Easy Appetizers that Won’t Break the Bank

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Appetizers are a fantastic way to start a meal whether it’s a regular night at home or if you’re entertaining friends. Try one of these easy appetizers that are perfect for all occasions and easy on the wallet.

chicken patties with tzatziki dip on plate

Summer vacations are rolling to a close. While some of us have been back to school for a few days or weeks, others are enjoying one last hurrah before going back to the grind after Labor Day.

Now is a great time to host a few get-togethers or a late summer BBQ, even if it’s an late afternoon “happy hour” of appetizers.

Easy appetizers are usually something that I keep in my backpocket for the holidays, but they are great really anytime of the year. Who doesn’t love a Snacky Dinner?

Wherever you land on the spectrum: with school for yourself or your children on the horizon or with work and fellow co-workers returning from various summer holidays, these easy appetizers will be perfect for your next get-together.

And no, you don’t have to be rich to be hospitable. Be ready for unexpected guests with these easy apps in your repertoire.

three stuffed mushrooms on plate with platter of mushrooms in background

Shopping Tips for Easy Appetizers

How you shop has a direct impact on your grocery budget. You, after all, are the one to put the food in the grocery cart!

Don’t get caught up in being the hostess with the mostest that you overspend or outstretch your budget. There are some easy strategies to serving delicious easy appetizers without going broke.

Consider these approaches to shopping for your party:

  1. Shop your kitchen first. What ingredients do you already have on hand? There’s no reason you need to go out and buy more if you’ve got plenty of food on hand at home. Do a quick inventory of your fridge, freezer, and pantry to see what you’ve got to work with.
  2. Shop the sales. Every week your grocery store issues a sales flyer. Make a habit of scanning this each week so you have an idea of what’s priced affordably. Often the items on the front and the back of the flyer are offered at rock bottom prices to get you in the door. Pro tip: Stocking up regularly on sale items will give you a bigger pantry to work from going forward.
  3. Look to inexpensive ingredients. Barring a sale, stay away from the meat and cheese departments. These items will cost more than foods. Focus on ingredients that are almost always affordable, like vegetables and grains. 

veggie tray with peppers, peas, tomatoes, and cokes

What can I serve as appetizers?

The appetizers rounded up here are not only easy to prepare, but they are also easy on the wallet. You can serve them to a crowd without breaking the bank. And they taste amazing!

Easy Appetizers that Won't Break the Bank

Zucchini Fritters

Fry up a batch of zucchini fritters. Your kids, or your spouse, won’t know what hit them!

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Delicious Ranch Dressing

Avoid processed, bottled dressings with this easy homemade Ranch Dressing. It’s delicious and made with all real food ingredients.

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Healthy Spinach Dip

Make the classic appetizer a little better for you with this Healthy Spinach Dip. Yogurt instead of mayonnaise and herbs and spices instead of a packaged soup mix make it delicious — and good for you, too.

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Sour Cream and Dill Dip

Homemade dips take just minutes to make and use up all that herbal goodness just waiting in your spice cupboard like this sour cream dip with onion and dill.

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Homemade Sour Cream And Onion Dip

This recipe will help you make Sour Cream Onion Dip easy and without any packaged soup mix. It’s perfect for snacking!

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Homemade Onion Soup Mix

Make your own homemade dry onion soup mix to keep on hand to flavor dips and main dish recipes.

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Bacon and Spinach Frittata Bites

Want to bring something tasty and filling to your next party? These Bacon and Spinach Frittata Bites are just the cocktail snack to prepare.

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Parmesan Potato Coins

When they bake up golden crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. Try these Parmesan Potato Coins for an ultimate appetizer or side dish.

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Garlic-Parmesan Swirl Biscuits

Dress up your bread basket with these simple, but elegant Garlic-Parmesan Swirl Biscuits. Packed with flavor, they are fun to make and great to eat!

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Sweet Potato Fries

These Sweet Potato Fries are super simple make, and they taste great! Bake up a batch in about 30 minutes with no fuss or hassle. No waiting in lines, either.

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Samosa Cups Recipe

Samosa Cups are crunchy little bundles of seasoned ground meat, onions, and African spices. They are a delicious shortcut to traditional samosa.

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Spicy Chicken Dip

This Spicy Chicken Dip is out of this world. Creamy, cheesy, spicy, and full of tender chicken pieces, this dip will please kids and adults alike.

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Olive Bruschetta and Elegant Afternoon Snacks

This olive bruschetta is utter deliciousness! It’s the perfect snack and a must-make for your next party.

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Pesto Bruschetta Recipe

Enjoy all the bright flavors of summer in this easy-to-prep Pesto Bruschetta. An ideal appetizer, it also makes a great light lunch.

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Tomato Bruschetta with Herbes de Provence

This simple tomato bruschetta comes together quickly and easily. It’s economical and delicious, the perfect combination for your next company meal.

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Broiled Bruschetta

Bruschetta made with prime summer tomatoes is absolutely out of this world. Put your feet up and enjoy this easy appetizer that can be made in advance and quickly prepped under the broiler.

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Santa Barbara Cowboy Caviar

Santa Barbara Cowboy Caviar is a delicious bean dip that acts like a salsa. It’s perfect with chips, to top tacos or enchiladas, or even to serve simply on rice.

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Homemade Salsa - It's Easier than You Think!

If you’ve been buying salsa in a jar, it may be time to think about making Homemade Salsa. It’s cheaper and tastier than the commercial varieties. And so easy!

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Super Easy Salsa (VIDEO)

Chips and salsa are always a crowd pleaser. But, what if you made your own salsa? This Super Easy Salsa will make you the hit of the party!

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Try Strawberry Salsa for a Fun Summer Twist

Strawberry Salsa is a fun way to incorporate this summer fruit into your savory dishes. It’s got the same sweet-tart flavor and vivid red hue as traditional tomato, but gives your dishes a fun twist.

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Taco Shop Style Salsa - Be the Hit of the Fiesta

Save money and enjoy a delicious Taco Shop Style Salsa with this easy recipe. You’ll be the hit of the fiesta.

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Six-Layer Nachos that You Can Make & Freeze

Viva la fiesta! These six-layer nachos are packed with flavor and are freezer-friendly. They go well poolside as well as at a tailgate party.

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One-Pan Chicken Nachos Recipe

Feed a crowd and your hunger for loaded nachos all in one fell swoop. This One-Pan Chicken Nachos recipe will have you set for success.

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How to Make an Easy Veggie Tray

Purchased vegetable trays are convenient, but they can be costly. Here’s all you need to create a super easy veggie tray and save money.

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Easy Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon & Greens

Enjoy a flavorful appetizer with this easy stuffed mushrooms recipe. Bacon, greens, and cheese make the humble mushroom amazing!

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Easy Tomato Salad on Toast

Enjoy the flavors of summer with this juicy Tomato Salad on Toast. It’s the perfect appetizer for summer get-togethers, making use of the produce of the season.

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Jalapeno Cheese Dip

Hot dips are the perfect appetizer to serve on cold nights. Typically, rich and cheesy, they break the ice at any get-together. This Jalapeno Cheese Dip will take the prize!

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Jalapeno Popper Nachos

Jalapeno Poppers can be tedious and time-consuming to make. Take all the goodness and make it a little easier in these Jalapeno Popper Nachos!

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Easy Jalapeno Poppers with Rice and Bacon

Enjoy the classic jalapeno poppers appetizers without getting flamed by the heat. In this easy jalapeno poppers recipe, rice and dairy tame the flames, while bacon keeps it flavorful.

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Crispy Chicken Patties (better than chicken nuggets!)

Ready for a fun and flavorful snack? Cook up a batch of fried Chicken Patties. Better than any chicken nuggets, they make a hearty protein appetizer or main dish.

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What’s your favorite easy appetizer?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Stephanie M. says

    Here is an appetizer that I have served many times and people always ask for the recipe.

    Cordon bleu appetizers

    4 oz. cream cheese, softened
    1 tsp. spicy brown mustard (I use guldens)
    1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
    3/4 cup small diced cooked ham (I use the packages of small dice ham that I find in the store)
    1/2 cup minced chives, divided
    18 slices French bread (1/2 inch thick)

    In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in the Swiss cheese, ham and 1/4 cup of chives. Spread 1 TBS. mixture over each bread slice; place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining chives.

    The mixture can be made ahead of time and frozen until ready for use. I’ve done this and it’s just like it was freshly made. I just make it and put it into a freezer bag. It defrosts in a short period of time and can be made the day of service.

    Another appetizer that goes over very well:

    Cheese Clouds

    1 jar of Cheese Whiz
    1 can dinner rolls such as Pillsbury
    1/2 stick butter

    Put butter and cheese in a round pyrex dish and melt in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes. With a fork, blend together. Cut each biscuit into quarters and arrange on top of cheese. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Guests can pick up a piece of the biscuit and the cheese mixture underneath it.

  2. Alice E says

    I like the idea of the zucchini fritters, but since leeks are very pricey here I might substitute sweet onions.

    I usually just do dip or meatballs in either marinara or the old standard ketchup and grape jelly sauce. My usual dips are the Spicy White Bean Dip from the AlaskaFromScratch website or a yogurt dill dip that I think I found in a blog on the FoodieWithFamily website. I like hummus, but it is expensive and even if you make your own the tahini is pricey. The bean dip is a bit more basic and goes well with crackers or veggies. It goes over well except with my daughter-in-law who expects bean dip to be the Tex-Mex type. For that type I usually just mash up a can of chili style beans with or without a batch of salsa.

  3. These fritters look yummy. We have a couple monster zucchinis on the counter right now, and I heard from one of the kids there are more out on the vine….I think I’ll give this recipe a try and see if the family likes it 🙂

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