The Best Store-Bought Appetizers for the Holidays, According to Chefs

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Beautifully decorated catering banquet table with different food snacks and appetizers on corporate christmas birthday party event or wedding celebration

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Make holiday entertaining less frantic and more fun with our guide to the best hosting hacks and tips. This content is presented in partnership with Shipt; it was created independently by our editorial team.

When it comes to holiday hosting, I like to focus on cooking the three things I do well and run to the grocery store for everything else. 

Here are four chef-approved appetizers straight from stores that require, at most, some heating. 

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Trader Joe’s is a real-life wonderland for frozen shortcuts. “Our favorite easy holiday hack is to take Trader Joe’s Caramelized Onion and Feta Pastry Bites [and] jazz them up,” says Kaiy Smith-Biesman, chef, sommelier, and food stylist of Stems in Pasadena, California. “I top them with chopped pears, brown sugar, and a little bit of nutmeg and butter before baking.” Short on time? Smith-Biesman says you can also serve the bites as is.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Credit: Photo: Chris SImpson; Food Styling; Jessie YuChen

When you serve tinned fish as an appetizer, basically your only step is to open and empty the packaging. “Straight from the tin, white anchovies, mollusks, or octopus make for a fun addition to holiday apps and entrees,” says Juan Cassalett, chef of Malagón in Charleston, South Carolina. Cassalett counts Ortiz products, which Malagón sells in its mercado, as favorites. “My go-to for the Ortiz white anchovies is with Espaniler whole piquillo peppers served with Los Aljibes olive oil for a simple, shareable tapa with toasted sourdough bread or crackers,” he adds. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

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