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 have lots of thrifty ideas for your perfect party spread.


Discover more easy canapé recipes and party recipes, plus check out our list of storecupboard canapés 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 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.

15 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.

2. Air-fryer arancini

Air-fryer arancini served on a decorative blue plate

As well as making the most of simple ingredients, these crunchy rice balls are baked in your air-fryer, meaning you'll save on energy costs as well as time spent in the kitchen. Win-win! Check out our air-fryer recipes for beginners.

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3. Spicy sardine dip

Spicy sardine dip in a small bowl

Using a can of sardines will help keep costs down for this money-saving recipe. It's also no-cook and takes just 10 minutes to prepare – perfect for those impromptu get-togethers. Dive into more dips here.

4. Padron peppers

A bowl of padron peppers in a terracotta bowl

Authentic Spanish tapas, this recipe requires just three ingredients: padron peppers, olive oil and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. Use a heavy frying pan or even your air-fryer to achieve the distinctive, blistered result. Try more veggie Spanish-inspired feasts.

5. Chickpea panisse

Rectangular chickpea panisse in a pile

To create this moreish French snack all you need is gram (chickpea) flour and olive oil, plus a little mayo for dipping if that takes your fancy. A healthy alternative to chips, these will impress despite being incredibly easy to make. Now find out how to make french fries.

6. Multi-seed cheese straws

Cheese straws topped with seeds next to smoked salmon, capers and lemon wedges

Rustled up with shop-bought puff pastry, these cheese straws have a flavourful topping of onion flakes, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and flaky sea salt. Your guests won't be able to resist. We have an even quicker cheese straws recipe if you're very short on time (ready in under 20 minutes).

7. Brie & 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 and brushing the filo sheets in melted butter gives them a beautiful golden colour and crunch. Make them ahead for a wallet-friendly veggie appetiser and serve with extra cranberry sauce.

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

9. Date & walnut cinnamon bites

A circle of date and walnut canapes on a plate

Who says canapés have to be savoury? Whip up these three-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. Treat your guests to more sweet canapé recipes, from mini cheesecakes to melt-in-the-middle truffles.

10. Mozzarella sticks

A plate of breaded mozzarella sticks

We don't think it gets much better than these crispy 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. Use up any leftover mozzarella to make our bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.

11. 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.

12. 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. They aren't likely to hang around for long!

13. Devilled eggs

A plate of devilled eggs topped with chives

Bring back a 70s classic at 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. Topped with chopped chives, they are effortlessly elegant and devilishly good! Our easy coronation chicken is another retro classic that will go down a storm at a party.

14. Pull-apart meatball sliders

Pull-apart meatball sliders in tray

Everybody loves a slider and these are incredibly quick and easy to make from start to finish. Using supermarket bread rolls and pre-made pasta sauce all you have to do is cook your meatballs, assemble the sliders, then bake. They'll become a firm family favourite.

15. Black olive tapenade

Bowl of black olive tapenade on a board with a teaspoon

A no-cook option that comes together in just five minutes, tapenade sounds far fancier than it really is. Simply blitz black olives, capers and anchovies with olive oil and a little red wine vinegar. Plus, you can make it up to three days ahead – what's not to love? Now try our olive, cherry tomato & feta focaccia.

Get more inspiration for low-cost entertaining

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


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