If you’re on the hunt for some awesome Labor Day appetizers, you’ve come to the right place.
So, why not get a head start on your menu?
Chances are, the weather will be gorgeous, so you’ll need a variety of hot and cold options, plus some dishes you can serve outside and potentially travel with.
When I’m hosting for Labor Day, my go-to has to be chips and Chipotle guacamole, plus more chicken wings than I can count.
And you won’t ever come to my house and not see at least one hot dip.
But if I’m going to a friend’s place, I often make something delicious and Tupperware-friendly, like a big batch of crab cakes.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you serve so long as it’s all tasty and plentiful!
Just don’t forget the kids! I know we all love spicy buffalo chicken, but maybe mini-corn dogs would be a nice addition.
1. Buffalo Chicken Dip
Talk about “coming in hot!” What’s hotter than a bowl full of hot and spicy buffalo chicken dip?
Chicken wings can get a little bit messy, but with this dip, you can have all the same great flavors without the hot sauce all over your cheeks!
If you’re the one hosting, I highly recommend buying a rotisserie chicken. They’re yummy and juicy and will save you so much time.
2. Easy Homemade Mini-Corn Dogs
These kid-approved corn dogs are the perfect finger food, and they’re so easy to make!
The batter is a quick blend of cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, and milk. Once the hot dogs are cut, patted dry, and secured on the stick, it’s just a matter of dipping.
This will be easier if you have a tall, wide glass or measuring jug since you can cover the whole dog at once.
For something extra special, try wrapping the hot dogs in bacon and giving them a quick 10 minutes in a hot oven.
Then, let them cool and pat away any excess oil before dipping and frying in hot oil like normal.
3. Soft Pretzel Bites
I don’t know anyone that would turn down a warm, soft pretzel. And these little pretzel bites will be the talk of your next Labor Day party.
The key to getting that signature color and flavor is to pre-boil the dough (once it’s portioned) in baking soda and water.
They’ll only need 10 seconds, so have your lined baking sheet ready.
Sea salt is an absolute must for pretzels, but if you have the time to make some spicy nacho cheese sauce, all the better!
4. Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe
No matter who you go to dinner with, it’s almost an unspoken rule to order some spinach and artichoke dip.
It’s hot, creamy, and so, so tasty. So, making it at home is a double-edged sword.
Once you see just how simple it is, you’ll eat/make it all the time.
If you don’t want meat in your dip, you can omit the bacon. It just won’t have the same depth and saltiness, and you’ll need to add extra salt to taste.
When thawing and draining the spinach, take your time. You won’t want any excess moisture ruining this thick and creamy dish.
5. Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings
Dry-rub wings are great, and sticky BBQ wings are scrumptious. But I don’t think anything is better than a batch of hot and spicy buffalo wings.
Tempting as it may be to try and save a few dollars, I don’t recommend getting frozen meat.
It will have extra moisture inside, and you won’t get the same results.
For the best, crispiest skin, you need to cook these nice and high.
Since it’s dark meat (which means it’s very juicy), you won’t need to worry about the meat drying out.
6. Chipotle Guacamole Recipe
I used to say, “I just want to earn enough money so I can always add guac!” Because let’s be honest, no meal at Chipotle is complete without it.
Between the lime juice, red onion, and jalapeño, this recipe is pretty close to perfect, so you should probably make double!
I also like to add some diced cherry tomatoes to mine, but that’s totally optional.
7. Velveeta Sausage Dip
Oh my goodness, this dip is too good for words!
It’s salty, meaty, cheesy, and just a little spicy, thanks to the ROTEL diced tomatoes and green chilies.
As the title suggests, you’ll need Velveeta for this dip.
If you’re not a fan, or can’t find it where you live, try this Qdoba queso instead, and simply add sausage meat.
8. Potato Skins
I think I could happily eat potato skins at every meal for the rest of my life.
Potatoes are always a treat (in any form), and the crispy skin mixed with the cheese and bacon is to die for.
If you like your skins crispier, scoop out the potato and use it in another recipe.
Or, for something more filling, scoop out the cooked potato and mix it with the cheese and bacon.
Spoon it back in and cover it with extra cheese. Broil and serve!
9. Quick and Easy Nachos
Worried about serving nachos because they almost always turn soggy? Don’t worry, I have you covered.
Yes, these are fully loaded, which usually means they go soggy after sitting too long.
If you pre-bake the chips, you can keep them crunchy for longer. Another great option is to serve your nachos in a wider, flatter layer.
That way, there won’t be chips stuck at the bottom of a big old pile.
Use a large platter and stack those chips with spicy meat, refried beans, chopped tomatoes, and, of course, plenty of cheese!
10. Potstickers Recipe
Potstickers aren’t your typical finger food spread, but they really should be!
They’re the perfect little parcels of flavor, and they’re bite-sized for easy mingling.
What I love about these is that a little goes a long way, and you can make a huge batch in one sitting and freeze them for use later.
Once you have the filling made, just throw on an episode of your favorite show, and you can blast through a hundred before the credits roll.
Plus, you can use ground pork or chicken or keep them veggie-friendly and use mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage.
You can buy potsticker wrappers in most stores in the Asian food section, though they may be called dumpling skins or gyoza wrappers.
11. Cocktail Meatballs
If you’re looking for something super tasty but ridiculously easy, this recipe is for you!
When you’re cooking for a crowd, it’s nice to have a recipe or two that takes little to no effort and can cook away while you get on with other things.
This recipe is just that.
All you need is some frozen meatballs, grape jelly, and chili sauce.
Throw everything in your Crockpot and let it cook for a few hours.
Serve them with cocktail sticks and maybe some sweet Hawaiian rolls.
12. Pepperoni Pizza Bites
These chewy little pizza bites look like mini-muffins, but they have the chewy texture of a bagel.
Unlike pizza bagels, these are mess-free, keeping the sauce on the side so you can pile them up on a plate without tomato juices dripping everywhere.
The recipe calls for Parmesan and mozzarella to be mixed into the dough so that it will be cheesy in every single bite.
But if you want it extra-cheesy, try topping each one with extra cheddar and mozzarella.
It will bubble and turn crispy on the edges. Just watch your tongue! These babies need to be served hot.
13. Prosciutto Goat Cheese Crostini
Time for something cool and elegant. Crostini is a fantastic make-ahead appetizer that you can modify in a snap.
You’ll need to toast the bread to make it nice and crunchy, but it’s ok to let that cool before adding the toppings.
Goat cheese is lovely and creamy and will spread with ease, and that tangy flavor pairs so well with the saltiness of the meat.
14. Seven-Layer Taco Dip
Want to give your guests a taste of Taco Tuesday without the hassle of creating a taco bar? This dip has everything you need, piled into one handy dish.
You’ll need taco seasoned beans, a mixture of sour cream and cream cheese, salsa, tomatoes, peppers, and crunchy green onions.
This dip looks best in a big glass bowl, so people can see the layers, and it’s over-the-top amazing with a layer of guacamole on top.
If you want something for the meat-eaters, try adding a layer of spicy ground beef.
15. Ham and Cheese Sliders
When I make grilled cheese sandwiches, I always put in some kind of deli meat.
The salty flavor enhances the sandwich and makes it that much more enjoyable.
That’s why I love these sliders and why they’re such a hit with kids and grown-ups alike.
They’re more or less ham and cheese grilled cheese sandwiches made with sweet Hawaiian rolls for a fluffy and tender finish.
Since you can buy Hawaiian rolls in a big slab, all you’ll need to do is cut the whole thing in half and fill it like one big sandwich.
Then, bake it until it’s golden and bubbly and cut into individual buns.
16. Italian Pinwheels
If you’ve ever had a lackluster pinwheel, it’s likely there wasn’t a tasty spread on the tortilla.
Sure, there’s deli meat and cheese, but it usually needs something extra to push it over the edge.
This recipe calls for cream cheese, chopped red and banana peppers, seasoned bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese.
It’s tangy, creamy, a little spicy, and such a straightforward way to add flavor without adding too many ingredients, which can ruin the tidy pinwheel.
17. Mini-Crab Cakes
Crab cakes will always be a crowd-pleaser. They’re crunchy, peppery, creamy, and slightly sweet.
Lump crab meat is your best bet here for the juiciest texture and most flavor from the crab itself.
These can easily be made ahead, too. Just make the patties and keep them covered in the fridge until you need them.
You can even bread and freeze them if you need to make them even further in advance.
18. Best Clam Dip Recipe
You don’t often see clam dip at parties, which is a real shame because it’s super easy and tastes fantastic.
This dip does have a slightly fishy taste, but that’s part of the appeal.
If you’re a lobster-bisque or oyster lover, I know you’ll love this quick little recipe.
The best part is, it uses canned clams, which means you can throw it together in a matter of minutes.
Serve this with a Bloody Mary or classic Canadian Caesar!
19. Cream Cheese Lobster Appetizer
It shouldn’t take longer than half an hour to make this Labor Day appetizer, but I think you can do it even faster.
If you follow the recipe, you’ll cook the cream cheese with mayo, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, and horseradish.
Then, add in the pre-cooked bacon and lobster before spooning into store-bought phyllo cups and baking.
But I think you could skip that first step. Instead, beat the cream cheese with mayonnaise until it’s nice and smooth, and then add the seasonings.
You can blend everything in a mixer with a paddle or just by hand if the cream cheese is at room temperature.
You’ll get the same flavors, but the filling will be thicker, which I prefer for these.
20. Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffed mushrooms are a pretty simple little appetizer that doesn’t take a lot to perfect.
In truth, you could get away with drizzling over some garlic butter and sprinkling the tops with cheddar cheese.
But I definitely think these are worth the extra time.
Before mixing into a cream cheese and Parmesan blend, you’ll brown off some sausage meat along with the chopped mushroom stems, onion, and garlic.
There’s an egg yolk in there to make this very rich. Plus, it will help the filling set, which will be a lifesaver if you need to transport these.
21. Avocado Cucumber Shrimp Appetizers
You might not think these avocado and shrimp bites would be a fast option, but since the shrimp cooks in less than 5 minutes (total), you can easily have a platter of these on the table in under 15 minutes.
I like the idea of using cucumbers as a base, which makes them gluten-free and adds a lovely crunch.
That said, feel free to use bagel chips or toasted bread like the crostini above.
22. Cowboy Crack Dip
You’ve probably guessed it: this dip is so good, it’s like a bowl of crack.
Loaded with cream cheese, corn, green chilis, and spicy sausage, you should probably make up recipe cards to sit next to the bowl!
Did I mention it’s basically hands-off? Just toss everything in the slow cooker and let it do its thing.
23. 2-Ingredient Barbecue Little Smokies
Who knew BBQ sauce and cocktail wieners are all you need to make a super tangy, sticky, and smoky sausage appetizer?
If you have a favorite BBQ sauce, go ahead and use that. If not, this sweet and spicy recipe will make these little sausages pop.
Another great option is to wrap the wieners in bacon and pre-cook them until crispy.
Then add them to the pot with the sauce for an extra layer of yumminess.
24. Vegetarian Wonton Bites
It’s kind of funny, but I never thought of hummus in a wonton before this, and I wasn’t sure about the clash of flavors.
But I was pleasantly surprised!
The nuts add crunch, the onions give it some flavor, and the sriracha comes in with the heat.
Mix all that in with some creamy hummus, and you’ll have one tasty wonton.
25. Zucchini Bruschetta Bites
Usually, bruschetta is served on crunchy French bread, which is still an option if you like your carbs.
But these do offer a slightly lighter and more healthy version of a classic appetizer.
Of course, an excellent middle ground would be to serve both and give people a choice.
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