Appetizers From the Thai Kitchen

Surprise your friends and family with a delicious Thai-inspired appetizer or ​party food. These fresh and flavorful finger foods are excellent and could double as a main in larger servings and accompanied by side dishes, or as tidbits for a non-seated gathering. Herby, tangy, sweet, sour, or salty, pick your favorite from our collection. Our selection has dishes suitable for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets. Drink recipes also included.

  • 01 of 20

    Mini Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

    Mini Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

    The Spruce / Darlene A. Schmidt

    If you like spicy, zesty foods, try making up a platter of these Thai Shrimp Mini Lettuce Wraps. These bite-sized wraps are filled with a burst of traditional Thai flavors like galangal, coconut, cilantro, and lime, and have a salty crunch, thanks to a handful of roasted chopped peanuts. The recipe calls for shrimp, but the same flavors could be used with other animal proteins, like chicken, or with firm tofu for a vegetarian and vegan alternative.

  • 02 of 20

    Crispy Thai Fried Ribs

    Thai Fried Ribs Finger Food Style!

    The Spruce / D. Schmidt

    These easy-to-make Thai fried ribs are sticky and chewy, and the flavor doesn't come just from the coating, but from a meaty and juicy inside. The special quick Thai marinade of coriander, sherry, garlic, and fish sauce infuses the meat throughout and makes these morsels really filling and extra flavorful. Use the marinade on other meats before braising or grilling.

  • 03 of 20

    Chicken Satay Party Sticks

    Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce
    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    Satay is huge in South East Asia. These skewered meat bites come seasoned in a variety of preparations and marinades with diverse proteins. Easy to make and fun to eat, our straightforward recipe is great for parties and can be cooked indoors in the oven or stove, or on the grill. Coriander, cilantro, lemongrass, galangal, cumin, and vibrant turmeric provide these satays with a pungent and bold aroma and flavor.

  • 04 of 20

    Thai Peanut Dip

    Real satay peanut sauce recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    While most Western versions of peanut sauce are made with peanut butter, this Thai peanut sauce recipe starts with whole peanuts, which provide a different and richer taste. Use the sauce as a dip for veggies, sauce for chicken or beef satay, with a cold noodle salad, or as dressing for your greens. Soy and fish sauces provide the dip with an umami quality, whereas the garlic and tamarind add a tangy punch.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20

    Thai Fried Calamari With Sweet Chili

    Thai Fried Squid (Calamari)

    The Spruce / D.Schmidt

    This easy Thai version of fried calamari is crisp and delicious, and it makes a fantastic appetizer or party food. Alternatively, serve it with a salad for a complete meal. Seasoned with five-spice, and coated in grainy semolina, these squid rings are crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. They can be served with sweet-and-sour sauce or a creamy dip of your choice.

  • 06 of 20

    Thai Spring Rolls (Vegetarian or Shrimp)

    Dish of spring rolls on lettuce with chopsticks
    Daniel Loiselle / Getty Images

    This spring roll recipe with baby shrimp can be made vegetarian by using tofu. Brimming with vegetables like cabbage and bean sprouts, and fresh flavors from galangal and cilantro, these spring rolls make a great appetizer and should be served with Thai sweet chili sauce.

  • 07 of 20

    Irresistible Corn Fritters (Vegetarian and Gluten Free)

    Fantastic Corn Fritters, Thai Cuisine!

    The Spruce / D. Schmidt

    This scrumptious recipe for corn fritters is vegetarian and can be made gluten free. The batter takes only minutes to stir together, and spoonfuls of it go into hot oil for quick savory fritters. Serve them on their own or with sauces for dipping. Or make them as part of a larger meal, with juicy meats or saucy preparations.

  • 08 of 20

    Coconut Baked Shrimp

    Dish of coconut shrimps arranged on mashed potatoes and mango sauce
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Unlike most coconut shrimp recipes that are deep-fried, this one is easily baked up in the oven, which means less fat and calories. Excellent with Thai sweet chili sauce, these shrimp can also be a main course when served with a green salad or steamed rice.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20

    Dragon Fruit Martini

    Dragon Fruit Martini

    The Spruce / Darlene A. Schmidt

    This Dragon Fruit Martini is easy to make and beautiful to serve. Your guests will be surprised and delighted by this refreshing cocktail, and a slice of the marvelous-looking fruit can double as a garnish. Dragon fruit is indigenous to Thailand but similar fruits like pitaya are endemic to the Americas. Dragon fruit is now readily available throughout North America, and are great eaten directly with a spoon, or sliced in salads.

  • 10 of 20

    Thai Fresh Rolls with Shrimp

    Summer Roll , Salad roll , Vietnamese Food
    Prasit photo / Getty Images

    These Thai-style fresh rolls are fun to make, scrumptious and filling. Excellent served in the spring or summer when fresh lettuces and herbs are available, these rolls could also be a light lunch served with a side of soup. Substitute shrimp for tofu for a vegetarian option, or use just vegetables as the filling, and dip in the sweet and salty tamarind sauce.

  • 11 of 20

    Coconut Curried Mussels

    Fresh Mussels, Red Thai Curry Sauce
    Jason Poole / Getty Images

    These Thai-inspired Mussels make a beautiful gourmet-style appetizer or an elegant romantic dinner. The curry sauce doesn't need a food processor or curry paste, and it's made right on the pan for a quick and flavorful seafood dinner. If your mussels are already clean this dish can go from the pan to the table in just minutes. Enjoy as is, or add a loaf of crusty French bread on the side to soak up the delicious sauce.

  • 12 of 20

    Pan-Fried Scallops

    pan-fried scallops
    Jill Chen / Stocksy United

    Our pan-fried scallops appetizer is surprisingly easy to make and can be served in under 10 minutes. The creamy coconut sauce is filled with spicy flavors from the cayenne pepper and has a punch thanks to the addition of lime juice and fresh garlic. Serve in individual appetizer spoons; use them as a main course on top of romaine lettuce, chopped basil, and cilantro salad; or make a bed of steamed rice to soak up the sauce of this easy and tasty seafood treat.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • 13 of 20

    Lettuce Wraps (Vegetarian)

    Lettuce Wraps
    Jason Poole / Getty Images

    Lettuce wraps are a fun meal to serve at a dinner party, as each guest can make their own to their taste. Quickly stir-fry the filling, set the table with the lettuce and various toppings, and let everyone choose their favorite ingredients. Vegetables, tofu, peanuts, herbs, and spices combine in this Thai-inspired dish. Omit the egg, fish sauce, and oyster sauce for a vegan version using soy sauce or tamari as a replacement.

  • 14 of 20

    Coconut Shrimp

    Crowd-Pleasing Coconut Shrimp - easily baked up in your oven!

    The Spruce

    These crunchy deep-fried shrimp are covered in a light tempura-like batter flavored with the taste of coconut. Our Coconut Shrimp recipe is fantastic to serve as an appetizer, or as a tapa on a seafood-inspired table. It can be made gluten free if any of your guests have dietary restrictions. Serve with sweet-and-spicy dipping sauces, or with a mango dip. Use as a main dish alongside a salad, or make individual sandwiches in a fresh, warm baguette with spicy mayo and crispy lettuce.

  • 15 of 20

    Easy Baked Chili-Garlic Shrimp

    Prawns Shrimps roasted and served on stone slate with lemon and garlic close up
    The Picture Pantry / Getty Images

    This wonderful easy-to-make Thai shrimp coats jumbo shrimp in a spicy chili-garlic sauce and then broils them in the oven for just a few minutes, for a juicy and crunchy bite. Serve with toothpicks as party food, or enjoy with rice as the main entrée. This spicy shrimp recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes and can be an elegant meal for guests, or a special weeknight family dinner.

  • 16 of 20

    Supreme Thai Ribs

    Cooked spare ribs, studio shot
    Martin Harvey / Getty Images

    Our Thai ribs are sticky, chewy, and incredibly moist on the inside. Garlic, onions, maple syrup, and spices make a thick sauce in which the ribs bake. For tender results, bake the ribs, cover for the first hour, and then uncover for them to develop a crusty outside. Sweet and salty, this is a delicious appetizer, and its sauce can be used to coat and bake chicken wings or thighs.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    Classic Thai Fish Cakes

    Thai fish cakes

    jules / Flickr / CC 2.0

    Fish Cakes are common street food in Thailand and are very flavorful compared to most Western fish cake recipes. Accompany these cakes with Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping, fresh coriander, and a squeeze of lime juice. Since they are much smaller than Western-size fish cakes, they're perfect for serving at a cocktail party with drinks. Make bigger patties for individual sandwiches, or main entrées served with fries and a salad.

  • 18 of 20

    Thai Crab Cakes

    sf_foodphoto / Getty Images

    These easy-to-make crab cakes are guaranteed to melt in your mouth. You and your friends will definitely be wowed by how deliciously moist they are—not to mention imbued with wonderful Thai flavors. This crab cake recipe makes an elegant appetizer, finger food, or entree to serve guests, but is also easy enough to cook up as an everyday treat.

  • 19 of 20

    Easy Mango-Coconut Dip

    Mango dip
    Jill Chen / Stocksy United

    This Mango Sauce doubles as a dip, marinade, and dressing. Use ripe mangoes and creamy coconut milk for a rich sweet-and-savory tropical flavor. The dip is great for chicken satays, it goes well with pork dishes, and can be added to stir-fries with or without meat to give them a tangy and spicy kick. Make bigger batches and reserve in your fridge to have at hand, and experiment with the amount of chili to make it as spicy as you'd like.

  • 20 of 20

    Mango Martinis

    Mango martini
    Paperclip Images / Stocksy United

    This Mango Martini recipe is made with fresh ripe mangoes and makes a great unexpected and refreshing drink. Its tang is most welcome before a meal and sets the tone of the meal if you're going for Thai-inspired appetizers and entrées.