Simple Summer Appetizers

Make entertaining a crowd a no-fuss affair with a few of our favorite appetizer recipes.

Cruisin’ Crab Dip

Photographer: Howard L. Puckett

Cruisin’ Crab Dip

This make-and-go dip recipe includes red pepper and hot sauce for a spicy kick, which you may adjust according to your spice preference. A filling seafood appetizer like this one does the work of a larger dish by keeping partygoers full without too much work for you in the kitchen.

Oysters on the Half Shell with Pickled-ginger Salsa

Photographer: France Ruffenach

Oysters on the Half Shell with Pickled-ginger Salsa

Eating raw oysters on the half shell is a coastal tradition, and this recipe won’t disappoint. The fresh ginger and cilantro flavors pair well with the salty shooters. The salsa preparation is easy, but shucking the oysters may take some practice.

Greek Shrimp Bruschetta

Photographer: Howard L. Puckett

Greek Shrimp Bruschetta

Combine some Mediterranean flavors with a classic Italian antipasto, and you get this highly rated recipe. Shrimp adds a new dimension to bruschetta and makes it a heartier accompaniment to a meal. As reviewers have noted, this zesty dish is perfect for a crowd.

Smoked Bluefish Spread

Photographer: Melanie Acevedo

Smoked Bluefish Spread

Dips are the secret to hosting a stress-free summer gathering: They’re simple to prepare, no trouble to transport, and they keep guests satisfied while you prepare the main entrée. This one mixes fish with cream cheese for a winning combination. If bluefish isn’t available, smoked tuna or trout can be substituted.

Grilled Shrimp Gazpacho

Photographer: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Grilled Shrimp Gazpacho

A cool soup to temper a hot day is an essential summer treat. Plenty of fresh summer veggies, such as cucumbers and bright bell peppers, lend a festive confetti-like coloring to this recipe. This popular Spanish dish pairs well with Latin American flavors, so plan a fiesta menu!

Asian Fried Crab Balls

Photographer: France Ruffenach

Asian Fried Crab Balls

This recipe’s unusually beautiful presentation and exotic flavors make it worthy of the finest Asian-fusion restaurant. Make a stop at your local international market to seek out hard-to-find ingredients such as daikon radish and nori strips. You’ll be glad you did.

Maine Crab Cakes with Lime Aioli

Photographer: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Maine Crab Cakes with Lime Aiöli

The summer months are the perfect time to treat yourself to decadent crab cakes. The lime aïoli in this recipe is just as tasty as the panko-crusted lump crabmeat patties. Using Japanese panko instead of traditional breadcrumbs gives the cakes a unique crunch, so don’t skip them!

Prosciutto-wrapped Mozzarella

Photographer: Jean Allsopp

Prosciutto-wrapped Mozzarella

An effortless recipe idea like this one provides a base for a dish you can add on to and make your own. Guests will appreciate this skewered appetizer because it’s so easy to eat that it’s impossible to make a mess.

Romas and Goats

Photographer: Howard L. Puckett

Romas and Goats

This recipe was given five stars by reviewers for being equal parts uncomplicated and delicious. With a simple ingredient list that includes goat cheese, ripe tomatoes, and pesto, it’s obvious why! These bite-size appetizers are served at room temperature, making them ideal for a summer potluck.

Crab Salad Rolls with Ginger-Plum Sauce

Photographer: Jean Allsopp

Crab Salad Rolls with Ginger-Plum Sauce

This tropical twist on sushi will please everyone, especially those who shun raw seafood. This version uses crabmeat, avocado, and mango for a light and summery roll that is sure to be the highlight of any event. Only you will know just how easy it was to prepare this spectacular starter.

Chilled Salmon Appetizers

Photographer: Jean Allsopp

Chilled Salmon Appetizers

Flavorful pumpernickel bread provides the perfect base for smoked salmon in this recipe.  This simple dish is even easier when you make the rémoulade in advance, saving you time better spent in the sunshine.

Bacon-wrapped Shrimp with Basil-Garlic Stuffing

Photographer: Howard L. Puckett

Bacon-wrapped Shrimp with Basil-Garlic Stuffing

Looking for a new way to serve shrimp that’s easy and elegant? This five-star recipe proves that if you want to make something taste great, simply wrap it in bacon! Reviewers who loved this appetizer recommend using lean bacon or substituting prosciutto for the tastiest results.

Spicy Shrimp Wraps

Photographer: Jean Allsopp

Spicy Shrimp Wraps

Wrap up some shrimp with a hot and spicy flavor using this deceptively wonderful recipe that requires only five ingredients. These quick wraps get their kick from Cajun seasoning and include fresh spinach and cream cheese for tasty results.

Smoked Salmon and Fingerling Potatoes

Photographer: Howard L. Puckett

Smoked Salmon and Fingerling Potatoes

This pretty-as-can-be appetizer uses gourmet ingredients but is no trouble at all to put together at home. Choose either caviar or capers, pile them high with smoked salmon on halved fingerling potatoes, and sit back and wait for the compliments to roll in.

Avocado-Corn Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips

Photographer: Howard L. Puckett

Avocado-Corn Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips

Try something a little different and add corn, hot sauce, and brown sugar to your everyday guacamole as this recipe suggests. For a dip that will really wow your friends, forgo bagged tortilla chips and make your own; they’re easier than you think and lower in fat.

Lobster Deviled Eggs

Photographer: Becky Luigart-Staynor

Lobster Deviled Eggs

This party staple is made extra-special with the addition of lobster. Try it with lump crabmeat and cooked, chopped shrimp.

Shrimp with Zesty Cocktail Sauce

Photographer: Jennifer Davick

Shrimp with Zesty Cocktail Sauce

To make this one even more simple, add 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh dill and chopped preserved lemon (or 1 teaspoon lemon zest) to one 12-ounce bottle of your favorite store-bought cocktail sauce.

Tuna Gribiche Crostini

Photographer: Iain Bagwell

Tuna Gribiche Crostini

Gribiche is a not-too-common but delicious, textured sauce that is an ideal partner for a variety of seafood. Here, the piquant flavors of the caper-and-pickle combination pair beautifully with flakes of canned tuna for a quick and impressive appetizer.

Chorizo-and-White Bean Dip

Photographer: Buff Strickland

Chorizo-and-White Bean Dip

Chorizo is a highly flavored sausage made with lots of paprika and spicy seasonings. Cured varieties are firm, and are sliced or chopped. Fresh chorizo is soft, and crumbles when cooked. Use either variety in this recipe.

Grilled Smoked Salmon Pizza

Photographer: David Tsay

Grilled Smoked Salmon Pizza

If your guests are starting to crowd around the grill, satisfy them with this simple—but impressive—pizza.

Brie with Strawberries and Honey

Photographer: David Hillegas

Brie with Strawberries and Honey

Warm Brie is divine, but you can take it to a whole new level by heating it on the grill. Wood planks add rich flavor to the elegant appetizer, but you can use heavy-duty aluminum foil, too. Be sure to choose cheese with a rind around the entire piece, or it will melt and run onto the grates.

Avocado Fries

Photographer: Annabelle Breakey

Avocado Fries

Crunchy on the outside, creamy and nutty inside, these avocado fries are totally over the top.

Spicy Tuna-Mango Skewers

Photographer: Iain Bagwell

Spicy Tuna-Mango Skewers

Feel free to grill the skewers—about 1 minute per side over medium-high heat—instead of broiling.

Roasted Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Cheese Spread

Photographer: Howard L. Puckett

Roasted Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Cheese Spread

You may know this one as Ossabaw Dip. But if you don't, grab a chip and you will know why our readers give this one a five-star rating.

Grilled Shrimp with Rémoulade

Photographer: Jennifer Davick

Grilled Shrimp with Rémoulade

Think of this recipe as a deconstructed Shrimp Po' Boy without the bread. Marinated and grilled shrimp get even more flavor from a tangy rémoulade with capers, lemon juice and a dash of hot sauce.

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