Between parties, work events, and your own family's holiday traditions, there is a lot of cooking to be done. If you're tired of spending most of your time in the kitchen instead of celebrating, it may be time to consider some
pre-made holiday appetizers from Trader Joe's. There's no shame in getting a little help with food during the season of lights, and TJ's has everything from fresh meat and cheeses to frozen bite-size treats that even little kids will dig into.
The best things about
pre-made appetizers are that you know they will be delicious, and you barely have to do anything to get them from their package to the buffet table. If you know your way around an oven and a timer, you have all the skills necessary for even the hardest-to-make apps.
So before you head out in search of some starters for your next holiday event, know that Trader Joe's has no shortage of options. Yes, the store and parking lot are often crowded, but isn't a little extra time shopping worth a lot less time in the kitchen? Here are 15 of Trader Joe's delicious (and super easy) appetizers that are sure to be a hit this holiday season.
1 Antipasto Assortment
All you need to do to prepare this antipasto assortment is take the food out of the box and put it on a platter. Each 16 ounce assortment ($11) comes with pepper coated Italian dry salami, mixed olives, Trader Joe's "unexpected" cheddar cheese, and plain salami nuggets. Who knew such a classy appetizer could be so simple to make?
2 Charcuterie Pinwheels
Create a holiday Charcuterie with these pre-made pinwheels. Each $10 package comes with eight pinwheels total, four uncured pepperoni and mozzarella cheese rolls and four sopressata and mozzarella cheese rolls. You don't have to do anything to prepare them, just put them on a serving plate and they're ready to go. (Just remember to snap your obligatory Instagram shot before you pass them to guests.)
3 Cranberry Chevre
This delicious, eight ounce goat cheese with a cranberry twist will surely be a hit at any gathering, and all you have to do to prepare it is unwrap the roll! Grab a box of crackers (Trader Joe's suggests rosemary-flavored) to accompany this $4 log and scatter them around the cheese. Finally, get a festive spreader so guests can pile on as much cheese onto their crackers as they can.
4 Lemongrass Chicken Sticks
These crispy spring rolls are filled with delicious lemongrass flavored chicken. They come frozen, so all you need to do is heat them up in the oven for about 10 minutes prior to serving. You can serve them as is, or, since you'll have some spare time, offer a dipping sauce as well. Each under-$4 box comes with about 10 sticks.
5 Camembert Cheese & Cranberry Sauce Fillo Bites
These fillo bites are stuffed with Camembert cheese and cranberry filling, which results in a festive, crunchy treat that will work as an appetizer or dessert. They're basically like cheese and crackers, but way less messy. Each $4 box comes with eight frozen bites that only need to be warmed up in the oven for about ten minutes.
6 Bacon Wrapped Dates With Goat Cheese
These sweet and savory bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese will be a hit at a holiday event, and at $6 a pack, it's a steal. Each box comes with 10 bites which need to be heated in the oven on a baking sheet for around 12 minutes. Once they're out of the oven, pop a toothpick in each one (or don't) and serve!
7 Pastry Bites With Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions
One package of this $5 appetizer has 12 frozen pastry bites. To prepare them, simply toss them in the oven using the tray they are packaged in for around 10 minutes. Once they've cooled, put them out for guests in a spot where napkins are nearby, because the gooey, melted cheese may get messy.
8 Pimento Cheese Puffs
Each of these little pieces of heaven are made with a puff pastry shaped like a cup which is then filled with pimento cheese, uncured bacon, and caramelized onions to create a delicious and easy-to-eat appetizer. There are 12 frozen pastries per $5 box, and all you have to do is heat them up in the oven.
9 Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Is it even a party if there isn't some spinach and artichoke dip? Trader Joe's frozen, 8.8 ounce dip is only $3 and will last you all night. It's made with a blend of Swiss and Parmesan cheeses and will pair great with an equally inexpensive bag of tortilla chips or a pre-made baguette (if you want to get really fancy). Plus, all you have to do to prepare it is warm it in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
10 Five-Cheese Greek Spiral
This spiral pastry is made from filo dough and filled with a blend of Gouda, Kasseri, Kefalotyri, semi hard cheese, and blue cheese — not bad for just $4 a pop. All you have to do to have this ready for serving is pop it in the oven for around 20 minutes (until the crust is golden brown). Once it's out, you can slice it however works best for guests (in wedges like the box shoes, or slices of the unrolled pastry) and watch as it's devoured.
11 Chicken Spring Rolls
Each package of these frozen spring rolls include five rolls filled with a blend of veggies and white meat chicken that's flavored with basil, garlic, and ginger. Just pop them in the oven for a few minutes and they'll come out crispy and ready to go. Since there are only five per box, you can cut each roll into halves or thirds to help them go a little further with guests. Each box is $4.
12 Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Onion Dip
This unexpected frozen dip simply needs to be warmed in the microwave for a few minutes before you set it out for guests to enjoy. It's creamy and delicious and goes well with a warm bread, crackers, or tortilla chips. To keep it warm, consider setting it out in a small crock pot. And even if you don't end up loving it, at just over $3, you won't have any regrets.
13 French Onion Soup Bites
Soup isn't exactly an easy dish to have as an appetizer, but these frozen pastry bites will do the trick. Each box, under $5, comes with 12 bites that are filled with caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, and flavor from a vegetable broth base. Warm them up in the oven for a few minutes before arranging them on a platter for guests to dig into.
14 Cornbread Bites
Remember corn dogs? These are the grown-up, vegetarian version of them. Each bite is filled with pepper jack cheese, corn, and little bits of serrano peppers to give it a kick. Each $4 box includes 12 frozen bites that just need to heat up in the oven for a few minutes before serving. Easy and delicious.
15 Parmesan Pastry Puffs
No appetizer table is complete without pigs in a blanket, but these ones have a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to give them a little extra taste. Each box comes with 12 little "pups" which are made from mini beef franks and wrapped in puff pastry. Heat them in the oven for 15-20 minutes (until they're golden brown), let them cool, and then serve! Adults and kids will eat them up in no time. At under $5 a box, don't be shy about grabbing two or five for your holiday shindig.
There's no reason to spend your entire holiday in the kitchen when you could be celebrating with family and friends. Go easy on yourself this year and kick back knowing your pre-made Trader Joe's appetizer will be well received, even if it took you under 30 minutes to prepare.