Get great summer appetizer ideas featuring summer’s best ingredients to serve at warm-weather cookouts and poolside parties.
Potato and Carrot Pancakes with Curry Sauce
Carrots bring an earthy sweetness to these crispy, latke-like pancakes. To reheat, place on a baking sheet, and heat in a 325° oven until warmed through.
These meatballs are made with onion, minced garlic, corn tortilla, egg, ground sirloin, and chipotle chile.
Late-Summer Vegetables with AioliMake use of summer's bounty of vegetables with this stunning salad. Designed to focus on the colors, textures, and flavors of late summer produce, this dish combines raw and cooked veggies for variety.
Pulled Pork Barbecue NachosBrighten up a warm summer evening with these colorful, layered nachos made with our famous pulled pork.
Tomato, Watermelon, and Feta Skewers with Mint and LimeNo time for skewers? Gently toss the ingredients in a salad bowl, or dice the tomato, watermelon, and cheese into small cubes to serve as a fresh relish for grilled meats.
Sweet Pea and Avocado Dip with Baked Pita ChipsIncorporating green peas into this tasty summer snack not only reduces the amount of fat but also adds sweetness and further brightens the green color.
Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies with Tomato JamThis clever take on beloved thumbprint cookies is sweet and savory. Refrigerated dough keeps for days, and the baked cookies freeze well.
Chile-Lime Watermelon WedgesCovering all the summer flavor bases, Chile-Lime Watermelon Wedges are spicy, sweet, tangy, and super juicy!
Lobster Roll ConesThe perfect remaking of the traditional lobster roll, these toasted cones will be the star of your next luncheon or dinner party.
Smoky Red Pepper Dip with Grilled CruditésStep aside, boring crudités--enter deliciously crunchy, lightly charred fennel and broccoli paired with grilled bread and juicy tomatoes.
Yogurt Cheese with Roasted Beets and Feta
This ultra-creamy, Middle Eastern–style appetizer dip created by cookbook author Janet Fletcher is also excellent with raw cucumbers. If you make your own yogurt cheese, you'll need to start it 24 hours ahead of making this dish.
Roasted Roma Tomatoes on ToastRoasting, an easy technique, leaves tomatoes juicy while intensifying their flavor. Add lemon cheese and place atop olive-oil toast for an elegant starter.
Roasted Tricolored Peppers and Goat CheeseWhen making this height-of-summer appetizer, reader Elizabeth Sfatcu suggests roasting extra peppers and saving them in the freezer. "They come in handy for a quick salad," she says. "I'm happy I can skip the roasting and peeling part the second time."
Grilled Okra and Tomato SkewersFeature two summer produce stars—fresh okra and tomatoes—together in this colorful grilled appetizer. This is a great appetizer for entertaining because you can assemble the skewers the night before and brush the oil mixture on just before grilling.
Grilled Stuffed JalapeñosThe rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar is a nice foil for the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version.
Summer Fruit SaladTurn fruit salad into a first course appetizer by combining fresh fruit with avocado, cilantro and arugula, and serving in small glasses or cups as a portable salad.
Chilled Sweet Pea Soup with Mint and Cream
We love this bright, minty soup because it adds a pop of spring color to the buffet. Make it up to 48 hours ahead of time.
Peach and Prosciutto CanapésThe elegance of this easy appetizer belies its simplicity. Make-ahead tip: Toast the baguette slices and combine the cheese mixture well in advance, but assemble just before company arrives for the best results; it will all come together in a flash.
Blackberry-Brie PizzettasAt happy hour, pair these appetizer-size pizzas with a chilly glass of rosé. For an entrée, simply roll dough into larger rounds.
Eggplant CrostiniTop toasted baguette slices with fresh grilled and chopped eggplant, arugula, tomato and fresh mint for a fresh-from-the-garden appetizer.
Pickled Grapes With Rosemary and ChilesAdd these gorgeous spicy-tart grapes to an antipasto platter or cheese plate or stir them into a summer salad. Prep is only 10 minutes and the “pickling” happens in the refrigerator in just a few hours.
Fire-Seared Antipasto PlatterArrange garden-fresh grilled veggies—eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and onion—on a platter alongside an assortment of thinly sliced cheese and meats for an easy, colorful appetizer tray.
Melon, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto SkewersKeep entertaining simple with this 4-ingredient appetizer featuring fresh melon, prosciutto, and fresh mozzarella balls.
Shrimp-and-Blue Cheese SpreadMake a creamy dip by adding a mixture of blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and cream cheese to chopped fresh shrimp. Serve with an assortment of fresh veggies and baguette slices.
Roasted Corn SalsaFresh corn, tomatoes, onions, and parsley are tossed with a sweet-hot vinaigrette to make this favorite summertime salsa. Pair with tortilla chips for a colorful appetizer or serve alongside grilled burgers, chicken, or ribs.
Asian Slaw with Egg Roll CrackersA gorgeous presentation of shredded crunchy veggies makes for one special summer appetizer. Crisped egg roll wrappers form the base for this Asian slaw.
Creamy Basil-Black Pepper CucumbersGreek yogurt creates a creamy finish with these sliced cucumbers, which are perfect with a salad or simply by themselves.
Baked Egg RollsThese egg rolls are great for appetizers, alongside Asian cuisine, or just as a hearty afternoon snack.
Stuffed Peppers with Chèvre, Pecans, and Golden Raisins"Both sides of my family--the Greeks and the Southerners--love stuffed peppers."
Cucumbers with Ginger, Rice Vinegar, and MintThis refreshing dish features cucumber and mint to keep you cool on those hot summer days.
Corn and Sun-Dried Tomato Quesadilla with Smoked MozzarellaThese richly flavored quesadillas are a tasty twist on the Mexican favorite. Though delicious when served by themselves, try them on top of a tossed salad, as shown here.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Grilled Okra
A sweet-tangy balsamic glaze makes this summertime appetizer irresistible. Using two skewers for the wrapped okra makes it easier to flip on the grill.
Chunky Tomato-Fruit GazpachoThis delicious, chunky gazpacho features chopped tomatoes, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, mango, cucumber, and nectarines. It’s a light and flavorful starter for heavier summertime meals, like grilled steak or chicken.
Stuffed Squash Blossom BruschettaYou'll find squash blossoms, which have a subtle squash flavor, from late spring to early fall at gourmet grocery stores, farmers' markets, or Latin food markets. Here, we've served them as an appetizer atop grilled bread.
Lemon-Macerated Okra and OlivesInstead of filling up dinner guests on peanuts or pretzels, try this colorful blend of okra, olives, and garlic, seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs. Serve alongside a selection of bread, cheese, artichokes, and chilled shrimp or cold cuts for an antipasto platter.
Cucumber-Tomato Skewers with Dilly SauceEnglish or Kirby cucumbers have few seeds and a thin peel. You could also add pieces of fresh bell pepper to the skewers.
Marinated Tomatoes with Basil and Balsamic VinegarMarinating the tomatoes gives them a tangy flavor that pairs perfectly with the onion topping. For a heartier version, serve tomatoes on top of sliced French bread and garnish with Parmesan cheese curls.
Fresh Corn Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Chive CreamTraditional blinis consist of flour pancakes topped with sour cream and caviar, but our version features sweet corn pancakes topped with cold-smoked salmon and homemade chive cream. These easy apps are a great way to use up extra corn-on-the-cob you might have picked up at the market.