Appetizers

32 Easy Cold Appetizer Recipes for Summer Parties

Cold, no-sweat recipes for a summer chill-out!

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 August 16, 2022

When you’re chilling out in the hot summer sun, you want something refreshing. And these cold appetizers are sure to wow your friends and family.

This list is packed with finger foods, dips, skewers, and other appetizers that taste incredible.

You’ll find everything from classic guacamole to shrimp cocktail to cranberry chicken salad on apple slices.
Cold Appetizers for Summer

So whether you’re going for fancy or fun, you’ll find the perfect cold appetizer recipes for your next celebration. Get your party on!

01. Mozzarelle Caprese Crostini

Caprese salad is a classic dish: it’s salty, creamy, a little sour, and very fresh. And when you use ripe summer cherry tomatoes? It’s heaven!

These little toasts are a cross between Caprese salad and bruschetta. And they’re absolutely succulent.

You can also swap goat cheese for the fresh mozzarella cheese to get a tangier appetizer.

Chopped basil often goes brown quickly. But if you cut the leaves into strips (called chiffonade), you’ll avoid this problem.

02. Greek Salad Skewers

Sail across the Mediterranean with these Greek salad skewers. They’re very refreshing, and they only have 5 ingredients!

Just assemble, dress, and enjoy!

Like the crostini, these are a flavorful mix of tomatoes and cheese. But the feta cheese and olives set them apart.

If you want these to be strictly homemade, I suggest you make your own salad dressing. Or just mix some olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to marinate the skewers.

03. Veggie Pizza

I’m a huge fan of cold pizza for breakfast. But it also makes an amazing appetizer!

This pizza is very versatile, and you can make use of whatever fresh veggies you have available. So go nuts at your local farmer’s market!

And for a really personalized touch, you could make individual mini pizzas for your guests.

At the end, sprinkle on a little parmesan cheese for extra flavor!

04. Mustard-Dill Tortellini Salad Skewers

Turn your classic tortellini salad into a fun finger food with these skewers.

The homemade olive-oil vinaigrette uses Dijon mustard for a hint of heat and dill for freshness. It’s tasty, but you could use bottled Italian dressing for an easier recipe.

You can also experiment with adding different vegetables, such as bell peppers. Or just make pure pasta skewers!

Whatever you choose, it’s sure to become one of your favorite cold appetizers!

05. Pimento Cheese & Bacon Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Crunchy, creamy, and fun-to-eat? That’s these pimento cheese balls!

It’s not hard to make your own pimento cheese. Just mix up your base of cream cheese, mayonnaise, and cheddar cheese, and then add the seasonings.

Then, you roll little balls of cheese in the crunchy toppings, and spear them with a pretzel stick!

The crispy bacon adds a lot of flavor, but you could easily skip it if you’re serving vegetarians. Just add more nuts!

06. Cheese Cup Appetizers

These crispy little parmesan cheese cups look really elegant and labor-intensive. But they’re actually super easy!

All you have to do is melt piles of grated cheese in the oven, and then mold them over a muffin tin.

Then, you can fill them with anything you like! But the prosciutto and candied-almond salad really elevate this cold appetizer for a formal party.

And don’t forget the balsamic drizzle!

07. Mini Cucumber Smoked Salmon Appetizer Bites (with Cream Cheese)

I love lox on a bagel, but these little cucumber bites are the perfect cold finger food for a summer party.

The flavor combination of smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, dill, and lemon is absolutely classic. And in this recipe, it doesn’t disappoint.

If you have a piping bag, use the star nozzle to pipe the cream cheese filling. But if you don’t have one, just use a plastic bag and snip off a corner.

08. Mini Baked Potatoes with Aioli and Pimientos

How do you make a great appetizer? Take a classic dish and make it mini!

These tiny potato bites are a little labor-intensive, but they’re worth it. The creamy potatoes and luscious filling complement one another perfectly.

Make sure you prepare the aioli in advance so that the flavors can meld. And for a vegetarian version, skip the anchovy and just add a little more salt to taste.

09. Taco Dip

After a dip in the pool, you’ll want this dip too! So grab some tortilla chips and get snacking.

All you have to do is mix some sour cream and cream cheese and add a dash of taco seasoning. Then top it with salsa, cheddar cheese, and green onions, and you’re ready to dip!

This is one of the best make ahead appetizers because the flavor gets better as the taco dip sits.

10. Ham and Cream Cheese Roll Ups

You want easy? This is easy!

With only 3 ingredients, these roll-ups are both tasty and quick to make. In 10 minutes, you’ll have a full plate of cold appetizers that will disappear just as quickly.

And if you don’t like olives, skip them! Then you only have two ingredients!

Or, try some other additions like red pepper jelly, pickle slices, or chopped green onion. You could also use different types of deli meat.

11. Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a summer classic for a good reason: they’re one of the most succulent cold appetizers!

This recipe makes traditional deviled eggs. And, believe me — they’re incredible.

But you can also jazz up these eggs any way you like. Sprinkling smoked paprika on top is just the beginning.

So, try adding chopped pickles, caramelized onions, bacon bits, or fresh herbs. And you could even add hot sauce!

12. Guacamole

Classic crowd-pleaser? Guacamole!

This is a great party appetizer because it’s tasty, quick to prepare, and works with most diets.

Vegan? Check. Gluten-free? Check. Scrumptious? Check!

Make sure to add enough lime juice to add a good tang. The acid will also help the avocado from browning.

And you can leave the avocado pits in the serving bowl because those will also help keep your dip green.

13. Traders Joe’s Cheese and Charcuterie Board

Have you wondered how charcuterie boards always look so pretty in photos? Wonder no longer!

This step-by-step recipe will help you set up your own beautiful cheese board. And it gives lots of options, so you can customize your appetizer to please all palettes.

It’s such an easy appetizer to make since all you’re doing is slicing and arranging. So, have fun and embrace your inner artist!

14. Shrimp Cocktail

Step up your shrimp cocktail game with this easy recipe. A few kitchen hacks make this recipe the king of cold party appetizers.

When cooking the shrimp, add Old Bay seasoning, pickling spices, and lemon juice to the water. By doing this, you enhance the flavor of the shrimp.

And don’t buy bottled sauce!

Making your own takes 5 ingredients, and it tastes a lot better. Plus, you can customize the flavor.

15. Homemade Salsa Recipe

When made with ripe summer tomatoes, salsa simply can’t be beat!

It’s also fun to play around with the flavors! You can try adding diced mango for sweetness or chopped chipotles for smokiness.

Plus, you can easily double (or triple) the recipe. So it’s one of those easy cold appetizers that you’ll want to have on hand for every party.

Now, grab your friends, a few bags of tortilla chips or fried foods, and get the party started!

16. Cranberry Chicken Salad on Apple Slices

Savor different textures with this creamy and crunchy chicken salad. Plus, it’s easy to make ahead.

If you want a little kick, use hot curry powder or add a dash of cayenne pepper. But this salad is equally mouth-watering when mild.

This is one of those easy cold appetizers that can quickly transform into the perfect picnic lunch. Just bring a big container of chicken salad, some apple slices, and a box of crackers.

17. Hummus

You can feel the warm Mediterranean sun when you take a bite of this creamy hummus. It’s incredibly easy to make, nutritious, and full of flavor!

The lemon juice, cumin, and garlic add some zing, and a little bit of cold water gives you a fluffy texture. And it’s delicious with pita chips, fresh veggies, on sandwiches, or in salads.

Plus, there are endless variations! Try adding pesto, black olives, or roasted red peppers.

18. Chicken Avocado & Mango Summer Rolls With Peanut Dipping Sauce

These rolls make great cold appetizers for a fancy dinner party. But they’re also perfect as poolside cold finger foods for kids!

However, don’t make them too far ahead of time because the wrappers can stick together or crack.

For vegetarian and vegan rolls, substitute the chicken with strips of smoked tofu. Or skip the protein and just pack them with fresh veggies!

And I always make extra sauce because it’s tasty on everything!

19. Artichoke Olive Tapenade

If you’re looking for something that feels sophisticated but is easy to make, this will be your new favorite cold appetizer!

All you have to do is throw the ingredients in a food processor. Then you can serve it with crostini or chips.

This tapenade would also pair well with the hummus above. You could even have a dip potluck party!

(And both of these recipes would be perfect for vegetarian or gluten-free guests.)

20. Vegetarian Sushi Cups

True sushi is extremely labor-intensive. But these little cups bring you those appetizing Japanese flavors in a fraction of the time!

You make these little cups in a muffin tin, so you don’t have to worry about rolling anything.

And you can fill them with whatever you like!

My favorite combination is avocado and cucumber. Or if you can find pickled daikon, that tastes amazing, too!

21. Mexican Corn Dip

This is a fun take on one of my favorite Mexican street foods: esquites. But this recipe uses those same ingredients to make a very flavorful dip.

The mayonnaise and sour cream create a silky base. And the lime juice, cilantro, and chiles add some punch.

In a pinch, you can always use frozen or canned corn as the recipe suggests. But if you have ripe summer corn available, use that!

22. Chicken Liver Pâté

Pâté? Hooray!

Chicken liver pâté is one of the cold appetizer recipes that is a little more labor-intensive, but totally worth it. It’s rich, silky-smooth, and adds class to any party.

If you’re not a fan of pâté (yet), you can soak the livers in milk for about an hour. This will make the flavor a little milder.

Also, don’t skip the step where you brown the butter. It adds a lot of depth!

23. Cheese Crackers

Boxed cheese crackers are addictive. However, they also have a lot of chemicals and preservatives in them.

So why buy them when you could bake them at home with only 6 ingredients? And they’re not hard to make!

These little crisps are even more delicious than the ones from the store, so add them to your next plate of cheese and crackers! They’ll be a hit with kids and adults alike.

Serve them with crab dip for a perfect cold appetizer dinner party.

24. Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

With 4 ingredients and 15 minutes, you’ll wow your guests with this easy and elegant appetizer.

Fresh local asparagus from the farmer’s market will make this dish even more succulent. But if it’s out of season, just use a bunch from the supermarket.

Don’t make this appetizer ahead of time — it’s best when fresh.

My mother always says that Emily Post declared asparagus to be a finger food. So grab a napkin and dig in!

25. Crack Dip

Get your chips ready because this is a dip worth fighting for.

Ranch, cheddar cheese, and bacon? What could be better?

All you have to do is mix the ingredients together in a bowl. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle some green onions on top as a garnish.

It’s also a great make-ahead appetizer because the flavors will meld.

And if you prefer, you can serve this dip warm! Just heat it up in the oven.

26. Pickles in a Blanket

​​If you love salty snacks, these easy delicious cold appetizers will hit the spot.

Roll a pickle and cheese in salami, and stick it on a toothpick for the perfect bite.

You could also use cream cheese instead of Boursin if you prefer. Just make sure you let it soften so that it’s spreadable.

And if you love olives, you could swap those for the pickles.

This is the perfect snack to accompany a cold beer!

27. Crispy Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

These crunchy bites are both epically addictive and epically easy.

Just layer the potatoes over the parmesan mix in a baking dish, and roast to crispy perfection. You won’t be able to resist the toasted parmesan-herb crust!

While these are decadent appetizers by themselves, they’re even better with a dipping sauce. So try sour cream or ranch!

28. Key Lime Pie Stuffed Strawberries

When you’ve had your fill of savory snacks, try these strawberry key lime cream cheese bites. They’re easy cold appetizers to satisfy any sweet tooth!

To make these extra elegant, pipe the filling with a star nozzle. And you could sprinkle them with chocolate shavings or colored sugar.

Also, you can make them any time of the year with supermarket berries. But they’ll be even better with ripe summer fruit.

29. Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

These little bites are both incredibly rich and incredibly easy to make.

All you need are 3 ingredients and a little patience. But if you buy pitted dates, the prep will go even faster!

And while you can serve these cold, they’re even better fresh out of the oven. Just make plenty because they’ll disappear quickly!

30. Cold Spinach Dip

On a hot summer day, you might not want classic baked spinach dip. So try this refreshing cold dip instead!

The creamy base gets a little freshness from the spinach. And the garlic powder and other seasonings pep it up.

So open up a bag of potato chips or grab some carrot sticks and dig in.

Plus, it’s healthy because you’re eating your greens, right?

31. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Roll-ups

The punchy flavors of fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes make these cream cheese pinwheels pop! And you could substitute feta or goat cheese for the parmesan if you want some extra zing.

These easy cold appetizers are perfect for a summer picnic! Or leave the tortillas whole for a filling lunch.

You could also add a drizzle of balsamic glaze before you roll up the tortillas. It’ll add a little sweetness to the pinwheels.

32. Mini Cheese and Caramelized Onion Fig Toasts

Classic flavors and classic elegance? Check! These are some of the best cold appetizers for a formal party.

Figs, cheese, and caramelized onions are a sumptuous combination of sweet and savory. And an extra drizzle of honey on top makes them extra special.

Just make sure you cook your onions slowly on low heat so they don’t burn. They’re worth the wait!

32 Easy Cold Appetizer Recipes for Summer Parties

Directions


  1. Pick your favorite cold appetizer from this list.

  2. Gather your ingredients.

  3. Have fun in the kitchen.

  4. Impress your family and friends!

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