass, garlic, cilantro, and chile powder — it's the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and savory flavors.
4. Vegan Dip & Veggies
A lot of hosts serve veggies with dips that have dairy in them. To ensure that you have at least one vegan option, serve your veggies with a totally dairy-free dip, like guacamole, or Vegan Ranch.
5. Focaccia Bread With Roasted Tomato & Parmesan Cheese
If you have some of this at home, you have an appetizer, you just didn't realize it. Cut up the Focaccia Bread with Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Cheese into bite size squares, drizzle a little oil on top and pop them into the oven for a few minutes to toast up. You can serve them with balsamic vinaigrette or solo on a plate with napkins.
6. Mac & Cheese Bites
The perfect answer to mac and cheese, but party-friendly is obviously a Mac & Cheese Bites. These toasty, cheesy, crunchy, chewy bites are delicious and heat up fast for last minute hosting needs.
7. Turkey Meatballs
Turkey Meatballs with red pasta sauce are a fan favorite. They're lighter than their beef brothers, but heavy enough that famished guests will be able to fill up at a good pace.
8. Truffle Cheese Party Mix
These Oven-Baked Cheese Bites are delicious on their own. They have bits of black truffle and a very adult taste, but if you mix in a few other dry snacks, you'll have an elevated party mix that's perfect for TV snacking if you're watching an award show or a game.
9. Popcorn In A Pickle Mix
Pickled popcorn, aka TJ's Popcorn in a Pickle, is a real thing and it's totally unique and delicious. If you want to serve it on its own, it can definitely handle the spotlight, but mixing in smoked nuts and salty pretzels will help to create a party mix that goes really well with a strong drink.
10. Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Listen, it's not a party unless there's a warm bowl of Spinach and Artichoke Dip, and everyone knows it. Serve this hearty dip with a sturdy chip like a pita chip, or with crackers so that it doesn't get filled with broken bits of weak soldiers.
11. Kale Gnocchi Bites
Trader Joe's Kale Gnocchi is super easy to make, and while it's not a traditional appetizer, each piece can be served with a toothpick to easily transform the dish into a sharable option.
12. Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms are a party favorite. They're light, yet filling, and if you have some vegetarians coming to your party, they'll enjoy this meat alternative.
13. Baked Cheese & Fruit Dip
Double Creme Brie with Truffles is rich and deeply complex. Though you can enjoy it chilled, baking it will really allow the flavors to shine and it's a great way to add another hot item to the appetizer table. Place the bare cheese in an oven safe dish and let it bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees until soft. Top with your favorite fruit jam and serve with hard crackers for dipping.
14. Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
You can't really get fancier than Scallops Wrapped in Uncured Bacon with a brown sugar glaze. They're rich, they're decadent, they're filling, and they're oh-so-adult!
15. Mango & Sticky Rice Spring Rolls
These spring rolls are crispy and soft, and they're sweet enough to be enjoyed as an appetizer or a dessert. If your guests will be standing, you can cut them into pieces and serve them with a toothpick to make them bite-sized.
16. Mini Quiche
If you're having a daytime party, the Mini Quiche Duo pack is the perfect appetizer, but can easily be enjoyed in mass to act as the main event, too. There's two flavors, truffle & swiss with cremini mushrooms and chives, and bacon & sautéed onion with extra swiss and shallots.
You can also just enjoy these apps when you're not entertaining. Hey, there's nothing wrong with treating yourself to a mini quiche while you read the Sunday paper or a pickled popcorn mix while you watch The Bachelor.