10 Foods for a Delicious Open House

It's not just a home's curb appeal or updated kitchen that will bring buyers to an open house, it's also the food. These easy recipes will help you serve up a successful showing.

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While serving a spread might not help you sell an outdated '80s split-level, the promise of good food can attract more buyers and real estate agents. House hunters tend to linger longer in a place with tasty food and drinks.

Some high-end open houses go all out with catered spreads, but a few homemade appetizers and sweets arranged on an attractive table can be equally welcoming -- and easier on your bottom line.

Try these recipes to make buyers feel at home at your open house:

Italian Lemonade

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

There's nothing more inviting in the summer than the promise of ice-cold lemonade. Greet open house guests with a pitcher of this sparkling version near the door.

Provide small paper cups to discourage guests from abandoning half-consumed glasses around the house.

Toffee Brownies

Even if you're busy cleaning out your closets and arranging flowers before the open house, you'll still have time to make these easy brownies. Dress up a box mix by sandwiching chocolate-toffee-almond bars in the center of the batter.

Cut the brownies into bite-sized squares so open house guests can try a bit without making a big commitment. And don't forget the napkins! 

Maple Pepper Pecans

Guests who don't want to grab a plate can still indulge in a few of these sweet-and-spicy nuts. Maple syrup adds the crowd-pleasing sweetness, while cayenne pepper gives the nuts a distinct kick.

Arrange the glazed pecans in pretty serving dishes -- once glazed, they're pretty enough to serve as a snack and a centerpiece.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's no surprise that chocolate chip cookies are an open house standby. Few people can resist a fresh cookie, and the intoxicating scent brings back childhood memories for many. To set your cookies apart, skip the store-bought roll and mix up a batch of this tried-and-true homemade version.

Bake the cookies right before you head out the door for maximum scent infusion. Just be sure to set a timer -- the smell of charred cookies probably won't get visitors in the buying mood.

Antipasto Sausage Skewers

These hand-held snacks are like an antipasto tray on a stick. Marinated artichokes and red peppers, Italian sausage and basil leaves make up this layered bite-sized snack that can be assembled in about 10 minutes.

Be sure to place a bowl near the serving tray where homebuyers can toss the used skewers. 

Citrus Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up guests for a cool-weather open house. Swap the powdered mix for this comforting version, which is infused with orange and lemon peel.

Omit the brandy and limoncello for the open house so everyone who visits can enjoy a cup. You can always add the liquor when the last guest leaves and toast your successful showing.

Ham and Cheese Finger Sandwiches

A step up from the ubiquitous cold cut tray, these bite-sized finger sandwiches are topped with apples, prosciutto and gouda cheese. The tiny sandwiches are the perfect size for snacking, and they'll lend your open house a distinctive upscale feel.

Provide appetizer-sized plates to prevent carpet crumbs around the food area, and place a trash can prominently by the refreshment table to discourage house hunters from snacking as they peek around the bedrooms, bathrooms and attic crawl space.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili

While appetizers are the norm at an open house, a warm cup of soup can be a welcoming addition to a fall or winter showing.

This simple version can be made entirely in your slow cooker for quick clean up, and it's got just enough heat to appeal to a wide variety of guests. 

Pumpkin Caramels

Even if guests don't want a snack while they're visiting your home, offer a pick-me-up they can take for the road, like a bowl of fun-sized candy bars or these chewy caramels studded with pumpkin seeds.

Offering a unique homemade candy will make your open house stand out, and the visitors will be reminded of your home as they peel off the wrapper.

Mulled Pom-Apple Cider

A pot of warm apple cider does double duty at your open house -- it will warm up guests and infuse your house with an apple-cinnamon aroma. This version includes dried fruit and pomegranate juice for a delicious twist on a classic.

Leave the cider in your slow cooker on low so it's warm no matter what time guests arrive.

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