Simple Summer Appetizers
Make entertaining a crowd a no-fuss affair with a few of our favorite appetizer recipes.
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.
- Recipe: Cruisin’ Crab Dip
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.
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.
- Recipe: Greek Shrimp Bruschetta
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.
- Recipe: Smoked Bluefish Spread
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!
- Recipe: Grilled Shrimp Gazpacho
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.
- Recipe: Asian Fried Crab Balls
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!
- Recipe: Maine Crab Cakes with Lime Aiöli
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.
- Recipe: Prosciutto-wrapped Mozzarella
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.
- Recipe: Romas and Goats
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.
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.
- Recipe: Chilled Salmon Appetizers
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.
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.
- Recipe: Spicy Shrimp Wraps
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.
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.
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.
- Recipe: Shrimp with Zesty Cocktail Sauce
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.
- Recipe: Tuna Gribiche Crostini
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.
- Recipe: Chorizo-and-White Bean Dip
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.
- Recipe: Brie with Strawberries and Honey
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.
- Recipe: Grilled Shrimp with Rémoulade