30+ Italian Appetizers to Make ASAP
Easy Party Meatballs
Using frozen meatballs makes this 5-ingredient take on a crowd favorite perfect for easy, affordable, no-fuss entertaining. Feel free to use whatever type of meatballs you like best for this delightfully spicy-sweet slow cooker appetizer—chicken, beef, or turkey all work great.
Classic Focaccia Bread
Our classic, standard focaccia recipe yields an oily (but not overpowering!) and flavorful loaf that’s super crisp on the bottom, just like a really good pizza crust. If you have the right tools, focaccia isn’t difficult. Letting the dough sit overnight helps it relax and will make a better bread.
Garlic Knot Chicken Parmesan Sliders
Chicken Parmesan meets a garlicky, buttery roll in this super simple yet impressive recipe. Everything comes together quickly with the help of pizza dough, but you could also use dinner rolls like Hawaiian rolls to skip a step and save time.
Fontina-And-Kale Mini Meatballs
These easy, cheesy meatballs are perfect for anything from a holiday party to a tailgating get-together—especially if you need to have a keto-friendly appetizer in the mix. The blend of Italian sausage and lean ground beef provide a great, flavorful base that isn’t overly greasy, and the kale and Fontina combo is a surefire crowd-pleaser.
Cheesy Stuffed Pizza Crust Ring
You know how as soon as you grow into a fully formed adult human, you realize that the best part of a delivery pizza is the part you’ve been foolishly tossing aside (for your parents to eventually graze on)? Well we decided to make up for lost years by making this cheesy stuffed crust ring, no pizza necessary.
Everyone enjoys a plate of cheesy meatballs, and tender ground turkey lightens up this flavorful, family-favorite one-pan supper. This is a tasty recipe to have in your recipe box for an easy weeknight dinner. You may want to consider doubling the recipe and freezing half for an extra quick fix. To freeze, shape the meatball mixture into balls, place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and place in freezer until meatballs are frozen. Transfer them to freezer safe storage bags until ready to use. Maximize flavor by using a combination of both white and dark ground turkey. For the most tender meatballs- no matter what meat you are using- the Southern Living Test Kitchen pros recommend using the “claw method.” Shape your hand into a claw, keeping your fingers relatively rigid, so that you are just gently shaping the meat inside of your claw- rather than squeezing it. Squeezing the meatballs make them tough and chewy. You want to shape them, not squeeze them. This recipe works well served with either rice or hot pasta.
Easy Party Pizza Sticks
If you’re searching for an easy and inexpensive appetizer for a crowd, the hunt stops here. These crispy, cheesy pizza sticks are the perfect snack to whip up for a Super Bowl spread, birthday party, or a casual family get-together. Besides being inherently kid-friendly, these tasty pizza sticks are endlessly customizable.
Saucy Mini Meatballs
Adding cinnamon gives these meatballs a slight Moroccan feel. You can make this a day ahead and reheat on the stovetop before the party. Using different types of beef adds moisture to the meatballs while keeping sat fat in check.
Summer Caprese Prosciutto Cups
Filled with some of our favorite summer flavors, these delightfully crisp prosciutto cups are the easy, so-snackable appetizer you need in your life right now. A mini muffin pan is all you need to transform prosciutto into perfectly crisp vessels for a vibrant summer salad.
Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Pair flavorful Rosemary Focaccia Bread with Turnip Green Pesto for a mouth-watering appetizer.
Chicken Parmesan Dip
This is a rich and creamy way to use up leftover marinara sauce or chicken. For an extra-Italian twist, use Italian sausage instead.
This is the party appetizer you’ll want to make all summer long, when fresh peaches and basil are in their prime. Not only are these toasts so pretty to look at and tasty to eat, they can also be assembled in minutes and easily sized up if you’re hosting or attending a big gathering.
Baked Italian-Style Cauliflower
We love a healthy twist on a hearty classic, and this cauliflower-centric recipe is no exception. This tasty Italian-style dish combines cauliflower with beef, tomato-based sauce, cheese, and more.
Arancini (Cheesy Italian Rice Balls)
For perfectly fried, mozzarella Arancini, dip a rice ball into flour and shake off any excess. Dip floured ball into egg, allowing any excess to drip off. Finish by coating completely in breadcrumbs. Repeat.
Italian-Style Antipasti Platter
An antipasti platter is probably the most iconic Italian appetizer, and for good reason: This classic dish is extremely easy to throw together and is always an all-around crowdpleaser.
Fried Calamari with Roasted Garlic and Lime Aïoli
Start with a package of frozen calamari, fry in peanut oil, and serve with a flavorful garlic and lime mayonnaise mixture for an impressive appetizer.
Cheesy Stuffed Pizza Crust Ring
You know how as soon as you grow into a fully formed adult human, you realize that the best part of a delivery pizza is the part you’ve been foolishly tossing aside (for your parents to eventually graze on)? Well we decided to make up for lost years by making this cheesy stuffed crust ring, no pizza necessary. Of course, we all know the only thing better than a standard hand-tossed pizza crust is a stuffed crust. We flavored this cheesy ring of bready glory with a seasoning blend inspired by the masters—Domino’s—and served it up with a delicious blend of the two most perfect crust dipping sauces: ranch and marinara. Warm from the oven, this cheesy appetizer perfect for a Super Bowl party, or any other game day gathering.
These tender, buttery snack rolls are akin to cinnamon buns in structure… but they’re full-on pizza perfection in flavor. Using canned crescent roll dough and prepared marinara sauce keeps both the prep time and ingredient list short, making these cheesy, kid-friendly bites easy to whip up at a moment’s notice.
Mini Mozzarella-and-Kale Pita Pizzas
We split the pitas in half before toasting so the crusts can get extra crisp.
We loved the classic caprese salad so much, we transformed it into a vibrant summer “salsa,” so that we could top just about everything with it. The simple, but so satisfying, flavor combo of ripe, juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, and rich mozzarella cheese is the perfect path to amping up any number of your favorite summertime staples.
Mini Caprese Bites
Serve these mini tomato and mozzarella skewers in individual glasses as an appetizer at a seated dinner party, or arrange on a platter for your buffet. Fresh mozzarella bites, tomatoes, basil, and balsomic join forces for a summery, adorable appetizers that will have your guests swooning.
Caprese Tomato Salad
Make this crisp, fresh tomato salad for your next summer cookout. If you can't find smaller basil leaves, you can gently tear the larger leaves in half.
Mini Spaghetti Pies
Kids will love these handheld pasta delights! Buttered noodles meet baked pasta Alfredo in a slightly creamy, yet not overly saucy, kid-friendly dish. The pies are dense, yet tender, and the pasta still has a nice bite to it. It makes a great canvas that can accommodate any add-ins you or your kid may like.
Herbed Goat Cheese and Ricotta Mini Pies
Why settle for a piece when you can have the whole pie? Filled with fresh herbs and cheesy goodness, these savory mini pies are the perfect dish for any brunch gathering. Using store-bought pie dough keeps this recipe super simple to make, but feel free to use your favorite homemade pie dough if you prefer.
Prosciutto-and-Manchego Cheese Straws
It’s not a party without cheese straws, and we made these extra special for the occasion with additions such as nutty Manchego cheese and salty prosciutto.
This quick single-serving idea is perfect for serving as an easy appetizer, or for packing up for when hunger strikes on-the-go.
Sweet cantaloupe and salty prosciutto combine for this satisfying toast that would make a delicious breakfast, brunch, or snack.
Loaded Fried Ravioli Nachos
Just when you thought loaded nachos couldn’t go any further…
Grilled Garlic Bread
Homemade garlic bread is a welcome addition to almost any meal, especially when it has a smoky char from the grill. Garlic butter makes the bread extra rich, but you can substitute olive oil if you wish. Sprinkle the cut bread with grated parmesan cheese just before serving if your crowd prefers cheesy garlic bread.
Poached Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini
These elegant toasts, featuring sweet poached cherries and tangy goat cheese, are the perfect pre-meal nibble for a summer dinner party. While the recipe sounds fancy, it’s super easy to prepare. You’re simply simmering fresh cherries in a poaching liquid made by mixing orange liqueur, water, and a few other ingredients.
Lentil Tapenade Crostini
Precooked lentils are a healthy cook's ally, adding instant fiber and protein to any dish while saving nearly 30 minutes of stovetop simmering. Here we pulse the lentils in a food processor as part of a rustic tapenade for crostini.
Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
If you're looking for an easy crowd-pleaser, grilled portobello mushrooms are the way to go. These giant portobello mushrooms are stuffed with some incredibly tasty ingredients like cheese, tomatoes, and fresh herbs, and are then grilled to absolute perfection.
Roasted Asparagus with Walnuts, Parmesan, and Cherry Tomatoes
Serve with grilled flank steak or chicken breasts, and you'll have a fantastic weeknight dinner. Use asparagus that are medium-thick for this recipe--not pencil-thin spears.