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.
Marinated Garlicky Tomatoes
Cara Mangini spoons these luscious tomatoes over crostini that she's smeared with goat cheese or ricotta, then tops each with extra basil. You can also fold them into pasta or cooked grains like farro, or serve them as a side dish with bread to mop up the juices. The recipe comes from The Vegetable Butcher cookbook.
Garlic and Herb White Bean Dip
Stuffed Party Pinwheels
Our recipe actually makes two different kinds of tortilla spirals-one flavored with curry powder, the other with garlic and herbs.
Zucchini-Tomato Cups with Blue Cheese
These six-ingredient bite-size appetizers taste best warm, so assemble them in advance and pop them in the oven when guests arrive.
Turkish Carrot Yogurt Dip
This simple tapa is served as a bar snack throughout Spain. The quantities are deliberately vague-this is a recipe you can (and should) improvise. Make it with ripe local tomatoes and the nicest olive oil you can afford for the best flavor.
Vietnamese summer rolls are a great party food to make with friends. Chef Thai Dan, owner of HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen in Chicago, shares his favorite method and recipe.
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.
Mama Carolla's Bruschetta
All our favorite Italian flavors-garlic, tomato, basil and cheese-meet in this crunchy appetizer. The recipe is from Mama Carolla's Old Italian Restaurant in Indianapolis.
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.
Make this thick and chunky salsa with fresh tomatoes from your garden. Add more jalapeno peppers if you prefer more heat.
Rosemary-Orange Marinated Olives
This is a dead-simple way to jazz up an ordinary jar of kalamata olives. If possible, give yourself time to chill the olives for two nights for maximum flavor.
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.
A garnish of pomegranate seeds and mint gives spark to this refreshing dip; it''s a healthy choice you''ll be glad to have in your recipe box year-round. Serve with pita chips, crisp breadsticks or vegetables.
This iconic three-ingredient Spanish appetizer is an addictive finger food that's just salty and porky enough to go great with drinks.
You aren't misreading the recipe: This classic Spanish appetizer delivers a lusty punch of roughly one garlic clove for every three shrimp! Serve with a crusty baguette for mopping up the luscious sauce.
Sparkling Berry Lemonade
This fizzy pink drink is a kid-friendly, real-fruit alternative to bottled pop. For an adults-only version, add two tablespoons of rum, tequila or citrus-infused vodka to each serving or 1 to 1 1/4 cups to the batch.
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.
Most people think of gazpacho as a cold tomato soup, but the name comes from an Arabic word meaning "soaked bread." Aim to prep it a day ahead, so it's well-chilled and the flavors have time to mingle. Serve as shooters or in bowls.
Sticky, Kicky Chicken Wings with Cilantro Yogurt
The name says it all--serve these baked Cajun-spiced wings with plenty of napkins and a cold drink!
Steak and Romesco Toasts
The almond-pepper sauce on these two-bite open-face sandwiches is delicious in its own right, especially as a sauce for grilled bread or vegetables.
Roasted Carrots with Lemon-Cumin Aioli
Better at room temperature than warm, these carrots are perfect for summer entertaining-a make-ahead dish full of earthiness, creaminess and crunch.
Sangria is usually made with red wine, but white just says summer, doesn't it? Choose an affordable light and dry variety, such as Spanish Albariño, Portuguese Vinho Verde or Sauvignon Blanc.
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.
Fresh Vegetable Chips
These chips are a fresh and healthy alternative to traditional potato chips. Serve with Caramelized Onion Dip, if you like.
Feta, Honey and Date Spread
This spread can be made ahead and stored in the fridge up to 3 days. For a flavorful dipper, brush pita wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and thyme before toasting in oven.
This five-ingredient recipe comes from the bacon pros at Nueske's meats in Wisconsin.
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.
Egg and Potato Tortilla
Kettle chips offer a terrific shortcut to the usual slow-poached potatoes in our version of Spain's famous egg dish. Tasty both warm and at room temperature, the tortilla can be cut into small pieces for an appetizer or into wedges for a light meal with salad and bread.
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.
Parmesan-Crusted Goat Cheese with Basil Oil
This beautiful and unusual recipe makes one small cheese ball, but easily doubles or triples to make multiple for a party. The recipe comes from Indiana-based Annie Marshall of the blog Everyday Annie.
Jarred roasted peppers hold a bright and zesty filling of tuna, mayonnaise, capers and lemon juice in this Spanish-style appetizer. (The tuna salad is great on its own, too!)
Sweet Corn Bruschetta
Fresh herbs, tomatoes and avocados create a refreshing salsa. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.
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.
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.
Mustard-Glazed Pork Skewers
Coat pork loin strips with a simple apple juice-Dijon mustard glaze, then serve skewers with tangy homemade fruit chutney.
Try this kicky chutney with any meat or on a cheese board, or make a killer grilled cheese sandwich of sourdough bread, chutney and an ultra-creamy cheese like Brie or Havarti.
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.
Cucumber White Sangria
Garden flavor infuses this refreshing make-ahead white wine cocktail.
10 Open-Face Sandwiches
We made most of our savory sandwiches on mini party bread, found in the cracker aisle. You can also trim crusts and cut shapes from thin sandwich bread.
Left to right, starting on top row:
1 Brie, strawberries, basil
2 Mayonnaise, hard-boiled egg, chives, bacon
3/4 Pimento cheese, green olives/Hummus, roasted red sweet pepper, mint
5 Boursin cheese, cucumber, lemon zest
6 Cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, capers
7 Apples, mixed blue cheese and cream cheese, pecans
8 Mixed cream cheese and horseradish, roast beef, cherry tomatoes
9 Butter, radish, cracked black pepper
10 Pound cake, lemon curd, raspberries