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Cold appetizers are great for so many reasons. My #1 reason is that most can be made ahead, saving time and stress when hosting events.

More Collections: Mexican Appetizers, BBQ Appetizers, Easy Appetizers

A collage filled with 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 Chicken 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 three categories: easy cold appetizers (most of these involve fresh produce), make ahead cold appetizers (both sweet and savory dips), and cold vegetarian appetizers!

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

A great spread starts with planning, and including make-ahead appetizers will help set you up for success. We’ve included several additional tips to make sure everything runs smoothly for your next party!

Prepping tips. Whether you’re planning a picnic or cocktail party, prepping an easy cold appetizer recipe or two ahead of time can make the event run much more smoothly. 

  • Plan your menu a week or two before, then watch ads to see what is on sale. 
  • Add variety to the menu, using both sweet and savory dishes, and incorporating different colors and textures.
  • Include homemade and store bought dishes. If you are using any new recipes, make them a couple of weeks before the event, to work out any kinks. 
  • Decide which appetizers can be made ahead of time, and stored in the fridge. 
  • Decide which appetizers can be set out at room temperature, and which ones need to be kept cold.
  • Be sure to provide the proper serving utensils, making it easier for guests to fill their plates.
Deviled eggs sprinkled with paprika and served on a grey platter.

how Much to Serve

It is important to make sure you have enough food for your guests, but not too much that you don’t have room to store it all!

How many different dishes are needed:

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

How much per person: 

  • Main dish. When appetizers are the main food at an event, 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.
  • Side. If you will be serving dinner, fewer appetizers are needed. In this case, plan to serve a total of 3-5 appetizers per person. 
  • For dips and salsa. Plan for guests to have about ⅓ cup each. Make sure to include dip-ables (see ideas below).
Lunch kabobs served on a platter.

serving Tips

It’s important to keep appetizers at the correct temperature.

Keeping appetizers cold.

  • 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 portion of the appetizers at a time. Refill platters and bowls with chilled food, when needed.

Dippers. If you are serving dips or dipping sauce, you will also need to serve items to BE dipped. Some of my favorite sweet and savory dippers include:

  • Sweet – cookies, Graham Crackers, pretzels, sliced fruits like apples, strawberries, and bananas 
  • Savory – chips, Tortilla Chips, crackers, crostini or baguette slices, pretzels, cheese cubes, and cut vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, celery, green onion, or cherry tomato

Easy Cold Appetizers

Not only are they delicious, but these easy cold appetizer ideas are beyond simple too!

Veggie Cups

Veggie cup appetizers – perfect for parties and after school snacks for the kids! This mess free concoction is great for so many occasions!

1 Veggie Cups Appetizer

Appetizer Veggie Cups Appetizer
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 3 votes
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Deviled Eggs

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.

2 Deviled Eggs Recipe

Appetizer Deviled Eggs Recipe
Total Time: 35 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 53 votes
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Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

Spruce up your holiday appetizers with a tasty bacon ranch cheese ball. It’s easy, delicious, and perfect served with crackers and veggies.

3 Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe

Appetizer Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 16 votes
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Mexican Pinwheels

Mexican pinwheels are bite-size tortilla rolls filled with a spiced cream cheese mixture. They are a party in your mouth!

4 Mexican Pinwheels Recipe

Appetizer Mexican Pinwheels Recipe
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 230 votes
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Easy Bruschetta

This easy bruschetta is quick, simple and perfect for any party! It takes just 5 ingredients and is the perfect appetizer for any occasion.

5 Easy Bruschetta Recipe

Appetizer Easy Bruschetta Recipe
Total Time: 14 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 28 votes
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Greek Cucumber Cups

Simple Greek cucumber cups are a light and delicious appetizer that whips up in minutes. They are a perfect low calorie snack!

6 Greek Cucumber Cups Recipe

Appetizer Greek Cucumber Cups Recipe
Total Time: 15 minutes
4.91 from 10 votes
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Caprese Stuffed Avocados

Simple and fresh caprese stuffed avocados are a twist on classic flavors. This is a perfect appetizer or side to any meal!

7 Caprese Stuffed Avocados Recipe

Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish Caprese Stuffed Avocados Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Ham Salad

Creamy ham salad with hints of dill and chunks of hard-boiled eggs is a tasty appetizer perfect for using up that leftover ham!!

8 Ham Salad Recipe

Appetizer, Salad Ham Salad Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Video

Fruit Kabobs

Colorful fruit kabobs are the best appetizer or side for any occasion! Load up your favorite fruits and get snacking.

9 Fruit Kabobs

Side Dish Fruit Kabobs
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 15 votes
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Lunch Kabobs

Kid-friendly lunch kabobs are filled with savory meats and fresh veggies. They’re perfect for parties, BBQs, lunches and more!

10 Lunch Kabobs Recipe

Appetizer, Main Course Lunch Kabobs Recipe
Total Time: 8 minutes
5 from 9 votes
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Pineapple Cheese Ball

Sweet + tangy pineapple cheese ball is crusted with pecans for a perfect combination. The juicy pineapple pops are irresistible!

11 Pineapple Cheese Balls

Appetizer Pineapple Cheese Balls
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
5 from 6 votes

Taco Dip Recipe

Loaded with all of your favorite taco toppings, this creamy taco flavored dip is perfect for dipping with tortilla chips.

12 Taco Dip Recipe

Appetizer Taco Dip Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 13 votes
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Cheese Ball Bites

Mini cheese ball bites taste just like a loaded cheese ball, but mini! They are perfect grab and go appetizers.

13 Cheese Ball Bites Recipe

Appetizer Cheese Ball Bites Recipe
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
5 from 20 votes
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Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

Cinnamon tortilla chips are a quick and easy snack to serve with your favorite dessert dip, frosting, or salsa!

14 Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

Appetizer, Dessert Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
Total Time: 15 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 35 votes
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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!

15 How to Make a Charcuterie Board

Appetizer How to Make a Charcuterie Board
Total Time: 20 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 5 votes
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Fruit Salsa Recipe

Fresh fruit salsa is a perfect pairing for our sweet homemade cinnamon chips. Ready in under 20 minutes, you can make it for any occasion!

16 Fruit Salsa Recipe

Appetizer Fruit Salsa Recipe
Total Time: 18 minutes
5 from 9 votes
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Watermelon Salsa recipe

Juicy watermelon salsa is sweet with the perfect touch of spice. It’s a tasty summer salsa that whips up in minutes!

17 Watermelon Salsa Recipe

Appetizer Watermelon Salsa Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Burrata Board Recipe

This simple burrata board is a stunning & sophisticated appetizer. It’s easy to assemble, and perfect for any occasion!

18 Burrata Board Recipe

Appetizer Burrata Board Recipe
Total Time: 26 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Tortellini Skewers Recipe

Quick + simple pesto tortellini skewers whip up in minutes for a tasty appetizer perfect for any occasion. They are cheesy and delicious!

19 Tortellini Skewers Recipe

Appetizer Tortellini Skewers Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 13 votes
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Make Ahead Cold Appetizers

One of the easiest things to make ahead are salsas and dips. They need to be stored in the fridge until they’re ready to serve anyways!

Dipping 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. 

Knorr Spinach Dip Recipe

Savory Knorr spinach dip is perfect for serving at parties with your favorite crackers and veggies. It’s chunky and delicious!

20 Knorr Spinach Dip

Appetizer, Snack Knorr Spinach Dip
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 4 votes
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Nutella Dip

Filled with hazelnut goodness and a helping of tangy cream cheese & whipped cream, this Nutella fruit dip is heavenly!

21 Nutella Dip Recipe

Dessert Nutella Dip Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 23 votes
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Yogurt Fruit Dip

In just minutes, mix together an amazingly sweet and creamy vanilla yogurt fruit dip. Serve with your favorite fruit!

22 Yogurt Fruit Dip Recipe

Dessert Yogurt Fruit Dip Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes

Recipe Video

4.95 from 37 votes
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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.

23 How to Make Guacamole

Appetizer How to Make Guacamole
Total Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 13 votes
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Homemade Hummus

If you need a quick healthy snack or party appetizer, you can whip up this homemade hummus in 5 minutes or less! With just a few simple ingredients, this delicious hummus is perfect for dipping pita bread, fresh veggies, and tortilla chips.

24 Homemade Hummus Recipe

Side Dish Homemade Hummus Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 14 votes
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Dill Veggie Dip

Fresh & creamy dill veggie dip is quick, simple, and perfect for parties and snacking. It’s our go-to vegetable dip!

25 Dill Veggie Dip Recipe

Appetizer, Snack Dill Veggie Dip Recipe
Total Time: 7 minutes
5 from 49 votes
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French Onion Dip

French onion dip is tangy and savory. It requires only two ingredients and is made in under a minute making it the perfect chip dip!

26 French Onion Dip Recipe

Appetizer French Onion Dip Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 9 votes
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Homemade Salsa

This is such an EASY and delicious homemade salsa recipe! All you have to do is throw all the ingredients into your blender, and blend!

27 Salsa Recipe

Appetizer Salsa Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 113 votes
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Sweet Salsa Verde

Sweet salsa verde is a delicious salsa recipe made from tomatillos, jalapeños, sugar, & cilantro. It is sweet and spicy and takes just minutes to make.

28 Salsa Verde Recipe

Appetizer Salsa Verde Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes

Recipe Video

4.99 from 50 votes
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Black bean And Corn Salsa

This black bean and corn salsa is one of our favorite dips and appetizers. It’s great with any Mexican dish or served with tortilla chips!!!

29 Black Bean Corn Salsa

Appetizer Black Bean Corn Salsa
Total Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 21 votes
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Chili’s Salsa

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.

30 Chili’s Salsa Recipe

Appetizer Chili’s Salsa Recipe
Total Time: 3 minutes
4.92 from 46 votes
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Mango Salsa

This sweet and savory mango salsa is perfect with chips or any Mexican meal. It’s full of flavor and simple to make.

31 Mango Salsa Recipe

Appetizer Mango Salsa Recipe
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 12 votes
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Cold Vegetarian Appetizers

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

Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups

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!

32 Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups Recipe

Appetizer Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups Recipe
Total Time: 2 hours 8 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 31 votes
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7 Layer bean Dip

This 7 layer bean dip recipe is a must-have at every function! It has loads of flavor and all your favorite dip ingredients including avocados, olives, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole and more!

33 7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe

Appetizer 7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Video

4.98 from 45 votes
Get the recipe

Caesar Salad Cups

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!

34 Caesar Salad Cups Recipe

Appetizer, Salad Caesar Salad Cups Recipe
Total Time: 14 minutes
5 from 10 votes
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Bruschetta Caprese

Toasted bread rounds are topped with a mixture of juicy tomatoes, ripe avocado, and fresh mozzarella to make this bruschetta caprese. Top it all off with a balsamic glaze!

35 Bruschetta Caprese Recipe

Appetizer Bruschetta Caprese Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Pina Colada Dip

Pina colada fruit dip is fresh, creamy and filled with pineapple and coconut bits. It is perfectly refreshing and great for any party.

36 Pina Colada Dip Recipe

Appetizer, Dessert Pina Colada Dip Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes
5 from 11 votes
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Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

Decadent chocolate chip cheese ball is a cool, creamy treat filled with mini chocolate chips and perfect for dipping!

37 Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball Recipe

Dessert Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball Recipe
Total Time: 2 hours 8 minutes
5 from 16 votes
Get the recipe

Best Cold Appetizers

Keep it chilled with this tasty compilation of cold appetizers.

Be sure to check out all of our Appetizer Recipes.

More Collections: Finger Food Appetizers, Healthy Appetizers, Italian Appetizers

About Kristyn

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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  1. Sue says:

    Out of the many recipes I’ve tried from this list The ham salad and fiesta pinwheels surprised me the most and I ate entirely too much!

  2. Joy says:

    I make your black bean & corn salsa all the time!! It gets requested by everyone!! Love all these appetizer recipes!!

  3. Jessica says:

    What an awesome list!! I found so many that I plan to make and I already made one of them, and was SUPER pleased with it!

  4. cate says:

    I have made so many of these and they were all so good. Great collection to have in one place.

  5. Olivia says:

    We like both types of appetizers. There just a great beginning to any meal! So much to choose from.