Summer Eats

19 Delightful Make-Ahead Summer Appetizers

Have these prepped and ready to serve at your next cookout.

In the summer heat, eating things that are cool and refreshing is a no-brainer. When you need to make an appetizer during the summer, it makes complete sense to make something that’s refrigerated. The ability to make a chilled appetizer a day or so ahead of time is honestly just a bonus with these make-ahead summer appetizers. Whether you’re hosting a party and need to fill a table with tasty apps to enjoy poolside or are in charge of planning appetizers for your neighborhood’s Fourth of July picnic, you’re sure to find something on this list to hit the spot this summer.

Summer appetizers like these that you can make ahead of time are also great to have in your fridge to throw in your cooler for a picnic or share on the porch with your neighbors while your kids run through the sprinklers. They’re the kind of snacks that hold up for a day or two after they’re assembled and even get better as the flavors hang out and chill together. Here, you’ll find an array of light and refreshing fruit skewers and salads, hearty salsas made with ripe summer veggies, wraps, pinwheels, and so much more. They’re all fresh, light, full of flavor, and perfect to please guests at any summer gathering.


Watermelon Salad With Whipped Feta

How beautiful would this watermelon salad from Gimme Some Oven look on an appetizer table at your next summer gathering? Chunks of juicy watermelon, sliced red onion, fresh herbs, and cucumbers come together on a bed of whipped feta. It’s a creamy and refreshing summer salad app you can serve alone or with some fluffy slices of pita bread.


Mango Guacamole

Does it get more summery than guacamole? Only if you add mangoes. This mango guacamole recipe from Wholefully is basically summer in a bowl. Whip some up ahead of your next summer event and rest assured that with enough lime juice in an airtight container, your avocados won’t brown.


Charcuterie Cups

If you’re looking for a make-ahead appetizer you can dish out in individual servings that will look super pretty on an appetizer table this summer, look no further than these charcuterie cups from Family Fresh Meals. Customize them to your liking and keep them in the fridge until it’s time to serve your guests.


Shrimp Ceviche

One of my favorite summertime appetizers to eat is ceviche. There’s just something about the lime juice and cilantro, the onions and peppers all marinating together with hunks of fresh seafood that screams summer. This tasty recipe for shrimp ceviche from Gimme Some Oven includes fresh mango and is perfect to serve with tortilla chips or tostadas.


Melon Caprese Salad

If you happen to be hosting an Instagram-worthy summer dinner party — complete with twinkle lights and floating tea candles on lotus blossoms in the pool — this melon caprese salad from Half Baked Harvest is the ideal appetizer for that sort of summer aesthetic. It’s also just a cute make-ahead appetizer for any event where you want individual servings of something bursting with summer flavor.


Mango Pineapple Shrimp Salad

I’m not sure it gets more summery than this recipe for mango pineapple shrimp salad from Averie Cooks. Lime juice, cilantro, and red onion add just the right amount of zing to this hearty shrimp appetizer. Between the pineapple, mangoes, avocados, and shrimp, your guests will love having a scoop of this on their app plate.


Caprese Skewers

A simple and delicious make-ahead summer appetizer, these caprese skewers from Love and Lemons are also absolutely beautiful. Put them together when you have the time and then keep them in your fridge until it’s go-time.


Caramelized Onion Dip

There’s really no good reason to serve anything other than chips and dips as an appetizer in the summer. Looking for a dip recipe that will absolutely wow your guests? This caramelized onion dip from Pinch of Yum is a labor of love that will stay good in an air-tight container in the fridge for several days.


Avocado Shrimp Salsa

This avocado shrimp salsa from Half Baked Harvest is a hearty dip that’ll add a zesty kick to your app table. Make it ahead of your summer get-togethers and then serve alongside a bunch of crunchy tortilla chips, a healthy sprinkle of sea salt, and some fresh lime wedges to squeeze over the top.


Vegetable Spring Rolls

Filled with tons of fresh veggies like shredded red cabbage, bell peppers, and carrots, these vegetable spring rolls from Damn Delicious are a fantastic make-ahead summer appetizer. Served alongside a rich peanut sauce, they’re a tasty, crowd-pleasing choice for summer get-togethers.


Fried Pickle Dip

A delicious dip is an absolute summer party staple. Impress your guests with this yummy fried pickle dip from Family Fresh Meals. It’s a cool twist on the classic fried pickle appetizer that you can serve no matter how hot it is outside. It also doubles as a tangy burger topping if you’re serving those up this summer.


Mason Jar Taco Dip

When you make a big dish of layered dip, it starts looking messy after the first couple of scoops get taken out. If you’re looking for a more aesthetically pleasing appetizer that you can make ahead of your summer gatherings, these individual servings of taco dip in mason jars from Damn Delicious are too cute to pass up.


Ham Salad

I tend to store leftover ham in my freezer to break out specifically when I need to make a large-batch party snack like this ham salad from Well Plated. Since it’s served chilled, you can make it ahead of time and set it out with some crackers to enjoy when your guests arrive.


Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs

A seasonal twist on the classic app, you can use up some of the fresh summer corn from your garden when you make these Mexican street corn deviled eggs from Averie Cooks. Honestly though, if I made these too far in advance of a summer get-together, they probably wouldn’t last until party time because I’d be too tempted to snack on them. But, you can make them up to a day ahead of time — if you think you can resist them!


Italian Pinwheels

The humble pinwheel may seem at first glance like a basic kids’ snack, but it’s honestly a fantastic summer appetizer to make ahead of a picnic, party, or cookout. This recipe for Italian pinwheels from Wholefully includes a zesty cream cheese spread, sliced salami, pepperoni, ham provolone, and fresh lettuce for some crunch.


Antipasto Skewers

Summer barbecues are rarely complete without a skewer of something served. But no matter what you’re serving for the main course, these antipasto skewers from A Pretty Life In The Suburbs are a fresh and easy appetizer you can assemble ahead of time and serve whenever you’re ready. Plus, you can customize the ingredients to your liking.


Whipped Feta Dip

If you need a chilled dip to serve alongside fresh summer vegetables, this whipped feta dip from Averie Cooks is a tasty choice. Made with Greek yogurt, feta cheese, lemon, olive oil, and an array of herbs and spices, it’s a light and refreshing appetizer you can whip up in just a few minutes.


Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail is one of the most classic make-ahead appetizers for a reason. Cool and refreshing, but with the zesty kick from the cocktail sauce, this recipe from Family Fresh Meals for shrimp cocktail is a great one to try this summer.


Blueberry Corn Salsa

From Averie Cooks, this blueberry corn salsa is chock-full of summer flavor. Whether you serve it alongside a big bowl of chips for dipping or in individual serving cups with spoons to enjoy like a salad, it’s hard to go wrong with this make-ahead summer appetizer.

With these make-ahead summer appetizers, your guests can have plenty of refreshing snacks to nosh on while the burgers are on the grill.