70 quick and easy canapes recipes and ideas

The perfect party food - these homemade canapes are quick and easy to make...

A selection of quick and easy canapes you can easily make at home
(Image credit: Future)

Quick and easy canapes to pass around at a party, including savoury and sweet nibbles from blinis to vol-au-vents, from mini ice cream cones to meats on sticks

"Canapés are a chance to give your guests a little glimpse of what they can expect from your dinner party but they are also a really fun option if you're hosting a themed event," says Senior Food Writer, Jessica Ransom (opens in new tab). "It's important they are bite-sized and easy to eat, in most scenarios your guests will only have one hand free because the other will be holding a drink of some kind."

The word 'canapé' actually means 'couch' or 'sofa', because traditional canapés are served on a piece of bread, so it is said to look a little like someone sitting on a sofa. Our pea and prawn crostini, or beetroot blinis, are good examples. Anything else (on sticks, in glasses, or served on spoons) is technically an appetiser, though, in modern parlance, the two are interchangeable. "If you're serving a canapé ahead of a dinner, make sure you don't fill your guests up too much," says Jessica. "Allow for 2-3 canapés per person and keep the portion sizes of indulgent ingredients like cheese or fried foods quite small. It's better to have your guests wishing for more than feeling too full."

Originally savoury, they were a starter or a pre-starter. These days, however, they're just as likely to be sweet, and sometimes are served as buffet food (opens in new tab), like a two-course standing meal: savoury first, followed by puddings. You could even go sweet-only - perfect for a baby shower or as an afternoon tea (opens in new tab)-themed event.

Quick and easy canapes recipes and ideas

Homemade bread tart cases make these little morsels good value canapés

1. Cheat’s goat’s cheese and cranberry tartlets

Makes: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 25 mins

These sound so fancy but they’re actually a frugal little treat. You make them by cutting a disc out of a slice of bread - one slice per canapé. You don’t need to use fancy bread. Standard stuff works best and gives a lovely crisp shell. If you’ve got an old jar of cranberry sauce in the cupboard after Christmas, this is a great way to use it up.

The bread leftovers can be made into melba toast for dipping into homemade dips. Or you can just put them in a food processor, whizz them down to breadcrumbs, and keep them in the freezer for topping homemade pies and bakes. 

Get the recipe: Cheat’s goat’s cheese and cranberry tartlets (opens in new tab)

canape recipe

Crisp little fingers of halloumi cheese are perfect for dunking in dips

2. Halloumi dippers

Makes: 40 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 40 mins

Crisp halloumi canapés are such a treat. They are coated in extra light and crunchy panko breadcrumbs. However, if you want to keep costs down you can use normal breadcrumbs - either homemade ones very finely processed, or preserved ones from a packet.

Jessica Ransom, Senior Food Editor says, "These deep-fried little cheese bites are incredibly indulgent so we recommend allowing 2-3 max per person. After frying, they should be sturdy enough to pick up with just fingers but providing small forks or cocktail sticks will make it easier for your guests. Why not upgrade these canapés to a simple starter? Cut the halloumi into slightly bigger chunks and serve with a rocket salad and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to cut through the fattiness of the cheese."

Get the recipe: Halloumi Dippers (opens in new tab)

High protein and low fat - fancy canapés don't have to be unhealthy

3. Chicken Katsu skewers

Makes: 18 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 45 mins

These look so beautifully arranged on a long-serving platter with a dipping sauce in a bowl at the end. And, whereas lots of canapés are quite a strain on the waistline, these are low fat and high in protein, making them a pretty healthy option.

They are best served warm. However, it’s really easy to cook them in advance and then just keep them on a low shelf in a warming oven, already skewered up and ready to go, for up to an hour before you plate up. Cover them with some foil to keep them from drying out if you use this method.

Get the recipe: Chicken Katsu skewers (opens in new tab)

Millionaire's shortbread with a fabulous nutty upgrade

4. Peanut butter caramel

Makes: 48 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 30, plus cooling and setting time

"A delicious nutty take on the classic Millionaire's shortbread," says Jessica. "These are a great option for after dinner with a shot of espresso. Make them the night before then cut them into shape on the day of serving and arrange them on your platter so they are ready to go. They would make a really nice addition to a sweet grazing board and can be cut into triangles or squares."

This is such a useful recipe to have in your repertoire. Not only is it a great choice for a canapé, but it’s also great to make for charity bake sales - cut into larger portions for people. Don’t be put off by the long cooking time for these - a lot of it is downtime while you’re waiting for things to bake or set. They’re easy to make and you get nearly 50 from a batch so the payoff is huge.

Get the recipe: Peanut butter caramel slice (opens in new tab)

canape recipe Smoked salmon and pea vol au vents

Juicy smoked salmon flakes and minty pea purée in a small but perfectly formed mouthful

5. Smoked salmon and pea vol-au-vents

Makes: 18 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 20 mins

Vol-au-vents are the classic party nibble. Don’t worry about them looking old-fashioned - they don’t. In fact, they have a really cool retro appeal. You could really lean into the retro vibe and serve them up with a range of other classic party nibbles, from blinis to devils on horseback (dates wrapped in crispy bacon).

This recipe is quick and easy to do because it uses ready-made frozen vol-au-vent cases. No need for cutting shapes out of a puff pastry sheet.

Get the recipe: Smoked salmon and pea vol-au-vents (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Mini Parma ham veggie tarts

Pastry-free tasty treats that all your guests will enjoy

6. Mini Parma ham veggie tarts

Makes: 8 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 25 mins

These are a little bit like a pastry-free version of mini quiche. The parma ham forms a crisp case, and no pastry means they are gluten-free - great for guests with wheat intolerance. Serve these up on a board or a china plate as the ham will be a little oily, which can discolour paper plates. Place your napkins nearby too because people will probably want to wipe their fingers. 

They are easier than they look to create, with only five ingredients. Vary the filling vegetables according to what you like and what’s in season. In spring and early summer during the British season, mini asparagus spears are often on special offer making them a great value.

Get the recipe: Mini Parma ham veggie tarts (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Pea and prawn crostini

Light and fresh little toasts, perfect for summer garden soirées

7. Pea and prawn crostini

Makes: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 15 mins

Pea and prawn crostini are so easy to make and you can knock out a dozen in 15 minutes. It’s really easy to multiple the amounts for this recipe, but remember, although they are very quick, most of the time is in assembling the crostini. If you’re making double, expect it to take twice as long. 

"If you don't like peas, swap for classic guacamole either homemade or shop-bought. Squeeze over a little lime juice before serving for zing and a sprinkle of chilli flakes if you like spice," says Jessica.

Get the recipe: Pea and prawn crostini (opens in new tab)

canape recipe Spicy salmon and guacamole cones

A really original and attractive way to serve up canapés

8. Spicy salmon and guacamole cones

Makes: 16 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 30 mins

Serve up these delicious Mexican-inspired mini corn tortillas at a summer party with a fiesta feel. They're quite spicy, so probably best for grown-up dos.

If you want to have a crispy case, more like a taco, try this trick. Make up the corn tortillas into cone shapes and secure them with a toothpick to stop them from unraveling. Bake them in the oven for a couple of minutes until they harden on the outside. Leave to cool and then remove the toothpicks before filling them.

Get the recipe: Spicy salmon and guacamole cones (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Beetroot blinis with garlicky mushrooms

Punchy pink canapés that look as good as they taste

9. Beetroot blinis with garlicky mushrooms

Makes: 30 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 30 mins + 30 mins for the yeast to develop

These are so colourful and dainty, that they make a delightful little platter. Serve them up with other blinis like smoked salmon, to make the plate a rainbow.

This recipe includes actually making your own blinis, so you will need an hour in total. However, you can do this section in advance and just heat the blinis in the microwave before assembling and serving, or use shop-bought ones. 

Get the recipe: Beetroot blinis with garlicky mushrooms (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_lamb kebabs

Easy to make and always popular - the herby dip is the secret weapon of these simple bites

10. Mini lamb kebab skewers

Makes: 24 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 25 mins

This is one of our most popular recipes because it’s easy to make, and so tasty. Each mini kebab is served on a stick, so your guests can dip in the minty yogurt dip without getting their hands greasy. 

Make the kebabs and the sauce up a day in advance and just keep them chilled and ready to grill just before serving. 

Get the recipe: Mini lamb kebab skewers (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Strawberry cheesecake pots

Mini pudding pots topped with fruity strawberry coulis

11. Strawberry cheesecake pots

Makes: 6 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 20 mins

There is nothing difficult about this recipe, though you need a little precision and patience when you’re putting them together. It's a great canapé for a small-ish garden party when you don't have to make more than 6-10.

These use fat-free yogurt and extra light cream cheese to keep them as low-calorie as possible.

Get the recipe: Strawberry cheesecake pots (opens in new tab)

canape recipe Beetroot and goats cheese crostini

Pickled beetroot and tangy goats' cheese make a sophisticated snack

12. Beetroot and goats’ cheese crostini

Makes: 20 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 20 mins

These look so professional but they’re really easy to make and assemble. To keep your assembly line speedy, wear plastic gloves and place the beetroot by hand. That way you won’t get purple-stained fingers for the party.

Cut the baguettes thinly and on the horizontal to get the long finger effect for the crostini, which allows you to add four quarters of beetroot per canapé. Don’t skimp on the orange zest and thyme leaf garnish - it adds a beautiful flourish. 

Get the recipe: Beetroot and goats' cheese crostini (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Crispy prawns_sweet chilli dip

Serve these crispy prawns with big wedges of lime to garnish

13. Crispy prawns with sweet chilli dip

Makes: 30 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 25 mins

Party food that everyone can pass around and share. "Try using prawns with the tails still attached. They look more elegant and provide the perfect ready-made handle for easy eating," says Jessica. Remember to leave a discard bowl for people to leave the tails in though.

If you’re short on time, you can just use sweet chilli dipping sauce straight from a bottle, but adding the lemon and soy just gives it a little something extra.

Get the recipe: Crispy prawns with sweet chilli dip (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Caramel cream Nutella lollies

Neat little mouthfuls of decadent caramel chocolate

14. Caramel cream Nutella lollies

Makes: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 40 mins + 5 hrs chilling

Sweet canapés are just as important as savoury. Keep these in the fridge until people have eaten their fill of savoury canapés and are ready for them.

An hour before you bring them out, put the serving plate to chill in the freezer. This keeps them cool for longer if people don’t eat them straight away. If you leave them out on a sunny day, the chocolate will melt and leave brown puddles behind.

Get the recipe: Caramel cream Nutella lollies (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Crushed potatoes with smoked salmon toppers

A brilliant twist on classic salmon blinis

15. Crushed potatoes with smoked salmon toppers

Makes: 18 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 45 mins

If you're bored of the same old salmon blinis, try making them with crushed potatoes instead. They have a lovely crispness that is a brilliant contrast to the salmon.

These are really easy to portion up as each base is exactly one small potato, so you know exactly how many you’re going to get. Make sure you grease your baking tray well as you don’t want the finished potatoes sticking to it just before you assemble them.

Get the recipe: Crushed potatoes with smoked salmon (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Smoked salmon roses on rye toast

Be generous with the salmon to make this beautiful little rose creations

16. Smoked salmon roses on rye toast

Makes: 6 | Skill level: medium | Total time: 25 mins

These smoked salmon roses may look fancy but they're actually really easy to make. Apart from toasting the rye bread, they don’t need any cooking at all. You can speed up the process by simply spreading the cream cheese mixture onto the rye toast, but piping it from an icing bag with a star nozzle makes it so pretty. 

If you’re serving this to a group that includes people with gluten intolerance, replace the rye bread with a really dense, dark gluten-free bread with lots of seeds.

Get the recipe: Smoked salmon roses on rye toast (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Leek and blue cheese pizza

A pretty pizza canapé that can be cut into many little portions

17. Leek and blue cheese pizza

Serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 25 mins

Slice this unusual pizza into small squares to pass around at parties. Pizza always makes a great canapé as you can slice it into as many or as few pieces as you need. It’s best served warm but you can cook and slice it up before your guests arrive and keep it in a very low oven until you’re ready to serve.

This one uses a defrosted portion of pizza dough, rolled into a square for easy portioning. But it’s adaptable too. You could use a piadina flatbread (try Crosta & Mollica’s) or even plain naan bread to make the base. 

Get the recipe: Leek and blue cheese pizza (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_steak on sticks

Chunks of lean meat on sticks make a very healthy canapé option

18. Steak on sticks

Makes: 8 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 11 mins

"Sometimes the simplest recipes are the tastiest," says Jessica. "Using high-quality steak will ensure the most flavour and an enjoyable texture. It's really important to rest the steak well before slicing so that it's as tender as possible.

"It's a nice idea to serve these canapés with classic warmed steak sauces such as peppercorn or béarnaise. They should be served and eaten quickly as they will become toughen up if left to go cold."

Get the recipe: Steak on sticks (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Smoked salmon blinis

One of the most classic canapés, and still one of the best

19. Smoked salmon blinis

Makes: 24 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 15 mins

One of the most quintessential party canapés - brilliant at anything from a high summer garden party to Christmas cocktails. If serving in summer, pass them around and then keep any spares in a cool, shady place so the salmon doesn’t start to discolor.

Salmon goes so well with champagne, crémant, or cava. The bold, fresh flavours of the fizz balance well with the oily fishiness of the salmon. Using packet blinis, you really can make two dozen of these in just a quarter of an hour.

Get the recipe: Smoked salmon blinis (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Smoked salmon_cottage cheese and rocket rolls

A seriously healthy option for the canapé spread

20. Smoked salmon, cottage cheese and rocket rolls

Makes: 16 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 10 mins

Canapé spreads can be a minefield of high-calorie counts, but with these, you and your guests can enjoy a treat, guilt-free. They’re actually Slimming World-approved.

"You can try this recipe with smoked trout or salami if you prefer," says Jessica. "It's best to secure the rolls with a cocktail stick and chill to firm up for 30mins before serving. You can arrange them on a bed of rocket or watercress. This is mostly for presentation but is edible and delicious too."

Get the recipe: Smoked salmon, cottage cheese and rocket rolls (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_potato cakes and dip

Delicious little crispy potato bites accompanied by a spicy dip

21. Chilli Philly potato cakes

Makes: 16-20 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 35 mins

These bite-sized treats are always really popular. Serve with the homemade dip, or alongside some shop-bought ones for variety. Most people will want three or four each, so adjust your batch size accordingly. The only extra time is when you’re shaping the little potato cakes into balls and flattening them, so making extras doesn't lengthen the cooking time too much.

Get the recipe: Potato cakes (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Chocolate and cranberry cheesecake shots

Fancy little shots of chocolate cheesecake pudding

22. Chocolate and cranberry cheesecake shots

Makes: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 25 mins + 2 hrs cooling time

Another cheaty cheesecake-a-like. Make these in shot glasses and serve them up to your guests with coffee spoons (regular teaspoons will be too large to get to the bottom of the pudding.)

If you don’t have shot glasses or spoons, you can make this as one large cheesecake instead. We recommend using a loose-bottomed, square tin. Cut the cheesecake into portions, and place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes before serving, to firm them up a bit and make them easier to pick up.

Get the recipe: Chocolate and cranberry cheesecake shots (opens in new tab)

canape recipe_Mini vegetable frittatas

Surprisingly filling bite-size crustless quiches

23. Mini vegetable frittatas

Makes: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 30 mins

A brilliant, Spanish fiesta-inspired recipe. These are like little quiches but they don’t have any pastry. That means they’re not only suitable for vegetarians but also for any guests who are gluten-intolerant. 

They are lovely served hot or cold, depending on the type of party you’re throwing. In winter, we’d recommend cooking them in advance and then reheating them in the oven just before serving. In summer you can serve them straight from the fridge, made a day or two in advance.

Get the recipe: Mini mushroom and onion frittata (opens in new tab)