When the holidays roll around, planning a party can either be a great joy or a giant, nerve-racking stressful situation. Even if you love to throw parties, the pressure of entertaining can sometimes be too much, especially if you are planning for a group of 15 or more.

But you can take the pressure out of the party if you plan ahead and make dishes that require no work from you during the party.

The key to serving appetizers that don’t require prepping during the party is serving dishes that are served cold, in a warmer, or that are suitable at room temperature. By serving one of each, you can offer your guests a good variety while keeping your workload at a minimum.

Here are three recipes — cold, warm, and room temperature — to serve at your holiday party so you can stay out of the kitchen and enjoy the better perks of the party.

Cold: Shrimp with Chipotle-Lime Dipping Sauce

shrimp cocktail

This Kraft Christmas appetizer recipe looks fancy but takes practically no time to make and prep before serving. You can prepare these shrimp cocktails before the party and just pull them out of the fridge and serve when the guests arrive.

Serves: 16 (2 shrimp/person)

Time: Total – 10 Minutes


  • 2 cups Breakstones or Knudsen Zesty Blends Chipotle Sour Cream
  • 4 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 32 medium shrimp, about two pounds (cooked, cleaned, thawed with tails)


  1. Mix sour cream, honey, and lime juice.
  2. Spoon 2 Tbsp. of mixture into a cocktail or shot glass.
  3. Balance shrimp on side of glass.

Warm: Hot Crab Dip

hot crab dip

Crock pot recipes are great because you can turn the dish on low and forget about it, perfect for a party. This hot crab dip recipe by Better Home and Gardens holds for over an hour before quality. So start it two hours before the party and simply relocate the warmer to the appetizer table when your guests arrive.

Serves: 20

Time: Prep – 15 Minutes, Cook – 1 Hour 30 Minutes to 2 Hours


  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (2) thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 – 6 oz. cans of crabmeat (drained, flaked, cartilage removed)
  • Dipping Foods (crackers, pita chips, bread wedges, bagel chips, etc.)


  1. Coat the inside of a 1-1/2 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, green onions, and Worcestershire sauce in medium size bowl.
  3. Stir in crabmeat.
  4. Transfer to slow cooker.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. Serve by keeping setting on low for up to an hour. Serve with dipping foods.

Room Temperature: Cereal Mix with Olive Oil and Parmesan

trail mix

Chex Mix is a classic party staple, because it can be served all night without losing quality and people tend to eat it by the handfuls. But for your holiday party you may want to take it up a notch and serve a fancier mix from Martha Stewart that uses olive oil and Parmesan to dress up this traditional party snack.

Serves: 24

Time: Prep – 15 Minutes, Cook – 15 to 40 Minutes


  • 8 cups assorted whole grain cereals
  • 4 cups pretzel rounds
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated


This recipe is doubled, so complete the baking process two times, using half of the mixture in each round.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss together cereals, pretzel rounds, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.
  3. Spread mixture in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Bake until cheese is melted and cereal is crisp and lightly golden, 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

This recipe is a little larger than the other two but you can store the mix for up to a week in an airtight container so your leftovers won’t go to waste.

If you are planning a holiday party for 15 or more people, don’t stress. These appetizer recipes offer a good variety that your guests will enjoy eating and you will enjoy prepping — in practically no time at all.

Geraldine Jensen

Publisher and Editor of Families Online Magazine. Our experts provide warm, loving, and generous advice for you, your family and children, no matter their age -- infants, school age, 'tweens, and teenagers. Features include:Parenting, Ages and Stages of Child Development, Child Support, Cooking, Health, Children's Books, Nutrition, Christian Parenting, Relationships, Green-living, Education and School

Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
https://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/shrimp.jpghttps://www.familiesonlinemagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/shrimp-150x150.jpgGeraldine JensenAppetizersappetizers,Cereal Mix with Olive Oil and Parmesan,Chipotle-Lime Dipping Sauce,easy recipes,holiday appetizers,Hot Crab Dip,party,shrimpWhen the holidays roll around, planning a party can either be a great joy or a giant, nerve-racking stressful situation. Even if you love to throw parties, the pressure of entertaining can sometimes be too much, especially if you are planning for a group of 15 or more.But you...Parenting Advice and Family Fun Activities