49 Cold Appetizers You Can Make Ahead of Time

Everyone’s hosted a watch party or get-together at some point where they’ve spent the entire party shuffling food in and out of the oven, barely seeing the big game—or catching up with others. Even if you’re just hosting your immediate family or planning a virtual get-together, you want to be there for the fun, right? When you want minimal work to do on the day of, dishes that don’t need to be kept warm are the MVP. Here are 49 cold appetizers to whip up whenever you’re entertaining so you actually have time to enjoy the party.

But first, a word to the wise: The FDA says not to leave perishable foods out at room temperature for more than two hours unless you’re keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. So, keep that in mind when you’re serving apps like deli sandwiches, cheese boards and deviled eggs. Room-temperature foods like crackers and nuts, on the other hand, can stay out longer.

RELATED The 21 Best Party Appetizers for Stressed-Out Hosts

1. Homemade Cheese Crackers

It only takes seven ingredients and 35 minutes to blow your favorite store-bought brand out of the water.

2. Deviled Eggs 3 Ways

Take your pick of roasted garlic, salty capers and spicy sriracha.

3. Mango Guacamole

It’s as easy as mashing avocados and combining them with mango, lime juice and herbs.

4. Roasted Mixed Nuts

You can never have too many 15-minute appetizers up your sleeve.

5. Veggie Sushi

Aka the most foolproof way to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

6. Prosciutto And Fig Salad Board

The beauty of this dish is that all the toppings are easy to access instead of trapped at the bottom of a big bowl.

7. Roasted Edamame

A little flaky salt and a few minutes in the oven go a long way.

8. Beet Hummus

Plate this vibrant appetizer with sliced vegetables, crackers or pita chips.

9. Sweet Potato Crostini

Yup, we’ll be serving these autumn beauties for every Thanksgiving until further notice.

10. Layered Smoked Salmon Dip With Mini Bagel Chips

Cream cheese, horseradish, capers, red onion and lox are *always* invited to brunch.

11. Easy Homemade Hummus With Za’atar Pita Chips

Take it from us: You’ll want to make two (or three) batches from the start.

12. Grilled Mango Salsa

It’s tortilla chips’ best friend, but also tastes delicious on grilled fish.

13. Crispy Mushrooms

These creminis are happy to keep you company while you binge-watch Bridgerton.

14. Bacon, Fig And Ricotta Tartines

Easy to make, even easier to devour. The base is thick store-bought bread, so you won’t need to fuss around with any dough.

15. 15-minute Gazpacho With Cucumber, Red Pepper And Basil

This dish was born to impress at an alfresco summer dinner party.

16. Serena Wolf’s Boss Bean Dip

Chalk the protein content up to Greek yogurt and refried beans.

17. Dairy-free Butternut Squash ‘fondue’

Can you believe this crowd-pleaser is vegan? Bless you, coconut milk.

18. Rainbow Collard Wraps With Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

Host hack: Assemble these up to two days in advance and keep them in the fridge until your guests arrive.

19. Brussels Sprout Sliders

Just roast the sprouts until tender and stuff them with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and tomato.

20. Cauliflower ‘potato’ Salad

This recipe subs spuds with our favorite cruciferous veggie, plus uses Greek yogurt and sour cream instead of mayonnaise.

21. Avocado Tahini Dip

Make it up to three hours ahead of the party. (P.S., here are a few tips to keep it from browning.)

22. Vegetarian Sushi Cups

No sushi mats or rolling required, thanks to the handy-dandy muffin tin.

23. Kale Salad With Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas And Fried Shallots

Because kale Caesar salad is only exciting the first 100 times.

24. Bacon-wrapped Cheese Straws

Three ingredients + 40 minutes = the most addictive appetizer you’ll ever make.

25. Zucchini Chips

Make this three-ingredient recipe a day in advance—it takes about two hours for the zucchini slices to dry out in the oven.

26. Skillet Blueberry Cornbread

Like a glorious blueberry muffin, coffee cake and cornbread hybrid. We’ll take ours with butter, please.

27. Blt Pasta Salad

It’s got all the O.G. ingredients, plus avocado, Dijon mustard and pasta instead of bread.

28. Spring Crudités With Romesco Sauce

The nutty, garlicky red pepper sauce comes together in the food processor in mere minutes.

29. Avocado Deviled Eggs

Mashed avocado and Dijon mustard make for an uber-creamy filling.

30. Rainbow Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

Hello there, summer. We’ve missed you so.

31. The Classiest Cheese Balls In The Universe

Choose your fighter: everything bagel-goat cheese, lemon-dill cheddar or pomegranate-blue cheese.

32. 15-minute Mezze Plate With Toasted Za’atar Pita Bread

If you’re only feeding a few people, this easy snack recipe is a no-brainer. Think artichoke hearts, olives, salami and roasted red peppers.

33. Grilled Cheese Crostini

Slice up a crusty baguette, slather the pieces in olive oil and pop them straight on the grill grate until toasted.

34. Ketogenic Cherry Tomato Tulips

Come on, they’re straight-up gorgeous. (And destined for your Easter spread.)

35. Pull-apart Bread With Caramelized Onions And Goat Cheese

Just like savory monkey bread—only way more sophisticated.

36. Carrot Pigs In A Blanket

Because room-temperature hot dogs are fun for no one.

37. Roasted Veggie Chips

Beets, turnips, parsnips and radishes have never looked so damn appetizing.

38. 20-minute Burrata Salad With Stone Fruit And Asparagus

You’ll only need to turn your stove on to blanch the asparagus and sugar snap peas.

39. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches

We definitely wouldn’t blame you for serving these with a bowl of garlic aioli and a mountain of pepperoncini peppers.

40. Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

Yellow tomatoes are milder and less acidic than red ones, making them the perfect match for ripe summer peaches.

41. Fruicuterie Board

We love prosciutto and bacon jam, too. But keeping the cheese board light and refreshing ensures your guests won’t lose their appetites too soon.

42. Sweet Potato Hummus

The mellow fall spud pairs beautifully with nutty tahini.

43. 7-layer Dip

You could go the extra mile by making your own beans, guac and salsa…or you can save yourself a ton of time and lean on store-bought. It’ll be our little secret.

44. Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs

They only take 40 minutes to make and are guaranteed to win over every guest at the barbecue.

45. Julia Turshen’s Skillet Cornbread With Cheddar And Scallions

Make sure the skillet is piping hot when you dump the batter in to ensure golden-brown, crusty edges.

46. Ultimate Cheese Plate With Roasted Grapes

Roasted grapes have a more concentrated sweetness and softer texture. They also just so happen to look super sophisticated.

47. Crispy Roasted Artichokes

They’re golden-brown, irresistibly crunchy and begging to be dunked in roasted garlic-lemon aioli.

48. Scallion And Chive Flatbread

If you haven’t gotten in on the garden focaccia trend yet, now’s your chance. (We sprung for edible flowers.)

49. Easy Homemade Potato Chips

When in doubt, there’s always old reliable. Just know that store-bought chips don’t stand a chance against these baked russets sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...