Cold Appetizers Perfect for Any Party

From refreshing salads to creamy dips and crunchy bites, these cold appetizers are perfect for casual get-togethers, picnics or any occasion where refreshing flavors steal the show. And don’t miss the ultimate ice tray appetizer platter!

A collage of four recipes, deviled eggs with bacon, an epic charcuterie board, veggie pizza and zucchini pasta salad.

Whether you’re hosting a summer soirée, planning a picnic in the park, or simply craving a refreshing nibble, cold appetizers are the unsung heroes of any gathering. From refreshing salads to start your meal to creamy dips and bite-sized treats to pass around at a party, I’ve got you covered. So, grab a white sangria or a sparkling strawberry mocktail and get ready to be inspired with an array of cold appetizers that are perfect for any party or occasion.

The Ultimate Ice Tray Appetizer Platter

Before we dive into all the cold appetizers, I have to share with you my latest obsession: This ice tray appetizer platter! It keeps your food chilled over ice and has separate compartments to add a variety of your favorite finger foods. Here are three of my favorite combos: 

CHILLED FRUIT PLATE

  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Pineapple
  • Green grapes
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Cup: Yogurt dip (lime/honey)

CHILLED SEAFOOD PLATE

  • California Roll
  • Sushi roll 2 (mango/cucumber top)
  • Salmon sashimi
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Tuna poke 
  • Ceviche 
  • Cup: Soy sauce OR cocktail sauce 

CHILLED CHARCUTERIE PLATE

  • Cheese 1
  • Cheese 2
  • Salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Grapes
  • Watermelon radishes 
  • Cup: Fig spread

More Cold Appetizer Ideas

Crescent Roll Veggie Bars: Also known as veggie pizza, this family favorite recipe stars a buttery crescent roll base topped with herby cream cheese and a rainbow of chopped veggies. My family has been making this recipe for more than 50 years!

Deviled Eggs with Bacon: The salty, smoky flavor of cooked bacon is the perfect complement to the rich and creamy egg yolk filling. It takes the classic appetizer from good to gourmet in just one step!

Whipped Brie Cheese: This recipe is whipped up in minutes and is the ultimate blank canvas for toppings (think honey, fruit, roasted garlic, nuts, etc.).

The Ultimate Charcuterie Board: I’ve rounded up my top tastes and pro tips for how to make the best charcuterie board, including recommendations for meats, cheeses, dried fruits, crackers and more. Just add wine or frozen sangria!

Texas Caviar: Also known as Cowboy Caviar. Spoon it over cream cheese and dig in with crackers or serve it as a dip alongside crunchy tortilla chips.

French Onion Dip: I’ve transformed the classic soup mix into a dip with just six simple ingredients. It starts with slowly caramelized onions, which provide the fresh flavor base. Plus, you can make this homemade sour cream and onion dip a day ahead and chill it in the fridge, allowing the flavors to meld. Then, it’s ready to enjoy with chips (these barbecue potato chips are my favorite!), crudité or simply a spoon!

Hungarian Cucumber Salad: It’s refreshing, crunchy, and creamy, plus it’s incredibly easy to make, doesn’t require any cooking and is the perfect side for just about any main dish.

Thai Chicken Pasta Salad: This Thai-inspired pasta salad will make you the star of any gathering! It’s easy to make, loaded with flavor and is sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs: This make-ahead appetizer combines two classic favorites into one cool, creamy, snack that’s perfect for garnishing with Cotija cheese crumbles and a sprinkle of taco seasoning.

The Best Pineapple Salsa: It’s sweet. It’s tangy. It’s refreshing. Many pineapple salsa recipes call for roasted peppers, dry seasonings or heavy dressings. You won’t find any of those here!

Fast and Fresh Gazpacho: Crisp veggies, chopped garlic, and a drizzle of oil and vinegar whiz together in a food processor or blender, and the result is a creamy, cool, no-cook appetizer or meal.

Zucchini Pasta Salad: Zucchini ribbons, protein-packed chickpeas, crunchy pistachios, sun-dried tomatoes, and one seriously stellar lemony vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, garlic and honey.

The La Jolla Crab Stack: Bypass the oven in favor of this light and healthy recipe starring fresh crab meat, crunchy veggies, juicy mango, creamy avocado and the best homemade ginger-lime dressing. Impress your guests with this easy-to-make appetizer.

Thai Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce: They’re loaded with fresh veggies and herbs and can be made with your choice of shrimp, chicken, tofu or entirely veggies (hearty fillers like rice noodles are an option, too!). But what are spring rolls without peanut sauce? My homemade version is creamy, sweet, savory and a touch sour.

Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing: The sweet and tangy dressing pairs perfectly with whatever fruit is in season.

Melon Salad with Basil Vinaigrette: I’ve paired the juicy fruit with an herby dressing that would be just as fantastic on chicken, fish, shrimp or steak. Sprinkle some toasted pine nuts on top and your summer salad game has never been better.

Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Syrup: This watermelon salad is a family favorite for brunches and barbecues alike. It can be prepped in advance and stashed in the fridge so it’s icy-cold when you’re ready to dig in!

Chilled Ramen Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing: Not your average ramen noodles! I’ve transformed the carb classic by ditching the seasoning packet, loading up on fresh veggies and edamame, and bringing it all together with the ultimate DIY sauce.

Bacon Scallion Hummus: A splash of reserved bacon drippings in place of olive oil makes this silky-smooth hummus the best to ever cross your lips!

Guacamole Bruschetta: Garlicky toast serves as the perfect host to the avocado mixture, which is overflowing with fresh lime juice, tomatoes and chopped cilantro.

Ahi Tuna Stacks with Ginger-Soy Dressing: If you love sushi, you’ll love these DIY ahi tuna stacks! Bite-sized cubes of cucumber, mango, and avocado topped with fresh ahi, red onion and a drizzle of ginger-soy dressing.

Chilled Sweet and Sour Cucumber Noodles: This dish is perfect for beating the heat on hot summer days or as a light and refreshing appetizer any time of year. Enjoy as a standalone snack or as a side dish to complement your favorite summer meals.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad: This 20-minute Caesar pasta salad will become a staple in your house, no matter the season. Best of all, it can be made with your protein of choice, from leftover turkey to roasted salmon. Cheese tortellini is a delicious swap, too!

Greek Cucumber Tomato Salad: Crisp veggies, protein-packed chickpeas and crumbled feta, all tossed in a lemony red wine vinaigrette.

Pickled Deviled Eggs: The secret ingredient for the fuchsia rim? Beets! Stuff them with a creamy egg salad for the perfect refreshing cold appetizer for picnics or brunches. They’re sure to be a hit at any gathering!

Green Goddess Avocado Hummus: This vibrant twist on traditional hummus combines velvety avocado with classic ingredients like chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice, creating a luxuriously smooth texture and irresistible flavor.

Caprese Salad with Burrata: A simple drizzle of EVOO and plenty of flaky sea salt complete this summer salad stunner.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon: It has the perfect ratio of veggies to creamy dressing and is loaded with bacon, cheese, grapes and sliced almonds. This is one of my favorite cold appetizers to serve at summer barbecues!

Pickled Red Onion & Carrot Relish: With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can transform ordinary vegetables into a zesty topping that adds a burst of flavor to any dish.

Citrus Salad with Honey Dressing: Tangy citrus slices, shaved red onion, greens and pomegranate arils all drizzled with a sticky-sweet honey dressing.

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