17 Delicious Cold Appetizers for Entertaining

Keep it chill at party time

French Onion Dip

The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Are you looking for appetizer ideas to serve at a cocktail party or other gathering? Whether you need to save room in the oven for entrées or are just looking to keep things simple, browse our winning collection of cold appetizer recipes. These scrumptious starters are easy to assemble for a party and bring tons of flavor without needing to turn on the oven. You'll find ideas for everything from simple spreads that go with crackers to fancy finger foods and globally inspired starters.

  • 01 of 17

    Vegan Olive Tapenade

    Vegan olive tapenade with crackers and olives

    The Spruce

    Vegan olive tapenade is a tasty, gourmet-style spread to serve with crackers or crostini at any get-together where you expect vegetarian or vegan guests. Whir it up in just a few minutes using a food processor or even a sharp knife. It's a perfect starter that keeps well in the fridge for up to three days, for making ahead.

  • 02 of 17

    Guacamole Deviled Eggs

    Guacamole deviled eggs

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Two popular party appetizers are combined in these outstanding, creamy, green deviled eggs. Stuffed with a yolky filling, using mashed ripe avocado to replace the usual mayonnaise, plus cilantro and red onion, they are a delicious finger-food treat. For an extra kick of heat, sprinkle the tops with a little diced jalapeño, or some smoked paprika.

  • 03 of 17

    Vegan Fresh Spring Rolls

    Vegan fresh spring rolls

    Sbossert / Getty Images

    Fresh spring rolls (also called salad rolls, summer rolls, or Vietnamese spring rolls) are the healthy, cousins to restaurant-style fried spring rolls. These light and bright rolls are packed with refreshing raw veggies, herbs, and soft, cooked rice noodles, for a virtuous appetizer to serve with peanut dipping sauce or Vietnamese tamarind dipping sauce (nuoc cham me).

  • 04 of 17

    French Onion Dip

    French onion dip with chips

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    What could go better with plain potato chips than a bowl of creamy French onion dip? This homemade version is so much more delicious than the store-bought kind, with tons of flavor from slowly caramelized onions, shallots, and chives. Add flair by saving a few cooked onions to garnish the top of the dip.

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  • 05 of 17

    Chicken Liver Pâté

     Chicken liver pâté with melba toast

    The Spruce

    Chicken liver pâté is a budget-friendly alternative to foie gras that can be served as an elegant appetizer at a dinner party or cocktail hour. The rich-tasting, silky-smooth spread is simple to make a day ahead. Place in the fridge to chill and let the flavors meld.

  • 06 of 17

    Tekkamaki Tuna Sushi Rolls

    Tekkamaki tuna sushi rolls

    The Spruce

    If you've always wanted to try your hand at making sushi at home, tekkamaki is a great roll to start with. The sushi-rolling technique does take some practice, but the simple filling of sushi-grade tuna and sushi rice means there aren't too many ingredients to worry about, and your family and friends are sure to be impressed that you did it yourself.

  • 07 of 17

    Shrimp Cocktail

    Shrimp cocktail with sauce and lemon wedges

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Shrimp cocktail is a classic appetizer for good reason. It is fancy enough for a sophisticated dinner party, yet easy enough for a backyard picnic. You can make the cocktail sauce up to three days ahead of time for the fridge and cook shrimp up to a day in advance, for easy assembly at dinner or party time.

  • 08 of 17


    Hummus with pita bread

    The Spruce

    Hummus, the famous Middle Eastern chickpea dip with tahini, is a popular party dip for crackers, breadsticks, and raw veggies. You need only 10 minutes to whip up a batch in the food processor with canned chickpeas; no overnight soaking required. This recipe asks you to include the chickpea liquid (also called aquafaba) and blend the ingredients for up to five minutes, for fluffy, Israeli-style hummus.

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  • 09 of 17

    Smoked Salmon Dip

    Smoked salmon dip with toast crackers

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Salmon and cream cheese, that favorite bagel topping, come together with capers, red onion, fresh herbs, and prepared horseradish in this creamy, tangy, ultra-delicious party spread. Spread it on bagel chips or crackers for a 10-minute cold party appetizer or enjoy it spread on a baguette for special events.

  • 10 of 17

    Watercress Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

    Watercress egg salad tea sandwiches

    The Spruce

    Fresh watercress brings a light peppery flavor to these delightful egg salad tea sandwiches. Inspired by the miniature sandwich treats served with afternoon high tea at London's Harrods department store, they are an ideal appetizer for bridal and baby shower menus.

  • 11 of 17

    Spicy Kimchi Natto

    Spicy kimchi natto

    The Spruce / Judy Ung

    Spicy kimchi natto, made with fermented soybeans, is a uniquely flavorful Japanese-Korean fusion dish that is quick and easy to prepare. This recipe needs only three ingredients and can be scaled up easily for a crowd. Pile it atop toasted baguette slices, for a trendy "kimchi bruschetta" party appetizer.

  • 12 of 17

    Spanish Gazpacho

    Spanish gazpacho in glasses

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Spanish gazpacho is a cold, summer soup made by blending fresh tomatoes and garden vegetables with olive oil, sherry vinegar, and simple seasonings. Whiz up a batch to serve in shot glasses for an elegant party appetizer, garnishing with cucumber and bell pepper dice.

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  • 13 of 17

    Pineapple Cheese Ball

    Pineapple cheese ball

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Packed with a tropical cream cheese filling of crushed pineapple and crusted in crunchy pecans, this retro cheese ball appetizer is just the food to get your party rolling. Pair it with a plate of assorted crackers and crudités and classic cocktails for a nostalgic party moment.

  • 14 of 17

    Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Stuffed Cucumbers

    Sun-dried tomato pesto stuffed cucumbers

    The Spruce / Stephanie Kirkos

    Cute little cucumber rounds stuffed with a mound of tangy sun-dried tomato and almond pesto are colorful, refreshing small bites for summer cookouts, and other backyard gatherings. A melon baller is a handy tool for scooping out the center of each cucumber slice.

  • 15 of 17

    Easy Vegan Bruschetta

    Easy vegan bruschetta

    The Spruce

    Please your vegan guests with a tray of vegan bruschetta appetizers. You can make the popular Italian snack in a snap with fresh, red ripe tomatoes, aromatic basil, good-quality olive oil, and sea salt or kosher salt. This version is garlic free, so it's breath safe for close conversations.

  • 16 of 17

    Smoked Salmon Crostini

    Smoked salmon crostini with sprigs of fresh dill

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Bright and salty, smoked salmon crostini are always welcomed at any breakfast, brunch, or holiday celebration. Fresh herbs, creamy ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and smoked salmon shine beautifully in this popular party nosh. Top the toasts with capers or fresh sprigs of dill for a beautiful presentation.

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  • 17 of 17

    Spicy Edamame

    Spicy edamame

    The Spruce

    Edamame, the popular Japanese restaurant appetizer, makes a tasty party snack and can be served warm or cold. This spicy finger food is fun to eat and can be made with frozen edamame in their shells. Feel free to adjust the heat level to taste, for a hotter or milder eating experience.