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Easy Summer Appetizers – SO Quick!

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Yay, it’s May! For my college students and middle schoolers, May marks the end of the school year. It kicks off with Mother’s Day, on to family-filled Graduation parties, and then ends with Memorial Day BBQs and beach days (and my birthday).

It’s a fun food holiday month with many reasons to whip up a fruit salad or summer appetizer tray. But when it comes to prepping for those parties, are you sure what to bring?

collage of summer appetizers for 2024.

I wanted to share a few easy but tasty snack and party tray ideas (some that you can even make ahead) that won’t have you stressing last minute.

Appetizers to Kick off the Summer Fun

To kick off my summer party tray suggestions, let’s start with a new recipe. Based on my berry-only fruit salad, these delicious berry skewers use fresh fruit and mint leaves and are drizzled with sweet and savory balsamic glaze.

Relying really only on Mother Nature herself, this is a great shareable appetizer that everyone will be grabbing up.

Fruit Salad on a Stick

TO MAKE BERRY SKEWERS: 
Add a mint leaf, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry (quartered), and blackberry to a skewer. Drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving. 

lined skewers with berries and balsamic glaze.

Salami and Mozzarella Ball Skewers

I personally believe that if the food tastes great, it doesn’t necessarily need to look like it walked out of a food magazine, but these little baby salami and mozzarella skewers make it easy to impress both the eyes and the tastebuds.

It’s so simple to turn salami (or try with pepperoni or other sliced meats) into a rose that making tons of these for a party won’t seem like a chore. And the little bit of poppy seed on the top just cutes up the entire recipe.

To make Salami Rose Skewers

Add a mozzarella ball, mint leaf, salami rosette, and mint leaf, and close with another mozzarella ball. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or everything bagel seasoning.

  • This appetizer recipe is based on Salami Rose Skewers, where you can learn how to fold the rosettes.
salami rose skewers.

Ladybug Caprese

I have many visitors who really love how easy this appetizer is. The ever-popular Caprese in an adorable little ladybug is a sweet way to fill up a tray and garner those “WOWs” that will inevitably come behind it. Again, with mozzarella (cheese is always a crowd-pleaser), the tomatoes are cut into a mini ladybug and then sat on a basil leaf.

The only time to create this appetizer is by cutting the tomatoes, but as this is a no-bake way to add to a tray, it really is no time at all.

To Make Caprese Ladybug Appetizer

You need sliced mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and the ability to make the ladybug dots either with a black gel or balsamic glaze.

ladybug appetizer tray

Sandwiches on a Stick

There really are a lot of ways to use bite-sized skewers for sandwiches. From deconstructing your favorite sandwich into just ingredients that go on a skewer (think bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheese) to creating the sandwich and using a toothpick or sliding it on a skewer, all you need is a favorite flavor to create a tray that everyone can grab from.

I wanted to share a few sandwich ideas that go great as mini finger foods.

Mini Cucumber Sandwiches

First up, mini cucumber sandwiches. Also known as tea sandwiches, these are typically known as girls’ day or spa day sandwiches. But truthfully, these light and refreshing triangle sandwiches are perfect for party snacks of all kinds.

A perfect portion size, the herb cream cheese blend with layered thing cucumber slices is a great way to get a lot of flavor in a tiny bite.

triangle cucumber sandwiches on a white plate.

Mini Chicken Club Sandwiches

Another easy sandwich that goes great to share is a chicken club sandwich. With each full version cutting into at least 4 triangle servings, this is less light than the previous suggestion but more of a filling and partial lunch appetizer.

The great thing is variations are only limited by your imagination, so get wild with extra slices of meat, veggies, and condiments. Try this idea with chicken salad or egg salad, but keep in mind those will not work on a skewer.

holding a chicken club sandwich.

Pickles and Cheese

Pickles themselves make wonderful appetizer ingredients. Relatively inexpensive, they can be added in cups alone, used to flavor a wrap or a sandwich, or grilled right on a skewer. There are a ton of types, from small French cornichons to ranch pickle slices; you can pair the sour flavor with anything sweet quite easily.

Now, this finger food recipe for Ritz crackers, cheese, and pickles is a simple assembly shortcut to a quick appetizer known as “Pickle Cookies” that people seem to really love.

Considered an old-fashioned snack, this unassuming appetizer idea is actually quite good.

pickle cookie appetizer idea.

Dessert Skewer Ideas

Lastly, desserts round out my personal suggestions for an appetizer tray that takes very little effort. You can easily add strawberries and a side dip, of course, but these mini pancake skewers are a great way to create a dessert-like appetizer that everyone, including kids, will scoop up.

Serve pancake skewers with some toppings on the side, like cans of whipped cream or chocolate drizzle.

Other than pancakes, other suggetsions are to add a slice of banana or mini marshmallows.

pancake skewers with strawberries and blueberries.

You can also alter the skewer and substitute mini pancakes for pieces of angel food or pound cake, cheesecake bites, mini brownies, cookies, pretzels, or cut-up doughnuts.

All of these items could be purchased from a store, eliminating the need for homemade baking and then dividing them into smaller grab-and-go portions on a stick that go much further.

Prepare with Supplies

If you are like me, you want to be prepared with pantry items to keep the store at bay. I like to keep a variety of skewers, toothpicks, and disposable appetizer trays (so I do not have to worry about not getting my nice glass ones back) ready to go for the summer.

Here are some links to products I often use in Amazon if you want to prepare and save yourself time, money, and stress.

I typically use 4.5—to 6-inch skewers for most of my appetizer trays. This really depends on the ingredients and how many you want to add to the stick. Large veggies like grape tomatoes will typically need a larger skewer. If you are stuck between them, it is always better to err on the side of caution and get the six over the 4.

Personally, I just get out a ruler, look at the size compared to my ingredients, and then order what I need.

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Easy Summer Appetizer: Berry Skewers


Prep Time 14 minutes
Berry only skewers with strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry in an easy to grab appetizer drizzled with a bit of balsamic glaze. An easy summer fruit appetizer to share.

Equipment

  • 3-4 inch skewers

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries tops removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar optional
  • chopped fresh mint leaves
  • raspberry vinaigrette or balsamic glaze

Instructions

  • Add a mint leaf, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry (quartered) and blackberry to a 3 inch skewer.
  • Drizzle with balsamic glaze or raspberry vinaigrette before serving.

Notes

The length of each skewer and the amount of fruit it holds determine the number of skewers you can make and their calorie content. For instance, a 3-inch skewer can hold about 16 pieces of fruit, while a 6-inch skewer can accommodate twice as much fruit, yielding approximately 8 skewers.
You’ll have extra strawberries and blueberries, but you’ll need more blackberries to maintain the same fruit sequence for additional skewers. A single cup of blackberries usually contains only 15-20 berries, so consider buying two containers if you plan to make more skewers.

Nutrition

Serving: 2skewers | Calories: 26kcal

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

Sharing of this recipe is encouraged and appreciated. Copying of full recipe to any social media is prohibited.

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