52 Summer Appetizers to Whip Up for Every BBQ and Picnic This Season
BBQ season will be here before you know it. The steaks and burgers are definitely important, but let’s face it: Everyone gets most excited for the starters. Whether you’re playing host or just entertaining your roommates, here are 52 impressive summer appetizers that are a cinch to whip up, from homemade potato chips to mini lobster rolls. Go ahead and bookmark this for every backyard party, picnic or cookout you attend. You can thank us later.
1. Easy Homemade Potato Chips
If you’ve got an hour to spare and four russet potatoes on hand, this snack is within reach. They’ll blow the store-bought kind way out of the water.
2. Deviled Eggs Three Ways
Party appetizers don’t get more iconic than deviled eggs. But we’ve given them a modern makeover with roasted garlic, crispy capers and sriracha.
3. Grilled Watermelon-Feta Skewers
Come summer, watermelon and feta > tomato and mozzarella. Don’t @ us.
4. Mexican Street Corn Dip
Think of this layered masterpiece as a giant elote. The tortilla chips are buried in fresh corn, cotija cheese, homemade queso, sour cream, fresh cilantro and all the lime juice.
5. Mango Guacamole
It turns out that this tropical fruit and buttery avocado have been soulmates for a long time. The mango’s sweetness is just the thing to balance spicy serrano chiles and acidic lime juice, too.
6. Chilled Cucumber Salad
Lettuce? We don’t know her. Try a salad starring cucumber, the most refreshing vegetable around. They’re quick-pickled in rice vinegar with onion, garlic and fresh dill.
7. BLT Pasta Salad
It’s crunchy, creamy and savory, just like the sandwich it was inspired by. Instead of simply using traditional mayonnaise, we spruce up the dressing with Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar.
8. Camarones al Mojo de Ajo
Behold, the quickest, most flavorful shrimp recipe you’ll ever make. Be sure to serve it with sliced baguette for soaking up all the leftover lemon-garlic butter.
9. Mini Lobster Rolls
Few sandwiches scream summer as loudly as a lobster roll. Bonus: Using tiny buns means that every bite has the perfect ratio of claw meat to bread.
12. Caprese Salad with Zucchini
Who else has been counting the minutes until they can hit the farmers market again? Pick the ripest zucchini, the fattest tomatoes and the freshest basil you can find and you’re halfway there.
13. 15-Minute Gazpacho with Cucumber, Red Pepper and Basil
This cold tomato soup is so chic and impressive that no one would believe how little effort it took to make. All you need is a blender or food processor.
14. Chopped Italian Salad Pizza
It’s as simple to put together as a kale Caesar salad—but it’s also a million times more exciting. Picture dressed Bibb lettuce and microgreens on a layer of ricotta, all topped with pepperoncini, mozzarella and more fixings.
15. Coconut Shrimp
Even self-proclaimed seafood haters can get behind this mind-blowingly crunchy appetizer. Each batch of shrimp only takes about four minutes to turn golden brown.
16. Mini Skillet Pizzas with Mushrooms and Roasted Tomatoes
Sure, we could tackle these tiny pies in our trusty cast-iron skillet year-round. But we’ll be popping them on the grill come summer, thank you very much.
18. Mini Peach Tarts with Goat Cheese and Honey
Who knew store-bought frozen puff pastry could do all this? These posh starters have alfresco dinner party written all over them.
20. Keto Guacamole Burger Bites
OK, if everyone has full-sized burgers coming their way, choose another app. But if you’re making fish or chicken as the main, these are sure to scratch your guests’ itch for beef.
21. Grilled Peach, Chicken and Ricotta Pizza
Before you bake the pie in the oven, take the time to grill the peaches and red onion on the barbecue. The char will give them that smoky flavor you crave.
22. Grilled Mango Salsa
Speaking of grilled produce, you’ll never look at jarred salsa the same way again after trying this tropical rendition, featuring charred mangos, tomatoes, red onions, jalapeños and limes.
23. Salami, Artichoke and Ricotta Pasta Salad
This 20-minute gem couldn’t be simpler, but salty salami, punchy artichoke hearts and a zingy balsamic vinaigrette make it beyond flavorful.
24. Brussels Sprout Sliders
The cheeseburgers are shaking in their boots. These skewered sammies are loaded with cherry tomato, prosciutto and pearl mozzarella.
25. Rainbow Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
There’s truly no better way to show off your farmers market haul than this vibrant centerpiece. Think sliced baguette topped with seasoned ricotta and balsamic pesto, finished with fresh tomatoes.
26. Cauliflower ‘Potato’ Salad
Proof that the cruciferous veggie can do just about anything. Not only does this side skimp on the spuds, but it’s dressed in a mix of Greek yogurt, sour cream and Dijon mustard instead of mayonnaise.
28. 20-Minute Burrata Salad with Stone Fruit and Asparagus
Any salad topped with that much cheese is our kind of salad. Even better, it’s practically no cook, minus blanching the asparagus and sugar snap peas.
29. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches
You can throw some deli meat between two slices of bread, or you can spend a few extra minutes rolling them into pinwheels on flour tortillas. The choice is yours.
33. Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce
Portable? Check. Easy to assemble? Check. Can be made two days ahead of serving? You bet. Pass the peanut butter dipping sauce, please.
35. Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
As if gazpacho wasn’t summery enough, this take calls on mild yellow tomatoes, fresh peaches and bell peppers instead of just tomatoes, cucumbers and onion.
36. Grilled Cheese Crostini
You might not think strawberries, balsamic vinegar and Brie belong together, but you’ll change your tune at first bite. The strawberries are macerated in a mix of balsamic, olive oil, sugar and salt before crowning the crostini.
37. Spring Crudités with Romesco Sauce
Trade store-bought ranch dressing for a wow-worthy, robust romesco sauce made with roasted bell peppers, sweet-hot dried peppers, almonds, garlic and breadcrumbs.
38. Avocado Deviled Eggs
Aren’t they adorable? Make these green gems once and you’ll have to whip them up for every future barbecue you ever host.
39. Serena Wolf’s Boss Bean Dip
Hi, 20-minute miracle. Each serving has 13 grams of protein and only 213 calories, so it’s cool if we devour the whole skillet for dinner…right?
40. Sweet-and-Sour Pork Skewers with Pineapple
The more char marks, the better. The grill will mellow the acidity of the pineapple, while also giving the pork a solid outer crust.
41. Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs
Presenting your new go-to potluck dish. Show up with these handhelds (complete with corn, red onion, cotija and cilantro) and prepare to be hounded for the recipe.
42. 15-Minute Cucumber-Avocado Blender Soup
Two summer staples, one bowl. It comes together in minutes with creamy Greek yogurt, lime juice and lots of fresh mint and parsley.
43. Grilled Corn with Spicy Aioli
Sure, corn on the cob is a side…if it’s plain. When it’s topped with four-ingredient sriracha aioli, it deserves your undivided attention.
44. Baked Mac and Cheese Bites
They’re crispy on top, chewy on the inside and oh so cheesy. One batch makes a whopping 48 bites, but we have a feeling you’ll go through them quicker than you think.
46. 15-Minute Buffalo Chicken Sliders
How do they come together in a flash yet look so gourmet, you ask? By starting with the oldest cheat in the book: a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
47. Grilled Peach and Halloumi Salad with Lemon-Pesto Dressing
Place it in the center of the picnic table on a big platter and let the oohs and aahs commence.
48. Roasted Poblano and Corn Guacamole
Roasted summer corn not only adds texture, but it also offers a pop of sweetness to this otherwise zesty dip.
49. Cuban Sliders
Sliders are an easy crowd-pleaser, but they’re even easier if you can make them all in one shot. Just halve a pack of buns, nestle them into a pan, assemble the sliders and bake them to buttery perfection.
50. Smoky Barbecued Corn
With a seasoning blend this flavorful, people will *almost* forget all about the main course. We’re talking lime-chili mayonnaise, smoked paprika and Parmesan cheese.
51. Shrimp Boil Skewers with Corn, Sausage and Potatoes
Two words: Cajun. Butter. Your spice rack has its work cut out for it.
52. Cheater’s Prosciutto Hawaiian Pizza
Let this pie finally convert you to Team Pineapple on Pizza. Grilling the pineapple rings brings out their sweetness, making them just the match for salty prosciutto.