Fresh Summer Appetizers
Summer eating is all about sharing and mostly about eating with your hands. Pool parties, cookouts, and picnics fundamentally thrive on communal bites, so make sure you’ve got the best summer appetizers possible. Whether you want to ditch the utensils, take advantage of fresh produce, or just keep your guests coming back for more, these summer-approved appetizers will do the trick and please everyone.
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.
Pulled Pork Barbecue Nachos
Brighten up a warm summer evening with these colorful, layered nachos made with our famous pulled pork.
Tomato, Watermelon, and Feta Skewers with Mint and Lime
No 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 Chips
Incorporating 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 Jam
This clever take on beloved thumbprint cookies is sweet and savory. Refrigerated dough keeps for days, and the baked cookies freeze well.
Chile-Lime Watermelon Wedges
Covering all the summer flavor bases, Chile-Lime Watermelon Wedges are spicy, sweet, tangy, and super juicy!
Lobster Roll Cones
The 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 Crudités
Step 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.
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.
Creamy Basil-Black Pepper Cucumbers
Greek yogurt creates a creamy finish with these sliced cucumbers, which are perfect with a salad or simply by themselves.
Melon, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Skewers
Keep entertaining simple with this 4-ingredient appetizer featuring fresh melon, prosciutto, and fresh mozzarella balls.
Baked Egg Rolls
These 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."
At happy hour, pair these appetizer-size pizzas with a chilly glass of rosé. For an entrée, simply roll dough into larger rounds.
Cucumbers with Ginger, Rice Vinegar, and Mint
This refreshing dish features cucumber and mint to keep you cool on those hot summer days.
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.
Cucumber-Tomato Skewers with Dilly Sauce
English or Kirby cucumbers have few seeds and a thin peel. You could also add pieces of fresh bell pepper to the skewers.
Pan-Fried Beef and Scallion Dumplings
These easy beef dumplings are an excellent use for extra-lean ground beef, and are great served as an appetizer or as a simple entree alongside a couple of vegetable sides
Seared Halloumi with Cucumbers, Apricots, and Honey
The key to this multi-textured meze plate is halloumi, a salty Cyprus grilling cheese, that works wonderfully with ripe figs, summer melon, and all manner of stone fruits.
Lobster and Corn Quesadillas
Inspired by a simple, classic lobster and corn chowder, these decadent Maine lobster quesadillas can be served family-style as a crowd-pleasing appetizer, or plated with a simple green salad for an exceptional meal. Filled with delicate sweetness and savory richness, this high-low dish is sure to be a dinner party hit.
Fried Buffalo Oysters
Selects are rather large shucked oysters—which makes them the perfect size for battering and deep-frying. A unique twist on the tangy buffalo wing, fried oysters are crispy on the outside and meltingly rich and creamy on the inside. These fiery bites are a bit spicy, so it’s best to have a side of cool ranch or blue cheese and trimmed celery sticks nearby. Serve at your next tailgate party for the ultimate crunchy starter.
Slow-Cooker Beef Nachos
From the Kitchen of Julie Hutson, Callahan, Florida. "This is surprisingly yummy to have such simple ingredients."
Here, the cheese dough becomes a savory crust for caramelized fennel and tangy tomatoes.
Rainbow Tomato Bruschetta
Linda Wisner of Portland, Oregon uses a mix of heirloom tomato varieties from her garden; heirlooms are available in many farmers' markets. Toast the baguette slices up to 1 day ahead; cool, wrap airtight, and store at room temperature. Prepare tomatoes up to 1 hour ahead; cover and let stand at room temperature.
Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey
In addition to being a delicious appetizer that feels special, these Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey make for extra awesome croutons on salads and as "meat" balls for vegetarian pasta dishes.
Mini Corn Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Dill Crème Fraîche
Make these in the morning, and top with salmon and crème fraîche just before your guests arrive. Tight on time? Use store-bought blini instead.
Muffin Pan Tomato Tarts
Our new twist on the classic summer pie starts with puff pastry sheets.
Usher in the warm days of spring and summer with Strawberry Bruschetta. This refreshing mixture of nectarine, grape tomatoes, strawberries, and basil are served over baguette slices with slatherings of goat cheese.
Pesto and Corn Crostini
For a summertime spin on a classic crostini, add some fresh summer produce to your toast. Use fresh basil from your garden to whip up a delicious pesto, and top with fresh corn kernels, sugar, and salt.
Candied Pancetta Stacks
Here's a fresh take on caprese that invites a meaty, umami burst from pancetta. Serve as an appetizer or dessert (think cheese-and-charcuterie board reinvented) at your next summer soiree for a crowd-pleasing treat.
Ceviche is a popular Latin American dish that involves marinating chopped raw fish in fresh citrus juice, fresh herbs, and various spices. After a few hours of resting, the acid in the marinade actually "cooks" the fish in a sense. That said, using the freshest seafood you can find is a must for ceviche; in this preparation, the freshest seafood will also be the tastiest. Juicy-sweet summer watermelon and sliced oranges bring an additional level of refreshing brightness to this take on ceviche, featuring shrimp and scallops. The fruit also helps balance the spicy kick delivered by fresh jalapeño.
Late-Summer Vegetables with Aioli
Make 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.