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Fear not: these smartphone apps will keep you organized as you plan your bash
Planning a party? There's an app for that.
From birthday parties to holiday parties, brunches to dinners for two, and bridal showers to the big day itself, planning a party can be a stressful affair. No matter how large or small, formal or informal the gathering will be, there’s a lot to do — guests to invite! menus to plan! shopping to do! — on top of your busy everyday schedule.
Click to see the 15 apps that will make planning your next event a breeze!
Luckily, the digital age has provided us with hundreds of apps dedicated to organization and party planning, and we’ve narrowed the selection down to 15 of our favorites. These apps will help you stay organized from the moment you conceive your next party until you send out the thank-you notes afterward.
We’ve highlighted a couple of apps that are all-inclusive, like Pro Party Planner and Simple Soirée Party Planner, that cover all the aspects of your event, from to-do lists and seating plans to inspiration and guest lists. Other apps are more specialized, like Speakeasy Cocktails, which will teach you to prepare a host of drinks for you and your guests, and KitchenPad Timer, which will help you choreograph the production of getting all of the dishes out to the table at the same time.
Some of the apps are wedding-specific, designed to help you plan your big day. Appy Couple, for example, creates a personalized wedding website that syncs with the app and provides your guests with all of the details they’ll need, from dress code to RSVPs and who’s who in the wedding party, and allows them to share the photos they take that day.
But most of the apps featured here will be helpful to anyone planning any kind of party: the most important thing is that you stay organized, whether you’re choosing a wine, creating a seating arrangement, or just trying to get dinner on the table.
Click through for our 15 favorite party planning apps!
These Chic But Easy Appetizers Will Rule Your Next Cocktail Party
The holiday party detail that separates the women from the girls? Having a few chic homemade appetizers that are elegant but easy AF to prepare.
It's tempting to go all Martha Stewart on your party and overdue the homemade food. But as we've gotten wiser about our party hosting we've learned to buy some excellent cheeses, superb charcuterie, and concentrate on a handful of homemade appetizers that knock it out of the park.
Here are more than 30 recipes that fit the bill:
Pancetta Fontina Cheese Puffs
Souffles, Croque Monsieurs, omelettes, when it comes to making cheese reach regal heights, the French are total masters. So it's no wonder that these Gougères aka cheese puffs are always a hit at our cocktail parties.
Grape Blue Cheese Focaccia
Another no brainer? Making some fresh baked bread topped with all sorts of deliciousness. We vote for these sweet-pungent grape and blue cheese mini focaccia that pair well with anything from bubbles to a classic cocktail.
Smoked Salmon & Herbed Creme Fraiche Spread
Imagine your favorite lox and schmear combo did a semester abroad in France and you've got an idea of how this effortlessly elegant Smoked Salmon & Herbed Creme Fraiche Spread tastes.
Meyer Lemon Crab Chive Bites
When you're looking for something elegant, easy, and doable for everyone from your gluten-free friends to the low carb people? These crab bites are the perfect choice.
Spicy Citrus Pickled Shrimp
dairy free, gluten free, nut free
Why we love the South? Because they pickle things we'd never imagine pickiing — from watermelon rinds to shrimp — and it always tastes amazing. This riff on a classic pickled shrimp recipe is a bit citrusy, spicy, and way more interesting than any storebought ring of shrimp and cocktail sauce.
Chile Lime Marinated Shrimp
dairy free, gluten free, nut free
For something a little more laidback, turn to this Mexican twist on ceviche known as Aguachile. Shrimp marinated in a bright herb and chile sauce and you serve it with tostadas!
Manchego Arugula Bresaola Hand Rolls
dairy free, gluten free, nut free
Like the little black dress of cocktail appetizers, we turn to these Bresaola Hand Rolls over and over and never tire of them.
Night Market Popcorn Chicken
dairy free, gluten free, nut free
Yes, we make this because it's an excuse to eat popcorn chicken without seeming all white trash about it. But also because this Taiwanese version has tons of spices and fried basil for a twist that's totally unexpected but equally addictive.
Baby Potato Bites with Chorizo
Yes, these are just an excuse to eat potato skins in a fancy setting, but they're also a perfect appetizer recipe because they can be made way ahead.
Mozzarella Tomato Basil Risotto Balls
Normally we're anti fried food or anything that keeps you in the kitchen for a dinner party (unless it's popcorn chicken, of course) but these risotto balls are a major exception. You can 100% make them ahead (even fry them) and then just reheat them in the oven right before serving!
Caramelized Onion & Butternut Squash Danish Recipe
The best thing about this recipe? If you have leftovers (you probbaly won't btw), they're as tasty for breakfast with a cup of coffee as they are as a cocktail party app.
Toasted Coconut Kettle Corn Popcorn
gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegetarian
It is our firm belief that any party with popcorn is only made more delicious. This stovetop kettle corn takes a second to make and gets eaten even faster!
Carrot Harissa Hummus
gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegetarian
A veggie-filled slightly smoky twist on hummus, we keep this around for everything from a healthy gift wrapping session snack to cocktail parties.
Walnut Beet Caviar Spread
gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian
Not so much caviar as a smooth, sweet, nutty beet dip, we first tried a version of this on a trip to Israel and recreate it whenever beets are in season.
Cocoa-Chile Sweet Spicy Snack Mix
gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian
If you combined your favorite chocolate mole and ChexMix, we imagine you'd end up with something like this spicy sweet snack mix!
Mascarpone Fennel Puff Pastry Bites
Slowly caramelizing the fennel and pairing them with creamy mascarpone cheese makes these little puff pastry bites totally addictive.
Pear Cranberry Brie Mini Tartlets With Hot Honey
We've all had that classic holiday appetizer of cranberry brie bites, yes? Well, here we modernize it with just 5 minutes extra cooking time by adding in sage-scented pears, pomegranate seeds, and a hot honey garnish.
Speck-Wrapped Persimmons With Balsamic Honey Glaze
dairy free, gluten free, nut free
We don't know about you but we can never get enough of prosciutto and melon in our lives. When the melon is no longer in season, we switch to persimmons and top it with this inky sweet-tart balsamic honey glaze.
Persimmon Bites With Fried Sage and Goat Cheese
gluten free, nut free, vegetarian
If ever there was an appetizer that was as equally impressive as it was low fuss, this would be it. Fry the sage days ahead and then just assemble when you're party starts and you're good to go!
Gougeres Tea Sandwiches With Date Paste, Goat Cheese, and Mint
If you're looking for a total curve ball of an appetizer, this is it. We take gougeres (aka French cheese puffs) and layer into them some fresh mint, whipped goat cheese, and a date spread for a sweet-salty bite that is totally addictive!
Blistered Balsamic Concord Grapes
dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan
Nothing screams chic like cold-cut cheese and fruit! Spice up your appetizer platters with a batch of these impressive Blistered Balsamic Concord Grapes.
Scallop Crudo With Citrus Jalapeno Sauce
nut-free, dairy free, gluten free
Speaking of pulling out the stops, pulling out some uber fresh seafood pretty much always impresses guests. If you have access to great scallops, this crudo with a spicy tart topping is a must make.
Oysters With Pomegranate Mignonette Granita Recipe
nut-free, dairy free, gluten free
Yes, great oysters are incredible with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon. But, when you want to up the ante, turn to this sweet, tangy, tart pomegranate mignonette granita that's as tasty as it is beautiful!
Shrimp and Watermelon Ceviche
When it comes to simple and easy, ceviche is at the top of our list. With quality ingredients and just a little bit of patience, this recipe uses fresh shrimp & juicy watermelon comes together in no time.
Spicy Kaffir Lime Peanuts
dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan
What’s the best way to keep your hands busy during a conversation? Peanuts! This spicy, thai-inspired version is our go-to for a chic twist on the classic party snack.
Savory Olive and Tomato Palmiers
Whenever we want to impress, we go for the roll of all-butter puff pastry sitting in our freezer. And trust us, this classic French pastry never disappoints.
Spanish Potato Chip Tortilla Bites With Bravas Sauce
If you adore Spanish tortillas as much as we do, then you'll love this version of the classic recipe made much easier thanks to storebought potato chips!
Chicken Tinga Tostadas With Radish Salsa
ISO an app that's more of a meal but still simple and make ahead? Then you'll be all about this recipe of slow cooked shredded chiptole chicken tostadas!
B urrata and Agrodolce Fig Crostini
Creative crostinis? Check. Our version consists of creamy burrata topped with sweet & savory figs for a delicious party appetizer finish.
Pomegranate Pistachio Radicchio Salad Cups With Maple Lemon Cream Sauce
Healthy-ish, loaded with fall flavors, and totally elegant, these salad cups do take some time to assemble but they're well worth the effort. And the Maple Lemon Cream sauce is so fabulous, we insist you make it even if you never make these salad cups!
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More Recipes On Salt & Wind Travel
Team Salt & Wind Travel
Salt & Wind Travel is a boutique travel company for the discerning food and lifestyle traveler. Through our food-first travel planning services, including private day tours, custom itinerary planning, small group trips, and our Digital City Guides For Food Lovers, we provide you with the resources to travel in good taste. Founded by food and travel expert, Aida Mollenkamp in 2015, Salt & Wind Travel is owned by Aida and filmmaker and travel expert, Kristen Kellogg.
1. Dairy-Free Sun-Dried Tomato And Basil Pinwheels
Pinwheels are awesome finger foods because they’re filled with loads of tasty ingredients rolled up into one delicious bite. Having food options at your wedding is important to ensure all your guests with different diets are accommodated. This recipe is plant-based which makes it suitable for any guests that are vegetarian or vegan.
This recipe uses vegan cream cheese for the creamy filling. Then, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, and garlic give the pinwheels a bold flavor. Pinwheels may be easier than making finger sandwiches because you can get about 10 individuals appetizers out of each roll up.
Best Wedding Planning Apps to Keep You Organized
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Lindsay Crandall/Stocksy United
Best Overall Wedding App: Wedding Planner by The Knot
"Has everything you need to plan your wedding and stay inspired while you're doing it."
Best App to Keep You Organized: Zola Weddings
"Start with its basic planning tools and then move onto creating a wedding website and a registry."
Best App for Figuring It Out: WeddingWire's Wedding Planner
"Includes a guest list planner, vendor manager, checklist, budget planner, and a registry."
Best App for Taking Notes: Evernote
"It's an everything planning app. Through the app, you can take notes, make to-do lists, and more."
Best App for Inspiration: Pinterest
"A place where you can find and save wedding ideas that you want to use in your wedding."
Best App for Finding the Unique: Etsy
"A great place to view unique and handcrafted items that you can use for your wedding."
Best App for Color: Palette Cam
"All about color, you can use its inspiration photos or your own photos to create a color scheme."
Best App for Staying on Budget: Mint
"You can set up a budget for your wedding and keep track of all your expenses in one place."
Best App for Staying Sane: Headspace
"A meditation app that will teach you to meditate and then remind you to take regular breaks from the chaos."
Best App for Your Guests: The Guest
"Photos that guests take at your wedding are automatically shared with everyone attending the wedding, including the couple."
How to Serve All Your Wedding Appetizers on a Spoon
Steal a trick from wedding caterers and serve your party apps on a spoon!
Whether you're getting married or throwing a fancy dinner party, one-bite appetizers served on a spoon are the way to go! From spicy hot chicken to elegant proscuitto and melon, here are nine ways to take the popular internet trend and make it your very own!
Prosciutto and Melon (pictured, starting at far left corner and going clockwise)
Toss 1/2 cup each diced cantaloupe and honeydew with 1/3 cup diced cucumber, 2 tablespoons chopped basil and 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar season with salt and red pepper flakes. Let stand 30 minutes. Serve in spoons with prosciutto drizzle with olive oil.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 smashed garlic clove. Add 1 cubed bread slice and brown drain on paper towels. Puree 1 vine-ripened tomato with 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil season with salt and pepper. Serve in spoons with the croutons, lettuce and cooked bacon.
Mix 8 ounces ground lamb, 1/4 cup each breadcrumbs and chopped parsley, 1 grated shallot, 1 grated garlic clove, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon each coriander, cumin and kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon each allspice and cinnamon. Form into 20 small meatballs. Broil on an oiled baking sheet, 4 to 5 minutes. Mix 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Serve in spoons with the meatballs and pomegranate seeds.
Cut 1 tuna steak into 1-inch-wide strips season with salt and rub with 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon coriander. Sear in olive oil over high heat, 15 to 20 seconds per side slice. Mix 1/2 cup cooked corn with 1/4 cup each diced grape tomatoes and chopped cilantro, 1 minced shallot, 1 tablespoon lime juice and salt. Mash 1/2 avocado with 1 teaspoon lime juice season with salt. Serve in spoons with the salsa, tuna and sliced serranos.
Cook 2 diced plum tomatoes in olive oil until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 chopped garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon each chopped thyme and smoked paprika and a pinch of red pepper flakes cook 3 to 4 minutes. In a separate skillet, fry 1/2 pound cubed small Yukon Gold potatoes in olive oil until tender and golden, 4 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels sprinkle with salt. Serve the potatoes in spoons with the tomato sauce drizzle with garlic mayonnaise.
Whisk 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons each toasted sesame oil and brown sugar and 1 minced garlic clove. Add 1 New York strip steak (trimmed and halved lengthwise) marinate 1 hour. Grill over medium-high heat, turning, 3 to 5 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice. Mix 1 tablespoon mayonnaise with 2 teaspoons Korean chile paste. Serve the steak in spoons with the spicy mayonnaise sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
Cut 1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast into twenty 1-inch cubes season with salt and pepper. Whisk 1 egg with 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Mix 1/2 cup panko with 1/4 cup flour season with salt. Dip the chicken in the egg, then the panko. Deep-fry in 365 degrees F vegetable oil until browned, 3 minutes drain on paper towels. Mix 1/2 stick melted butter with 1 tablespoon hot paprika and 2 teaspoons hot sauce season with salt. Toss with the chicken. Serve in spoons with pickles.
Puree 1/4 cup cooked frozen peas with 1/3 cup ricotta, 1 1/2 teaspoons parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Cook 20 large (not jumbo) pasta shells drain, reserving 3 tablespoons cooking water. Pipe the pea mixture into the shells. Melt 3 tablespoons butter with the reserved cooking water in a skillet. Add the shells, cover and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to spoons. Stir 1 tablespoon chopped mint into the pan sauce spoon over the shells.
Mix 1 cup breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup parmesan. Dredge 20 mini mozzarella balls (patted dry) in flour, dip in beaten egg, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Deep-fry in batches in 350 degrees F vegetable oil until golden, 3 minutes. Serve in spoons with warm marinara sauce sprinkle with parmesan and basil.
Top 21 Food & Cuisines For Indian Wedding
1. Paneer Pasanda with Corn Pasanda
For your vegetarian guests, why not include this one? Your favourite Nuts are mixed and cooked in a delightful Onion-Tomato curry to give your guests a royal feel. The Paneer pieces are filled with green Chutney and shredded Paneer. Vegetarian guests simply love this lavish dish. It is such a yummy affair that no one can refuse it.
2. Zafrani Pulao
Let’s have rice. As this is the first item your guests are going to take on their platter, how about Zafrani Pulao? Originating from the mountains of Kashmir, it is a noted dish of Hyderabad. Rice being an essential part of any Indian wedding we must see to it that it is not so heavy so that guests can enjoy rest of the menu.
This is a fragrant recipe with perfect blends of traditional ingredients like Dry fruits, Milk, Saffron, Sugar and more delicious things. Your guests will simply fall in love!
3. Dal Bukhara
It is the famous recipe of ITC Maurya Hotel and is made only with Urad lentils. In a desi wedding, Dal Bukhara is an absolute must. This dal is prepared with the lots of Butter and Cream and is thick in its consistency. It is going to melt you guest’s hearts, we bet on that!
It goes well with Zafrani Pulao or Onion Kulcha. Perfect for kids or children and equally enjoyed by both, this is not to be missed at any cost!
4. Dahi Bhalle
You will find the appetite of your guests increasing with every spoonful of creamy yoghurt-rich bhallas. A great way to inject some vintage and old memories into your wedding menu is including this rustic and cool street food. Light on stomach and tasty to the palates this mouth-watering dish so beautifully sings the flavours of India.
5. Dilli ki Chaat
No matter how busy your guests are but they can always queue up for hours for their share of chaat ki plate.
Dilli ki chaat is world famous as it appeals to the palate like no other food. It is sure to please plenty of palates at your ‘do’, so get this peppery and out-of-the-box stuff added to your Indian wedding menu.
6. Aloo ki tikki
Aromatic tawa-fried aloo tikki stall is a perfect choice to display the roadside heritage with aplomb. Also, you can always play safe and woo your guests with this miraculous dish. In simple words, any wedding will be incomplete without the infamous aloo ki tikki. Offering a great delight to the foodies especially veggies these small mashed potato tikkis are always a hit!
7. Litti Chokha
Quite a unique and most talked about the roadside food of Bihar is now giving an authentic experience to the guests at the wedding. In fact, this love of Bihar has now started appearing everywhere.
Most of the weddings today are serving this humble and tasty dish with a makeover. You too can let your guests have a lesson of Bihar’s food heritage with the brownish balls stuffed with satto masala (bhuna chana atta).
Risottos have become common in Indian weddings these days. As pasta is something all kinds of people indulge in today, risottos are seeing a rise on the wedding menu and are loved largely by everyone including elders. Italian staple risottos have replaced pizzas and pastas in the popularity index. They are light and bland, and hence hugely compensate for the spicy Indian flavour.
9. DIY Dessert -Chocolate Fondue
Let’s accept this! There cannot be any party without a little chocolate, right? Chocolate certainly makes us go weak in the knees and a chocolate fondue is the best thing you can have in an Indian wedding food menu to impress people with your finest hospitality.
Cheese and chocolate are melted together served with apple slices, bananas, brownies, cookies and waffles. The best part about this counter is decorating the dessert platter on your own. This Chocolate Fondue will perfectly compliment the wedding decorations being done at the venue and add to its charm.
10. Amba Khatta
The end of a great wedding requires a great chutney for the guests to smack their lips too. With this tangy mango chutney, one can delight the palate of the guests. It won’t surprise you if your guests return to you asking for this recipe.
11. Smoked Dal Makhani
Originating from Punjab with a western twist, this creamy and buttery dish is a must have at your wedding. Practically, there cannot be any wedding or a party without Dal Makhani.
You can serve kulcha or naan alongside making this a perfectly well done meal to savour and enjoy.
12. Pasta Primavera
Children simply love this dish. Freshly chopped vegetables are the main ingredients of Pasta. These are cooked in a pot filled with salted water till they are soft and pasta is boiled. After that, the boiled pasta and the vegetables are dressed with Garlic and Olive Oil and garnished with shredded Cheese. You are surely going to win many fans with this dish at your wedding.
13. Butter Chicken
Let’s have some chicken now. A Chicken item is a must in a wedding. What can be better than this! Chicken is cooked in Tandoor with a simple curry loaded with butter. There are many compositions and different ways of marinating of Chicken here.
The cream is used in paste or as a garnish and Cumin, Asafetida, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, etc. are some of the spices used in this dish. Cashew Sauce is added as a thickener. Balle! Balle!
14. Dahi Baingan
You can have this for your vegan guests. It is such an Eggplant recipe. It is made of Brinjal fried in oil and dipped in the Curd. You can add Onion and Garlic in it to make it spicy. Every Oriya restaurant will give this to you complimentary. It is deep rooted in their culture. Originally from the land of Punjab and Orissa, it is an authentic and easy dish. Oh! Heavenly, we say!
15. Gajar Halwa
People do love innovations, but the old ‘hot halwa’ has always given them a kick. This super-yummy dessert will have every other guest at your wedding huddling up to it.
After all, who on earth can hold on to their taste buds when there is an option as luscious as halwa. For a winter Indian wedding food menu it would be like a match made in heaven. Isn’t it?
Piping hot jalebis are one of the tastiest and juiciest treat to be served at your event. These are hot on menu since ages and you just can’t go wrong with this ever-popular sweet dish. The smell itself will keep them on their toes. So, let your friends and family ask for more while you add this ‘wow’ factor to your gala.
17. Kachori sabzi
A plate full of kachori sabzi is a top-notch choice and seems heavenly to all the food lovers even when the array of choices for your guests might be staggering.
Your people just can’t ignore to have their mouths full with this enjoyable and spicy treat, Khasta kachoris with aloo sabzi is all the rage!
Consumption of pan after meals is a traditional affair. What do you say about this old-age sweet mouth freshener which is do deeply relished and enjoyed by people from all age groups! As many as twenty different varieties of paan’s are served as post meal appetizer in most weddings these days. Chocolate Paan, Ice Paan, Strawberry Paan & Vanilla Pan are among the popular ones and are enjoyed by people thoroughly. One of the best things to do is also welcome your guests with a sweet paan at the entrance! They will simply go gaga.
19. Veg Makhanwala
A popular dish on the Indian wedding vegetarian food menu list is the veg makhanwala we must say there is not a wedding which won’t have this dish.
It’s got a rich creamy taste to fill your mouth and is deeply enjoyed with naan, tandoori rotis and missi roti as well. Furthermore, it is also nutritious!
Ah! Did it just make you mouth watery? A wedding menu can never be complete without a Gol Gappa, don’t you agree? Everyone loves it equally whether child or adult. We are sure they are going to look forward to it. Make sure you get the hygienic GolGappe wala so that people don’t hesitate to munch them. Trust us you will be doing a nice favour to kids and to everyone. Have a blessed wedding.
A sweet is a necessity in Indian ceremonies. This sweet is made with Khoya and Paneer. Gulabjamuns are prepared by using Khoya or Mawa. Obtained by continuously stirring the milk on a less flame till moisture evaporates, Khoya is actually dry evaporated milk. This khoya is then moulded to a round shape and fried till it gets its rich brown colour. To get that glaze and that extra sweetness, it is dipped in Sugar Syrup. When you bite into the Gulab Jamun, it is soft and loaded with that distinct sweetness. Let’s make your guests crave for more. Grab a bite.
Expect to see the embodiment of the country’s heritage and rich culture in the menu for the wedding receptionwhen it comes to Indian weddings. How was the food? – is the first thing that anybody asks after you return from a wedding in India. The only goal of the hosts is that every wedding guest returns with a satisfied and full tummy, in fact, the amount of food cooked during an Indian wedding is enough to feed an army. Food occupies such an importance in the Indian wedding scene.
Our top 10 favorite Southern appetizers to serve at a party
Appetizers and small bites are also the perfect alternative to a big dinner. Tell your guests they're Southern small plates — they'll think you're fancy. To help you plan the menu, we’ve gathered our 10 absolute favorite apps that will totally steal the show.
Anne Byrn's Cheese Straws
Cheese straws are a no-brainer: cheap, easy to make, and fun to snack on. They may not be originally Southern, but since you’ll find them on the table at most Southern parties, we've adopted them as our own. To keep things simple, our recipe calls for little more than cheese, flour and butter — you've already got those in your pantry, right? We balance out the bite of extra-sharp cheddar with some plain 'ol sharp, and add a teensy shake of cayenne for just a touch of heat. (Feel free to leave it out if you'd rather your cheese straws stay pure.) Pro-tip: Don’t stress about making them perfectly misshapen cheese straws are still cheese straws, after all. Pair them with tomato soup for extra credit.
Get the recipe Cheesy Grit Fritters with Hot Pepper Jelly
If you’ve got some leftover grits hanging around your kitchen, this is the perfect way to transform them into an appetizer. Make sure the grits are cooled down completely so that you can easily form the fritters and — most importantly — stuff them with cheese. These fritters can be served alone, but we recommend whipping up some hot pepper jelly to dip them in.
Get the recipe Coca-Cola Glazed Wings
Coca-Cola may sound like an unusual option to use as a glaze for chicken wings, but the sweetness of Coke paired with the heat of the peppers creates an incredible flavor profile. The glaze is simple: Brown sugar, lime juice, Coca-Cola and chopped jalapenos simmer together into a syrupy glaze. Once you've got that, all you need to do is grill, baby, grill.
Get the recipe Anne Byrn's Fried Green Tomatoes
It’s a plain and simple fact: Southerners love frying green tomatoes. Between the crisp and crunchy exterior and bright and juicy center, it's hard to find fault in this classic appetizer. Our best recipe comes, unsurprisingly, from Anne Byrn, who tested and tried many of the different ways to prep and fry the tomatoes in her Taste of a Place column. If you're as big of a fan of these goodies as we are, we suggest trying them all.
Get the recipe Crab Hushpuppies with Avocado Aioli
These fluffy, golden brown hushpuppies are great as both an appetizer and a side dish. Adding crab meat to a traditional hushpuppy dough gives our recipe complexity not normally found in the plain 'ol corn variety. To add even more excitement to the dish, we like to serve the hushpuppies with a light(-ish) and spicy(-ish) avocado aioli.
Get the recipe
Old-Fashioned Pimento Cheese
Pimento cheese, also known as the “pate of the south,” has been a part of Southern cuisine since the 1920s. Many variations of pimento cheese have made an appearance on Southern tables, but our old-fashioned recipe focuses on the basic flavors this appetizer is known for: cheddar cheese, peppers, mayonnaise and cream cheese. We’ve included a dash of cayenne pepper and diced pickled jalapeño pepper to add a little heat to the dish, but you can leave them out if you're a purist.
Get the recipe Vidalia Onion Dip
Caramelized Vidalia onions, sour cream and spices blend together in this rich, totally Southern dip. And, good news for all you procrastinators, making onion dip from scratch is actually quite quick and easy. Do be sure to deeply caramelize the onions so that their complex sweetness will carry through the entire dish. We recommend serving the dip with plain potato chips to let the onions shine.
Get the recipe Baked Brie with Bacon and Apples
This sweet and savory appetizer is an upgrade to the classic baked brie spread you usually on an appetizer table. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love melty baked brie cheese, regardless of what you put on it, but when you top it with cinnamon, apples and bacon? Perfection. This dish can stand alone or as an addition to a cheese board. Just be careful — it will likely steal the show.
Get the recipe
Classic Deviled Eggs
You can’t go wrong with serving deviled eggs at a summer cookout, holiday gathering or cocktail party. Whether you stick with the classic recipe or spice up the flavor profile by adding yellow mustard, capers and pickle to the yolky filling, your guests will be excited to get their hands on them. Garnishes like bacon are unexpected additions that everyone will enjoy, but if you want to stick with tradition, this is the recipe to make.
Get the recipe Oysters with Muscadine Mignonette
We love serving oysters as an appetizer because they are already packaged up in the perfect serving vessel. To serve alongside, we’ve put our own Southern touch on a mignonette sauce by adding in muscadine grapes. The addition of the grapes to the vinegary mignonette gives them a pickled quality for a pop of flavor on top of the cold, briny oysters.
Get the recipe
Photos (grit fritters, onion dip, deviled eggs, oysters): Ramona King
Photo (fried green tomatoes): Danielle Atkins
Photo (hushpuppies): Maura Friedman
Photo (baked brie): Pam Brand
Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.
51 Easy Appetizers and Snacks to Get the Party Started
Because we all know that light bites are better than entrées.
How do you make sure have a successful party? It&rsquos not the size of the guest list or the carefully curated music that matters most. Nor is it the feast that you have planned and prepared. No &mdash true party-goers know that a celebration lives and dies based on the quality of the snacks. Greet people at the door with a satisfying bite of food thanks to our list of easy appetizers! Happier guests mean better mingling, which makes for better parties. It&rsquos basically science.
If you&rsquore planning a fête &mdash and it doesn&rsquot matter if you&rsquore thinking of an intimate evening or a big, family BBQ &mdash the first thing you should do is consult this list of appetizers and go from there. We have suggestions for all types of palates, from people who like spicy bites, to health-conscious veggie-lovers, to vegans who still what to chow down on some nachos. It&rsquos all about making a good first impression, after all. Then, once you&rsquove got your app game plan, you can move on to dinner entrées, side dishes, and desserts. Oh, and don&rsquot forget the cocktails! (Seriously, have you tried the Berry-Basil-Lemon Sangria?)
Tiny Chicken Sandwiches
Nothing says 'comfort food' like fried chicken on a biscuit—with a pickle on top. These tasty bites make the perfect addition to a backyard barbeque themed wedding. Take them to the next level by serving them on tiny glass dishes.
- Best Overall:Paprika
- Best for Time Crunched Cooks:Mealime
- Best for Weight Loss:PlateJoy
- Best for Weight Loss Runner Up:Eat This Much
- Best for Social Media Fans:Prepear
- Best for Meal Preppers:MealPrepPro
- Best for Using Up Leftovers:BigOven
- Best if You're Budgeting:MealBoard
Best Overall : Paprika
Customizes chosen recipes and easily scales them up and down
Seamless cloud sync across devices
Saves recipes from all major food and wine sites and easily creates grocery lists
No built-in nutritional info
There is no recipe database and can't scan on-paper recipes from pictures
Paprika is our top pick because it gives you tons of flexibility and customization with the free app option. However, there’s no database of recipes or pre-set meal plans so you have to build up your own recipe collection first. Thankfully, Paprika’s recipe clipper makes it easy to save recipes directly from the web. And you can manually type in your own family recipes or cookbook favorites too.
When organizing saved recipes, users can name their own categories. So instead of just Beef or Chicken, you can have names like 30 Minutes or Less, Instant Pot, or Kids’ Favorites. If you tend to use recipes as guidelines instead of gospel, you can edit the recipes and add notes, but it’ll still have the link to the original in case you need it.
The app displays nutrition data from recipes that include it, but it doesn’t have a built-in program to calculate data for recipes that don’t have it. But it can automatically scale ingredients up or down depending on how many servings you want to make, and can automatically convert from metric to imperial measurements too.
It’s easy to create a weekly or monthly meal plan using the recipes you’ve saved. the free app version allows you to downoad up to 50 recipes (you can upgrade for a fee to get more). It will automatically create a customized grocery list based on your plan, consolidating ingredients when necessary and allowing users to add anything else they might need, like paper towels.
Best for Time Crunched Cooks : Mealime
Easy to use and convenient for people who are pressed for time
Curates recipes based on specific dietary needs, likes, or dislikes
Generates shoppings lists for digital purchases
The upgraded version requires a monthly payment
Lacks detailed nutritional information per recipe
Doesn't allow manual addition of recipes
If you want to eat healthier but don’t have time to scour the web for recipes or spend an hour cooking, Mealime is the app for you. Create a profile, add your food preferences, then choose your week’s meals from recipes the app curates just for you. The company promises they can be cooked in 30 minutes or less, and it’ll even generate a shopping list that can be imported into Amazon Fresh or Instacart for delivery.
The recipes all have a healthful bent and can accommodate many dietary restrictions, such as keto, paleo, and vegan. And you can import favorite recipes from the web, too, though adding recipes manually isn’t an option. The app is free, but if you upgrade to Pro you’ll get access to many more recipes, nutrition information, and the ability to filter meals by calorie count, save your meal plans, and add notes to a recipe.
Best for Weight Loss : PlateJoy
Nutritionist-designed and supported for a highly personalized plan based on extensive intake survey
Free with some health-insurance providers
Generates shoppings lists for digital purchases that also aim to reduce food waste
Seamless cloud sync across devices, plus it syncs to fitness and calorie trackers
More expensive than competitors with no value add-ons like free ingredients
PlateJoy’s highly personalized meal plans are a boon to those with specific dietary restrictions. Users take a lifestyle survey, which includes things like food preferences, fitness and calorie goals, allergies, and schedules, and the app uses 50 data points to create a unique meal plan just for you. It even accommodates those who are diabetic or on a low FODMAP plan.
The meal plans are designed by nutritionists, who are available by phone or chat too, and recipes include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The meal plans will automatically generate a shopping list, which can be integrated with Instacart or other grocery delivery services. You can also add your own recipes manually.
Users can sync the app to their FitBit, so it’ll automatically add their meals’ nutrition info to their calorie tracker. Even better, if your health insurance provider has joined the company’s PlateJoy Health division, you can get a free subscription, free Fitbit and free scale.
Best for Weight Loss Runner Up : Eat This Much
Calorie-goal oriented great for people who like to track their macros
Good nutritional info per recipe
Easy to use for website or manually added recipes
Large database of restaurants and packaged foods plus barcode scanner for nutritional info
Not ideal for families that have individuals with different nutritional needs or goals
No shopping lists or grocery deliveries for free version
Shopping list cost estimates aren't always accurate
Only allows daily meal plans unless you pay the monthly fee for upgraded version
The app will generate custom meal plans from its database using your preferences and calorie goals as a guide. It also allows users to import recipes from the web or manually add them. It’s also a calorie tracker with a database of popular restaurant dishes and packaged foods, which you can add to manually or with a barcode scanner. However, the app only allows daily meal plans unless you upgrade to the Premium account for $4.99 per month. Premium allows for weekly plans with nutrition targets for each day, automatic shopping lists and grocery delivery.
Best for Social Media Fans : Prepear
Thousands of free recipes personalized to your goals, needs, likes, and dislikes
Good nutritional info on recipes imported from websites
Adding recipes from the web or by hand is quick and easy
Connect with friends and food-enthusiasts through the app
Generates smart shopping lists
Better features require purchase of the Prepear Gold upgrade
Takes a lot of work to add ingredients into your personal recipes to get accurate nutritional information
Many of the web’s most popular food bloggers have partnered with PrePear to offer their recipes and meal plans to users. With one click, you could have a month’s worth of recipes from one of your favorite bloggers added to your calendar complete with shopping lists. The caveat is you’ll have to upgrade to Gold to access those plans.
But even if you opt for the free version, which is blessedly ad-free, you’ll still have more than 100,000 recipes to choose from in the app’s database. The recipes have been uploaded by the community of users (including many bloggers) and often have reviews or star rankings. There’s everything from classics to keto, and if you set up a few preferences the app will curate what you see. You can easily add more recipes from the web or manually add your family favorites. The Food Feed tab is where you can create your own network of friends, kind of like a foodie Facebook group, to get inspiration from what everyone else is cooking and share your own.
Cooking from the app is very user-friendly: You can check off ingredients as you go and a split-screen format allows you to see ingredients on one side and the instructions on the other. You can also add reminders to alert you to defrost meat or start prepping.
Best for Meal Preppers : MealPrepPro
Easy recipes for weekly or daily cooking
Nutritional information on all recipes
Personalized recipes that cater to your macro needs, goals, likes, and dislikes
Syncs with fitness devices
Generates smart shopping lists
After a 7-day free trial there is a monthly fee
Designed for batch cooking, so the math on scaling down is up to the user
There is a lot of time spent in the kitchen to comply with the week's suggested plan
MealPrepPro is designed for people who want to cook large batches of healthy food so they just have to heat and eat later in the week. The recipes are quick to make — just 10 to 30 minutes for four days’ worth of food — and designed for you to make a big batch one day, and then you’ll eat it for several days after. Sure it’s repetitive, but if you’re watching what you eat and don’t have a lot of time, you’ll always have a healthy meal waiting for you. If you’d rather cook fresh every day, or cook an even bigger batch to freeze, you can set the app to do that too.
Set up your preferences according to your diet (keto, paleo, plant-based, etc.) and either let the app determine your macro goals based on your health stats or you can set them manually. The app will create a weekly plan of lunch and dinner (plus breakfast and snacks if you want them) from its collection of recipes. Generally, you’ll be cooking just twice a week, though a couple of the breakfasts and snacks are made a la minute.
You can customize the plan if you want. It’ll even offer suggestions if you want to swap out a dish with something else. The recipes are easy to follow with step-by-step videos, but they’re made for one or two people, so if you’re feeding a family you’ll have to do your own math to scale things up. You can also add your own recipes. The plan generates an organized shopping list, and you can cross things off as you pick them up.
The app syncs with Apple Health and the Apple Watch, so you can keep track of your calories/macros, water consumption and follow the shopping list from your wrist.