Easy Appetizers for Summer Parties | Midwest Living
More
Close

Easy Appetizers for Summer Parties

Bring out the best of summer flavors—fresh, grilled or chilled—with our recipes for snacks, finger foods, summer drinks, salsas, make-ahead appetizers and more.
Zucchini Appetizer Bites

Zucchini Appetizer Bites

So simple! Slice raw zucchini and spread with semisoft cheese that comes flavored with garlic and herb. Sprinkle with chopped olives and snipped chives.

Five-Way Margarita

Switching a few ingredients in our 10-minute limeade drink opens new options. Go for Original Limeade, So Strawberry, Blue Lagoon, Pomegranate or the nonalcoholic Designated Driver.

If you love nachos with your margaritas, bite into our Nachos Grande--loaded with cheese, beans, and a variety of other toppings.

Five-Way Margarita

Nachos Grande

Stuffed Party Pinwheels

Our recipe actually makes two different kinds of tortilla spirals—one flavored with curry powder, the other with garlic and herbs.

Stuffed Party Pinwheels

Marinated Cheese Cubes

Pantry ingredients turn ordinary Monterey jack into a deli-style party snack that tastes even better when you make it ahead. You can prep it three days in advance.

Marinated Cheese Cubes

Devilishly Good Deviled Eggs

A hint of curry and some chutney elevate these deviled eggs to spectacular. Spoon the filling into a sandwich-size clear plastic bag and snip a corner for easy piping.

Devilishly Good Deviled Eggs

Best Salsa

Make this thick and chunky salsa with fresh tomatoes from your garden. Add more jalapeno peppers if you prefer more heat.

Best Salsa

24-Hour Tex-Mex Salad

Layered salads, popular in the 1970s and 1980s, are making a comeback. Assemble this easy potluck salad in either individual jars or a clear salad bowl, dressing and all, then refrigerate.

24-Hour Tex-Mex Salad

Ricotta and Parmesan Spread

Fresh herbs season this ridiculously simple spread from BelGioioso Cheese in Wisconsin. It keeps well in the fridge and is delicious with cherry tomatoes or other vegetable dippers, as well as crackers or baguette slices.

Ricotta and Parmesan Spread

Roasted Jalapeno Gazpacho

Going to the trouble to roast a single pepper might seem unnecessary, but it adds a unique depth of flavor to the chilled soup. The recipe comes from Urban Roots Farm in Springfield, Missouri.

Roasted Jalapeno Gazpacho

Chile-Lime Grilled Tiger Shrimp with Avocado Cocktail Sauce

This shrimp cocktail makes a beautiful presentation for any occasion, served in margarita, martini or wine glasses The spicy shrimp and buttery avocado blend well, and the citrus of the tomato complements these flavors, too.

Chile-Lime Grilled Tiger Shrimp with Avocado Cocktail Sauce

Mediterranean Eight-Layer Dip

We've seen a lot of dips through the years, but we've never forgotten this one -- juicy veggies, tangy olive tapenade and feta piled on a thick layer of hummus. We like to make it ahead and serve it with warm toasted pita wedges. Originally published: December 2005.

Mediterranean Eight-Layer Dip

Arugula Pesto

Peppery arugula pinch-hits for basil in this memorable pesto from chef Kevin Shinn of Bread and Cup in Lincoln, Nebraska. Try it as a spread on baguette slices or as a pasta sauce.

Arugula Pesto

Honeyed Lemonade Tea Punch

Using Darjeeling tea imparts floral notes beyond what you find in ordinary black tea, which makes it a more interesting base for this refreshing, honey-laced drink. Keep the punch virgin, or add a tablespoon of vodka, gin or bourbon to each glass.

Honeyed Lemonade Tea Punch

 

Bourbon Brie

This boozy appetizer warms right on the grill, making it perfect for casual backyard parties. The recipe comes from America's Best BBQ Homestyle, a cookbook featuring recipes from 'cue masters across the country.

Bourbon Brie

Sweet Corn Bruschetta

Trade bruschetta's traditional tomato for sunny sweet corn in this quick recipe from the cookbook Sweet Corn Spectacular (www.mhspress.org).

Sweet Corn Bruschetta

Avocado-Feta Salsa

Fresh herbs, tomatoes and avocados create a refreshing salsa. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

Avocado-Feta Salsa

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings

A reader in Saint Paul gave us this recipe, which always gets raves from her guests. The sweet glaze uses pineapple juice, ketchup and soy sauce.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings recipe

Sauteed Swiss Chard and Pine Nut Bruschetta

If you’ve never tried Swiss chard (a dark leafy green similar to kale and spinach), this pretty appetizer makes a good introduction. Garlic, red onion, currants, vinegar and honey balance its earthiness. The recipe comes from Urban Roots Farm in Springfield, Missouri.

Sauteed Swiss Chard and Pine Nut Bruschetta

Gouda and Red Onion Pizza

This easy appetizer pizza features shredded Gouda and caramelized onions. The recipe comes from Gouda maker Oakvale Farmstead Cheese in London, Ohio.

Gouda and Red Onion Pizza

Phyllo Cheese Straws

Greek favorites phyllo and feta stand out in this appetizer from Hellenic Cuisine: Secret Greek Recipes, a community cookbook featuring recipes passed down through three generations of the Ladies of St. Nicholas Greek Church in St. Louis, Missouri.

Phyllo Cheese Straws

Fresh Corn, Tomato and Chipotle Chile Salsa

Homemade salsa bursts with freshness thanks to straight-from-the-garden corn, tomatoes and sweet peppers. Chipotle chiles add a hint of heat alongside the tangy lime juice. It's like a bite of summer when scooped up on corn chips. You can also serve it with grilled meat or poultry.

Fresh Corn, Tomato and Chipotle Chile Salsa

Zucchini Appetizer Bites

So simple! Slice raw zucchini and spread with semisoft cheese that comes flavored with garlic and herb. Sprinkle with chopped olives and snipped chives.

Peanut Sauce with Veggies

Chef Sara Moulton, who provided this recipe, says it's a longtime favorite. "Many years ago I hired my friend Rosa Ross, a cooking teacher and author who specializes in Chinese cuisine, to teach me some recipes for a Chinese New Year's party," Sara says. "One of the recipes was Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce. The dipping sauce was completely addictive. Here is my adapted version."

Peanut Sauce with Veggies

Mustard-Glazed Pork Skewers

Coat pork loin strips with a simple apple juice-Dijon mustard glaze, then serve skewers with tangy homemade fruit chutney.

Mustard-Glazed Pork Skewers

Black Bean Salsa

This salsa does double duty as a tortilla dip or a meat topper. Serve with a slotted spoon over grilled pork, smoked bratwursts or sausages, grilled chicken or salmon.

Black Bean Salsa

 

Grapes and Prosciutto with Cheese on a Skewer

Salty hamlike prosciutto, creamy cheese and grapes create a party-perfect, easy-to-eat finger food.

Grapes and Prosciutto with Cheese on a Skewer

Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

The Nueske family of Nueske's Applewood Smoked Meats in Wittenberg, Wisconsin, shared this never-fail appetizer recipe for mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese, bacon and sharp cheddar or smoked Gouda cheese.

Like your bacon bite-size? Then you should also enjoy Bacon and Mushroom Bite-Size Quiches, a recipe from Carma Rogers at the National Pork Board in Des Moines. Make these little quiches a day ahead and reheat them at party time.

Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon and Mushroom Bite-Size Quiches

Add Your Comment