20+ Three-Step Summer Appetizer Recipes

These delicious dips, salads and finger foods are perfect for summer get-togethers. In only three steps or less, you and your party can enjoy an appetizer packed with seasonal ingredients like avocado, cucumber, eggplant and peppers. Recipes like our Crispy Eggplant Parmesan Fries and Chunky Black Bean Salsa with Corn & Bell Pepper embrace the fresh flavors of summer’s best produce.

Avocado Hummus

This vibrant green hummus recipe couldn’t be easier—just toss a few ingredients in the food processor and whir away! Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) and avocado make this healthy dip extra smooth and creamy. Serve with veggie chips, pita chips or crudités.

Crispy Eggplant Parmesan Fries

The cheesy flavor and crispy crust on these eggplant “fries” is just like fried eggplant Parmesan, but with a fraction of the oil. They’re the perfect appetizer for Italian night! Dip these crispy fries into a big hot bowl of your favorite marinara.

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Lemon & Cumin

Don’t skip salting the cucumbers in this quick cucumber salad recipe—just 10 minutes pulls out some of their excess moisture, concentrating the flavor and keeping the salad from being watered down. Serve this smashed cucumber salad at a summer cookout alongside burgers and hot dogs.

Crispy Air-Fryer Pickle Chips

Use your air fryer to make these crispy, salty pickle chips for game day! The air fryer gives you a crispy crust, using much less oil than a traditional fryer. Enjoy these addictive little snacks on their own or with our Southern smoky, creamy dipping sauce.

Chunky Black Bean Salsa with Corn & Bell Pepper

Fred Hardy

This TikTok-trending, veggie-packed salsa gets inspiration from Texas caviar (aka cowboy caviar), a dish created in 1940 to ring in the New Year by Helen Corbitt, who was a chef at Neiman Marcus. Scoop it up with tortilla chips or try it as a topping for grilled meat or fish, or as a filling for a quick quesadilla.

Watermelon with Mint Gremolata

This flavor-boosting combo of mint and lime, inspired by the traditional Italian herb-and-garlic gremolata recipe, livens up juicy watermelon. Put a platter out at your next cookout and watch it disappear in an instant.

Tequila Guacamole

Margarita lovers will go crazy for this twist on classic guacamole. Spiking your guacamole with tequila adds an extra layer of flavor and blends deliciously with the fresh lime juice and jalapeño. This guacamole is for grown-ups only, but you can omit the tequila if you’re serving to kids.

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Think of these zucchini pizza bites as a fun gluten-free alternative to bagel bites. Be sure not to overcook the zucchini or the bites may become soggy. We like the classic pepperoni topping, but feel free to experiment with your own favorites.

Canapés with Peach, Sage & Prosciutto

There are endless ways to change up these canapés–plums and tarragon, cherries and mint, apricots and chervil. Mix 6 ounces of softened goat cheese with 1 tablespoon honey if you can’t find honey chèvre.

3-Ingredient Blue Cheese & Fig Bites

Salty-tangy blue cheese pairs beautifully with sweet fig jam in these easy appetizers, which are perfect for a holiday party. The optional minced chives add a nice pop of color, but these are just as tasty without herbs. Keep the ingredients on hand and you can whip these up for impromptu holiday cocktail parties.

Cucumber Salsa

This fresh, tangy cucumber salsa is perfect for grilled fish or on its own as a simple side salad. Well balanced and easy to make, the flavor mellows and the cucumber softens as this sits, so it can easily be made a day or two ahead of time–or enjoy it right away, fresh and crisp.

Caprese Skewers

Photographer / Jen Causey, Food Stylist / Emily Nabors Hall

We take all the ingredients of a classic caprese salad and layer them onto skewers for a quick appetizer. These tomato-mozzarella-basil skewers are easy to assemble and perfect for a party.

Cheesy Jalapeño Corn Dip

Creamy melted cheese brings sweet corn and spicy jalapeño together with a nice pop of brightness from lime juice and cilantro in this tasty dip inspired by Mexican elote and esquites. This creamy and satisfying dish can be served with tortilla chips and veggies for dipping.

Summer Melon & Cheese Board

Serve this pretty appetizer board for summer parties when watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe are at their juiciest and tastiest. The sweetness of the melon plays wonderfully against the salty cheese and prosciutto, while a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of fresh herbs add bright flavors and colors to the board.

Twarożek (Cottage Cheese Spread) Is the Heart of the Polish Brunch Board

Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Annie Probst

At the heart of the Polish brunch board is a spread called twarożek or gzik, depending on the region of Poland. Traditionally made with farmer’s cheese, this version uses cottage cheese along with crunchy radishes and cucumber and fragrant dill. Serve it with hearty rye bread, raw and pickled vegetables, slices of kielbasa, Polish cheese and mustard or horseradish.

Smoked Salmon & Avocado Toasts

They would have been canapés back in 1979–today they’re trendy avocado toasts. Let your guests creatively customize their nibbles by setting out an array of garnishes for this healthy appetizer.

Cherry Tomato & Strawberry Bruschetta

Leigh Beisch

These topped toasts get a sweet-salty punch from the addition of strawberries and ricotta salata—a firm, saltier version of ricotta cheese. Look for it with other specialty cheeses at the supermarket, or substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino.

Taco Dip with Tomato Wedges

Ted & Chelsea Cavanaugh

Enjoy a fresh tomato in all its ripe glory with this simple creamy dip. A little taco seasoning, lime and cheese adds tons of flavor to protein-packed Greek yogurt for a satisfying snack.

Pea Pods with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

Ana Cadena

Kids don’t think twice about eating their veggies when they’re served alongside a delectable dipping sauce!

Skillet Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

Photography / Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling / Ruth Blackburn

This skillet sun-dried tomato dip is creamy, but also gets a hit of sweetness from roasted bell peppers to complement the sun-dried tomatoes. It’s cooked and served all in the same skillet, cutting down on dishes. Serve it with crackers, toasted bread or fresh-cut veggies.

Loaded Zucchini Bites

Brie Passano

These low-carb zucchini bites have all the toppings of a loaded baked potato, without the potato! Melted cheese, bacon, chives and a dollop of sour cream make these bites perfect for game day or anytime you’re craving comfort food.

Grilled Oysters with Garlic-Herb Butter

If you’ve never cooked oysters on the grill, you’re in for a treat. Grilling oysters whole saves you the trouble of shucking them–they magically pop open when cooked. A simple garlic herb butter adds richness and a bright pop of flavor to this impressive appetizer. To pretty it up use Irish butter, which is extra-golden because Irish cows typically enjoy an all-grass diet.

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

These toasty blistered shishito peppers are nutty and bright thanks to a combination of sesame oil and lime juice. The creamy dipping sauce tames any heat that may creep into these usually mild peppers. This is the perfect healthy appetizer for a small get-together.

Fennel, Radish & Cucumber Salad

This supremely crunchy, quick side salad is best when spring vegetables are sliced as thinly as possible–a great excuse to pull out the mandoline or the slicing disk of your food processor, if you have one.

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