Hors D’oeuvres vs Canapes: Difference and Comparison

At ceremonies or parties, people serve specially made food while drinking and right before dinner. These foods are called hors D’oeuvres and Canapes.

They are small and bite-sized portions of food that people are supposed to eat in one bite to make it easier for them to go around a room with it while drinking or socializing.  

Key Takeaways

  1. Hors d’oeuvres are small appetizers served before a meal. At the same time, canapés are a specific type of hors d’oeuvre featuring a small piece of bread, cracker, or pastry topped with various ingredients.
  2. Canapés are bite-sized and easy to eat with one hand, while hors d’oeuvres may include a wider range of finger foods and small dishes.
  3. Both hors d’oeuvres and canapés aim to stimulate the appetite and provide guests with a taste of the chef’s culinary style.

Hors D’oeuvres vs Canapes  

Hors d’oeuvres is a small dish served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. It can include various foods, such as finger sandwiches, and cheese platters. Canapés are a specific type of hors d’oeuvre which are made of small pieces of bread or pastry topped with a savory spread.

Hors Doeuvres vs Canapes

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Hors d’oeuvres are tiny savory meals served before dinner, with beverages. We normally eat them while standing.

Sometimes the terms appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are used interchangeably. An hors d’oeuvre is lighter than the main meal and is meant to be eaten with one’s hands.  

Canapes are a sort of appetizer. They are all little, flavorful, and easy-to-eat snacks made from a small slice of pastry or bread and topped with a variety of flavors.

They are served before dinner, as are all hors d’oeuvres, with cocktails. Canape is a French term that means “couch” or “sofa,” as well as a tiny, tasty appetizer.   

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison Hors D’oeuvres Canapes 
Definition Savory dishes served before dinner Easy to eat food with a base of pastry or bread. 
Nature Crudites, mini-quiches, bruschetta, antipasto, etc. Base, spread, topping, and garnish 
Temperature Cold or hot Room temperature or chilled 
Taste Lighter More intense 
Fulfilling Less More 
Manners Eaten by hand Eaten with a knife and fork 
Casual More casual Less casual 

What is Hors D’oeuvres?  

They are tiny, frequently savory meals served prior to a meal. Hors d’oeuvre is the plural of hors d’oeuvre, which is the singular of hors d’oeuvre.

The term is derived from the French verb “to graze,” which means to eat lightly while drinking wine or tea. A server might pass it around to visitors.

Hors d’oeuvres are finger foods, which implies they are eaten with your fingers. It can be held in one hand while holding your glass in the other. It’s even possible to complete it in one or two bites.   

Hors d’oeuvres are small one- or two-bite meals served before dinner, with beverages. As a consequence, hors d’oeuvres are appetizers that are consumed while standing.

They can be served by a waiter on a tray or at a buffet table, but they are just something guests savor before dinner or, in some situations, instead of supper.  

Small fried dishes, such as turnovers, empanadas, flatbreads, and egg rolls, are commonly served with a condiment; and deviled eggs, crudités, or maybe even a bowl of nuts.  

Hors d’oeuvres are made ahead of time. Some types can be chilled or frozen before precooking and then heated in an oven or even in a microwave oven as necessary before serving.  

A sort of hors d’oeuvre would be small pastry shells filled with savory or sweet ingredients. Caviar and crème fraiche tarts are a beautiful example, while mini-quiches are a basic one.   

hors doeuvres

What are Canapes?  

Canapes are served with cream cheese or another soft cheese spread on bread, toast, crackers, or crostini (thin pieces of French bread).  

Canapes consist of four primary components. On top of the base is a flavorful spread such as butter, mayonnaise, or flavored cream cheese.

This spread provides moisture and flavor while keeping the foundation from becoming mushy.   

It also functions as an adhesive, preventing toppings from sliding off the foundation. On top of the spread, we lay toppings such as fish, meat, and veggies.

In reality, this is the major component of the canape. The topping is then topped with a garnish, such as herbs or caviar. You could even use many toppings for canapes.  

The name is derived from the French term for a sofa, implying that the garnish sits on top of the bread in the same way that people do on a couch.  

Canapés are presented on a canapé salver and consumed on miniature canapé plates. A canapé is made out of a base (such as bread or pancake), a spread, the main dish, and a garnish.  

Canapés should pack a flavor punch. Canapés must compete with the flavor of the beverages that accompany them, whether they are a brief nibble offered before dinner or the dinner itself.

As a result, robust, spicy, tangy flavors are unquestionably desired. You don’t want your guests to fill up on canapés before serving a sit-down dinner. Two to three canapés per person are sufficient in this instance.  


Main Differences Between Hors D’oeuvres and Canapes  

  1. Hor D’oeuvres are small-sized dishes that are served right before dinner whereas canapes are easy to eat food with a piece of pastry of bread as a base.  
  2. Hor D’oeuvres can include antipasto, bruschetta, etc. Canapes have 4 different inclusions, namely the base, topping, spread, and garnish.  
  3. Hors D’oeuvres are served either hot or cold whereas canapes are served chilled or at room temperature.  
  4. Hors D’oeuvres tends to have a lighter taste in comparison to canapes.  
  5. Hors D’oeuvres are less filling than Canapes.  
  6. Hors D’oeuvres tend to be eaten by hand alone while canapes are eaten with utensils like a knife and fork.  
  7. Hors D’oeuvres are more casual in nature than canapes.  
Difference Between Hors Doeuvres and Canapes


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=a4ZJDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA190&dq=hors+d%27oeuvre+and+canapes&ots=z0_vF9UWLD&sig=FNZy7i4piJBVCSrjULZVTuCaki8  
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=x3t2IJeFIh8C&oi=fnd&pg=PP27&dq=hors+d%27oeuvre+and+canapes&ots=XI2ZtcLH0G&sig=cu8KSifXc1_miv_7AkYhIprUmfw  

Last Updated : 20 July, 2023

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