Perfect for entertaining outside, this finger food collection features meats served straight off the grill and cool dips with no-fuss presentations.
Longer days mean more time to eat outdoors, and who doesn’t love an easy outdoor appetizer you can enjoy at barbecues, picnics, and tailgates? This season, commit to learning how to cook some of our easy summer appetizers. We’ve got a smorgasboard of options to suit any taste bud. There are easy grilled shrimp recipes for seafood lovers, like our Carolina Grilled Shrimp, or if you’re a TexMex fan, you can spice it up with our Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip. One thing is consistent though: these are all super easy outdoor recipe ideas. Pick your favorite easy outdoor recipe to make your go-to picnic recipe.
Recipe: Party Poppers
Satisfy hungry houseguests with an oven baked spicy two-bite appetizer stuffed with a cream cheese filling of chicken, cilantro, and fresh lime juice and wrapped in hickory-smoked bacon. This quick and easy appetizer, with just a few ingredients and even fewer steps, will make entertaining easy without the hassle of fussing over the oven all day and night. For those who like it hot, swap mini sweet peppers for spicy jalapeños. Need the perfect sipper to pair with these poppers? Look no further than our classic margarita. The smoky flavors infused in our favorite Tex-Mex cocktail will meld perfectly with our stuffed peppers.
Recipe: Spinach-and-Vidalia Dip
Take a moment to meet your new favorite appetizer. This twist on the classic spinach dip is sure to please even the most particular guests. Just like classic spinach dip, the recipe mixes together spinach, sour cream, and chives to achieve that cool, onion flavor with a kick. The secret? Sweet Vidalia onions add an unexpected, sweet twist to the creamy, savory dip. Pair with chips or a fresh veggie medley of bell peppers, cucumbers, and radishes and watch guests scoop up every last drop. This appetizer is perfect for a small gathering or the big game and requires little clean up.
Baked Brie with Jezebel Peaches
Recipe: Baked Brie with Jezebel Peaches
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.
Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Recipe: Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp
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.
Buttery Garlic Shrimp
Recipe: Buttery Garlic Shrimp
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.
Pimiento-Stuffed Summer Squash
Recipe: Pimiento-Stuffed Summer Squash
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.
Simple Antipasto Platter
Recipe: Simple Antipasto Platter
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.
Easy Barbecue Sliders
Recipe: Easy Barbecue Sliders
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.
Smoky Field Pea Hummus
Recipe: Smoky Field Pea Hummus
This is our new go-to summer dip. Use any legume you like.
Pickled Tiny Tomatoes
Recipe: Pickled Tiny Tomatoes
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.
Smoky Ranch Dip
Recipe: Smoky Ranch Dip
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.
Melon, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Skewers
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.
Buttermilk-Ricotta Cheese Dip
Easy Party Snack Mix
Recipe: Easy Party Snack Mix
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.
Orange-Basil Yogurt Dip
Recipe: Orange-Basil Yogurt Dip
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.
Grilled Herbed Chicken Drumettes With White Barbecue Sauce
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.
Shrimp-and-Blue Cheese Spread
Recipe: Shrimp-and-Blue Cheese Spread
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.
Baked Bean Crostinis
Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip
Recipe: Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip
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.
Feta Spread (Htipiti)
Recipe: Feta Spread (Htipiti)
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: Fiesta Dip
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.
Carolina Grilled Shrimp
Recipe: Carolina Grilled Shrimp
These zesty marinated shrimp taste perfect with a light char off the grill. Serve on small skewers for an easy-to-eat presentation.
Mustard-Dill Tortellini Salad Skewers
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.
Honey-Soy Appetizer Ribs
Recipe: Honey-Soy Appetizer Ribs
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.
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.