Hosting an end of summer get-together? These easy appetizer recipes are impressive on all counts: taste, presentation, and how effortless they are to make, so scratch that off your to-do list.
When it comes to party appetizers, there is no fixed ratio of simple to sophisticated. Sometimes the most unadorned, barely manipulated little bites can seem hugely elegant; other times, you can fiddle with a complicated recipe for hours and end up with something that falls flat. These 11 recipes look and taste fancy, but are built on a bedrock foundation of laid-back summer ease.
Some of them are no-cook, always a bonus this time of year, and all of them are sure to impress your guests. Just mix up a batch cocktail or two, or get set up for low-alcohol drinks perfect for summer sipping, and pass around your best platters of easy-breezy nibbles and bites. The hardest part will be picking which ones you want to serve.
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Everybody’s favorite sunny French vegetable stew takes on new stylishness when it’s reconfigured as a bright-tasting, colorful topping for baguette toasts. Shaved Pecorino cheese offers the perfect salty finish. These are also a perfect way to showcase summer produce like zucchini and heirloom tomatoes. Get our Ratatouille Crostini with Pecorino recipe.
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All eyes will be on these toasts, especially when they're on a stylish serving platter.
Ceviche is one of those perfectly passive things to make: Toss seafood with lime and other flavorings, and let it cure on its own. Spoon this bright-tasting shrimp ceviche on tortilla chips for a casual, high-style app. Get our Shrimp Ceviche recipe.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Ceviche
Cold, they’re a picnic staple, but warm—flavored with provolone cheese, bacon, and fresh herbs—deviled eggs are a revelation, unimaginably luxurious, the very opposite of church-picnic homey. Get our Warm Deviled Eggs recipe.
Read More: 8 Ways to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
Crumbled cornbread gives these crab cakes genuine down-home personality, not to mention a sweet flavor and nicely chewy texture. A dollop of spicy mayo finishes them off. Get our Mini Cornbread Crab Cakes recipe.
Using frozen premade puff pastry makes these delicious little bites seem like more work than they are. The perfect thing to pass around with glasses of Champagne! Get our Bacon-Cheddar Mini Quiches recipe.
Spanish chorizo, fiery harissa, and bold-tasting oil-cured olives add up to the zestiest flatbread topping for a cocktail party. Make sure your drink pitcher is full. Get our Chorizo and Olive Flatbread Squares recipe.
Especially for a summer hors d’oeuvres party, it’s best not to overthink. These simple parsley, caper, and garlic–marinated fresh mozzarella balls are a delightful thing to find on the end of a skewer. Get our Marinated Bocconcini recipe.
This is fancy finger food, more substantial (and cool-looking) than your standard pick-up party food. Perfect for a garden party! Get our Crispy Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus recipe.
Smear toasted baguette slices with store-bought quince paste (a.k.a. membrillo), then top with crispy baked serrano ham, thinly sliced Manchego cheese, and a drizzle of mint oil. Get our Serrano Ham and Membrillo Crostini recipe.
This simple yet sophisticated recipe is practically foolproof: Just combine the ingredients in a food processor, pipe onto English cucumber rounds, and top with your favorite caviar. Get our Smoked Salmon–Caviar Cucumber Bites recipe.
An irresistible British pub snack: salty, crunchy bacon and sweet, port-steeped prunes is a major crowd-pleaser, and simple to prepare. And if you’re curious about how they got their name, see this round-up of oddly named food origins (bonus: you’ll have something to talk about if the cocktail conversation stalls). Get our Devils on Horseback recipe.