As a food blogger and sage in the kitchen, I’ve compiled 50 of my favorite cold appetizer recipes that are sure to impress guests and work for any season.
These cold appetizers require minimal hands-on time, can often be made ahead of time, and allow the hosts to spend more time mingling with guests. Many can be prepped in under 10 minutes.
As you plan upcoming gatherings, refer to this roundup for inspiration. I’m confident you’ll discover new all-star recipes to add to your repertoire. Now let’s dive in!
1. Mango Salsa
This easy mango salsa adds a fun tropical twist to traditional tomato salsa. The sweet mango pairs nicely with the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice.
Spoon it over tacos or chips, or serve it alongside grilled fish.
Mango lovers will enjoy this fresh salsa, which takes just minutes to throw together. Make it as spicy or mild as you’d like.
2. Creamy Crab Dip
For an indulgent, warm appetizer dip, you can’t go wrong with this creamy crab dip recipe. It’s a baked dip with crabmeat, cream cheese, cheddar, onion, and seasonings.
Spread it onto crispy baguette slices or serve it with crackers or crudité for dipping. Your guests will love scooping up this rich, savory dip. It’s easy to double too!
3. Smashed Cucumber Salad
With just a few ingredients and 10 minutes hands-on time, you can have this bright, refreshing smashed cucumber salad on the table.
Simply smash seeded cucumbers with a wooden spoon, then toss them with rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes for a quick pickled flavor.
It’s a nice light starter or side, perfect for summer. Double the recipe for a weekend cookout.
4. Cream Cheese And Pepper Jelly
Here’s a fast, easy appetizer that always impresses. Combine cream cheese with spicy pepper jelly and serve with crackers for spreading.
The sweet and savory pairing makes a quick crowd-pleasing appetizer for hosts short on time. You can prepare it in just 5 minutes!
5. Creamy Broccoli Slaw
For a fresh and creamy potluck-style salad, you’ll love this broccoli slaw made with a tangy mayo dressing, sunflower seeds, raisins, and red onion. It’s a great make-ahead starter for your next party or family gathering.
The crunchy broccoli slaw soaks up the creamy dressing. Feel free to play around with different add-ins too like cranberries or bacon.
6. Feta-Olive-Fresh Herb Cheese Ball
This easy cheese ball is a hit at parties! Simply mix feta, cream cheese, lemon juice and zest, then form into balls. Coat the outside of the balls with a mixture of fresh parsley, olive oil, and minced onion.
Arrange them on a platter with cucumber slices, crackers, or breads for serving. The herb crust and creaminess inside make this cheese ball irresistible.
7. Pineapple Pepper Slaw
Craving something sweet, tangy, and spicy? Try this colorful pineapple pepper slaw. Toss together pineapple tidbits, purple cabbage, red onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and a lime vinaigrette.
The tropical flavors paired with the crunchy veggies make this slaw really pop. Bring it to a potluck for something different.
8. Dainty Cucumber Sandwiches
These cute tea sandwiches are perfect for bridal and baby showers or an afternoon tea party. Use a very sharp knife to cut ultra-thin slices of soft white sandwich bread.
Spread the slices with cream cheese, dill, and cucumber slices. Cut into small rectangles or triangles to serve. So light and refreshing!
9. Curry Chicken Salad
Chicken salad gets a flavor twist with the addition of curry powder and chutney in this recipe. I especially love the sweet backstory behind this curry chicken salad.
It was my grandmother’s signature dish she always made for parties. I doubled the recipe to feed a crowd and it quickly disappeared. Such a tasty, nostalgic appetizer.
10. Spicy Strawberry Goat Cheese Crostini
Looking for a fresh, seasonal appetizer? Top baguette slices with a mixture of strawberries, balsamic, and goat cheese. The sweet strawberries contrast nicely with the tart goat cheese and balsamic for bright flavor.
Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat. These crostini make a light starter for spring and summer gatherings.
11. Texas Caviar
Texas caviar is a classic party appetizer made with black-eyed peas, peppers, corn, and assorted seasonings. The peas and veggies give it a fun confetti-like appearance.
Serve the salsa-like dip chilled with tortilla chips. I love that you can make the caviar ahead of time so there’s one less thing to worry about before guests arrive.
12. Spinach And Vidalia Dip
Here’s a flavorful, hearty dip featuring fresh spinach paired with sweet Vidalia onions. Sauté the veggies, then mix in sour cream, cream cheese, and seasonings. Bake until hot and bubbly.
I recommend serving this robust dip warm with pita chips or fresh vegetables for dipping. It never lasts long at parties!
13. Tomato Tea Sandwiches
Dress up traditional tomato sandwiches by cutting them into small tea sandwich sizes. Spread mayonnaise on thin white bread then top with sliced tomatoes, red onion, and basil leaves.
Cut the crustless sandwiches into small squares or rectangles. So light, fresh, and just a little fancy.
14. Quick-Pickle Cucumbers And Onions
These easy refrigerator pickles are ready in about 30 minutes, no canning needed. Slice cucumbers and red onions, then steep them in a vinegar mixture with seasonings.
Enjoy the pickled cukes and onions within a couple weeks. They make a nice crunchy topper for burgers, tacos, nachos, or cheese plates.
15. Chunky Guacamole
My go-to 10 minute homemade guacamole is perfect for Mexican fiestas. Mash avocados with lime juice, then mix in diced Roma tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and serrano pepper.
For a smoother guac, blend some of the mixture. The tomatoes and onion add nice chunks of texture. Serve with tortilla chips for scooping.
16. Shrimp On Seasoned Crackers With Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese
Here’s an easy last-minute appetizer with big flavor. Top crackers with cream cheese, pepper jelly, and a chilled shrimp.
The combination of spicy jelly and briny shrimp makes a nice pop of contrasting flavors. Make the crackers ahead of time, then assemble right before guests arrive.
17. Black Bean And Corn Salsa
Whip up this easy black bean and corn salsa with pantry staples in just 10 minutes. It packs lots of texture from the beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro.
Stir in lime juice and seasonings for a fresh, vibrant dip. Scoop it up with tortilla chips or serve it as a taco topper.
18. Basic Pimiento Cheese
Pimiento cheese is a Southern classic! This recipe uses jarred pimientos, shredded cheddar, cream cheese, and mayo for an easy cold spread with Cheddar, cream cheese, pimientos, and mayonnaise.
Try it slathered on white bread or served with crackers and vegetable crudité. The color and tangy flavor make it a retro party pleaser.
19. Marinated Feta With Cherry Tomatoes
Here’s an easy appetizer that packs nicely for picnics and potlucks – marinated feta paired with juicy cherry tomatoes. The salty feta soaks up the olive oil, oregano, garlic marinade.
Arrange on a platter with colorful cherry tomatoes for guests to skewer and enjoy. Simple but impressive!
20. Stuffed Endive With Herbed Goat Cheese
For an elegant passed appetizer or plated starter salad, stuff Belgian endive leaves with a creamy herbed goat cheese mixture. Mix goat cheese with cream cheese, lemon zest, chives, parsley, tarragon, and garlic.
Spoon into endive leaves and top with extra herbs. The crunchy endive balances the smooth, tangy filling.
21. Tex-Mex Deviled Eggs
Give your deviled eggs a fun Tex-Mex twist! The egg yolk filling gets blended with salsa verde, cilantro, and cotija cheese. A sprinkle of paprika, cayenne, or chili powder adds smoky heat. T
hese flavorful deviled eggs will be the first to go at your next party or potluck. Olé!
22. Creamy Avocado Dip
This easy avocado dip comes together right in the blender. Simply blend avocados, Greek yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeño for a creamy dip with a little kick.
Serve with tortilla chips or assorted fresh veggies for dipping. It takes just minutes to make and tastes so fresh.
23. Cherry Tomato Capreee Salad
This simple Italian salad makes a nice light starter or side. On a platter or in a shallow bowl, alternate layers of cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, and basil leaves.
Then drizzle with olive oil, balsamic glaze, and season with salt and pepper. The fresh ingredients really shine in this no-fuss caprese salad.
24. Cinnamon-Raisin Almond Butter Dip
Here’s a Greek yogurt-based dip with a delicious fall twist. Blend together Greek yogurt, almond butter, ground cinnamon, maple syrup, and golden raisins.
Chill the dip for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Serve with apple slices, graham crackers, or ginger snaps for dipping. Such a tasty, protein-packed appetizer.
25. Caesar Salad Bites
These fun fork-free Caesar bites are perfect party finger food. To make them, top Belgian endive leaves with Caesar dressing, parmesan, and croutons.
Or load up romaine lettuce cups for an equally tasty bite. Your guests will love these mini DIY salads.
26. Peach Salsa
Make the most of peak summer peaches with this fresh peach salsa. Dice peaches, mango, bell pepper, and red onion, then stir in lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, and seasonings.
Sweet, hot, and tangy flavors come together in this stellar fruit salsa. Enjoy it with tortilla chips or grilled fish.
27. Pear Salad
This elegant composed salad makes a stunning starter for special occasions. Fan sliced pears over mixed baby greens, then scatter with crumbled blue cheese, candied pecans, and pomegranate arils.
Finish with a champagne vinaigrette. Your guests will be impressed with how beautiful and delicious this salad is.
28. Bloody Mary Poached Shrimp
For an easy make-ahead appetizer, poach shrimp in a Bloody Mary cocktail mixture. Add shrimp, vegetables, and seasonings to tomato juice with vodka and simmer just until shrimp are pink.
Chill completely before serving. These shrimp are infused with lots of savory flavor.
29. Cucumber Salsa
This no-cook cucumber salsa is so fresh, bright and refreshing. Simply dice cucumbers, mango, red onion, jalapeño, and mix with lime juice, cilantro, and a pinch of sugar.
Chill for 30 minutes to let the flavors blend. The little kick of heat and sweetness pairs nicely with the cool crunch of cucumbers.
30. Picnic Egg Salad
Classic egg salad is a nostalgic potluck staple. Hard boil eggs, chop, and mix with mayonnaise, Dijon, celery, pickle relish, onion, and herbs.
For variety, try spreading it on different types of bread – white, whole wheat, bagels, rolls, croissants. It’s endlessly versatile and satisfying.
31. Ham Salad
My family loves old-fashioned ham salad sandwiches. Prepare the ham salad by mincing cooked ham, then mixing it with mayo, sweet pickle relish, mustard, onion, and celery.
Chill thoroughly before using as a sandwich spread or spooned onto endive leaves as an appetizer. Such a tasty, protein-packed cold dip.
32. Easy Egg Salad
For fast no-fuss egg salad ready in 10 minutes, simply chop hard-boiled eggs and combine with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, minced celery, salt, and pepper.
The simple creamy filling can be served between bread slices, scooped onto lettuce cups, or spooned into endive spears for a light bite.
33. No Stuff Deviled Eggs
Love deviled eggs but don’t want the hassle of scooping and stuffing? Try this easy cracker crumb version.
Simply top halved hard-boiled eggs with a mixture of egg yolks, mayo, mustard, and Ritz cracker crumbs. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped chives. All the flavor without the time.
34. Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs
For fun color and flavor, pickle hard boiled eggs in a beet brine before making them into deviled eggs. The vibrant pink eggs are stuffed with a creamy yolk filling tinted pink with some of the beet juice.
Top with fresh dill and black sesame seeds for pretty party eggs your guests will love.
35. Peel And Eat Shrimp
Chilled peel and eat shrimp make easy finger food for gatherings. Simply boil shrimp in salted water flavored with Old Bay seasoning. Once cool, peel the shrimp and toss in ice water spiked with pickling spice.
Serve piled on a platter with cocktail sauce for dipping. No utensils needed!
36. Fresh Fruit Salad
One of my go-to potluck recipes is this fancy fresh fruit salad with melon, citrus, and berries. Make it vibrant by tossing together bite-sized pieces of watermelon, honeydew, pineapple, orange segments, blueberries, and raspberries.
Finish with a drizzle of poppy seed dressing. It’s light, refreshing and beautiful.
37. Chicken Salad With Grapes And Pecans
Here’s a delicious twist on chicken salad featuring sweet grapes and crunchy pecans. Dice cooked chicken and toss with mayonnaise, halved red grapes, chopped pecans, celery, and Dijon mustard.
Spoon onto lettuce-lined rolls or croissants for tasty sandwiches. Your guests will love the contrasting flavors and textures.
38. Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
Give traditional hummus an update with black-eyed peas! Blend together black-eyed peas, garlic, olive oil, smoked paprika, and tahini. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and extra smoked paprika.
This protein-rich hummus has an addictive smoky flavor. Serve it with pita chips or fresh veggie sticks for dipping.
39. Asparagus Ribbon Crostini
Show off spring asparagus by shaving it into thin ribbons to top crisp crostini. Simply use a vegetable peeler to slice asparagus lengthwise into long ribbons.
Mound the ribbons over baguette toasts and finish with lemon zest, grated Parm, and flakes of sea salt. So fresh and seasonal!
40. Watergate Salad
This retro pistachio pudding and marshmallow salad, also known as Watergate Salad or Green Stuff, is an irresistible potluck throwback. In a large bowl, mix chopped pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, marshmallows, whipped cream, and nuts. Chill before serving. It’s fun, fluffy and full of nostalgia!
41. Loaded Deviled Eggs
If you love deviled eggs, try this loaded version with crispy chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, and fresh chives! Simply fold the tasty mix-ins into the egg yolk filling before spooning into the egg whites. The combo of creamy eggs, smoky bacon, and melty cheese takes these deviled eggs over the top.
42. Dill Pickle Dip
This easy chilly dilly pickle dip is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser! Purée dill pickles, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and dill in the food processor.
Chill for 1 hour before serving with potato chips or crackers for scooping up the cool, briny dip. The tangy flavor is addictive.
43. Basic Deviled Eggs
You can’t go wrong with classic deviled eggs made simply with creamy egg yolk filling and paprika. Hard boil eggs, split lengthwise, remove yolks, and mash with mayo, Dijon, salt, and pepper.
Spoon into egg whites, dust with paprika and chopped chives. These easy crowd-pleasing eggs are always requested!
44. Heirloom Tomato-Cracker Salad
Make the most of summer’s bounty of heirloom tomatoes with this gorgeous composed salad. Alternate colorful tomato slices with herbed crackers, fresh mozzarella, basil, and arugula on a platter. Finish with olive oil and balsamic. Beautiful and delicious!
45. Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
These petite cucumber tea sandwiches are perfect for bridal showers or an elegant afternoon gathering. Thinly slice soft white bread and spread with a chive cream cheese mixture.
Top with thin cucumber slices, remove crusts, and cut into small triangles. So light and refreshing served with tea or punch.
46. Cherry Fluff
My grandma made this sweet retro salad for every family reunion. It’s a fluffy, pink mixture of drained crushed pineapple, marshmallows, and maraschino cherries.
Fold in whipped cream just before serving chilled. Scoop it into dessert cups or serve it right from the colorful vintage glass bowl for nostalgia.
47. Sweet Pea-Parmesan Dip
Here’s a fast no-cook dip that’s perfect for spring. Purée frozen peas, Greek yogurt, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor.
Chill the vivid green dip for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Enjoy this quick, protein-packed dip with crackers, breads, or fresh veggies.
48. Carrot Raisin Salad
For a fresh, crunchy side salad, I love this carrot raisin pineapple salad tossed in a creamy poppyseed dressing. Shred carrots, dice pineapple, add raisins, and mix with the tangy dressing and pecans.
Chill before serving mounded on lettuce. The mix of flavors and textures makes this salad shine.
49. Smoked Vidalia Onion Dip With Grilled Crudités
Whip up an easy onion dip with caramelized Vidalia onions, sour cream, cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and chipotle powder. The smoky spicy flavor pairs perfectly with raw vegetable crudités straight from the grill. Try zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, and sweet onions for dipping.
50. Ham Cheese Ball
This make-ahead ham and cheese ball is a handy appetizer to have in your party arsenal. Simply mix ground ham, shredded Swiss cheese, cream cheese, parsley, mustard, and spices.
Chill, shape into a ball, then roll in chopped pecans before serving. Enjoy spread on crackers or crudités.