Whether you're throwing a festive bash, celebrating a special occasion or watching a big sporting match, a tempting array of finger foods never goes amiss. We know it's easy to splash the cash when entertaining a crowd, so we've rounded up our best budget-friendly bites to help take the stress out of party planning. With a few inventive ingredient pairings, you can transform simple storecupboard staples and basic ingredients into an alluring appetiser. From elevating a pack of puff pastry or block of cheddar to reinventing the humble boiled egg - we've got plenty of thrifty ideas to deck out your perfect party platter.


Discover more easy canapé recipes and party recipes, plus check out our list of storecupboard canapé ideas and budget dinner party ideas. Planning on throwing a tea party? Find everything you need in this guide to the best budget-friendly afternoon tea ideas. For much more money-saving tips and cookery inspiration, visit our main budget hub page.

Want to accompany your nibbles with a bowl of silky hummus or tangy cheese sauce? See our collection of dip recipes for plenty of mouthwatering mixtures.

12 easy budget canapé ideas

1. Mini sausage rolls

A pile of mini sausage rolls with dip

An all-time party canapé classic, these miniature marvels are sure to disappear in a flash at your next do. They couldn't be simpler to make - all you need is a few basic ingredients such as a pack of puff pastry and sausagemeat. You can also make them ahead and freeze them on a tray for up to a month before baking. They'll go down a treat served with tomato ketchup or sweet chilli sauce.

Mini sausage rolls

2. Smoked salmon & herb blinis

Blinis topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese plus herbs

Our ultimate budget canapé countdown also wouldn't be complete without a nod to the blini. This classic flavour combination takes just four ingredients and can be prepped in 5 minutes flat. Spread shop-bought cocktail blinis with a punchy garlic and herb cream cheese, then top with a few shreds of smoked salmon trimmings and watercress for a dainty snack.

Smoked salmon and herb blinis

3. Brie and cranberry filo parcels

Flio triangle parcels with cranberry sauce dips on a tray

Go bold on flavour with these irresistibly crispy filo parcels, filled with a moreish combination of tangy brie and tart cranberry sauce. A sprinkling of poppy seeds adds extra crunch whilst brushing the filo sheets in melted butter gives them a beautiful golden colour when cooking. Make them ahead for a wallet-friendly veggie appetiser and serve with extra cranberry sauce.

Brie and cranberry filo parcels

4. Vegan rainbow spring rolls

A platter of colour vegan spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce

Bring a touch of colour to the buffet table by encasing chopped batons of fresh veg in edible wrappers. These vibrant vegan rainbow spring rolls are delicious served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. We've used fresh mango in the recipe, but you can cut costs by omitting it and customising with your choice of fruit and veg.

Vegan rainbow spring rolls

For another thrifty plant-based nibble, check out our vegan garlic & herb 'cheese' balls.

5. Date & walnut cinnamon bites

A circle of date and walnut canapes on a plate

Who says canapés have to be savoury? Whip up these 3-ingredient Medjool date and walnut bites in just five minutes. Finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon, they make a light and simple snack with just a hint of sweetness. Use up any leftover fruit to make our pecan-stuffed dates, if you like.

Date and walnut cinnamon bites

Treat your guests to more sweet canapé recipes, from mini cheesecakes to melt-in-the-middle truffles.

6. Mozzarella sticks

A plate of breaded mozzarella sticks

We don't think it gets much better than these crisp and golden deep-fried cheese sticks with an oozing centre. Coated in a layer of breadcrumbs, paprika and oregano, they pack plenty of flavour with a few budget-friendly ingredients. Ideal for watching a big match or a summer party, serve them warm with your favourite dipping sauce.

More like this

Mozzarella sticks

Use up any leftover mozzarella to make these bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.

7. Pork & chilli lettuce cups

Lettuce cups filled with mince and topped with sliced veg

Fresh lettuce leaves provide a brilliant bite-sized vessel for serving a spicy pork mince filling. These Thai-inspired lettuce cups are simple to assemble and the filling can be frozen for up to two months, if needed. Pork mince makes a cheaper alternative to beef and is full of flavour, complemented by the addition of fish sauce and lemongrass. Garnish with thinly sliced spring onions, carrots and chopped herbs.

Pork and chilli lettuce cups

8. Caramelised mushroom tartlets

Mini tarlets with caramelised mushrooms and cheese

These mini tartlets look impressive but are deceptively easy and cheap to make. Rather than using a pastry base, you can cut out circles from sliced white sandwich bread (freeze any leftovers for breadcrumbs) and use them to line a tartlet tin. Top these with a mixture of caramelised onions and mushrooms plus a sprinkling of cheddar, then bake for 10-15 mins. The resulting crisp and golden tarts look stunning on a platter with a garnish of thyme and aren't likely to hang around for long!

Caramelised mushroom tartlets

9. Devilled eggs

A plate of devilled eggs topped with chives

Bring back a 70's retro classic to your next drinks party with these dainty and cost-effective bites that truly elevate the humble boiled egg. The devilled eggs are filled with a creamy mixture of mustard, spring onions, mayo, yogurt and cayenne for maximum flavour. Topped with chopped chives, they are effortlessly elegant and devilishly good!

Classic devilled eggs

Our easy coronation chicken is another retro classic which will go down a storm at a party.

10. Sautéed chorizo with red wine

Bowl of chorizo cocktail sausages with sticks

We've taken inspiration from the Med for this tempting tapas-style dish. Simply cut a piece of cooking chorizo into chunks and fry it with red wine, honey and garlic to form a thick, sticky glaze. Finish with a scattering of parsley and pair with crusty bread for a quick and budget-friendly alfresco entertaining plate.

Sautéed chorizo with red wine

11. Spanish tomato bread with jamón Serrano

Sliced baguettes topped with tomato and serrano ham slices

Another Spanish-inspired dish, these thrifty tapas snacks are one of our top-rated canapés for a reason. Fuss-free, and ready in just 5 minutes, they are a shining example that basic ingredients can work wonders together. Top slices of baguette with Serrano ham, then spoon over mixed tomatoes and chopped garlic with a touch of seasoning. We love them served with a garlicky aioli dip.

Spanish tomato bread with jamón Serrano

Discover more flavour-packed tapas recipes.

12. Quick cheese straws

A glass jar of cheese straws

If you are on a shoestring budget or need a super speedy nibble, look no further than these cheese straws. You only need two ingredients to make them - a pack of puff pastry and a few handfuls of grated parmesan (or any other hard cheese). Scatter this over the rolled-out pastry, cut it into strips then twist to make the signature straw shape. They only take 12 minutes to bake and can be kept in an airtight container for up to two days - delicious served with a creamy dip or simply enjoyed on their own.

Quick cheese straws

For another genius pastry hack, use a pack of croissant dough to make these garlic croissant knots. Flavoured with garlic and rosemary butter, they make the perfect cheat's garlic dough ball to serve with your favourite dip!

Get more inspiration for budget entertaining and meal inspiration

Posh budget recipes
Budget dinner party ideas
Budget barbecue recipes
One week of budget-friendly dinners
20 quick and easy microwave recipes
Budget recipes
Budget Christmas recipes
Budget supermarket swaps


Throwing a drinks party on a budget? Leave a comment below with any tips or questions you have...

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