Appetizers are a great way to kick off your summer dinner party with a bang!
They’re small and quick to eat, helping chase away growling tummies until the main course arrives without spoiling anyone’s appetite!
So, it makes sense that you will want to find the best summer appetizer to serve this season – but what dish should you pick?
Check out our below favorite appetizers that work great for summer parties and barbecues.
Let’s get this easy option out of the way first – the classic prawn cocktail!
Prawn cocktails are probably one of the most popular appetizers out there. They’re delicious and refreshing, and can be found served at dinner parties all year round.
With crispy lettuce and creamy avocado, it just makes sense to go with this classic appetizer this summer!
While Caprese salad is another classic appetizer to serve during the summer, why not shake things up with this recipe for caprese skewers?
It includes all the traditional ingredients – cherry tomatoes, rich mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and more – all combined on a single skewer. They’re easy to eat and feature all the classic flavors of summer in one easy appetizer.
You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love stuffed mushrooms, and this makes them a great appetizer to serve up at this summer’s dinner party.
This recipe here will help you make the perfect batch of buttery stuffed mushrooms, filled to the brim with crunchy walnuts and herbs. Topped with just a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, you can’t go wrong with this appetizer this summer!
Want to kick off your dinner party with a bang?
Then this recipe for jalapeno poppers is definitely one for you to try out! They’re hot and spicy, yet rich and crispy thanks to the additional ingredients of bacon bits and cream cheese filling. Give them a try!
Similar to our above recipe for Caprese skewers, this recipe for tomato kebabs brings the heat to your summer dinner party.
Grilled to perfection, this appetizer is filled with classic summer ingredients including red onion, anoovies, gnocchi, cherry tomatoes – all topped off with a refreshing taste of lemon.
Zesty and refreshing, this is definitely a great appetizer to serve during the summer.
6. Corn Salad
A great way to pack in all the classic flavors of summer into one appetizer is to try out a classic corn salad.
Corn salad is sweet yet refreshing thanks to ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, crispy cucumber, herbs and sharp red onions – and of course, corn kernels!
This recipe adds additional flavor with the additions of honey and light feta cheese, making it an appetizer that is bursting with summer goodness.
Most potato-based appetizers are better off being served during colder weather but this recipe for duchess potatoes can help you make a light, creamy appetizer that is suitable for those sunny summer days.
Not only are they delicious, but they look amazing too when piped!
8. Corn Poppers
Not everyone can handle the spice of jalapeno poppers so if you are looking for a calmer alternative, then this recipe for corn poppers is a great choice!
These corn poppers are best served hot when the mozzarella and cream cheese combination is still gooey.
There’s still a kick thanks to the addition of chili powder and green onions, so they make for a great alternative to jalapeno poppers that still provide a little spice.
This recipe can help you make a small appetizer that packs a lot of flavor into a single bite. With a range of amazing ingredients such as zucchini, spinach, and artichoke, you can make a healthy appetizer that is refreshing and delicious.
10. Deviled Eggs
Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that deviled eggs are one of the most widely served appetizers in the United States.
With strong flavors including mustard and spicy paprika, they are definitely a great way to start your dinner party – so why not give them a try?
Follow the easy recipe above to make your own classic deviled eggs this summer!
11. Celery Boats
Celery boats just scream classic (but weird) 80s, but they’re actually super refreshing and nutritious. Plus, they’re really easy to make!
This recipe will help you make the perfect celery boats with flavors of shrimp, cream cheese, and peppers.
The addition of shrimp helps capture the flavors of the season while the celery and cream cheese help make this appetizer refreshing and light.
12. Pineapple Salsa
Fancy something sweet to serve as your summer appetizer? Then one dish you need to try is pineapple salsa!
Pineapple salsa is the perfect balance between spicy and sweet, as it’s packed with a range of different summer ingredients! Not only is there sweet, fresh pineapple but there’s also vibrant red onions, spicy jalapeno, juicy red bell peppers, and more.
Best eaten alongside some tortilla chips, this appetizer is a great start to your summer barbecue or picnic!
13. Fried Calamari
Seafood is a great type of food to serve during the summer, so why not try serving your own homemade fried calamari?
Calamari is a unique type of seafood to serve but it’s perfect for summer meals. Served in a golden crust with flavors of zesty lemon and plenty of herbs, fried calamari is definitely an appetizer to serve to impress your guests!
14. Shrimp Bites
The theme of seafood appetizers continues with this entry – shrimp bites!
Shrimp bites are super juicy and tender, making them a great appetizer to serve during warm weather. However, our favorite way to serve this appetizer is on a bed of creamy avocado and crisp cucumber slices.
This way, you bring a whole new level of refreshing flavor to your recipe without drowning out the shrimp.
15. Melon Skewers
Melon is the ultimate summer snack as it’s sweet and refreshing – so why not try to incorporate it into your summer dinner party appetizer?
This recipe for melon skewers does just that along with additional flavors of salty prosciutto and creamy mozzarella. Tangy, unique but perfectly suited for summer, this appetizer is a vibrant addition to any meal.
Although you may be apprehensive about combining melon with the likes of meat and cheese, the sweetness pairs perfectly well with these ingredients, making them a fun appetizer to serve to your guests.
16. Greek Salad
Salads are a safe appetizer to serve up at any dinner party, but the best one to serve during the summer season is this recipe for a classic Greek salad.
Greek salad combines the best of Mediterranean cuisine with refreshing cherry tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and feta cheese. You can even add olives and peppers to really boost the flavor of this amazing salad.
Bright and refreshing, Greek salad is definitely a great appetizer to serve up this summer – plus it takes no time at all to make!
You can’t go wrong with garlic bread and the best way to serve this classic side as an appetizer is to transform it into knots instead.
Garlic knots are smaller bites of garlic bread that help fill your belly without ruining your appetite – so it just makes sense to serve them as an appetizer!
So, just follow this easy recipe to make the perfect garlic knots!
Another classic appetizer that you can’t go wrong with is tortilla chips and salsa!
Salsa is super popular during summer thanks to its bright yet spicy flavor, and you can make your own version from the comfort of your own home. This recipe here is a super simple way to make your own salsa this summer, so give it a try!
19. Hush Puppies
Hush puppies are a classic side dish from the southern States, and are best known for their crispy outside that contrasts with the softness of the inside batter.
Savory and slightly spicy, hush puppies are delicious and tender – making them a great appetizer to any meal.
Serve them alongside a tartar sauce to fully embrace the flavors of the southern States this summer!
Bruschetta originated in Italy and is basically grilled bread topped with seasonings of salt, oil and garlic. Variations of this classic appetizer even add additional flavor through ingredients such as tomatoes, meat, and cheese.
For the perfect summer bruschetta recipe, check out this one right here! It adds all the classic flavors of summer to the bruschetta including fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic, and wine vinegar.
For those who prefer something meatier for their dinner appetizers, then this recipe for classic bacon and chicken bites is a great one to try out!
This appetizer is more than just chicken wrapped in bacon – it’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty, married together with seasonings that help make it delicious with each bite.
This makes it a great appetizer to serve at a barbecue while waiting for the mains to be served – so give them a try!
22. Spring Rolls
If you are planning on serving a meal inspired by eastern Asian food, then a great summer appetizer to serve up is some classic spring rolls.
Spring rolls are crispy yet delicious appetizers filled with nutritious ingredients. You can add a range of ingredients including peppers, carrots, cabbage, and beansprouts – so adjust the filling to suit you and your guests’ tastes.
Serve alongside a tangy dipping sauce to truly appreciate this delicious appetizer this summer.
Corn will always be a classic ingredient served up during the summer in all shapes and forms – but one of the best ways you can use it in your meal is to serve it as an appetizer in the form of esquites.
Esquites is a kind of Mexican street food that strips a cob of corn from its kernels and serves it up in a salad.
Combined with zesty lime, creamy cotija cheese and classic garlic, this type of corn salad is one filled with flavor and culture which makes it the perfect summer appetizer.
24. Buffalo Wings
Another classic barbecue appetizer to serve this summer are buffalo wings.
Crispy and drenched in a delicious buffalo sauce, buffalo wings are a staple at any summer barbecue so why not serve them up as the appetizers before the main course?
You can even follow this recipe to make a refreshing blue cheese dip that perfectly complements the spicy kick and crispness of the buffalo wings.
25. Summer Hummus
Hummus and pita bread is a traditional appetizer to serve during any dinner party but if you want to serve the best hummus possible for summer, then this recipe has got your back!
It’s refreshing and tangy thanks to the additions of lemon juice and the loaded toppings of cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, and spices of paprika or sumac.
You can also add mint into the mixed herbs to really make this summer hummus truly eye opening and exciting!
So, if you want to try a new kind of hummus this summer, this one should definitely be at the top of your list!
26. Eggplant Fries
Although fries are traditionally seen as a side dish rather than an appetizer, this recipe for eggplant fries will leave you with a delicious batch of Mediterranean style fries that work as a great appetizer.
Battered and fried to perfection, eggplant fries are a delicious, tender alternative to their potato cousins and when served with a classic Greek Tzatziki sauce, they can be enjoyed as the perfect dipping appetizer before a Mediterranean meal!
27. Crab Cakes
Seafood makes a triumphant return with this entry – crab cakes!
Crab cakes are one of the easiest ways to enjoy seafood this summer and this crispy variation of fishcakes is a fast way to rustle up a tasty appetizer in no time at all.
Crab cakes are beloved for their crisp outer shell and their tender insides, making them delicious with each bite.
So, serve these crab cakes this summer alongside a tangy tartar sauce or zesty lemon aioli to truly complement the flavors of this appetizer.
If you want to be really fancy, then oysters are definitely an adventurous appetizer to try out this summer.
Although you may be apprehensive about trying this type of seafood out, this recipe here is super easy to follow to help you achieve the perfect oyster appetizer.
By enhancing the flavors with lemon, you can create the perfect combination of flavors in this oyster appetizer to match the season.
29. Lime Soup
Although soups are best enjoyed as a winter appetizer, this variation perfectly encapsulates all the classic cool flavors of summer. So, by following this recipe for a delicious lime soup, you can make the ideal soup appetizer to serve this summer.
Super light and refreshing, lime soup can be enjoyed as a main or in smaller portions as an appetizer.
With plenty of delicious ingredients including lime, onions, thyme, cilantro, peppers and more, lime soup is definitely the go-to soup for summer dinner parties.
Another great Mediterranean appetizer to serve this summer is caponata.
Caponata is a type of salad that is loaded with different flavors and textures, ranging from olives, celery, capers, tomatoes, and eggplant.
It can also be enjoyed as a side dish along with some chicken or fish, but a small portion also serves as a great appetizer. It’s creamy and the perfect balance of sour, sweet, and savory – so impress your guests with this appetizer!
31. Mango Salsa
If you want to try a really refreshing salsa this summer, then this recipe for a mango salsa is definitely one you should try out!
It’s super sweet and refreshing, making it a great alternative to the traditional spicy salsa that can be too overpowering for some delicate taste buds.
32. Caprese Tomatoes
Another variant on the classic Caprese salad are caprese tomatoes. They’re more snack-sized – making them into the perfect appetizer – yet still contain all the delicious flavors that come with Caprese salad.
So, follow this easy recipe to turn your tomatoes into the ideal appetizer this summer!
33. Beach Bread
Finally, the last appetizer on our list is this recipe for beach bread.
Beach bread is a cheesy version of garlic bread with the dial turned up to an eleven.
With additional tomatoes and a smooth blue cheese dressing, this appetizer is the ultimate summer snack for many people – so serve it up during your summer barbecue or picnic!
Frequently Asked Questions
Summer is the ideal time to enjoy cold foods and snacks, and everyone is sure to be thirsty after a long day in the sun. As a result, most summer appetizers make use of tropical fruits and veggies, some served hot and some served cold.
Seafood such as prawns and oysters also work as great appetizers because they complement popular summer flavors – such as citrus fruits and lemon – super well. So, aim for something refreshing!
Appetizers come in all shapes and sizes and each one is so different, that they are all great to serve during summer dinner parties.
Some people like to split different types of appetizers into different sources – such as hors d’oeuvres followed by a cocktail, then a small salad and then chips and dips.
Soups and chowders are also sometimes served as an appetizer, but these hot foods are better suited for winter weather than summer.
It all depends on what kind of party you are throwing – something like a finger buffet can be made up of lots of different appetizers for your guests to help themselves to.
However, if you plan on having a sit down meal, then appetizers usually are used to show that a main course will soon be served.
Appetizers also work great at other summer functions like barbecues and picnics.So, don’t feel that you can only serve them at a fancy dinner party!