Hors d'oeuvres are my favorite part of any party, wedding or cocktail hour. They have been around for years and are still served at many events today. If you're looking for some hors d'oeuvres inspiration, you've come to the right place! Here you will discover everything you need to know about these fancy appetizers such as examples, recipe ideas and how to serve them!
Hors d'oeuvres is a French word meaning "appetizers" or "starter". It is a small dish, usually served before a meal in European cuisine. Some can be served cold and some can be served hot. Some are served with a fork or spoon or skewer and others you just need your fingers to enjoy.
Many people associate hors d'oeuvres as passed appetizers at a cocktail hour party but they can actually be enjoyed while seated at a dinner table.
You do not need to attend a reception to enjoy them either so if you are planning on throwing a party, serving hors d'oeuvres is a great way to set a posh vibe.
Below are some delicious hors d'oeuvre ideas and suggestions that I think you're going to love!
Frequently Asked Questions:
The difference between appetizers and hors d'oeuvres are minor and can differentiated based on WHEN they are being served. Hors d'oeuvres are typically small savory dishes served before a meal even begins. They are not considered PART of the meal itself and are typically fancier. They can be served cold or hot and can be eaten with your fingers...the ultimate kind of finger food. They do not require guests to be seated to consume them like most appetizers do and instead are passed around.
Appetizers are meant to "kick off" a meal and are served immediately before the main course. They can range from flatbreads to dips and everything in between.
Hors d'oeuvres is French. It means “out of work” which translates to “outside the meal”. It is called outside the meal because they are not considered part of a meal. They are a meal in itself and have no connection to the main meal or main course.
Hors d'oeuvres are anything bite-sized that can be enjoyed using your fingers or a skewer. These canapes are great examples. See more examples below!
I think it's safe to say that all canapes are considered hors d'oeuvres but not all hors d'oeuvres are canapes. A canape is typically served on a small cracker, toasted piece of bread or an edible base.
Many people do not pronounce it correctly. The 'H' and the 'S' in hors are both silent. Here is how to pronounce it.
Hors D'oeuvre Ideas
These hors d'oeuvres are fancy but not too difficult to prepare.
These meatballs are a delicious skewered hors d'oeuvres idea that people will love. They are fun served on mini toothpick skewers are drizzled with a Greek yogurt sauce.
These bruschetta caprese are a deliciously filling and fancy appetizer you can serve to guests. Prep them in advance and bake them off last minute, they are always a hit at parties.
Skip the traditional coconut shrimp and serve these delicious buffalo shrimp instead! You can offer guests two sides to dip, blue cheese or ranch dressing.
Bacon wrapped pork skewers make a deliciously hearty but easy hors d'oeuvres. Everyone loves dipping so serve these with some mini toothpicks and you will have people going for thirds.
If you want to wow your guests, this is it. Everyone loves grilled cheese, even kids, so this one never lasts when it comes out. Serve with a quality brand of canned tomato soup and you have an easy but impressive hors d'oeuvre that people will remember.
These cheeseburger skewers are a fun way to enjoy the classic American burger but made a bit more classy. They can easily be assembled in advance and kept warm. Serve with a delicious burger sauce on the side!
Stuffed mushrooms are a classic appetizer that has been served for decades. They are the perfect finger food and super versatile. This version is Italian inspired made with clam sauce and herbs.
If you want to serve heavy hors d'oeuvres, this crostini has to be on your menu. It is fancy, impressive and best of all, can be made in advance and kept warm in the oven before serving.
These cucumber cups are a deliciously refreshing finger food that is ideal for the warmer months. They are inspired by a traditional Greek salad and can be assembled the night before and stored in the fridge.
These mock bruschetta are how you turn a salad into a bite-sized appetizer! They are ideal for the colder months made with craisins, pecans and Roquefort cheese.
An adorable but comforting hors d'oeuvre that people will go crazy over! These mini chicken pot pies are perfectly bite-sized and can be served with minimal prep. Just reheat and pass!
These sweet potato rounds are a delicious appetizer that only looks super fancy. Made with a few ingredients, they take minimal time to prepare and are ideal for serving around the holidays.
If done right, these cubano skewers could be the easiest hors d'oeuvre in the world. They are just made with 3 ingredients but with a few fancy folds and precise cutting, guests will think they were transformed to a posh party. I suggest passing around with a small bowl of the Dijon sauce for dipping.
I love how easy but delicious this hors d'oeuvre type appetizer is. Made with store-bought puff pastry and a can of chili, they can be assembled in less than 10 minutes!
These mini toasts are absolutely gorgeous but simple to put together. The flavors are sweet, savory and the texture is creamy but crunchy. It is everything you want in a one bite appetizer!
These mini bacon ranch cheese balls are so easy to make and delicious! You only need 5 ingredients and 10 minutes to put this deliciously easy but fancy hors d'oeuvres together.
These wontons are a delicious hors d'oeuvre that people will love dipping into soy sauce! The inside is creamy, savory but slightly sweeten with honey. They reheat well and are always a party favorite!
Serving hors d'oeuvres can be done one of two ways.
You can set up a buffet-style table with all of your hors d'oeuvres set up for guests to help themselves. This allows people to choose what they like and does not require servers.
The other option for serving hors d'oeuvres is hiring caterers to walk around with them. There is something fun and exciting about passed hors d'oeuvres that make a party so much more memorable. The cost would be more for this type of service so it is good to have a budget in mind.
You could also do a combination of both if you wish. Have a few caterers passing around hors d'oeuvres while some are also on a table for easy grabbing. Either way, your guests are sure to be happy!