Holiday parties bring out the best and worst in everyone you know, and I’m not just talking about who gets plastered and who doesn’t. I’m talking about the holiday party spread and who brings the goods. Some people can impress the whole room with their culinary prowess as they bring a feast of the best flavors. Others will limp their way to the food table with a box of crusty, dry donuts they picked up from the gas station on the way over. That’s on them for not consulting this master list of the best holiday party foods that you can just pick up at the grocery store—no culinary prowess needed. These are six easy holiday party items that even permanent bachelor Steve in accounting can’t screw up.
- Trader Joe’s Sweet Cannoli Dip
Sweet dips are a rarity. But if there was ever a time for them to come out, it’s during the holiday season. You might be asking yourself, “What does cannoli dip taste like?” Well, it’s sort of like cream cheese frosting with a bit of savoriness behind the sweetness, much like sweetened mascarpone. It would be trashy to bring a tub of frosting to set out on the food table at the holiday party, but this stuff is fancy. Get a bag of cannoli chips or nice graham crackers to go along with this and watch as everyone discovers that sweet dip is a thing they love.
Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s dips
- Trader Joe’s Cranberry Chevre Goat Cheese
You could grab any goat cheese to bring to the holiday party but Trader Joe’s Cranberry Chevre Goat Cheese is on point for the festivities, so it’s worth grabbing this one in particular. It also helps that it’s the only fruity cheese that Sporked senior writer Jordan Myrick thinks is worth trying out. It’s easy to see why. The cranberries are the perfect balance of sweet and tart. The goat cheese is so creamy and rich. The combination of the two flavors are a window into heaven. Bring this to share at your next holiday party to turn even the staunchest goat cheese opponent into a true believer.
Read the full ranking of the best sweet cheeses at Trader Joe’s
- Emmi Swiss Knight Fondue
People write off fondue as a stale holdover from the ’70s, but I have news for you: Fondue is delicious and we should be eating it more often. And, hey, there’s no better time to start incorporating boozy, molten cheese into your diet than the holidays. Swiss Knight fondue comes ready to heat and truly tastes restaurant quality. It’s super creamy and has the perfect balance of nutty, slightly funky cheese flavor and burn from the kirsch in the mix. It’s fantastic. If you have a fondue pot collecting dust in your cupboard, bust it out and grab a packet of this for the holiday party.
Read the full ranking of the best cheese fondue
- Kirkland Signature Shrimp Cocktail
Kirkland Signature shrimp cocktail from Costco was made for a holiday party. This platter includes over a pound of big, plump shrimp, plus a big cup of cocktail sauce and even a couple of lemon slices. There’s literally no extra work you have to put in; it’s perfect for the lazy, kitchen-shy holiday reveler out there. The shrimp are fresh. The cocktail sauce is tangy and very light on the horseradish. And it’s only $15, so you truly can’t go wrong here.
Read the full ranking of the best grocery store shrimp cocktail
- Trader Joe’s Party Size Mini Meatballs
I’ve never met a party that wouldn’t be improved by a cute little crockpot full of BBQ-sauced meatballs. Trader Joe’s mini meatballs are perfect for the job. They’re tender (so many frozen meatballs are as dense as rubber balls), but they’re still sturdy enough that they won’t fall to pieces once they’ve been impaled with frilled toothpicks. Whether you bring an assortment of dips to go along with a naked set of these—they taste great right out of the oven—or go the pre-sauced route, these will be a hit at the holiday party.
Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s frozen appetizers
- Foustman’s Hot Toscano Salami
If you don’t know how to cook but you do know how to use a knife, a charcuterie board is one of the best holiday party foods. Don’t overdo it—just cut up some nice salami and a few nice cheeses and voila. This particular dried sausage, Foustman’s Hot Toscano Salami, is a hot seller on Amazon for a reason. The flavor of this sausage is off the charts. Ever single morsel is bursting with wonderfully tangy heat and subtle garlic notes. Honestly, everyone will forgive you for not really cooking if you bring a stick of this salami this to share.
Read the full ranking of the best salami