42 Quick And Easy Appetizers Built For Hassle-Free Hosting

These delicious recipes will get any party started.

Spinach-Artichoke Dips
Photo: Caitlin Bensel

Throwing a party shouldn't be stressful. Start your easiest party ever with quick recipes for easy dips, simple spreads, and pick-up bites that can be made ahead or assembled in minutes. This selection of quick and easy appetizers will have you out of the kitchen in no time, enjoying the fun with your friends and family. Most of these recipes come together in under 30 minutes (some of them in under 15).

Hosting a tailgate or a watch party? Country Ham & Biscuits are a delicious way to start the party, and guests can munch throughout the game on easy appetizers like Sheet Pan Nachos and Fire Crackers. An outdoor picnic calls for fresh appetizers showcasing garden produce; whip up a batch of Black-Eyed Pea Hummus and serve with fresh veggies, or choose Black Bean and Corn Salsa to use what's in your pantry. If you need a recipe that you can make ahead or just assemble minutes before your guests arrive, check out this medley of quick and easy appetizers. The next time you're entertaining in a pinch, just turn to these recipes.

01 of 42

Ham Delights

Ham Delights
Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Simple, yet irresistible. With layers of ham and Gouda inside and a mustard and maple syrup glaze atop, there's a reason this is the most searched appetizer in the South.

02 of 42

Bulldog Caviar

Bulldog Caviar
Jennifer Causey, Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower, Food Stylist: Torie Cox

While this recipe is ready in under 15 minutes, we suggest making it the night before or morning of hosting so all the flavors can mingle together.

03 of 42

Charred Vegetable Guacamole

Southern Living Charred-Vegetable Guacamole in a bowl to serve with tortilla chips

Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist: Shell Royster

This isn't your average guacamole. While it might require a few steps more than the classic version, it's still ready in less than 30 minutes and the flavors are sure to impress your guests.

04 of 42

Sheet Pan Nachos

Sheet Pan Nachos
Greg DuPree

If you're searching for a substantial appetizer that'll satisfy a crowd, look no further than simple Sheet Pan Nachos. You can dress them up with chorizo and refried beans, or you can stick to the basics.

05 of 42

Party Cheese Ball

party cheese ball

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This retro party appetizer is sure to get any party started. Best of all, you don't even have to turn on the oven and it can be made up to four days in advance.

06 of 42

Shrimp with Honey-Garlic Sauce

Buttery Garlic Shrimp
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

This shrimp recipe is ready in 15 minutes and will take you seamlessly from happy hour to the dinner table. For an easy appetizer, serve the shrimp with toothpicks and the honey-garlic sauce for dipping.

07 of 42

Cowboy Candy

Southern Living Cowboy Candy in a jar and on top of cream cheese with crackers to serve

Fred Hardy, Food Stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke

Make these sweet and spicy candied jalapeños ahead of time to have on hand for last-minute hosting. Just pile a spoonful atop a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers for the easiest dish ever.

08 of 42

Herbed-Goat Cheese Spread

Herbed-Goat Cheese Spread
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

With just four ingredients and five minutes, you'll have our easiest ever appetizer ready to go. Simply stir together all the ingredients in a bowl and garnish to your liking. Serve with slices of baguette, crostinis, crackers, or crunchy vegetables like carrots and radishes.

09 of 42

Warm Cheese and Spicy Pecan Dip

Warm Cheese-and-Spicy Pecan Dip
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

A good dip is the key to happy guests and hosts alike. This one combines two of our favorite things—warm cheese and spiced pecans—into one epic appetizer. An added bonus: It only requires 5 minutes of active time.

10 of 42

Cornmeal Popovers

Cornmeal Popovers
Laurey W. Glenn

Didn't think you could pull off homemade bread in time for the party? Think again: These popovers come together in just 30 minutes.

11 of 42

Fire Crackers

Fire Crackers

The South's most beloved appetizer is one of its simplest—all it takes is a few seasonings and a package of saltine crackers. Baking optional.

12 of 42

Baked Goat Cheese Spread with Pepper Jelly

Baked Goat Cheese Spread with Pepper Jelly
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

We've yet to find a cheese and preserve combination that wasn't a crowdpleaser. As if this dip wasn't already a breeze to pull together, you can prep it day before baking.

13 of 42

Deviled Crab Melts

Deviled Crab Melts
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Topped with melted cheese, fresh tomato slices, and lightly spiced crab, these crostinis are the most elegant, yet easy way to kick off any party.

14 of 42

Basic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Mama always said not to mess with the classics. These flavorful eggs have been on our appetizer spreads for as long as we can remember.

15 of 42

Cheddar Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws

Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Keep a batch of this cheesy dough on hand at all times and bake just before your guests arrive.

16 of 42

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Spinach-Artichoke Dips
Caitlin Bensel

Has the party really started until there's a bowl of Spinach-Artichoke Dip on the table? No, we didn't think so. This extra cheesy and creamy recipe is packed with flavor thanks to three types of cheese, spinach, and artichoke hearts. Serve with pita and veggies.

17 of 42

Ranch Snacker Crackers

Southern Living Ranch Snacker Crackers on pan after baking

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Your guests will be munching on these addictive, ranch-seasoned oyster crackers all night long.

18 of 42

Pimiento Cheese

Basic Pimiento Cheese
Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Pimiento Cheese has always been there for us, and when you're entertaining, store-bought is simply not an option. Once you make this Southern classic once, you'll be whipping it up every week.

19 of 42

Baked Brie Bites

Baked Brie Bites
Laurey W. Glenn

There are a few appetizers that you really can't beat, and these Baked Brie Bites are one of them. Your guests would never guess how easy they really are to make.

20 of 42

Rotel Sausage Dip

Rotel Dip
Caitlin Bensel

This six-ingredient appetizer comes together in your slow cooker. Plus, who can resist a big bowl of melty cheese?

21 of 42

Bacon-Pimiento Guacamole

Nashville Hot Chicken Dip
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Give your guac a Southern spin with the addition of bacon and pimientos. It'll become your new signature appetizer.

22 of 42

Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
Hector Manuel Sanchez

You may be used to classic chickpea hummus, but any Southern crowd will rave over this black-eyed pea version.

23 of 42

Ham Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits with Ham
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Leftover ham has never looked so good. These simple Ham Biscuits take well to big-batch preparation.

24 of 42

Mini Tomato Sandwiches With Bacon Mayonnaise

Mini Tomato Sandwiches With Bacon Mayonnaise
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

We took the South's most iconic sandwich, a BLT, and turned it into this mini stacked appetizer version. Bonus: You can prepare these sandwiches an hour before your gathering and chill them in the refrigerator until serving.

25 of 42

French Style Radishes

radishes with butter and salt

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Keep it simple and fresh with this colorful, three ingredient dish. The bite-size appetizer is the perfect balance of crunchy, creamy, and salty.

26 of 42

Boursin And Tomato Dip

2-ingredient dip
I promise my dish isn't dirty, it's just tomato juice splatter.

Cameron Beall

All you need is 30 minutes, a container of cherry tomatoes, and block of Boursin cheese and you'll have everyones new favorite dish on the table.

27 of 42

Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar
Southern Living

When it comes to this classic Southern app, there's no cooking required. Talk about the ultimate summertime dish.

28 of 42

Bacon Bow Tie Crackers

Bacon Bow Tie Crackers
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Tami Hardeman

The key to a great appetizer is simplicity; with only two ingredients—bacon and butter crackers—this recipe has snacking down to a science.

29 of 42

Pizza Pepper Poppers

pizza pepper poppers
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christina Daley

Say "Pizza Pepper Poppers" three times fast. By the time you're through, the whole plate will be picked clean.

30 of 42

Smoky Snack Mix

Smoky Snack Mix
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

A homemade snack mix instantly elevates any party spread, and this smoky version may just be our favorite ever.

31 of 42

Homemade Onion Dip

Homemade Onion Dip
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Put away the flavor packets: This homemade onion dip is just as quick, and it'll be your new go-to.

32 of 42

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

Southern Living Cream Cheese Sausage Balls in a bowl to serve

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Sausage balls are easily enjoyed any time of day, making them the ideal appetizer to have on hand. Make a batch (or two) and stash them in the freezer for any last minute entertaining needs.

33 of 42

Baked Brie With Pomegranate And Pistachios

Baked brie with pomegranate and pistachios on a white plate

Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Whether it's cream cheese and pepper jelly or baked brie and preserves, this is a pairing that will never lead you astray.

34 of 42

Mini Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

Mini Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Stephen DeVries

Dress up flour tortillas by baking them in a muffin tin to create cute-as-can-be mini enchilada cups.

35 of 42

Okra In A Blanket

Okra in a Blanket on decorated plate
James Ransom, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

It doesn't get any easier than this classic charcuterie board combination and the honey-dijon dipping sauce is not to be missed.

36 of 42

Buttery Toasted Pecans

Buttery Toasted Pecans
Iain Bagwell

No Southern gathering is complete without a bowl of toasted nuts on the table, and these fan-favorite pecans only call for four ingredients.

37 of 42

Stuffed Endive with Herbed Goat Cheese

Stuffed Endive with Herbed Goat Cheese
Laurey W. Glenn

Spoon a mixture of goat cheese and cream cheese into little endive "cups" and your appetizer is as good as done.

38 of 42

Beer-Cheese Fondue

Creamy Feta Phyllo Bites
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

From holiday gatherings to tailgate parties, this ready in 15 minutes fondue will be a crowd pleaser. The best part is there is no shortage of dipping options.

39 of 42

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Southern Living Cucumber Tea Sandwiches on a serving platter with a small plate of sandwiches beside

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

There's a reason tea sandwiches have graced the table at Southern gatherings for countless years. Between slices of soft bread is layers of crunchy cucumbers, herbs, and cream cheese.

40 of 42

Charcuterie Board Snack Mix

Southern Living Charcuterie-Board Snack Mix in a bowl to serve

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christina Daley; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Skip fussing over having the perfect charcuterie board and opt for this thow-together snack mix version.

41 of 42

Black Bean And Corn Salsa

Back Bean Corn Salsa
Antonis Achilleos

Ditch the jarred stuff and go a more creative route with this refreshing Black Bean and Corn Salsa.

42 of 42

Caesar Salad Bites

Caesar Salad Bites
Photo: Jennifer Davick/Prop Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell/Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

For a lighter option, these lettuce cup caesar salad bites will hit the spot.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles