When summer rolls around, it’s time to heat things up in the kitchen.
These fresh, light, and incredibly tasty summer appetizers are the best way to celebrate the season.
Juicy fruit, spicy dips, grilled meats – all your summer favorites are here. But these classics are anything but boring.
Best Summer Appetizers
Give your apps a summery spin with Hawaiian chicken skewers, watermelon salsa, mango and zucchini wraps, or mini-Caprese salad bites.
Or lean into your cravings and whip up a big batch of fried green tomatoes, jalapeno poppers, buffalo chicken dip, or chili dog sliders.
Whether you’re planning a backyard BBQ, an alfresco supper, or a picnic lunch, you’ll find the perfect hors d’oeuvres in this diverse and delicious list of 30 summer appetizers.
1. Marinated BBQ Prawns
Catering to a keto crowd? First things first, don’t panic. This easy recipe has your back.
Throw together the simple but tangy marinade by whisking together olive oil, lemon zest, chili, and garlic.
Let the prawns soak up all those amazing flavors and then throw them onto the grill.
Serve with coriander leaves and an extra drizzle of lemon juice. This is one of those great appetizers that’s low on prep but big on taste.
2. Deviled Eggs
Light, creamy, and nourishing, deviled eggs are an amazing summer treat.
This recipe doesn’t mess with perfection, keeping it classic with a dijon and mayo filling, piled into hollowed egg whites.
Don’t forget the paprika for that pop of color!
3. Chipotle Guacamole
Guacamole is great, but Chipotle guac is even better.
Spice up the classic dip with a chunky mix of creamy avocado, fresh cilantro, zesty lime, and jalapeno.
Serve the traditional way, with tortilla chips, or combine it with another delicious summer side and spoon into deviled eggs.
4. Rustic Summer Bruschetta
Juicy tomatoes, roasted garlic, and aromatic basil – one bite of this rustic bruschetta tastes like a warm summer day on the Italian coast.
Colorful summer tomatoes are piled onto small slices of crusty baguette. Bruschetta is healthy, it’s bursting with fresh flavors, and it looks pretty, too!
5. Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Wings
I love buffalo wings, but I do not love buffalo wings mess. All that sticky sauce has a way of spreading around the kitchen.
Thankfully this recipe has the answer. Pile those wings into the Crockpot, set it, and walk away.
Simmering away in the tangy, sweet sauce, the wings become tasty treats with zero work!
6. Mini-Crab Cakes
These crab cakes are small but mighty.
Large chunks of tender crab are blended with red onion, red pepper, and cilantro.
Pan-fried until golden brown with a crispy crumb, they’re dangerously addictive, especially when served with a homemade garlic aioli.
7. Mango Zucchini Lettuce Wraps
Take your wrap game to the next level with these sweet and savory bites.
These healthy appetizers are packed with bold flavors like juicy mango, fresh mint, and zesty lime.
The whole thing is finished off beautifully with a bright ginger and soy sauce.
Al fresco dining on a warm summer night? You need these wraps in your life (and your belly).
8. Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs
Hawaii is heaven for pineapple-lovers. The big islands are famed for their intensely sweet fruit, which works in almost any recipe.
Here, juicy chunks of chicken are marinated in a pineapple sauce, taking on all that bright flavor.
They’re then skewered with pineapple chunks, red onion, and bell pepper, before being grilled to smoky, sweet perfection.
9. Watermelon Salsa
Every summer, I buy a huge watermelon. And I always search in vain for good ways to use it before giving up and just eating the thing as-is.
This summer fruit deserves better.
It deserves to be chopped and mixed with red onion, mint, cilantro to make a refreshing, juicy salsa.
10. Fried Zucchini
Zucchini isn’t high on anyone’s must-eat list, but that’s probably because they haven’t tried fried zucchini.
It turns out that when you slice zucchini into thick medallions, coat it with breadcrumbs, and fry until crispy, it turns into a mind-blowing, mouth-watering snack.
11. Cheeseburger Sliders
Cheeseburger sliders are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, especially if you’re feeding little ones.
Kids and adults will go crazy for these tasty bites.
Nothing bridges the age gap like tiny burgers, liberally topped with melty cheese and encased in a soft bun.
12. Fried Green Tomatoes
If you grew up in the 80s, Fried Green Tomatoes was a movie rather than a meal.
But it’s time to reclaim this amazing side, which is a much-loved staple of southern cuisine.
There’s nothing like crispy slices of thick tomato, fresh from the pan and piping hot.
These golden beauties, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, really do melt in the mouth.
13. Shrimp Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
This light appetizer is inspired by the aromatic flavors of Asian cuisine.
Each chunky roll is packed with fresh veggies, rice noodles, plump prawns, and fresh herbs.
They take a little time to assemble, but it’s worth the effort.
You can always make them a few hours ahead of your event, chill, and then pull them out of the fridge at the right moment.
14. Grilled Summer Flatbread
Flatbreads are a great appetizer choice.
You can load them up with almost any topping, they can be easily sliced into individual portions, and they won’t spoil your appetite for the main meal.
This recipe is full of summer flavor with tangy goat’s cheese, pumpkin seed pesto, sweetcorn, and tomatoes.
Just before serving, top the whole thing off with masses of peppery arugula.
15. Qdoba Queso
There is no excuse for getting store-bought queso. Queso-from-a-jar will let you down. It’ll be lumpy, bland, and disappointing.
Rich, silky-smooth, creamy, and with just the right amount of spice, this isn’t queso. It’s heaven in a bowl.
16. Grilled Chicken Nachos
If you have a big crowd coming, make a big platter of these nachos and let your guests dive in.
Piled with a mountain of melted cheese and layered with BBQ chicken, these nachos are insanely tasty.
And I don’t use that term lightly. You will actually lose your mind over this much addictive, crunchy, bubbly goodness.
17. Jalapeno Poppers With Bacon
Make your backyard BBQs go with a bang with a big bowl of these freshly made jalapeno poppers.
Slice jalapenos vertically, scoop out the seeds and stuff the peppers with cheese, bacon, onion, and garlic.
What do you get? You’ll get a mouth-full of spicy, melty yum.
18. 2-Ingredient Fruit Dip
The magic of this recipe lies in its simplicity.
Made with just two ingredients – marshmallow fluff and cream cheese – it’s a cooling, creamy dip best enjoyed with a selection of fresh summer fruits.
If fruit doesn’t do it for you, serve with crackers, pretzels, or cookies. Or just set up a dipping station with a little bit of everything!
19. Buffalo Chicken Dip
Planning a tailgate party? You’ll need a delicious dip, and I have just the recipe.
Made with three different cheeses, this is the buffalo chicken dip to end all buffalo chicken dips.
Hot sauce and shredded chicken bulk it out and add a fiery, satisfying kick.
You can make this easy recipe even easier by picking up a rotisserie chicken rather than cooking your own bird.
20. Chili Dog Sliders
Sliders are the ultimate party food. Just like a good dinner guest, they’re welcome at any occasion – game day, kids picnics, BBQs, and family celebrations.
This recipe takes everything you love about chili dogs – juicy sausage, melted cheese, chunky chili – and shrinks it into app form.
It’s fair to say that these sliders are a hot mess. And I mean that in the best way possible.
21. Greek-Layered Hummus Dip
Chunky hummus gets a Greek twist with this delightfully different recipe.
The base layer is a classic cumin-scented hummus, but then things get interesting.
Next comes creamy Greek yogurt, then a flavorful mix of chopped veggies. It’s finished off with a topping of crumbly feta and toasted pine nuts.
With so many different tastes and textures, this isn’t a dip, it’s a culinary adventure!
22. Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad
Soft, pillowy, orzo pasta is tossed in a zingy lemon sauce in this bright appetizer.
There’s lots of color and taste in this cold salad, with cucumber, olives, artichokes, tomato and fresh herbs in the mix.
You’ll love it as a light appetizer, but it can also work as your main meal.
Just add some shredded chicken or grilled shrimp to take it up a notch.
23. Easy Antipasto Kabobs
These easy Italian-inspired kabobs are the perfect accompaniment to a Mediterranean spread.
Toasted chunks of Italian bread are skewered with mini-mozzarella balls, roasted bell pepper, olives, and salami.
Served alongside a rustic basil sauce, this is an upscale appetizer for classy gatherings and fancy feasts.
24. Seven-Layer Taco Dip
You’ll need a deep dish for this hearty seven-layer dip that boasts a little bit of everything.
The seven layers (count ‘em!) are spicy ground beef, salsa, cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream, chopped peppers and tomatoes, and guacamole.
It’s a fun app that doesn’t take long to pile together.
Save this one for when you’re feeding a large crowd of very hungry, taco-loving guests.
25. Mini-Caprese Salad Bites
These salad bites are almost too cute to eat. Almost.
And they’re so simple! A single skewer is just a fresh basil leaf, a cherry tomato, and a mini-bocconcini cheese ball.
What elevates this app from good to great is the tangy balsamic glaze.
This is the secret sauce that’s drizzled on last, and makes everything sing.
26. Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta
If bruschetta was a person, these delightful crostinis would be its little brother.
They’re tiny versions of the original favorite, with crusty toast, juicy tomatoes and a luscious tangy feta topping.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s toasted pine nuts and rich cream cheese in there, too.
27. Cucumber Hummus Bites
Vegetarian finger food usually means raw veggies and bland dip. This recipe reimagines the concept.
It may seem like a recipe for hummus bites, but really, it’s a finger food revolution.
Crisp cucumber slices are topped with roasted red pepper hummus, tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh parsley.
They’re mouth-watering as-is, but this is a recipe that lends itself to a bit of creativity.
Mix it up with your favorite kind of hummus, swap out the feta for mozzarella, use basil instead of parsley. The sky’s the limit!
28. Prosciutto Peach Bites
Soft and fragrant, summer peaches are simply divine. Pair them up with prosciutto and you’re in for a treat.
There’s something special about the mouth-watering combo of sweet, juicy peaches and salty, savory prosciutto.
Add fresh basil for an aromatic hit and you’ve nutritious nibbles, perfect for tapas-type eating.
30. Avocado Crack Dip
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. So make them the star of the summer with this deliciously chunky dip.
Just mix together onion, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and feta cheese. Toss in olive oil and red wine vinegar then chill.
Add the avocados right before serving (otherwise they’ll turn mushy!) and stir.
Low-carb and vegetarian, this is a healthy option for a light starter that won’t dent your guests’ appetite for the main meal.
Serve with veggie sticks, tortilla chips, or crackers for easy scooping and eating.
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