24 Easy Outdoor Appetizers
Perfect for entertaining outside, this finger food collection features meats served straight off the grill and cool dips with no-fuss presentations.
Look for beautiful and tasty heirloom tomatoes in a rainbow of colors at your local farmers' market, and keep them at room temperature until you're ready to slice and serve.
Recipe: Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Indulgent, fresh, and easy as pie, this summer version of baked Brie won raves in the Southern Living Test Kitchen. Can't find Brie packed in a wooden box? Simply bake the cheese in a small pie plate or baking dish.
Recipe: Baked Brie with Jezebel Peaches
Ready in just 15 minutes, this quick appetizer is perfect for last-minute company. When making the sauce in Step 2, whisk in the butter 1 Tbsp. at a time--the key technique in making the sauce velvety.
Recipe: Buttery Garlic Shrimp
Here's a cute idea: Hollow out baby pattypan squash and fill with goat pimiento cheese. Can't find pattypans? Pipe the filling on thinly sliced squash rounds, or stuff it into squash blossoms.
Recipe: Pimiento-Stuffed Summer Squash
For a simple yet impressive starter, arrange a colorful antipasto platter. Roll a log of goat cheese in fresh chopped parsley and set out sliced salami, pickled okra, kalamata olives, and roasted red bell peppers. Serve with assorted crackers and breadsticks. Prepare the platter in advance and pop it out of the fridge at party time.
- Recipe: Simple Antipasto Platter
Make appetizer portions of your favorite pork sandwich and top with coleslaw Memphis-style. Like any good barbecue, they’re sure to please a crowd.
- Recipe: Easy Barbecue Sliders
This is our new go-to summer dip. Use any legume you like.
Recipe: Smoky Field Pea Hummus
Use a mixture of baby tomatoes such as 'Sweet 100,' 'Yellow Pear,' or 'Sun Gold'—all are available at farmers' markets in summer months. This dish uses 3 pints of tomatoes, but feel free to halve the recipe.
Recipe: Pickled Tiny Tomatoes
Readers rave about how easy it is to prepare this tasty three-ingredient dip. Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce add a kick to the ranch and sour cream mixture. Serve with potato chips and assorted raw veggies.
- Recipe: Smoky Ranch Dip
Cantaloupe or honeydew adds refreshing fruity flavor to these meat-and-cheese skewers that are perfect for a hot day. They’re easy to make in advance and pull out of the fridge right before party time.
Wasabi peas add color and spice to this simple and quick five-ingredient mix. The ingredients also hold up well in the heat if you want to serve outdoors.
- Recipe: Easy Party Snack Mix
Savory, sweet, and tangy, this bright dip is great for dunking anything from breadsticks to crudités. We especially love it with an assortment of grilled peppers and zucchini.
Recipe: Orange-Basil Yogurt Dip
A refreshing vinegar mixture pickles shrimp and onions in a zesty coating. Prepare this appetizer in advance, and simply pour in a festive dish to serve.
- Recipe: Shrimp-in-a-Pickle
Full of Southern flair, these are sure to rival even the best hot wings. Thyme, oregano, cumin, and paprika coat these chicken pieces with flavor bettered only by dipping in a tangy White Barbecue Sauce.
This creamy dip is sure to garner recipe requests at your next party. Readers tell us they love the pairing of pungent blue cheese and shrimp. Even those who don’t like blue cheese should try dipping crackers or veggies in this dip.
- Recipe: Shrimp-and-Blue Cheese Spread
Make this spicy Mexican dip your go-to dip for tailgate parties. Just layer cream cheese, black bean dip and shredded cheese and top with your choice of onions, olives, and tomatoes.
Recipe: Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip
Find out for yourself why this salty spread earned especially rave reviews in our Test Kitchen. Htipiti makes a great starter and pairs beautifully with the roasted lamb. Serve with crostini or pita chips, and garnish with dried crushed red pepper and olive oil. You can also process the mixture longer for a sauce-like consistency.
- Recipe: Feta Spread (Htipiti)
This zesty dip proves you can stay on your diet and still enjoy the party. Blend seven ingredients in a food processor (or blender), chill for one hour, and you’ve got a cool creamy party dip. Serve with zucchini and squash slices.
- Recipe: Fiesta Dip
These zesty marinated shrimp taste perfect with a light char off the grill. Serve on small skewers for an easy-to-eat presentation.
Recipe: Carolina Grilled Shrimp
These festive party pick-ups get a quick start with refrigerated cheese tortellini. If you’re short on time, simply toss the ingredients together in a pretty bowl and set out some forks.
Recipe: Mustard-Dill Tortellini Salad Skewers
The ultimate finger food, spareribs can serve equally well as an appetizer as a main dish. Honey and soy sauce coat these ribs to give them upscale, Asian flavor.
- Recipe: Honey-Soy Appetizer Ribs