Simple Summer Appetizers
Make entertaining a crowd a no-fuss affair with a few of our favorite appetizer recipes.
Start with frozen puff pastry to make these six-ingredient, Mediterranean-style appetizers featuring the savory goodness of tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.
- Recipe: Tomato Feta Bites
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.
This party staple is made extra-special with the addition of lobster. Try it with lump crabmeat and cooked, chopped shrimp.
- Recipe: Lobster Deviled Eggs
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
If your guests are starting to crowd around the grill, satisfy them with this simple—but impressive—pizza.
- Recipe: Grilled Smoked Salmon Pizza
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
Crunchy on the outside, creamy and nutty inside, these avocado fries are totally over the top.
- Recipe: Avocado Fries
Tortilla chips serve as the base to this scallop and avocado duo and add the perfect amount of crunch.
- Recipe: Scallop Avocado Tostadas
Feel free to grill the skewers—about 1 minute per side over medium-high heat—instead of broiling.
- Recipe: Spicy Tuna-Mango Skewers
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.
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
One reason we love a slider? Its small size means you can have more than one! These hot mini sandwiches are perfect for game day, or any day.
Crisp veggies are wrapped up and ready for dipping in a creamy and flavorful sauce in this spring roll recipe.
Break out of the boring dinner time routine by making an irresistible guava sauce perfect for marinating and dipping baked chicken.
- Recipe: Baked Guava Chicken
Fresh lump crab is the gold standard, but can be quite pricey. Alternatives include refrigerated, pasteurized cans or shelf-stable cans and pouches; these versions have smaller pieces, so if using, finely chop the peppers and mangoes so they don’t overpower the crab.
- Recipe: Crab Mango Cashew Dip
What's better than a burger? A mini burger topped with a crab cake! This appetizer will make your guests swoon.
- Recipe: Mini Surf and Turf Burgers
Mini buckwheat pancakes are topped with sushi-grade yellowfin tuna, crème fraiche, and caviar in this creative appetizer.
- Recipe: Tuna Tartare Blini
A curry and coconut mixture makes these bite-sized shrimp balls the perfect Asian-infused appetizer.
- Recipe: Curried Coconut Shrimp Balls
For easy party prep, these can be formed and refrigerated in the morning. After cooking, keep them in a warm oven until ready to serve.
The secret to cooking this delicious seafood classic is a hint of bacon. Serve in individual casserole bowls for delectable presentation.
- Recipe: Smoky Buttery Crab Claws
Serrano pepper and a mixture of spices add zest and flavor in these appetizer servings of Salmon-and-Shrimp Ceviche.
- Recipe: Salmon-and-Shrimp Ceviche
A few simple Italian-inspired ingredients add bold flavor to these perfectly sized, colorful pizzas.
- Recipe: Grilled Tomato Basil-Pizzettes
Colorful baby bell peppers serve as the base to this south-of-the-border inspired appetizer.
Equal parts zippy, creamy, and crunchy, these crostini are the perfect colorful appetizer.
- Recipe: Field Pea-and-Radish Crostini