Whenever I plan a get-together, I usually create a menu that's far too ambitious for the time and distractions (aka kids) I have. So I'm often too frazzled to try a recipe with a complicated steps. To ease the pressure of crunch time, I've started making delicious, easy sheet pan appetizers that match ingredients I frequently have on hand. There's no reason to trade in taste for convenience, right? Throwing the entire thing on a foil-lined pan especially works for people like me who hate busting suds. Fewer steps to cook, less dishes to wash — it's a no-brainer.
There are so many benefits to cooking on a sheet pan. I love how the flavors blend together without needing to be seared or pan-fried on a stovetop. Dump-and-go options also cater to practically whatever craving I'm having at the moment. I could literally cook one a day and never get bored. The wide variety of sheet pan recipes helps keep it interesting even if I cook something simple like a roasted chicken. Meatless, vegan, and vegetarian fare are hits with guests, too, because you can never go wrong with veggies roasted with a little olive oil and salt (hello, yummy Brussels sprouts). The only things that top the tasty bites are my family and friends' happy smiles and empty plates.
Here are 19 promising appetizers you can make for any crowd, big or small, and are sure to be big hits.
1. Pesto Parmesan Gougères
These delicate pesto parmesan gougères from Cooking For Keeps are easier to make than they look, as you can have them done in under an hour. Tip: Don't skimp on the fresh basil. You'll love that potent, herby kick when you bite into the pastry.
2. Cheesy Pizza Breadsticks
The marriage of cheese and carbs is a combination I go wild for. I love that these cheesy pizza breadsticks from Cookies and Cups have slices of pepperoni hidden inside them. That gorgeous string of mozzarella trailing after you take a bite is perfecto.
3. Sausage and Vegetables
Drizzle a little olive oil over your favorite sausage and vegetables and toss them with herbs. I always have polska kielbasa in the fridge because it's quick and easy. A sheet pan full of vegetables is a great way to save your produce from going bad if you bought too much this week like I did. The finish touch of Parmesan cheese in this recipe from Averie Cooks makes every bite a true chef's kiss moment.
4. Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzels
A crunchy, sweet-and-salty treat, these honey mustard and onion pretzels taste just like the ones you know and love from the grocers', promises Table For Two blogger Julie Wampler. To avoid soggy appetizers (bleh), make sure you put them on one even layer in the sheet. And let them fully cool to get that coveted crunch.
5. Roasted Pepper Bruschetta
Although many bruschettas are made with marinated tomatoes, roasted pepper bruschetta is the star of this show. Toss the colorful veggies on a sheet pan and let the oven work its magic. Once marinated, this Italian antipasto from Natasha's Kitchen makes a delicious crostini topping.
6. Pear and Blue Cheese Strudel
I am obsessed with any kind of cheese, so A Spicy Perspective immediately made my mouth water with this recipe. Not only are these pear and bleu cheese strudels adorable, but they are quick to make using pre-packaged phyllo shells. The crunch of the walnuts gives it a nice texture.
7. Shrimp Boil
If you're wondering how "boil" and "sheet pan" go together, you're not the only one. But magically, by cooking the different elements in stages, you can have a sheet pan shrimp boil without any pots. Along with Number 2 Pencil's hot sauce and butter dipping sauce, this recipe is really creative.
8. Bacon and Peach Nachos With Basil-Lime Aioli
If the standard beef and cheese nachos make you yawn, Climbing Grier Mountain's sweet and savory take on the classic party food is a must-try. Also, can any food be boring with bacon pieces on top? (Spoiler alert: with bacon and peach nachos, the answer is no.)
9. Shrimp And Grits Cakes With Crispy Ham
As a Southern girl, I could eat shrimp and grits every day and never get tired of them. How cute are these mini shrimp and grits cakes that Cooking For Keeps dreamed up? If you love them as much as I do, you're going to have trouble sharing.
10. Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Crispy Goat Cheese
Stuffed portobello mushrooms always make me feel a little fancy. But this recipe from A Beautiful Plate is the kind of appetizer that looks way more complicated than it is. The flavor of marinara, spinach, and panko goat cheese medallions makes it a delicious vegetarian option.
11. Baked Sweet Potato Falafel
A refreshing take on a Mediterranean staple, this sweet potato falafel from Cook Nourish Bliss hits the spot if you're not too fond of chickpeas. Just a few spins in the food processor are enough to blend the veggies. Smothered with tahini sauce, whether made of potatoes or garbanzo beans, it's all Greek to me. It works nicely as an appetizer to share, or you can enjoy a hearty salad all to yourself.
12. Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash
Acorn squash is one of those vegetables that can intimidate home cooks if they're not comfortable cutting larger items. Don't be scared! A good knife usually does the trick. Scoop out the innards, load it with quinoa, and then wait for the deliciousness of Cookie and Kate's stuffed acorn squash to get in your belly.
13. Fruit Seed And Nut Crackers
Wow your guests with your kitchen skills when you make this power-packed fruit seed and nut cracker from Averie Cooks. Sliced quickbread baked on a sheet pan is the secret to a fancy-looking, ridiculously easy crunchy appetizer. Best of all, it costs way less than what you can buy in a store.
14. Crispy Baked Tofu
Never settle for boring tofu. You don't have to endure a soggy soy product any more with Cookie and Kate's handy instructions on improving the texture. Tossed with your favorite seasoning, crispy baked tofu makes a great vegetarian appetizer.
15. Roasted Potatoes and Kielbasa
Chopped sausage and red potatoes seems really simple, almost too easy, until you consider that getting them crispy is an art to be admired. Natasha's Kitchen recommends you choose a light oil for the very best roasted potatoes and kielbasa. If you don't mind the flavor, use a heavy hand for the sprigs of fresh parsley.
16. Sheet Pan Nachos
Nachos remind me of Friday night gatherings around the table with my family and friends. Any food they can eat pick up with their fingers gets their vote. There's no way these "ooey goey" loaded sheet pan nachos from Princess Pinky Girl could ever be boring.
17. Raspberry Balsamic Baked Chicken Wings
Chicken wings really are the king of finger foods that fill you up. Budget Bytes came up with a raspberry balsamic glaze for these baked chicken wings, which gives a nice variation from the traditional Buffalo flavor. Plus, there's just something essentially fun about eating a dish that leaves your hands messy.
18. Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
My favorite appetizers to cook are yummy ones that make me look good and that are easy to throw together. Enter Brown Eyed Baker's spicy, bacon-wrapped jalapeño popper, a three-ingredient miracle. Remember not to touch your face while handling the peppers (capsaicin in your eye is the worst). If you want to be extra cautious, wear some gloves when handling the peppers.