Wine Party on a Budget: Trader Joe's!

Tis the season for holiday party-hosting, and with Thanksgiving, Christmas AND New Year's, these things can get expensive. If you're living in the city, you're hard-pressed to find inexpensive resources for party-ready food favorites to serve your guests. Trader Joe's is one of those not-so-hidden gems for freezer- and fridge-friendly hor d'oeuvres and appetizers, especially those that don't need much cooking! We took the guesswork out for you, and combined categorical lists-- including prices-- that will get you where you need to be in no time for your best holiday wine party yet. We know you would love to make your own but we don't always have the time, although I did add some recipes if you have an extra few minutes for prep!

When it's time to go grocery shopping, print this list out for a great guideline on what to grab! Everything listed here is enough for a guest list of 10-12 people and under $150.

Each category below comprises what we believe is essential to a great wine party: Cheese and salumi plates paired with seasonal fruits and complemented with a variety of crostini, followed by cold and hot hors d'oeuvres that you can quickly serve while guests are nibbling on the rest of the spread, followed by a great dessert! Your friends and family will love that you have an array of snacks from which to choose.


To build a great cheese plate, choose about three different types that ranage from classic to adventurous that any guest can enjoy. Perhaps mix hard and soft cheeses. Watch more in this video here:

Add seasonal fruit such as pairs, apples, grapes or pomegranates!

We made a great list to choose from here:

  • Gouda $5.99

  • Fig Goat Cheese Log $4.49

  • Chevre with Honey $3.79

  • Celigne Mozzarella Balls $3.49

  • Manchego (12 months) $8

  • Extra Mature Sticky Toffee Cheddar $8.88


Trader Joe's has a better variety of hard salumi than the classic prosciutto so choose those here and perhaps add some smoked salmmon to give it some extra sophistication. Watch more in this video on how to build a salumi plate:

For more ideas on what to add to this board, take a simple crostini and top with pesto or caponata spread. Check out these videos for broccoli rabe crostini:

For your meats, choose a few from this category:

  • Truffle Hard Salami $4.49

  • Chianti Red Wine Artisan Salami $4.49

  • Hard Salami $4.49

  • Daniele Pris Salami Combo $4.49


These should come out when most guests have arrrived so that the aromas created while heated can envelop the room. A classic arugula, sharp cheddar and truffle oil on flatbread is also always a hit. If you have a bit of extra time, you can also create warm flatbreads using one of our recipes here :

Here are a few choices from Trader Joe's:

  • Mini Meatball 20 oz $4.79

  • Mandarin Orange Chicken 22 oz $4.99

  • Arancini bites 12 for $3.49

If you have more time: Make mini grilled cheese to accompany soup shooters using sharp cheddar and thinly sliced Trader Joe's baguettes for the sandwiches, and butternut squash soup or tomato soup (both 20 oz for $2.99) for the shooters.


These can be waiting when the guests arrive-- a variety of crostini with seasonal spreads and paired with olive or an assortment of nuts.

  • Spinach Kale Greek Yogurt Dip $3.99

  • Eggplant Garlic Spread $2.49

  • Olive Medley $3.98

If you have more time, make your own pesto


  • Ciabatta $2.79

  • Trader Joe's Baguette $1.60 (for crostini, in lieu of chips, or for mini grilled cheese)

  • Trader Giotto Pizza $2.99 (two flatbreads per package, for mini warm flatbreads)

  • Fig and Olive Crisps $3.99 (for various dips)

  • Stone Ground Cracker box for $2.69 (to accompany cheese plate)


Seasonal fruits and vegetables can be both delicious and decorative: mix up colors, and use both fresh and dried fruits. Remember to squeeze lemon over sliced fruits like apples and pears to keep them from going brown over time!

  • Oranges $0.69 each

  • Grapes 20 oz $2.69

  • Pomegranates $1.49 each

  • Medjool Dates 16 oz $4.79


Choose one simple dessert-- try to make it seasonal! Fiorella's easy favorite is crostini with Nutella and ricotta, or just Nutella with a sprinkle of crushed hazelnuts. If you choose a biscotti, you can pair it with a lovely after-dinner liquor, such as limoncello, for dipping. Here are a few other ideas:

  • Mini Pumpkin Pies 6 for $4.49

  • Speculoos Cheesecake Bites 12 for $4.49

  • Squisito Biscotto Selezione 16 oz for $6.99


Trader Joe's has a great selection of inexpensive wines, usually located in its very own wine shop. Aim for 3-4 glasses per person (1 bottle usually yields 4 large glasses) then a bit more, just in case. Here are some staff favorites to choose from!

  • La Granja 360 Verdejo Viura $4.99

  • Trader Joe's Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon $5.49

  • Le Pépin Pinot Noir Vin de France $6.99

  • Mionetto Prosecco $10.99

All prices are for NYC Trader Joe's stores or found online on the Trader Joe's website and are not including tax.

#wine #party #appetizers #traderjoes

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