23 Best Summer Appetizers for Any Event

23 Best Summer Appetizers for Any Event

One of the best ways to celebrate the arrival of warm weather, longer days, and vacation time is with food, and our best summer appetizer recipes are a great place to start. From open-faced sandwiches to No-Knead Tomato Focaccia, these apps are easy to make, full of fresh flavor, and are perfect for open-air dining. 

When gathering ingredients for these recipes, take a peek at your local farmers’ market to pick up seasonal produce. You’ll probably find bright green zucchini, plump tomatoes, sweet and firm peaches, berries galore, and big ears of corn on the cob. Make good use of all those in-season fruits and vegetables and make these bright, tasty summertime appetizers.

Corn, Feta, and Pistachio Tartine

Dana Gallagher

This bright summer appetizer combines an assortment of flavors and textures; it feels at once simple and complex. Charred corn sits next to chopped pistachios, fresh mint, and crumbled feta on Italian ciabatta.

Roasted Tomatoes and Cheese With Thyme

William Abranowicz

An easy 10-minute prep promises one of our best summer appetizers of the season. Simply combine small tomatoes with thyme, olive oil, salt, and cheese, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Top with more cheese, bake for another five, and watch how fast it disappears.

Sweet Corn and Fennel Salad

Nico Schinco

For a crunchy appetizer that promises a fresh bite, whip up this simple fennel, corn, and ricotta salata salad. A dressing of olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice adds a zing of bright flavor.

Zucchini, Avocado, and Jalapeño Tartine

Dana Gallagher

It’s easy being green with this bevy of flavorful toppings—crisp zucchini, creamy avocado, spicy jalapeño, and fresh cilantro. It’s the perfect starter to show off seasonal produce.

Hearts of Palm Dip

Ren Fuller

This vegan dip gets all of its creaminess from canned hearts of palm, which are pulsed in a food processor along with chopped chives, cilantro leaves, the juice and zest of a lime, and extra-virgin olive oil.

Citrus and Green Olives With Goat Cheese

Lennart Weibull

Serve this rich platter of green olives, mixed oranges and tangerines, goat cheese, and rustic Italian bread to kick off an extra-special dinner al fresco. Mix the cheese with good-quality olive oil for tangy, fruity spread.

Blistered Shishito-Pepper Salad with Chive Vinaigrette

Lennart Weibull

Shishito peppers, which are mild in heat, become super crispy when grilled or sautéed. Here, we’ve dry-fried them in a hot cast iron pan to achieve a blistered exterior. They’re then layered with bite-sized pieces of melon, cucumbers, and small tomatoes, plus fresh mint and a zesty lime dressing.

Spanish Gazpacho

Dana Gallagher

No matter when or how you serve it, tomato and bell pepper gazpacho is one of the best no-cook summer dishes. This chilled soup recipe makes about five cups, so you can dish out small individual servings for a crowd.

Boozy Melon 3 Ways

Bryan Gardner

Get the party started with this spirited fruit appetizer for summer. We have three boozy iterations for you to try—tequila-soaked watermelon, gin-soaked honeydew, and vodka-soaked cantaloupe.

Tomatoes With Lightly Whipped Cream


This might be one of our best summer appetizer recipes. All you need are high-quality heirloom tomatoes, fruity olive oil, flaky salt, fresh basil, and heavy cream. The tomatoes get a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream as a garnish—resulting in one of the simplest, yet most delicious summer bites you could put together.

Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini Galette

Dana Gallagher

This rich, vegetarian tart is a seriously spectacular appetizer. Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gruyère cheese are mixed into the dough for the galette crust for an even richer bite, then seasonal corn kernels, zucchini, and roasted tomatoes are scattered over the top.

Grilled-Vegetable Agrodolce

Ryan Liebe

Arrange a stunning antipasto for summer with grilled zucchini, squash, and eggplants, plus assorted cured meats, burrata, goat cheese, and crusty bread.

Tomato, Peach, Buffalo Mozzarella, and Bresaola Tartine

Dana Gallagher

One of our favorite combinations is that of juicy tomatoes, sweet peaches, and creamy mozzarella—which is why we’ve arranged them on slices of toasted ciabatta bread with bresaola (cured beef) for the perfect summer appetizer.

Chesapeake Blue Crab Cakes With Fried Oysters

Mikkel Vang

Enjoy the ultimate seaside appetizer at home. Crab cakes are formed and pan-fried until crisp, then are topped with freshly fried oysters and served with a briny tomato-cucumber relish.

Greek Layer Dip

Pernille Loof

Whip up a creamy bean spread with canned cannellini beans, garlic, Greek yogurt, and lemon juice. It’s spread onto a platter and topped with juicy cherry tomatoes, cool cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, and herbs.

Grilled Bread and Chiles With Burrata

Elizabeth Cecil

Build your own bite with this super simple and incredibly satisfying summer appetizer. Dip grilled chilled peppers into burrata, spread the cheese on the toast, or layer all three ingredients together.

Creamless Creamy Corn Soup

Dana Gallagher

Save this recipe for when corn on the cob is at its peak in mid to late summer. A ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric enhances the bright yellow color and a dash of cayenne pepper is the color and heat contrast you’ve been craving.

Greek-Taverna Salad

Petrina Tinslay

Every color and flavor of summer shines on this platter appetizer—cocktail tomatoes, mini cucumbers, bell peppers, feta cheese, and pepperoncini peppers.

Creamy Artichoke Ranch

Petrina Tinslay

Wondering how to cook with anchovies? Try them in this fresh and inspired recipe, which combines marinated artichoke hearts, anchovy fillets, parsley, Greek yogurt, and extra-virgin olive oil into one creamy dip.

Chilled Sour-Cherry Soup

Mikkel Vang

Sour and savory flavors marry in this seasonal soup that uses fresh sour cherries, cucumbers, and scallions, plus plenty of fresh herbs like cilantro and dill.

Oysters on the Half Shell With Vinegar Sauce

Mikkel Vang

Dress up freshly shucked oysters with an acidic sauce made with a spicy Scotch bonnet pepper, peeled carrots, white onion, sugar, and allspice berries.

No-Knead Tomato Focaccia

Marcus Nilsson

Fresh, juicy cherry tomatoes shine on top of our easy-to-make focaccia bread. While it only requires 15 minutes of prep work, the dough should rise for at least 12 hours so plan ahead if you want to make this scrumptious summer bite.

Creamy Edamame Dip


This healthy dip is deceivingly indulgent thanks to light and creamy cottage cheese. It’s whipped with boiled edamame, cilantro, a serrano chile pepper, and lime juice. Serve drizzled with olive oil and alongside pita or crudité.