4th of July Appetizers: The Recipes You Need to Get the Party Started
Summer's marquee holiday deserves a spread of delicious appetizers—and we've got 12 fantastic options, from classic crowd-pleasers to unexpected and surprising nibbles, that we know your guests will love. Each one of them can be made ahead and served cold or at room temperature, which results in fun, casual fare. After all, this isn't the time for delicate, fussy hors d'oeuvres—instead, we're all about bites that won't wilt or melt or fall apart when eaten by hands that are wet after a dip in the pool, or that can be easily boxed up into a container and toted to the beach or the park.
Most of these apps star in-season veggies, which are a nice counterpoint to the meaty entrées to come. Take, for instance, our beet and white bean hummus; its deep red color is stunning, especially when served alongside other bright vegetables, such as baby carrots and snap peas. There's also a green goddess dip, fresh, bright, and herb-filled—plus, you can make it up to two days before serving. And we know we're not the only ones who love an eight-layer dip (yes, we went beyond the usual seven!) that combines refried beans, sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped green chiles, plum tomatoes, avocado, shredded romaine and scallions.
Deviled eggs are always a good call, whether you stick with the classic or go out on a limb and incorporate sliced Thai chiles. Other one-bite options include smoked trout atop sliced cucumbers and stuffed cherry tomatoes. And you can't get more summery or more beautiful than a gorgeous array of in-season tomatoes laid atop grilled rustic bread, or a savory, custard-filled, zucchini-topped tart. And if you prefer a one-stop option that feeds a crowd, try this appetizer tray approach in festive red, white, and blue.
Roasted Beet-White Bean Hummus
Express your patriotism with a dip? Why, yes, this brilliantly colored hummus could stand for the red in the stars and stripes. It's certainly a conversation starter, and it tastes sublime.
Sweet Onion Dip
One of those all-time favorites that everyone looks for year after year, this creamy make-ahead dip has a sweet punch.
Tomato Ombre on Grilled Rustic Bread
Picture perfect, easy to make (ahead), and absolutely delicious for vegetarians, vegans, and all kinds of meat-eaters. This is a peak-of-summer appetizer, just the thing for when local tomatoes in varying shades are in the markets. Cut into small pieces but leave it altogether on a platter to serve so guests can see its full beauty.
Green Goddess Dip
Fresh, bright, and herb-filled, this avocadoey take on the classic mayo-sour cream version ups guests' vegetable intake. Serve with endive leaves for easy scooping or with baby carrots and radishes—or chips for those less crudite-inclined. And make it up to two days ahead.
Because seven just isn't enough for a holiday! This is one crunchy, creamy crowd-pleaser.
Sure, you can grill shrimp, but we imagine your Weber is going to be kind of busy come the Fourth. So serve these easy (made-ahead), pickled shrimp instead.
Creamy Artichoke Ranch
A crowd-pleasing hors d'oeuvre that's easy to make: just blend together marinated artichoke hearts, Greek yogurt and fresh parsley. Serve with crackers, flatbread crisps or crunchy, colorful crudites.
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Classic Deviled Eggs
Curried Zucchini Soup
Let guests serve themselves small cups of soup, and they will sip not spoon the soup—no utensils needed!