« Back to Glossary Index
what are appetisers and appetiser ideas
Appetiser Ideas

Appetizers Meaning

Appetiser meaning & definition;
An Appetizer can go by a few names, for example; hors d’oeuvre, starter, entree or even finger food.
Either way it is normaly a small dish served before a meal.

The definition of an appetizer is a small portion of food before a meal to stimulate the appetite, or a bit of something that excites a desire for more.
So your appetiser is usually a small, light, and usually savoury first course in a meal.

Appetiser or Appetizer

Good question, appetizers or appetisers?
It’s pretty simple.

“Appetiser” is the preferred way of spelling in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, while “Appetizer” is the American and Canadian spelling.

What that means is that both spellings are correct as the American spelling has gained large acceptance internationaly.

What are Appetizers

A further explanation of appetiser classifications is;

  1. Cocktails

    A cocktail could consist of a handful of bite-sized pieces that could be fish, shellfish, drinks and fruits
    They must be fresh in appearance and arranged attractively to have an eye appeal.

    For example;

    • Fish, crayfish, prawns, shrimps or oysters served with a tangy flavoured sauce.
    • Chilled fruit juices such as orange, pineapple, grapefruit or tomato.
    • Chopped fruit pieces coated in a natural yoghurt.
  2. Hors d’ oeuvres

    Hors d’ oeuvres are small portions of highly seasoned foods.
    They are used to precede a meal served and are also intended to be eaten by hand. They can be either hot or cold.
    Simplicity should be the main criteria for making the hors d oeuvres.
    For example;

    • Small items served on a skewer, stick, or toothpick such as Bacon wrapped oysters, satay beef skewers, or cheese and fruit kebabs.
      These can be artistically arranged, alternating items for colour as well as a blend of flavours, or the sticks can be dedicated to one item.
    • Small pastry shells filled with some savoury or sweet ingredient would also be a type of hors d’oeuvre.
      A simple one savoury one would be mini-quiches.

      Small fried items such as meatballs, wontons, samosas, and egg rolls are often served with a dipping sauce.

    • Cut raw vegetables served with a dip or even dips served with crackers or chips can be considered hors d’oeuvres as well.
      A simple bowl of nuts would be hors d’oeuvres if served with drinks before dinner.
    • Deviled eggs are a classic, crowd-pleasing hors d’oeuvre that has many variations.
  3. Canape

    A Canape is a bite-sized or two bite-sized finger food consisting of four parts: a base, a spread or topping and garnish or garniture. They are savoury titbits of food.
    They could be served hot or cold. The items should be dainty, petite, fresh, having an eye appeal and colour contrasts.

    There are no set recipes for making canapes.
    Individuals or a combination of several different coloured items are used on the small fancifully cut pieces of bread, toasted or fried, biscuits, etc.

    • A base of a small piece of bread, pastry or crackers.
      Crostini and bruschetta are classic examples of canapés.

      Modern canapés may use a cracker, a small pancake (called blini) or even a pastry shell as the base.

    • A flavourful spread such as real butter, flavoured cream cheese or mayonnaise.

      The spread adds moisture and flavor while also forming a barrier so that the bread underneath doesn’t become soggy.
      It also serves as a sort of glue, so that the toppings are less likely to slide off the base.

    • A topping of meat, seafood, vegetable, fruit or whatever.
      This is the primary ingredient of the canapé, and the more luxurious the better.
      Steak, prosciutto ham, smoked salmon, lobster and shrimp are excellent choices.
    • A garnish, usually something small, like tiny minced onions, herbs or caviar.
  4. Relishes/Crudite

    Relishes/Crudite are pickled items and raw, crisp vegetables such as julienned carrots or celery sticks.
    Relish varieties are generally placed before the guest in a slightly, deep, boat shape dish.

  5. Salads

    Petite Salads are of small portions and they are usually displaying the characteristics found in the most salad.
    Salads come in two types, Plain and Compound.
    Plain salads would include;

    • Cucumber salad
    • Tomato salad
    • Beetroot salad

    A Compound Salad could be;

    • Salad Russe: Dices of mixed vegetables in mayonnaise.
    • Salad Waldref: Dices of apple, celery, and walnut, bounded with mayonnaise.
    • Caesar Salad: Caesar salad is Lettuce with vinaigrette dressing along with garlic, croutons, and grated parmesan cheese.
  6. Soup

    Soup is a teaser to the main course. They complement what is served after it.
    Therefore, soups serve as an appetizer. Moreover, soups are seasoned with flavours that stimulate the appetite.

    The appetizing effect of soup is mainly due to the herbs or spices added to it.
    Herbs and spices are well know to promote hunger and aid in proper digestion of the food.

    A good example of this is Chicken Taco Soup.

  7. Dips

    Savoury dips are popular accompaniments to dippers like tortilla chips, thicker potato chips, crackers, toasts and bagel crisps, bread sticks and pretzels, sliced apples and pears, and raw veggies work best with dips.
    Proper consistency is important for many dips you prepare.

    It must not be so thick that it cannot be scooped up without breaking the dipper, but it must be thick enough to stick to the items used as dippers.

    For creamy-smooth dips like a tasty hummus dip, you could go for crispy pita chips or bagel chips, potato chips and other vegie chips (like zucchini or kale).

    Appetiser Ideas

    Some Appetisers are served cold, others hot.

    This is a very simple list of what Appetisers could be.

    1. They may be served at the dinner table as a part of the meal, or they may be served before seating.
    2. Appetisers for parties? They may also be served at late parties that occur after a regular meal time.
    3. A mid-afternoon party where there is no intent to serve dinner, or an evening party that occurs after dinner, may also offer these foods so that guests can have the opportunity to snack.
      They’re an especially good idea when guests are consuming alcohol, since they help to cut down on alcohol absorption.
    4. A simple plate of cheese and crackers, chopped vegetables served with dip, or sliced or small fruits can all be considered Appetisers.
    5. Other popular options include canapés, club sandwiches, spring rolls or arancini balls are very favoured these days.
    6. Mini hotdogs that can be eaten in a bite or two, along with miniature meat pies and sausage rolls are all very well liked favourites.

    Unless your guests are sitting down with a bowl of soup, the best appetiser recipes all have the goal to make the food easy to handle with just a napkin, and easy to eat in one to two bites.

    Now guests can continue to visit, dance, chat or mingle without needing to be hindered with plates.
    This is why these easy finger food recipes can also be popular appetiser options as well.
    Or see all our appetiser recipe ideas.

    Appetizer Prep and Serving Tips

    1. Do as much as you can a day in advance.
      Chop anything that can be chopped ahead of time and place it in plastic bags or containers in the refrigerator.
    2. Many dips taste better if made the day before serving so don’t hesitate to make that dip a day ahead of time.
    3. You don’t have to have fancy serving platters. Use cutting boards, baking trays covered with a tea towel or cane baskets lined with napkins always look good.

      You could also serve Appetisers and dips in bowl made out of hollowed cabbage, cob loaves, hollowed out capsicum (green, red, or yellow), pineapple or melons.

    4. Divide the Appetisers among several platters so your guests can try a variety of Appetisers from wherever they are seated.
    5. If you are short on space, stack cake stands on top of one another to make a tiered serving stand!
    6. Most appetisers should be small enough to be eaten in one or two bites.
    7. Garnish your serving trays with a green leafy lettuce, herbs, edible flowers (nasturtiums, viola, cornflower or hollyhock) or citrus wheels (lemon, lime or orange).
    8. Serve cold foods like vegetables, fruit and seafood on ice.
    9. Have fresh trays of Appetisers ready so you can just replenish as needed.

    Sharing is caring!

« Cooking Terms