53 Easy Summer Appetizer Recipes

 

Get your next picnic, potluck or backyard barbecue rolling with tasty small bites, dips and fresh summer starters.

 

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Basic Salsa Fresca

Try this versatile salsa fresca on grilled fish, sprinkled over kebabs, tucked inside sizzling tacos or as a fantastic filling inside avocado halves.

Get the Recipe: Basic Salsa Fresca

Every Herb Pesto

Seven fresh herbs give Kelsey's pesto ample flavor while ground Marcona almonds add subtle crunch. You'll want to put this every herb pesto on everything.

Get the Recipe: Every Herb Pesto

The Ultimate Crab Cakes

The secret to Tyler's crisp yet tender crab cakes is an equal ratio of meat to breadcrumbs. He pairs the iconic seafood starter with a unique celery-root aioli made with garlic and celery seed.

Get the Recipe: The Ultimate Crab Cakes

Grilled Corn Salsa

Simplicity is the secret in Michael Chiarello's fresh corn salsa. The sweet yellow kernels are mixed with red onion and vine-ripe tomatoes, and then topped with extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Corn Salsa

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs with Crispy Pancetta

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott's Southern twist on deviled eggs mimics pimento cheese, with plenty of sharp cheddar and pimentos, plus a sprinkling of crisp pancetta on top.

Get the Recipe: Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs with Crispy Pancetta

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

This fun finger food is a nostalgic throwback for adults and an exciting treat for kids, and it's a cinch to make. Just mix together corn muffin mix — with a little added cheese — and pop hot-dog bites inside before baking.

Get the Recipe: Mini Corn Dog Muffins

SB Truck Street Corn

Cilantro, lime and mint add freshness to balance out a mix of creamy mayonnaise and salty feta cheese on grilled corn.

Get the Recipe: SB Truck Street Corn

Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

A spicy-sweet peanut dipping sauce turns chicken skewers into Asian-inspired party fare.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Marinated Antipasti Bruschetta

Make Kelsey's marinated antipasti — a mix of briny olives, juicy grape tomatoes and artichoke hearts — ahead of time and simply toss the bread on the grill when guests arrive.

Get the Recipe: Marinated Antipasti Bruschetta

Mango Salsa

The combination of sweet, juicy mangos and spicy serrano chiles makes this salsa outrageously good, and it only gets better the longer you allow the flavors to macerate (if you can manage to wait at all).

Get the Recipe: Mango Salsa

Buffalo Chicken Lollies

Kelsey's baked chicken lollies are made with ground chicken and have all the spicy tang of Buffalo wings without the hassle of frying or the messy bones.

Get the Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Lollies

Kelsey's Signature Salsa

In addition to sweet plum tomatoes, Kelsey includes tart tomatillos in her salsa, which help to balance the rich, smoky spice of the adobe chiles.

Get the Recipe: Kelsey's Signature Salsa

Sweet Pepper Poppers

Sweet miniature peppers make colorful vessels for a rich mixture of ricotta and goat cheese. Topped with panko crumbs and baked until crispy, these poppers are easy-to-make crowd-pleasers.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Pepper Poppers

Guacamole

Alton's classic guacamole highlights velvety avocado with fresh, crisp chunks of tomato and onion.

Get the Recipe: Guacamole

Mark Bittman's Rice Paper Summer Rolls

These light, refreshing appetizers can be made up to two hours ahead of time.

Get the Recipe: Rice Paper Summer Rolls

Rachael's Grilled Polenta Crackers with Roasted Pepper Salsa

Grilling polenta brings out the cornmeal's distinct flavor, which is well matched by a garlicky, lightly fiery salsa.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Polenta Crackers with Roasted Pepper Salsa

Thai Deviled Eggs

By mixing classic Thai condiments like Sriracha and fish sauce into the yolk filling, Kelsey gives this party standby an extra edge.

Get the Recipe: Thai Deviled Eggs

Creamy Gazpacho

Let this Spanish soup chill before serving to let the flavors of fresh tomato and peppers blend. Serve as shooters for refreshing starters at a summer party.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Gazpacho

Jalapeno-Mango Salsa

Don't be fooled by this innocent-looking salsa, made with mango and pineapple chunks in lieu of standard tomatoes. A minced jalapeño pepper balances out all that sweetness with its raw heat.

Get the Recipe: Jalapeno-Mango Salsa

Scallop Crudo

Impress your party guests with this creative crudo. Not only does the pink Himalayan salt block make for a stunning presentation, but it also infuses the raw scallops and shaved zucchini with a ton of flavor.

Scallop Crudo

Saucy Hoisin Pork Roll-Ups

In this classic Asian appetizer, stir-fried pork and soy-marinated tofu are combined with crunchy water chestnuts and edamame.

Get the Recipe: Saucy Hoisin Pork Roll-Ups

Kelsey's Curried Deviled Eggs

Spice up this standby appetizer with a little curry powder and cayenne pepper.

Get the Recipe: Curried Deviled Eggs

Fried Zucchini

Fry summer squash to a crisp golden brown and sprinkle with paprika for a restaurant-worthy appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Fried Zucchini

Tapenade

This homemade tapenade of finely chopped olives, anchovy and olive oil makes for a rich, salty appetizer when served on toasted garlic bread with slices of heirloom tomato.

Get the Recipe: Tapenade

Kelsey's Skillet Corn Cakes

Rethink serving corn on the cob and fry up some of Kelsey's sweet corn cakes as an appetizer instead.

Get the Recipe: Skillet Corn Cakes

Tyler's Guacamole

Tyler finds the perfect balance between flavors with his chunky, amazing salsa and works in some sweet Serrano heat.

Get the Recipe: Guacamole

Blue Cheese and Walnut Tea Sandwiches

A simple blue cheese and cream cheese spread is studded with walnuts and dried cranberries, then smeared between hearty pumpernickel bread.

Get the Recipe: Blue Cheese and Walnut Tea Sandwiches

Grilled Clams and Oysters

Grilling clams and oysters is surprisingly easy. Just lay them on the grill grate, shut the lid and minutes later, they'll be popped open and ready to eat with a little lemon or hot sauce.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Clams and Oysters

Kelsey's Deviled Eggs with Candied Bacon

Why spoon same-old mustard and paprika yolks into your deviled eggs when you can take Kelsey's cue and top each half-moon with sweet candied bacon?

Get the Recipe: Deviled Eggs with Candied Bacon

Soft Asian Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce

These cool summer rolls — with fresh basil, mint and vegetables — are extremely refreshing on a hot summer day.

Get the Recipe: Soft Asian Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce

Fried Squash Blossoms

Try eating just one of these ricotta-filled zucchini blossoms, which are beer-battered and then fried to a golden-brown finish.

Get the Recipe: Fried Squash Blossoms

Green Goddess Crab Tapas

Kelsey transforms a classic dish — crab-stuffed avocado — into finger-friendly tapas by layering the crabmeat and a creamy avocado spread on slices of toasted baguette.

Get the Recipe: Green Goddess Crab Tapas

Pico de Gallo Fresh Tomato Salsa

Mix chopped tomatoes with plenty of cilantro, lime and chiles to make this fresh summery salsa.

Get the Recipe: Pico de Gallo Fresh Tomato Salsa

Chopped Caesar Salad Pizza

Kelsey Nixon reinvents the Caesar salad by topping leaves of romaine with homemade Caesar dressing and then layering them atop a cheesy pizza.

Get the Recipe: Chopped Caesar Salad Pizza

Smoked Salmon on Grilled Seven Grain Bread with Tomato, Shaved Onions and Dill

Pair smoked salmon with homemade honey mustard on hearty grilled bread to satisfy your craving for something salty.

Get the Recipe: Smoked Salmon on Grilled Seven Grain Bread with Tomato and Dill

Bobby's Spicy Guacamole

Bobby adds some heat to this guac with a jalapeño pepper.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Guacamole

Open-Faced Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches with Crab and Poppy Seeds on Pumpernickel

Make these surprisingly substantial egg salad sandwiches with tender lump crabmeat and nutty poppy seeds.

Get the Recipe: Open-Faced Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches with Crab and Poppy Seeds on Pumpernickel

Antipasto Summer Lettuce Wraps

Whet your appetite with this fresh take on an antipasto platter. Wrap mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, artichokes and roasted red peppers in tender Bibb lettuce leaves.

Get the Recipe: Antipasto Summer Lettuce Wraps

Shredded Pork Summer Rolls

Spiced, slowly simmered pork, fresh herbs and vegetables are wrapped in rice paper for a lighter bite-sized take on the pulled pork sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Shredded Pork Summer Rolls

Green Papaya Salad in Lettuce Wraps

Bathe crisp, sweet strips of green papaya in a salty-spicy dressing for a unique, fruity appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Green Papaya Salad in Lettuce Wraps

Tarragon Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches

Set the scene at your next get-together with these delicate chicken sandwiches studded with chopped pecans and red grapes.

Get the Recipe: Tarragon Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Guests will be entertained when they make their own lettuce wraps filled with ginger- and scallion-seasoned beef.

Get the Recipe: Asian Lettuce Wraps

Scoopable Chinese Chicken Salad

Mix chopped chicken breast with scallions, broccoli slaw, water chestnuts, Mandarin oranges and sesame dressing for a quick, easy and healthy summer starter or side.

Get the Recipe: Scoopable Chinese Chicken Salad

Molotes with Fresh Tomato Salsa

In this version of traditional Oaxacan street food, chorizo, potatoes and masa are wrapped in corn masa and fried. Serve them on a stick with salsa for the perfect party food!

Get the Recipe: Molotes with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Grilled Beef Tenderloin on Focaccia Toasts

Bite-sized open-faced sandwiches of grilled tenderloin and hot chili mayonnaise make for an elegant, savory starter.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Beef Tenderloin on Focaccia Toasts

Watermelon Vodka Gazpacho

Celebrate the warm summer weather by mixing juicy plum tomatoes and refreshing, sweet watermelon into a light, summery soup.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Vodka Gazpacho

Soft Rice Paper Rolls with Prawns and Pork: Goi Cuon

Wrap pork and shrimp with fresh mint and vermicelli noodles in rice paper. The tangy, spicy dipping sauce completes this appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Soft Rice Paper Rolls with Prawns and Pork: Goi Cuon

Fresh Herb Salad with Burrata

Creamy burrata cheese and a variety of summer herbs top crostini for a light, flavorful summer appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Herb Salad with Burrata

Bacon and Corn Jalapeno Poppers, Two Ways

Crispy bacon and sweet corn transform ordinary jalepeno poppers into a filling, savory starter.

Get the Recipe: Bacon and Corn Jalapeno Poppers, Two Ways

Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto with Gorgonzola and Brie

Don't let the size of these bundles fool you: Sweet late summer figs are balanced perfectly by salty prosciutto and two sharp, tangy cheeses.

Get the Recipe: Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto with Gorgonzola and Brie

Hummus Dip

No party is complete without a classic hummus recipe, but this version, with Asian sesame oil and cumin, has extra nutty flavor and spice.

Get the Recipe: Hummus Dip

Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Dip

This creamy, tangy dip served with crudites makes a refreshing addition to any appetizer spread.

Get the Recipe: Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Dip

Green Goddess Dressing

Kelsey's twist on a classic green goddess dressing makes terrific use of fresh summer herbs, and is perfect as a dip for crudite during a summer party.

Get the Recipe: Green Goddess Dressing