Cold Appetizers

Cold Appetizers are great for so many reasons. My number one reason is that they can most often be made ahead of time! This saves so much time and stress when hosting an event. 

More Collections: Mexican Appetizers, BBQ Appetizers, Party Appetizers

A collage of cold appetizers

Hot or Cold?

When I think of my top favorite appetizers, they usually include hot ones such as Mozzarella Sticks, Spinach Dip, or wings.

However, not every occasion is good for hot appetizers, and other times you just need some variety to your appetizer spread!

The cold appetizers we’ve included in this post fall into two categories: Easy Cold Appetizers (most of these involve fresh produce), and Cold Appetizer Dips (both sweet and savory)!

But before we get into the recipes, here are some tips for planning and serving your cold appetizers…

Fiesta pinwheels served on a platter

Planning your Appetizer Spread

First, I decide how many different dishes I’ll be needing:

  • If you have fewer than 10 guests, offer 2-3 different types of appetizers. 
  • If you are having more than 10 guests add another dish for every 5-8 more people. 
  • Balance out how many cold appetizers you serve with how many hot appetizers you serve.

Second, decide how much per person

  • When appetizers are the main food at an event you’ll need to plan to serve about 10-12 pieces per person for a two hour party. Add about 5 more pieces per person for every hour after.
  • If you will be serving dinner, then you will not need as many appetizers. In this case you’ll only need a total of 3-5 appetizers per person. 
  • For dips and salsa, plan for guests to have about ⅓ cup each. Some of our favorite items to dip are the classic Tortilla Chip. Crackers and veggies also top the list.

Keeping Appetizers Cold

Just a few tips to help keep these cool…

  • Freeze the serving trays and bowls before filling them with the food.
  • Place Ice in a bowl then nestle the serving bowl with the food inside. 
  • Purchase large thin ice packs that fit nicely under serving plates and platters.
  • Only set out a little of the appetizers at a time. Refill platters and bowls with chilled food when needed.

Deviled eggs - one of our favorite cold appetizers

Easy Cold Appetizers

Not only are they delicious, but these cold apps are beyond simple too!

Appetizer Bruschetta Recipe
This yummy appetizer is quick, simple and perfect for any party! This easy Homemade Bruschetta Recipe only requires 5 ingredients!! Everyone loves how easy it is!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 19 votes
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Appetizer Veggie Cups Recipe
Quick and Easy Veggie Cup Appetizers – filled with dressing and veggies, this mess-free snack is great for so many occasions.
5 from 1 vote
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Appetizer Fiesta Pinwheels Recipe
Fiesta pinwheels are bite-size tortilla rolls filled with a spiced cream cheese mixture. They are a party in your mouth!
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Appetizer Best Charcuterie Board
We all love to graze during holidays and parties, and what better way to do it than with a Charcuterie board?! Customize with all your favorite meats, cheeses, crackers, veggies, fruits and dips!
5 from 7 votes
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Appetizer Deviled Egg Recipe
Nothing better than a smooth deviled egg appetizer! You’ll be surprised with how easy these are to make. Tons of flavor, super delicious and perfect for parties and holidays.
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 20 votes
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Appetizer Greek Cucumber Cups Recipe
Simple Greek Cucumber Cups are a light and delicious appetizer that whips up in minutes. They are a perfect low calorie snack!
Total Time: 15 minutes
4.67 from 3 votes
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Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish Caprese Stuffed Avocados Recipe
Simple and Fresh Caprese Stuffed Avocados are a twist on classic flavors. This is a perfect appetizer or side to any meal!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Side Dish Fruit Kabobs Recipe
Colorful fruit kabobs are the best appetizer or side for any occasion! Load up your favorite fruits and get snacking.
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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A bowl full of salsa—a great make ahead cold appetizer

Make Ahead Cold Appetizers

One of the easiest things to make ahead are salsas and dips, because you have to store them in the fridge until they’re ready to serve anyways!

TIP: When my own little family is eating salsa we dip out of the same bowl, but you don’t necessarily want to have party guests do the same thing. I like to have small plastic cups available for guests to spoon their dip and salsa into. 

Dessert Nutella Dip Recipe
Filled with hazelnut goodness and a helping of tangy cream cheese & whipped cream, this Nutella fruit dip is heavenly!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Dessert Yogurt Fruit Dip Recipe
Cream cheese, cool whip, vanilla yogurt, and vanilla pudding mix blended together to make this amazing Vanilla Yogurt Fruit dip for your favorite fruit!
Total Time: 5 minutes
4.91 from 10 votes
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Appetizer Guacamole Recipe
Spicy, chunky simple guacamole is so easy and addicting, it's sure to be a crowd pleaser! You won't be able to stop eating it.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Side Dish Homemade Hummus Recipe
If You Need A Quick Healthy Snack Or Party Appetizer, You Can Whip Up This Homemade Hummus In 5 Minutes Or Less!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 11 votes
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Appetizer, Snack Dill Vegetable Dip Recipe
The perfect go-to veggie dip for parties and snacking. Use it for vegetables, chips, or whatever you feel like! Even if you don’t like dill pickles, you’ll love this Dill Vegetable Dip.
Total Time: 7 minutes
5 from 9 votes
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Appetizer French Onion Dip Recipe
French onion dip is tangy and savory. It requires only two ingredients and is made in under a minute!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Appetizer Homemade Salsa Recipe
This is such an EASY homemade salsa recipe! All you have to do is throw diced tomatoes, rotel, cilantro, lime juice, onion powder, jalapeños, and cumin into your blender, and blend! It goes perfectly with tortilla chips, tacos, enchiladas, or any other Mexican food!
Total Time: 10 minutes
4.97 from 51 votes
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Appetizer Salsa Verde Recipe
Sweet Salsa Verde – a delicious salsa recipe that is sweet and takes just minutes to make. Ingredients include tomatillos, jalapenos, sugar, & cilantro.
Total Time: 6 minutes
4.97 from 26 votes
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Appetizer Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe
Black Bean and Corn Salsa – one of our favorite dips and appetizers. Everyone loves this salsa filled with tomatoes, avocados, corn and black beans!
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 10 votes
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Appetizer Chili’s Salsa Recipe
The restaurant salsa you know and love, made at home anytime you like! This Chili's Salsa copycat recipe is literally made in minutes with the help of a blender.
Total Time: 3 minutes
4.67 from 12 votes
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Bruschetta caprese served as a cold appetizer on a wood cutting board

Cold Vegetarian Appetizers

Most of these cold appetizers are vegetarian already since most meat appetizers are served warm anyways. However, these are some of my FAVORITE meatless apps!

Appetizer Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups Recipe
These delicious Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups are made from a rolled tortilla filled with Ranch Veggie dip, and chopped veggies, making them the perfect bite-sized party appetizer!
Total Time: 2 hours 8 minutes
5 from 23 votes
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Appetizer 7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe
7 Layer Bean Dip – our family’s favorite recipe with loads of flavor and all your favorite dip ingredients including avocados, olives, tomatoes, cheese and more! It’s a must-have appetizer at most family functions.
Total Time: 10 minutes
4.91 from 11 votes
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Appetizer Bruschetta Caprese Recipe
Toasted bread rounds are topped with a mixture of juicy tomatoes, ripe avocado, and fresh mozzarella to make this Bruschetta Caprese.
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Appetizer, Salad Caesar Salad Cups Recipe
Caesar Salad Cups are a quick, simple and tasty side dish or appetizer. They're mini salads in a cup and great for parties and get togethers!
Total Time: 14 minutes
5 from 7 votes
Check out this recipe

Be sure to check out all of our Appetizer Recipes.

For more collections, see: Easy Appetizers, Finger Food Appetizers, Healthy Appetizers

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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