68 Best Italian Appetizers to Make Tonight

Updated: May 11, 2024

Just because it's Italian, doesn't mean you have to spend all day in the kitchen. Try one of our easy Italian appetizer recipes for your next party.

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Mom’s Italian Bread

I think Mom used to bake at least four of these tender loaves at once, and they never lasted long. She served the bread with every Italian meal. I love it toasted, too. —Linda Harrington, Windham, New Hampshire

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Roasted Eggplant Spread

Black pepper and garlic perk up this out-of-the-ordinary spread that hits the spot on a crisp cracker or toasted bread slice. —Barbara McCalley, Allison Park, Pennsylvania.
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Beef Spiedini

An Italian favorite, spiedini are great for holidays and other special occasions. The hearty skewers hold marinated steak pinwheels stuffed with a marinara-and-crumb filling.
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Sweet Pea Pesto

I made a healthier spin on pea pesto by subbing in vegetable broth for some of the oil and going easy on the cheese. For use on pasta, add more broth for a saucelike consistency. —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
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Focaccia Barese

This focaccia has been in my mom's family for several generations. It is one of my most-requested recipes whenever I am invited to a party—I am not allowed to attend unless I bring it! —Dora Travaglio, Mount Prospect, Illinois
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Slow-Cooked Italian Meatballs

What I love about these meatballs is that they can be served as an easy holiday appetizer right out of the slow cooker, or alongside your favorite pasta. They also make a delicious sandwich. —Jason Romano, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
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Marinated Mozzarella & Tomato Appetizers

Inspired by a dish I had at a restaurant, this simply sensational combination should marinate for at least three hours—the longer the better. —Mary Ann Lee, Clifton Park, New York.

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Green Bean Salad

This cold green bean salad makes the perfect side dish, starring green beans, a simple vinaigrette and feta cheese.
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Italian Meatball Buns

These soft little rolls come with a pleasant surprise inside—savory Italian meatballs. The apps are wonderful dipped in marinara sauce, which makes them fun for my grandkids—and adults too. I love how easy they are to put together. —Trina Linder-Mobley, Clover, South Carolina
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Antipasto Platter

We entertain often, and an antipasto platter is one of our favorite crowd-pleasers. Guests love having their choice of so many delicious nibbles, including pepperoni and cubes of provolone. —Teri Lindquist, Gurnee, Illinois
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Chicken Florentine Pizza

On pizza night, we like to switch things up with this version featuring chicken, spinach and ricotta cheese. One taste and you won't miss traditional sauce one bit. —Phil Corder, Monroe, Louisiana
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Calamari Salad

This is one of the seven fish dishes we serve at Christmas time. It is easy to make and quite delicious! I enjoy it served both warm and cold. Either way, it has become one of our traditional dishes each year. The recipe has been passed down to me through my grandparents, who were excellent cooks. —Paul Rinaldi, Easton, Pennsylvania
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Tomato-Goat Cheese Spread

A good friend shared this recipe with me. It is super easy and so delicious. Guests will love it! It's best served with crackers that aren't strongly seasoned. —Linda Alexander, Madison, Wisconsin
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Tuscan Truffles

For holiday potlucks, I make an appetizer truffle out of prosciutto, figs and toasted pine nuts. Mascarpone and goat cheese make them melt-in-your-mouth creamy. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Arugula Pizza

This arugula pizza is great served as an appetizer for get-togethers with family or friends. My girlfriends and I love it because it has that sophisticated gourmet touch, and it's healthy, too! This also serves four as a main course. —Annette Riva, Naperville, Illinois
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Garden Bounty Panzanella Salad

My sister gave me fresh tomatoes and basil, so I made a bread salad known as Panzanella. The longer it sits, the more the bread soaks up the seasonings. —Jannine Fisk, Malden, Massachusetts
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Turkey Bolognese Polenta Nests

This delicious appetizer combines two of my favorite foods, polenta and bolognese meat sauce, uniting them into one incredibly tasty bite! —Lidia Haddadian, Pasadena, California. If you like this recipe, then learn how to make Emily Blunt’s turkey bolognese.
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Pesto Pull-Apart Bread

I combined some of my favorite flavors in an easy bread to complement our Italian meals. I make the pesto, oven-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, but store-bought versions work too. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (Field Editor),
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Slow-Cooker Pizza Dip

I created this dip for my daughter's pizza-themed birthday party. It was an instant hit and I've continued to take it along to other gatherings. Everyone loves it! —Stephanie Gates, Waterloo, Iowa
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Tomato Fritters

I got the basic recipe for these fritters from a friend, then I tweaked it for my family's tastes. It's one of our very favorite things in the summer. We love them right after they've been fried, when they're still hot and crispy. —Pam Halter, Bridgeton, New Jersey
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Appetizer Tomato Cheese Bread

I found this recipe a few years ago in a dairy cookbook, and it has become a family favorite. My husband, Wayne, and our two children are mostly meat-and-potato eaters, but I don't hear any complaints when I make this bread! —Penney Kester, Springville, New York

Check out these must-have Italian cookbooks for eating your way through Italy.

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Cheese/Grape Appetizers

These small bites are well worth the time they take. Serve them as part of an antipasto platter or as a cheese course alongside your favorite wine. —Eleanor Grofvert, Kalamazoo, Michigan
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Pizza Fondue

It's time to rethink the way your family does pizza night. I heard about this recipe on a talk show and then personalized it by using home-canned sauce. —Susan Carlson, Perry, New York
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Stromboli Sandwich

I've made this Stromboli sandwich many times for parties, and it gets great reviews. You can add ingredients and spices to suit your taste. The recipe is so good I just had to share it with you! —Leigh Lauer, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
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Antipasto Appetizer Salad

Use a slotted spoon to serve this as an appetizer with baguette toasts, or ladle it over romaine lettuce to enjoy as a salad. —Tamra Duncan, Decatur, Arkansas
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Best Deviled Eggs

Herbs lend amazing flavor to these deviled eggs, which truly are the best you can make! The recipe includes tasty variations that feature bacon, chipotle peppers and crab.—Jesse & Anne Foust, Bluefield, West Virginia
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Italian Cheese Loaf

Here's a deliciously different sandwich. It's yummy warm from the oven or off the grill at a cookout. The cheesy filling is complemented by a mix of garden-fresh ingredients and crusty bread. I usually serve it with a salad and onion rings. —Mary Ann Marino, West Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Pizza Dip

You can assemble this easy appetizer in a jiffy. The pizza dip goes very fast, so you may want to make two batches. —Stacie Morse, South Otselic, New York
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Grilled Bruschetta

This is my go-to appetizer in the summer when tomatoes and basil are fresh from the garden. The balsamic glaze takes this bruschetta recipe over the top. I like to use a Tuscan herb- or basil-infused olive oil for this. But, it’s great with just plain olive oil, too. —Brittany Allyn, Mesa, Arizona
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Cheesy Sausage Stromboli

I've had a hundred requests for this recipe over the years. Perfect for brunch or as an evening snack, this sausage-filled bread is not tricky to make—and I never have to worry about storing leftovers! —Vada McRoberts, Silver Lake, Kansas
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Artichoke Caprese Platter

I dressed up the classic Italian trio of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with marinated artichokes. It looks so yummy on a pretty platter set out on a buffet. Using fresh mozzarella is the key to its great taste. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Pesto Pinwheels

It's not a party without a basket of pesto pinwheels. The delectable hand-held appetizer is filled with basil, Parmesan and a sprinkle of sweet peppers.
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Antipasto Skewers

Antipasto skewers—the finger-friendly Italian kabobs with marinated vegetables, cheeses and tortellini— are precisely what you need for your next gathering. Mix and match your favorite ingredients for a unique and varied spread.
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Marinated Olive & Cheese Ring

We love to make meals into celebrations, and antipasto always kicks off the party for Italian dinners. This one is almost too pretty to eat, especially when sprinkled with pimientos, fresh basil and parsley. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Ricotta Puffs

Roasted red peppers and ricotta cheese give these pastry puffs delicious flavor, while parsley and oregano add a little spark. —Maria Regakis, Somerville, Massachusetts
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Garlic Tomato Bruschetta

I drew inspiration from my grandma’s recipe for this garden-fresh bruschetta. The crisp bread and tomato goodness make a great party appetizer, but the dish also works alongside your favorite Italian entree. —Jean Franzoni, Rutland, Vermont
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Crowd-Pleasing Party Meatballs

We served this scrumptious dish at our wedding. It went over so well that it’s been served at other weddings and family functions, and the requests keep coming! —Stefany Blevins, Portsmouth, Ohio
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Calzone Pinwheels

Once you try these mini-sized calzones, you may never go back to the large ones. Not only do these pretty bites take advantage of convenient refrigerator crescent rolls, but they can be made ahead and popped in the oven right before company arrives. No one can eat just one and people love the cheesy, fresh taste! —Lisa Smith, Bryan, Ohio
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Artichoke Dip

Crackers make great dippers for this artichoke dip recipe. Chips and breadsticks work well, too. It’s become the traditional introduction to our family’s Christmas Eve dinner. —Mrs. William Garner, Austin, Texas
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Quick Focaccia Bread

Green olives complement this quick focaccia recipe for an easy pizza-like bread. With very few ingredients, it’s still packed with flavor. Serve the focaccia as an appetizer or alongside pasta, soup or salad for a mouthwatering meal.—Ivy J Laffoon, Ceres, California
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Marinated Mozzarella

I always come home with an empty container when I bring this dish to a party. It can be made ahead to free up time later. I serve it with pretty frilled toothpicks for a festive look. —Peggy Cairo, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Stuffed Asiago-Basil Mushrooms

Even if you don't like mushrooms, you will have to try them again with these pretty appetizers, which taste divine. For a main dish, double the filling and use large portobellos. —Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario
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Crowd-Pleasing Ravioli Nachos

Lightly breaded and deep-fried, ravioli goes to a new level in this nacho-like appetizer. Kids and grown-ups can’t get enough of the crispy, cheesy, flavorful crowd pleasers.—Robert Doornbos, Jenison, Michigan
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Polenta Parmigiana

“This warm, Italian-flavored appetizer also makes a quick, filling lunch. I prefer this veggie version, but my kids like to add pepperoni or sausage to create mini pizzas.” —Carolyn Kumpe, El Dorado, California
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Party Shrimp

The marinade for this dish makes the shrimp so flavorful, you won't even need a dipping sauce. Even those who claim they don’t like shellfish really dig this appetizer. —Kendra Doss, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Polenta Mushroom Appetizers

Simple ingredients—in fact you probably have most if not all in your kitchen— are used to create a fantastic, but different appetizer.—Meta West, Abilene, Kansas
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Caprese Skewers

Light, satisfying and healthful in one impossibly easy-to-make dish? Yes, please! Enjoy these Caprese skewers as an app, side dish—truly perfect paired with grilled meat or poultry—or a convenient snack. Every bite is a little taste of summer.
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Garlic-Cheese Flatbread

Unless you plan to make two, don't count on leftovers. As an appetizer or side, this cheesy flatbread will be devoured in less time than it takes to bake. And that's not long! —Suzanne Zick, Maiden, North Carolina
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Balsamic-Goat Cheese Grilled Plums

Make a bold statement with this simple yet elegant treat. Ripe plums are grilled and then dressed with a balsamic reduction and tangy goat cheese. —Ariana Abelow, Holliston, Massachusetts
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Breadstick Pizza

Not only do refrigerated breadsticks lend a fun twist to pizza, but they make this dish a weeknight staple at my house. Feeding kids? Slice pieces into small strips and let the kids dip each strip into marinara sauce. They’ll love it! —Mary Hankins, Kansas City, Missouri
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Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Figs

Here’s a special appetizer that won’t last long! Fruit, caramel and rich dark chocolate add a sweet touch to this grown-up dipped fruit. —Simple & Delicious Test Kitchen
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Pancetta-Wrapped Shrimp with Honey-Lime Glaze

Requested every year by my family during the holidays are these shrimp appetizers. We're all familiar with bacon-wrapped shrimp bites, but our version uses pancetta and a honey-lime cilantro glaze. —Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
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Herb-Roasted Olives & Tomatoes

Eat these roasted veggies with a crunchy baguette or a couple of cheeses. You can also double, or triple, the amounts and have leftovers to toss with spaghetti the next day. —Anndrea Bailey, Huntington Beach, California
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Tuscan Sausage & Bean Dip

This is a spinoff of a Mexican dip I had once. The original was wicked good, but since I was going through an "I’m-so-over-Mexican-dip" phase, I decided to switch it up. Take it to a party—I'll bet you no one else will bring anything like it! —Mandy Rivers, Lexington, South Carolina
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Lasagna Dip

My lasagna noodle chips turned out great and are out-of-this-world crispy. And the dip truly tastes like rich, cheesy Italian-American lasagna. —Linda Cifuentes, Mahomet, Illinois
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Zucchini & Cheese Roulades

My husband enjoys this recipe so much that he even helps me roll up the roulades! You can change the filling any way you like—I have used feta instead of Parmesan, or sun-dried tomatoes in the place of the olives. —April McKinney, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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Muffuletta Cheesecake

When I needed a party appetizer and couldn’t find a recipe I liked, I created my own. This savory spread boasts the flavors of a classic Italian muffuletta sandwich. —Helen Flamm, Dayton, Ohio
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Roasted Grape Crostini

A trip to Spain introduced me to its culinary treasures, like Manchego cheese and sherry. This appetizer always impresses folks who’ve never tasted roasted grapes. They're amazing. —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Antipasto Cups

Turn salami slices into appetizer shells to fill with the veggies and cheese of your choice. —Melissa Obernesser, Utica, New York
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Marinated Almond-Stuffed Olives

Marinated stuffed olives go over so well with company that I try to keep a batch of them in the fridge at all times. —Larissa Delk, Columbia, Tennessee
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Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

When entertaining, I often rely on my pepper tapenade recipe because it takes only 15 minutes to whip up and pop in the fridge. Sometimes I swap out the almonds for walnuts or pecans. —Donna Magliaro, Denville, New Jersey
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Asiago Beef Tart

I love simple recipes that are fancy enough for guests. To get a velvety texture in this tart, I use creme fraiche, but sour cream works too. —Veronica Callaghan, Glastonbury, Connecticut
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Tomato Galette

I found beautiful heirloom tomatoes and had to show them off. In this easy galette, the tomatoes are tangy and the crust is beyond buttery. —Jessica Chang, Playa Vista, California
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Pumpkin Pinwheels

Cream cheese, mozzarella and roasted red peppers make these pumpkin-shaped pinwheels devilishly delicious. They were a hit at my last Halloween party. —Anndrea Bailey, Huntington Beach, California
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Antipasto Bake

Stuffed with savory meats and cheeses, these hearty antipasto squares would satisfy an entire offensive line! The dish comes together quickly and bakes in under an hour, making it the perfect potluck bring-along. Introducing the all-stars in this ooey gooey appetizer: salami, Swiss, pepperoni, Colby-Monterey Jack, prosciutto and provolone. A crisp topping finishes it off. —Brea Barclay, Green Bay, Wisconsin
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Pancetta, Pear & Pecan Puffs

I was recently at a wedding reception where the menu was all small bites. Here’s my rendition of the pear pastries they served. They're the perfect combo of savory and sweet. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois