27 Quick and Easy Appetizers That Make Entertaining a Breeze

Marinated Peppers With Mint and Sesame on blue cutting board
Photo: Lennart Weibull

From classy three-ingredient canapés for a cocktail party to lightning-fast dips for game day, we're sharing a selection of super-easy appetizers guaranteed to get any party started. All have either six ingredients or fewer, take less than 15 minutes to prep, or can be made ahead. (Sometimes, it's all three!)

To help us select the best appetizer recipes, we started with these three basic rules for hosting: First, seasonal equals simpler. When produce is in peak season, less ends up being more. Next, embrace the life-changing magic of make-ahead recipes. It's savvy planning to include recipes that can be made at least partially ahead of time. Last but not least, don't be afraid to go store-bought. Just be sure to add an easy upgrade at home. The sign of a good "easy" recipe is one that taps store-bought products in a big way, but looks like a from-scratch enterprise.

01 of 27

Loaded Potato Bites

loaded potato bites outtakes
Kana Okada

We're kicking off this recipe collection with a six-ingredient finger food that will be a hit at any party from Oscar night to the Super Bowl. Peewee potatoes are boiled, smashed, and roasted until crispy and golden, then finished with a flavorful mix of all your favorite toppings: sour cream, scallions, bacon, and cheddar.

02 of 27

Cucumber Feta Toasts


For a streamlined approach to the classic tea sandwich, try this recipe that features crunchy sliced cucumber and a creamy three-ingredient feta spread.

03 of 27

Chorizo, Parsnip, and Olive Bites

Bryan Gardner

These three-ingredient skewers bring an unlikely but inspired combination of flavors. With well-seasoned chorizo sausage, earthy-sweet parsnips, and zesty green olives, guests won't be able to stop at just one.

04 of 27

Cheater's Deviled Eggs

devil-ish egg bites
Raymond Hom

Create all of the comforting flavors of a deviled egg in a fraction of the time with this clever deconstruction of a party food mainstay.

05 of 27

Smoked Trout Pâté on Toasted Baguette

smoked trout pate toasted baguettes
Burcu Avsar

To keep the ingredient list short for this elegant smoked trout spread, we use cream cheese as the main mix-in—it provides both a velvety texture and a balancing tang. Lemon juice, shallot, and fresh herbs round out the flavors in this quick and satisfying appetizer.

06 of 27

Easy Sauteéd Mushrooms


Turn traditional stuffed mushroom caps inside-out by serving this fast and flavorful blend of sautéed wild mushrooms alongside a log of creamy goat cheese and crisp crostini.

07 of 27

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon

Marcus Nilsson

Who doesn't love the classic pairing of prosciutto and melon? A turn on the grill only intensifies the sweet-and-salty flavor profile this appetizer is famous for.

08 of 27

Mixed Olive Tapenade

mixed olive tapenade
William Abranowicz

This rustic tapenade really is so easy; a trip to the olive bar followed by a quick warm-up in a skillet, and you're well on your way to having a gourmet-level accompaniment to a cheese and antipasti platter.

09 of 27

Lemony White Bean Hummus

Dana Gallagher

A homemade hummus is a small step up in effort from store-bought, but the payoff is huge. Serve this creamy white bean version alongside seasonal crudités and pita chips.

10 of 27

Roasted Tomatoes and Cheese with Thyme

roasted tomatoes cheese thyme
William Abranowicz

To brighten up (and lighten up) the standard baked brie while still keeping it in the super-easy appetizer realm, we took our flavor cues from the South of France. Roasting cherry tomatoes—even when they are out of season—with woodsy thyme turns them into an umami-bomb of sweet and tart flavor that stands in perfect contrast to the decadent, creamy cheese.

11 of 27

Harissa, Goat Cheese, and Herb Tart

Bryan Gardner

Store-bought puff pastry dough is the perfect buttery base for this easy tart that features spicy harissa paste, creamy goat cheese, and cooling fresh herbs like mint and parsley.

12 of 27

Taco Truck-Style Guacamole

taco truck style guacamole
Chelsea Cavanaugh

With a little help from a food processor and a secret ingredient that boasts a high level of acidity, here's a version of guacamole that's not only quicker than your traditional version—it can also be made days ahead with browning.

13 of 27

Pear, Walnut, and Ricotta Crostini


Clocking in at just five ingredients, this classy canapé is a cinch to make and a real crowd-pleaser for a holiday cocktail party.

14 of 27

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas


Another five-ingredient wonder, this recipe begins with a couple of cans of chickpeas and a hands-off stint in a hot oven. The result? A crunchy, spicy, and nut-free snack to put out for company.

15 of 27

Mango and Avocado Salsa


Sweet mango, creamy avocado, and fiery habanero join forces with cooling cilantro and tart lime juice to create this fresh, festive salsa. Just add some tortilla chips and consider yourself ready to fiesta.

16 of 27

Bacon-Wrapped Ginger Shrimp

Romulo Yanes

Smoky bacon, sweet shrimp, and spicy ginger prove you don't need a long list of ingredients to make a tasty appetizer happen—and happen fast, no less. Pair with Maple-Bourbon Cider and prepare to become a household name on the holiday party circuit.

17 of 27

Ham-and-Cheese Flatbread

alsatian flatbread topped with flat-leaf parsley
Gieves Anderson

A crowd-pleasing, super-simple starter with French flair, this recipe starts with a pre-baked flatbread from the supermarket. Top it with a mix of ricotta, deli ham, and caramelized onions for an appetizer that's truly formidable!

18 of 27

Spring Pesto Dip

spring pesto dip with veggies
Lennart Weibull

This light and bright four-ingredient dip is a snap to make, and it's ideal for setting out with crunchy in-season produce for dipping. Make this recipe even easier by picking up a container of store-bought pesto—we recommend the refrigerated kind because it has a fresher color and flavor.

19 of 27

Sausage-Cheddar Balls

Sausage-Cheddar Balls
John Kernick

These streamlined meatballs keep the ingredient list short and sweet by using pre-made sausage, and they're as at home on the holiday appetizer table as they are on a party platter for game day.

20 of 27

Creamy Artichoke Ranch Dip

Creamy Artichoke Ranch
Petrina Tinslay

Classic ranch gets upgraded from everyday dip to an elegant special-occasion spread in 15 minutes flat thanks to a food processor and MVP ingredients like jarred marinated artichokes and briny anchovies.

21 of 27

Antipasto Skewers


In this riff on a classic antipasto platter, these adorable skewers show off just how good these ingredients are together: creamy mozzarella and thinly-sliced prosciutto soften the edges of the hot pickled vegetables and briny olives.

22 of 27

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

Gabriela Herman

When late summer comes around and you have the bounty of heirloom tomatoes at your fingertips, don't hesitate to let them shine in this super simple appetizer.

23 of 27

Smoky Black Bean Salsa

black bean salsa
Chelsea Cavanaugh

A combination of smoky chipotles, tart lime juice, and assertive red onion soak their way into every black bean. Pair this ultra-flavorful (and ultra-easy) salsa with tortilla or sweet potato chips.

24 of 27

Caramelized Mustard-Marmalade Wings

caramelized mustard marmalade chicken
Marcus Nilsson

On game day, bring pub-style food to your coffee table with this (mostly) hands-off, fryer-free recipe that uses two types of mustard and orange marmalade to make irresistibly sweet-and-sticky chicken wings.

25 of 27

Quick Shrimp Relish Tray

Shrimp Tray
Alpha Smoot

Serve this lighter appetizer on Thanksgiving or any special occasion where there will be a lot of rich foods—the clean flavors of quick-pickled shrimp and briny caper berries are sure to make guests eternally grateful.

26 of 27

Radish Canapés with Black-Olive Butter


In this classy little French appetizer, the peppery bite of the radish plays off the smooth and salty olive-flecked butter in a unexpected and delicious way.

27 of 27

Marinated Peppers with Mint and Sesame

Marinated Peppers With Mint and Sesame on blue cutting board
Lennart Weibull

Five minutes is all you need to make these tasty, versatile peppers. They need at least 30 minutes to stand and allow the flavors to mingle, while you finish the rest of your party prep. Serve them atop bruschetta or as part of your charcuterie board.

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