Did I mention it comes together in 10 minutes?
Credit: Getty / jenifoto

Summer is about easy entertaining, and this year, we're leaning into easy, shortish (60-90 minute) weeknight parties with a few friends, some bottles of wine or a light cocktail, and easy appetizers. 

And when it comes to the easy appetizer, my current obsession for these gatherings are cheater flatbreads. Sure, I make a killer homemade pizza dough, but it takes five days. And there is nothing wrong with store-bought pizza dough, but the prep on those is still more than I want to do when there are friends sipping rosé on the patio. So, this summer, and likely well into the colder months, I am making my flatbread apps and snacks on store-bought pita.

Why pita flatbreads are the best idea

Let me count the ways this is such a genius shortcut. First, there is no end to the toppings you can create with these easy little breads, and since they are small, you can easily make a couple different flavors at once, and not have a ton of leftovers even if you are only serving one or two guests. They can be as simple as a brushing of olive oil or melted butter and a sprinkle of herbs, or you can go crazy with cheeses and cured meats. You can serve them hot, warm, or room temperature. Top them up, cut into 4-6 wedges, pile on a plate and you've got insanely delicious snacks with minimal effort.

How to make pita flatbreads

To make your pita flatbreads, heat the oven to 400° and put a rack in the upper third of the oven. You don't want to broil, but you do want them slightly closer to the top heating element for a little browning.

Assuming ½-1 pita per person, arrange pitas on a sheet pan you have sprayed lightly with nonstick spray, and then add your toppings. Bake for 8-12 minutes until they are cooked to your preference; let cool 2 minutes before slicing to serve. 

Great topping combinations for pita flatbreads

You can let your imagination go wild with how you top them, but I use a basic rule of no more than two or three toppings, plus a garnish. Here are some my favorite combinations to get you started:

  • Honeyed goat cheese with sliced peaches, chopped fresh sage or tarragon to garnish
  • A paste of za'atar and olive oil with pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • Grated Gruyère and chopped oil-cured black olives 
  • Aged white cheddar, caramelized onion, and cumin seeds
  • Soppressata or pepperoni with little pearls of fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of hot honey
  • Prosciutto, garnished with arugula tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper, drizzled with balsamic glaze
  • Thinly sliced potatoes tossed in olive oil with minced fresh rosemary
  • Shallots, thinly sliced mushrooms, and chopped bacon
  • Sliced zucchini, sliced garlic, and olive oil, chopped parsley to garnish