28 BBQ Appetizer Ideas For Your Next Cookout

Time to get all up in your grill with these BBQ appetizers!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
Learn more about me
Updated November 13, 2022

Some of the best summer memories are backyard barbecues with family and friends. And what better way to make new ones than with delicious homemade food?

Whether your guests love to grill or love to eat, these BBQ appetizers are sure to please the crowd. From classic recipes like cheeseburger sliders and BBQ meatballs to vegan stuffed potato skins and fancy melon-prosciutto-mozzarella skewers, we’ve got you covered!

This list of 28 recipes has meat, cheese, and veggie options, so you’re sure to find some new favorites.
BBQ Appetizers For Your Next Cookout

Now, fire up that barbecue and serve your guests something scrumptious!

01. Garlic Bread

Do you need a simple appetizer that will have kids and adults alike going back for seconds?

With just 6 ingredients, this combo of melty cheese and zingy garlic is sure to please everyone.

Make sure you use a thick loaf that can hold all the gooey cheese when you slice the loaf.

Plus, French bread is the perfect base for all that garlic butter because of its crispy exterior and pillowy interior.

02. Burrito Bowl Potato Skins

With this vegan twist on a classic BBQ recipe, you get great flavor — with no animals involved!

The spicy bean and quinoa filling has the citrusy punch of a burrito bowl. If you do have extra filling, you can always use it for an actual burrito bowl the next day!

Brushing the potato skins with olive oil gives them a crispy exterior that pairs perfectly with the creamy interior. So, don’t skimp on this step.

03. Barbecue Chicken Sliders

Craving sweet and spicy finger food? This delicious combination of tangy chicken and buttery buns will keep you coming back for more.

All you need is a bowl for the chicken and then a pan for the sliders, so there’s minimal kitchen cleanup. Plus, it’s really easy to double (or even triple) this recipe to feed a big crowd.

And if you want to take it up a notch, you can add a dash of hot sauce to the chicken filling.

04. Easy Italian Tomato Bruschetta

This is the perfect summer recipe for sun-ripened fresh tomatoes. Choose slightly-soft, deep-red ones, or use a cherry tomato variety.

While you can make this with grocery store tomatoes, go for farmers market ones if possible. It’ll boost the flavor and texture.

As well, fresh herbs really make this dish sparkle, so leave your dried spice jars alone.

And for the bread, choose a loaf that will stand up to that gorgeous tomato juice and olive oil. It even helps if the bread is a day old because it will be a bit firmer.

05. Pesto Grilled Shrimp

The best way to pack a punch with your grilling is a good marinade. And what better way to celebrate hot summer days than with a fresh herb pesto?

You can marinate these scrumptious grilled shrimp overnight, so you do all of the prep the day before.

And since shrimp cooks quickly on the grill, these skewers will only need about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Don’t forget to add an extra squeeze of lemon juice at the end — it makes the flavors pop.

06. Deviled Eggs

Sometimes, you just can’t beat the classics. These traditional sweet and sour deviled eggs are super creamy and packed with flavor.

If you want to make these deviled eggs extra fancy, use a piping bag with a star nozzle when you fill them. And for added pizzazz (and a flavor-boost), top with smoked paprika.

Plus, this is a great recipe to inspire your own creativity. Play around and add whatever mix-ins you like to the filling!

07. Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp

Who can refuse the scent of crispy bacon? These luxurious bacon-wrapped shrimp will tempt your guests, and the spicy lime juice marinade will keep them coming back for more.

For the juiciest mouthful, brine the shrimp and pre-cook the bacon. That way, your shrimp won’t dry out while the bacon cooks.

Once you assemble everything, it only takes 5-6 minutes to cook the skewers on the grill. And if you don’t have a grill, don’t worry! You can also cook these skewers in the oven.

08. Texas BBQ Brisket Meatballs

Meatballs aren’t just for spaghetti! These are great party appetizers for game-day or a potluck.

These meatballs have the perfect balance of saltiness, sweetness, and smokiness. Plus, the cumin and chili powder add a little Mexican spice.

The sauce is super flavorful too, and it tastes very rich from the beef broth. And remember to buy toothpicks for serving!

09. Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers

Sweet and salty are opposites that attract in these elegant, but easy summer appetizers.

Ripe summer melon and salty prosciutto balance each other well. And the creamy mozzarella and fresh basil add supporting textures and flavors.

This is a great recipe if you’re short on time or just don’t like to be in the kitchen because you don’t have to cook anything. Simply cut the prosciutto, use a melon baller for the cantaloupe, and stack everything on a toothpick.

10. Bbq Smoked Sausages Bites

With only 2 ingredients, this is one of the simplest recipes on this list. You just need to cut the sausages, coat them in BBQ sauce and cook them on the grill!

You can play around with the flavor by changing up the brand of barbecue sauce or making your own.

And you can try this recipe with other sausage flavors, including Italian sausage or kielbasa.

11. Easy Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels

Want your favorite wing flavors without getting your fingers dirty? These buffalo chicken pinwheels are finger-licking good without all the napkins.

Made with a combination of cheddar cheese, blue cheese, cream cheese, and sour cream, the pinwheels are extra creamy.

If you don’t like blue cheese, though, just swap in mozzarella or more cheddar.

And these are a perfect make-ahead appetizer because they will stay fresh in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them.

12. Pulled Pork Pastry Puffs

Tangy pulled pork doesn’t have to take hours. This recipe comes together in under half an hour with just 6 ingredients!

Barbecue sauce and creamy cheddar cheese are a classic cookout combination. But the puff pastry elevates these appetizers a bit.

This recipe gives easy instructions for folding little burritos. But feel free to unleash your creativity and experiment with other ways to fold the pastry.

13. Texas Twinkies

Forget everything you know about the classic chocolate treat and get ready for an outrageously good surprise — Texas-style. Think of jalapeno poppers all dressed up and ready for a BBQ party.

The creamy Monterey Jack and cream cheese filling cuts some of the peppers’ spice, and the brisket adds richness. Then the crispy bacon wrapper seals the deal.

Be careful not to touch your eyes when you’re handling the peppers. It’s a good idea to wear gloves, but also wash your hands with dish soap to get all the peppers’ oil off your skin.

14. Parmesan Zucchini Fries

You don’t have to sacrifice flavor in this healthy appetizer. Add some fresh veggies to your party with these oven-baked zucchini fries.

The parmesan cheese gives the fries a salty kick and crisps up beautifully in the oven. You won’t miss the deep-fryer!

The biggest trick for crispy zucchini fries is to have as little moisture as possible. To do this, choose small squashes and pat the pieces dry with a paper towel when you cut them.

15. BBQ Chips

Homemade potato chips are a little trickier than simply opening a bag. But if you love chips, they’re worth the effort!

You can play around with the spice mixture on these potato chips. And you could even do a taste test with different brands of chili powder.

This is also a versatile recipe because you can make it in the oven or in a deep fryer. The oven version uses less oil, but the deep fryer will give you crispier chips.

16. Queso Blanco Recipe – White Cheese Dip

With a few simple base ingredients and endless flexibility, this queso dip is a sure fire hit.

The creamy Velveeta cheese and spicy jalapeño peppers are great on their own, or with your favorite extras.

For example, to give this dip some extra brightness, add a bit of chopped white or red onion, diced bell pepper, or fresh herbs like cilantro or green onions.

And of course, serve the queso dip with tortilla chips! It would also be the perfect topping for loaded nachos.

17. Hawaiian Chicken with Huli Huli Sauce

Take yourself away to the beautiful beaches of Hawaii with this tangy pineapple-ginger chicken.

The key to flavorful chicken is in the name “huli huli” which means “turn turn.” So keep basting and turning your skewers as they cook for even browning and moist meat.

The fruity, sweet and sour sauce is so good you shouldn’t save it just for chicken! Use it in stir-fries to add some zing to your dinners.

18. Mini Tortellini Kabobs

Mini Tortellini Kabobs
These bite-sized kabobs will please kids and adults alike with their punchy flavors. They are also easy to make ahead of time, so there’s no last-minute kitchen chaos.

There are also endless variations for these kebabs.

For example, instead of olives, you can use cherry tomatoes or pickled onions. And you can swap out the provolone for your favorite cheese.

And if you’re feeding vegetarians, you could use roasted red peppers or artichoke hearts for the salami.

19. Marinated Artichoke Kebabs

For a vegetarian take on Italian antipasto kebabs, try these mini artichoke skewers. With just 3 ingredients and no cooking, you’ll have your guests satisfied in no time.

If you don’t like sundried tomatoes, you can always use fresh cherry tomatoes or roasted red peppers.

And for a plant-based option, swap the mozzarella for vegan cheese, or use smoked tofu.

20. Balsamic Mushroom Goat Cheese Tarts

These little tarts look fancy, but frozen puff pastry makes them super easy and super delicious. The tangy goat cheese and fruity balsamic vinegar complement the crispy, buttery, golden brown pastry.

Regular white button mushrooms taste delicious, but criminis or portobellos taste even richer.

And if you want to get really fancy, you can play with different puff pastry shapes. Try pinwheels or a lattice top for a truly special appetizer.

21. Dilly Cucumber Bites

For hot days, these refreshing dilly bites will quickly become one of your favorite easy summer appetizers. It’s a great way to take advantage of the season’s fresh produce.

The Greek yogurt adds a delicious tang and lightens up the cream cheese filling. And the fresh dill plus ranch dressing powder gives it an herby kick.

Striping the peel on the cucumbers and piping the filling with a star nozzle are easy ways to jazz up this appetizer.

22. Mexican Street Corn Salad

A favorite street food in Mexico, this corn salad (called “esquites” in Spanish) is a creamy yet refreshing appetizer.

The traditional toppings are just mayo, cotija cheese, chile, and lime, but you can jazz it up with additional ingredients. This recipe includes sour cream, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and chipotle chili powder, but feel free to use your own creativity.

Your taste buds will thank you!

23. Gluten Free Southern Onion Rings

Crispy, deep-fried comfort food at home? Yes, please!

These onion rings use club soda to keep the batter light. And the cornmeal gives it a great texture.

And deep frying at home isn’t hard!

Just make sure you use a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut or canola. Also, make sure the oil is hot enough before you drop the onion rings in.

24. Hush Puppies

If you already have the fryer out for the onion rings above, why not make hush puppies too?

These are also made with pantry staples, and the batter comes together in just a minute or two.

You could spice these puppies up by adding chopped red onion or pickled jalapenos to the batter before frying. Or just serve with a dash of your favorite hot sauce.

25. Taco Tortilla Roll Ups

With just 10 minutes of prep time, these taco tortilla roll ups make a quick and delicious summer appetizer.

Simply combine the filling ingredients in a bowl, spread the mixture on flour tortillas, roll them up, and slice. Voila!

You can use leftover shredded chicken or a rotisserie chicken if you don’t want to cook the meat for this recipe. And these will last in the refrigerator overnight if you want to make them a day ahead.

26. Loader Tater Tots

How do you class up tater tots for a party? Make tarts!

In this recipe, you press tater tots into a muffin tin to create a little tart shell. Then you can fill the cup with your favorite toppings!

The author suggests cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, and green onion as fillings. These make a decadent combination!

If you want to experiment, you could try adding different cheeses, chopped veggies, or crumbled sausage.

27. Cream Cheese Wraped Olives

Olives, cream cheese, and crushed nuts? It may sound like an unusual combination, but the flavors and textures come together to create little bites of heaven.

With only 3 ingredients, this appetizer will be on the table in just 10 minutes. All you need to do is wrap the olives in cream cheese, roll them in nuts, and slice them in half.

If you’re going to a party, this is a great option because it will travel well. You can also make it ahead of time and keep it refrigerated.

28. Grilled Brie

Who said barbecues can’t be fancy? Elevate your next party with grilled brie!

With this recipe, you get ooey-gooey goodness in under 10 minutes.

All you need to do is brush the brie with olive oil and cook it on the grill. The inside will melt and go soft, and the rind will pick up a little of that smoky grilled flavor.

And don’t forget the crackers!

28 BBQ Appetizer Ideas For Your Next Cookout

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