These cute Christmas wreath appetizers are made with only 5 ingredients and take just 20 minutes (or less) to make! With jalapeño, cream cheese, parsley, and a few pink peppercorns, they’re simple, elegant and will make every holiday party guest smile!
Jolly Christmas nibbles really put me in the spirit, but I really don’t want to spend an hour or more assembling ornate ones.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
They’re a fast appetizer that still looks beautiful – Very important. “Fast” and “easy” doesn’t have to mean “basic.” They’re perfectly pretty appetizers that really take 20 minutes or less.
They’re cute but elegant – “Cute” can often mean “corny” when it comes to Christmas appetizers. I think these walk a perfect line between cute and sophisticated.
They add a little spice to my appetizer selection – I’m a spicy gal, and I love that little jalapeño spice to liven up the menu.
Rice Crackers – I used rice crackers because they’re white and simple, but feel free to use any cracker you like!
Cream Cheese – If you intend to pipe the cheese with a pastry piping bag as I did, make sure that cream cheese is whipped, otherwise it won’t pipe very easily. I used plain whipped cream, but by all means, feel free to use a jalapeño cream cheese, chive and onion Boursin, or even creamy, rind-less brie!
If you do use another cream cheese, and it’s not whipped, I would suggest mixing it with whipped cream cheese so you can still get that creaminess.
Parsley – Look for parsley with the tiniest leaves. I find curly parsley, vs. Italian parsley has better leaves for this appetizer.
Pink Peppercorns – Do NOT substitute with real holly berries, which are poisonous. If they’re tricky to find in your local food store, you can easily find pink peppercorns on Amazon. They’re not like black peppercorns which are very hard and coarse. They’re lighter and some are a little hollow, so they’re not unappetizing when eaten whole. In fact, they are a nice little spice.
How to Make These Appetizers – Step by Step
1. Slice 2 jalapeños into thin rings, and remove the seeds.
2. Fill a pastry-piping bag with 4 oz. whipped cream cheese and pipe cheese in a thin, pretty layer onto 12 rice crackers.
3. Place sliced jalapeño in the center. Carefully place 2 pink peppercorns at the bottom of the slice, then carefully place 2 small parsley leaves below them, using their little stems to stick securely into the cheese.
4. Repeat for all crackers. It can be helpful to use a toothpick or cocktail pin to more easily place the peppercorns and parsley leaves.
I found my pink peppercorns on Amazon. They can be tricky to find in common food stores. You may be able to find them in a store, but they’re often mixed with other peppercorns in enclosed, glass pepper mills that are hard to open. You’ll also find them in specialty spice shops.
I find they can be made about an hour before a party if you’re using rice crackers. They get a little stale after an hour when refrigerated with the cream cheese. If you want to make them further ahead, Ritz or denser flour-based crackers may last longer before becoming stale.
These were made to go with a whole assortment of holiday appetizers that look beautiful together. Christmas roses, goat cheese presents, bell pepper stars, and jalapeño wreaths were all a part of the menu. They all look so pretty together!
A Few Tips
1. If you don’t have a pastry piping bag, I would suggest spooning a little cream cheese onto the center of a cracker, then using the spoon to flatten it out nicely. You could also cut a hole in a sandwich bag, and use that instead.
2. The smaller the parsley leaves, the better. I take the teeniest leaves I can find in the bunch, then rip them in half so they’re even smaller.
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A Little More Christmas Party Inspiration
Cute Christmas Wreath Appetizers
- cutting board and paring knife
- pastry piping bag and small tip
- tooth pick
- 2 jalapeños – sliced
- 4 oz. whipped cream cheese – or jalapeño cream cheese mixed with whipped
- 12 rice crackers
- 24 pink peppercorns
- 1 oz. fresh, curly parsley leaves – small
- Slice 2 jalapeños into thin rings, and remove the seeds.
- Fill a pastry-piping bag with 4 oz. whipped cream cheese and pipe cheese in a thin, pretty layer onto 12 rice crackers.
- Place sliced jalapeño in the center. Carefully place 2 pink peppercorns at the bottom of the slice, then carefully place 2 small parsley leaves below them, using their little stems to stick securely into the cheese. Repeat for all crackers. It can be helpful to use a toothpick or cocktail pin to more easily place the peppercorns and parsley leaves.