How to Host a Gluten-Free Cocktail Party

Great tips and recipes for a gluten-free cocktail party.

If anyone has tried going gluten-free, you know that cocktail parties, where most everything is served on some variation of cracker, baguette, or canapé, can pose one of the bigger challenges.  By nature, finger foods tend to involve carbs and in our wheat-obsessed society, carbs often entail gluten.

But I always tell newcomers to the gluten-free club that if you have to abstain, it’s a pretty good time to be gluten-free. When I first stopped eating gluten and tried to explain this in public, I often got looked at like I had three heads. But today there is so much more awareness and information – including loads of shared recipes on the web – that it makes things much easier.

I’ve compiled a list below of some of my favorite recipes and substitutes for classic cocktail hors d’oeuvres that you can easily use when you host a gluten-free cocktail party. And I’m willing to bet that not one of your gluten-loving guests will notice anything missing!

Variations on Classic Hors d’oeuvres

Almond flour crab cakes * to make these into finger foods I make 1-inch patties instead of the 2-inch patties specified in the recipe.

Stuffed mushrooms * I have swapped in gluten-free breadcrumbs (you can easily make your own or use store bought) or gluten-free panko and either works great

Best gluten-free Italian meatballs * for an appetizer, simply portion these into bite size amounts before baking. You can also try a goat cheese filling if you want to keep it meat-free.

Gluten-free Vietnamese spring rolls 

Crustless mini-quiches

Stuffed clams

Chicken satay

Cracker Substitutes

Gluten-free cracker recipes for a cheese or antipasto platter:

“Wheat” thins

Parmesan crisps  – my favorite and couldn’t be easier with just ONE ingredient

We eat a lot of Mary’s crackers around here but if you have time you can also make your own using this recipe.

Quinoa crackers with seeds

Gluten-free crackers with olive oil and sea salt

Great tips and recipes for a gluten-free cocktail party.And here are some fun cracker alternatives that you can use as a base for any spread or topping you desire – they are always a hit

Bite-size potato pancakes – you can use these in a variety of ways, like in this potato pancakes and gravlax with dill recipe
* I recommend using full fat sour cream!

Mini polenta cakes like these herbed goat cheese polenta bites – sub in gluten-free panko or bread crumbs, they work just as well.

Corn tortillas – look for an organic brand like this one. There are endless ways to use tortillas; think quesadillas, cut into chips and baked to accompany salsas or guacamole etc.

Naturally Gluten-free Finger Food

I love finding recipes that don’t involve any tweaking and are naturally gluten-free:

Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds

Greek salad skewers (if you don’t like the dip you can make a simple vegetarian aioli to go with)

Avocado deviled eggs

Marinated olives with rosemary, red chili, orange and paprika 

Jalapeno and lime hummus

Paleo spiced nuts

Crab and artichoke dip


Tell me: What is your favorite food at a cocktail party?


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