how to make the ultimate summer appetizer

the ultimate summer appetizer

Looking for a tasty, easy summer appetizer? Look no further because I’ve got you covered!

This past weekend we spent 3 days on the lake with all of our Baylor friends. After months of quarantining and 14 days of little to no interaction with other humans, we were super grateful to be around some of our favorite people.

Going into the weekend, several of us planned to cook Mexican food for the group and we went all in. We choose to make steak, chicken and veggie tacos and Mexican rice. We also decided to make a giant summer appetizer tray for everyone to enjoy while we cooked the dinner.

Originally, we decided to make a cheese board, but it quickly ended up being the ultimate summer appetizer. Our “cheese board” was comprised of not just cheese, but veggies, fruit, chips, and a variety of dips. We added a little color to keep it on theme as well as some fun dips and it ended up being such a huge hit!

In all honesty, it was such an easy summer appetizer to put together – especially for a larger party – that I couldn’t resist sharing our tips for creating the ultimate summer appetizer!

the ultimate summer appetizer

How To Make The Ultimate Summer Appetizer:

Whether you’re making an appetizer for date night or for a large party, the tips below will help you make the ultimate summer appetizer. They’re easy to follow and will “wow” your guests with minimal effort!

  • different consistencies – include several consistencies in your board to create variety. Crunchy chips and harder vegetables like cucumbers and peppers to softer cheeses to liquid dips. Including a variety will not only ensure there’s something for everyone, but it makes it more exciting and fun to look at!
  • easy to eat – the last thing you want when making a summer appetizer is to make something that is too difficult to eat. Make sure everything in your appetizer is easy for your guest to pick up and eat. For example we had several hard cheeses on our board so instead of letting our guests cut the cheese themselves, we precut the cheese so it would be easy to pick up.
  • accommodate diet restrictions – there are so many different diets these days that it is best to just prepare in advance by having something for everyone. Do things like adding a vegan dips for vegans or plantain chips for gluten free guests. It’s so easy to do and will ensure every guest can enjoy your appetizer.
  • add color – color is key! Add color to your board for a visual effect. This time we added it with our food – red and orange peppers, salsas, cucumbers, etc., but you can also add color by adding greenery and flowers.
  • use containers – to break up the appetizer board, add in some containers. We added some ramekins and a mini cast iron skillet for visual effect.
  • variety of cheeses – if you’re going to have cheese on your summer appetizer tray, make sure you have not only a variety of consistency – hard, semi-soft and soft, but a variety in taste as well. Include cheese that are mild as well as some that are stinky.
  • mix healthy & splurge-worthy food – mixing both healthy foods and splurge-worthy foods like queso and chips provides a great mix and something for everyone. We included lots of healthy dipping options such as cucumbers and peppers while also providing chips. We also provided dips like queso in addition to some healthier options like our Jalepeno Cauliflower dip from Trader Joes. Again, this just ensures there is something for everyone.

The Ultimate Summer Appetizer Ingredients: (all ingredients purchased from Trader Joe’s)

  • Queso – we used the Trader Joe’s queso and sprinkled some cilantro and sliced jalepenos on top.
  • Salsa – always use a variety of salsas as you never know what your guests might like. We used a mild salsa, a hot salsa and a green salsa.
  • Pico De Gallo – we used the Trader Joe’s brand pico de gallo for those that like a chunkier salsa
  • Veggies – veggies are a great way to add color. They’re also great dipping alternatives to chips. We used sliced carrots, cucumbers, mini peppers cut in half and snap peas.
  • Dips – we opted to add a couple more dips to our tray since it was a Mexican-themed dinner party. We served homemade guacamole and the Cauliflower Jalepeno dip from Trader Joe’s.
  • Cheese – we served a variety of cheese, hoping that each guest would find something they liked. We served a Triple Cream Brie, a blue cheese, a cheddar gruyere and a Toscano soaked in syrah.
  • Chips – again, we served a variety of chips – some blue chips, regular tortilla chips, whole wheat pita crackers and our favorite dipper, the Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers. We also served plantain chips as a gluten free alternative for chips.
  • Nuts – it’s always good to have a little crunch on your board so we served a mini bowl of Thai Lime & Chili Almonds.


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