26+ Delicious Italian Appetizers To Make Tonight

Whether you're throwing a dinner party or just want to indulge in a cozy Italian night at home, this collection of Italian appetizer recipes is sure to keep you and your taste buds satisfied. From classic antipasto to easy finger food, these delicious Italian appetizers are perfect for your next get-together.

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Clams with Tomatoes, Basil + Blue Cheese

Welcome to the flavorful world of Italian appetizers, where every bite is a celebration of rich culinary tradition.

These appetizers, or 'antipasto' as they're known in Italy, are much more than mere starters. They set the stage for the main course while introducing you to the unique taste of Italian cuisine.

Today, I'll be sharing a wide variety of Italian appetizers that you can easily whip up in your own kitchen.

From simple recipes, such as how to make your own antipasto platter, to those that take a bit more prep time, like zucchini fritters or Meyer lemon focaccia, there is something for everyone on this list.

So go ahead and explore the delicious flavors of Italy!

Why you’ll love these Italian appetizers

  • Many of these recipes are easy enough for a beginner cook to make.
  • Perfect for small gatherings or just a cozy night in with family and friends.
  • You can easily adapt these recipes according to your own tastes and preferences.
  • Not only delicious but visually stunning as well.

Antipasto platter ideas

A classic start to any Italian meal, an antipasto platter consists of a delightful assortment of cured meats, cheeses, olives, and pickled veggies that pair nicely together. There is no cooking involved.

That being said, building your own antipasto platter can be a creative and enjoyable process. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Select a variety of Italian cheeses like fresh mozzarella, sharp provolone, or gorgonzola for a balance of texture and flavor. Specialty cheeses like Prima Donna, burrata or marinated mozzarella balls would also taste delicious.
  • Pair these with cured meats such as salty prosciutto, salami, and capicola.
  • Don't forget to include marinated vegetables like artichokes and peppers, mixed Meyer lemon olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Add a few slices of crusty Italian bread (ex: focaccia or French bread) to round out the platter nicely.
  • Serve a few dips or vinaigrettes on the side for an added flavor boost. You can never go wrong with a high quality Italian olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

The best piece of advice I can give you when it comes to putting together the best Italian appetizer platter is to have fun with it, and to use high-quality ingredients as much as possible. Mix and match the ingredients, and you'll end up with an amazing plate!

Tip: Need some vegetarian options? Consider adding these three Italian antipasto recipes to your platter...

26 Easy Italian appetizers to enjoy before dinner

Now, it's time to put together a few Italian appetizers that will make your dinner party even more special. Here are 26 amazing recipes for you to try:

Italian appetizers with protein

These next few antipasto recipes are perfect for adding an extra bit of protein to your appetizers.

Top view of a plate of tuna carpaccio with arugula in the center.

Classic Tuna Carpaccio with Arugula, Capers and Pine Nuts

u003cpu003eu003cstrong style=u0022color: #000000;font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;letter-spacing: 0.32pxu0022u003eu003cemu003eThis authentic recipe is as visually stunning as it is delicious and takes just 20 minutes to make. It's topped with with coarse sea salt, buttery pine nuts, tangy capers, and a mound of peppery arugula dressed simply with lemon and extra virgin olive oil to really highlight the delicate flavor of raw tuna.u003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/pu003e

Sicilian Spiedini - Beef and stuffed tomatoes in a casserole dish.

Spiedini alla Siciliana

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis is an old family recipe that is great for parties and always a crowd-pleaser! These are meant to be small (think finger food) and are an excellent protein-rich appetizer.u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Grilled Pizza with Prosciutto + Corn

Grilled Pizzas with Corn + Prosciutto

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis awesome recipe is a white pizza that pairs sweet summer corn with salty prosciutto and creamy mozzarella, finished with fresh tarragon. Slice it up and serve as a no-fuss appetizer everyone at the table will enjoy.u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Truffled Popcorn with Parmesan + Prosciutto (Video!)

Truffled Popcorn with Parmesan + Prosciutto

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis cheesy, salty popcorn recipe can be an easy addition to an antipasto board or enjoyed on its own. The salty, savory flavor is a crowd-pleaser every time!u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Brussels Sprouts with Anchovy Caper Butter (Video!)

Brussels Sprouts with Anchovy Caper Butter

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis is one of my all-time favorite recipes for Brussels sprouts. Salty anchovy caper butter is the perfect match for roasted, caramelized sprouts. I recommend serving this on bread, but you can also enjoy solo. u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

A plate of spinach salad with a fork and a hand

Warm Spinach Salad with Pancetta + Goat Cheese

u003cstrong style=u0022font-style: italic;u0022u003eHearty spinach leaves, crisp red onions, creamy goat cheese, and meaty bits of pancetta are tossed in a tangy, mustardy vinaigrette. This is a steakhouse-inspired spinach salad that's the perfect starter foru003c/strongu003eu003cem style=u0022letter-spacing: 0.32px; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, u0026quot;Segoe UIu0026quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, u0026quot;Helvetica Neueu0026quot;, sans-serif;u0022u003eu003cstrongu003e any protein! This salad is very simple to make thanks to the short ingredient list, but still has so much flavor. u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003e

Vegetarian Italian appetizer recipes

Here are a few delicious vegetarian Italian appetizers that you can enjoy, either as part of an antipasto platter or as the main event.

Fava Bean Crostini with Pecorino + Mint (Video!)

Fava Bean Crostini with Pecorino + Mint

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis is an easy, elegant spring appetizer! Fresh Fava beans are usually only in season for a short time during late spring, and they can be a bit fussy to work with, but the labor of love is absolutely worth it. Creamy, lemony fava bean puree tops crispy toasted bread and is finished with sharp, salty Pecorino cheese and fresh mint. It's simple, seasonal, and so delicious. u003c/strongu003e u003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

overhead shot of grilled zucchini bruschetta on a wood platter

Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta with Whipped Ricotta + Mint

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis recipe is the perfect summer appetizer made with grilled zucchini, lemony whipped ricotta, and fresh mint piled high on grilled Italian bread. So easy and so good!u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Top view of a serving dish with roasted long hots and garlic cloves.

Easy Roasted Italian Long Hot Peppers

u003cpu003eu003cem style=u0022color: #000000u0022u003eu003cstrongu003eThese roasted long hot peppers are a delicious classic Italian appetizer. I make this one often, as it takes just 5 ingredients and 20 minutes to make. You can enjoy them solor, or serve them on an antipasto platter with crusty bread. Any leftovers work well added to sandwiches or salads for an extra burst of flavor. u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Top view of a plate of zucchini fritters with lemon herb yogurt dip.

Crispy Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Herb Yogurt

u003cpu003eu003cstrong style=u0022color: #000000u0022u003eu003cemu003eThese crispy zucchini fritters are quick to make, easy to freeze for later, and really easy to eat! Serve them with a tangy lemon herb yogurt for an awesome appetizer.u003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/pu003e

A blue plate with slices of farinata di ceci.

Farinata di Ceci: Italian Chickpea Pancake (Socca)

u003cpu003eu003cstrong style=u0022color: #000000;font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;letter-spacing: 0.32pxu0022u003eu003cemu003eA savory Italian chickpea flour pancake that’s soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and is made in under 15 minutes with just 3 basic ingredients.u003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/pu003e

Overhead shot of a long white plate with four red and yellow tomatoes with breadcrumbs on top.

Easy Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

u003cpu003eu003cem style=u0022color: #000000u0022u003eu003cstrongu003eThis simple cheese-stuffed tomato recipe has only 5 ingredients and can be made in 20 minutes or less! The tomato is the star of the show here, and this recipe is best for summer months when tomatoes are in season.u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Overhead shot of a jar of pesto with whole almonds and garlic scattered around.

Sicilian Pesto alla Trapanese with Almonds and Tomatoes

u003cpu003eu003cstrong style=u0022color: #000000u0022u003eu003cemu003eThis pesto has only 6 ingredients, including almonds, tomatoes, and basil, and is prepared in just 15 minutes! I've used these several ways as an appetizer, as it works well on an antipasto board, spread over crusty bread, or drizzled on roasted vegetables.u003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/pu003e

Scaccia: Sicilian "Pizza Babka"

Scaccia Ragusana: Sicilian u0022Pizza Babkau0022

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis traditional recipe is a simple and unique bread preparation from Sicily. It's easier to make than it looks, and is a hit with everyone around the table. u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Top view of oven baked beet chips on a white platter.

Oven Baked Beet Chips

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThese beet chips are light and crisp, salty and satisfying. They're made in the oven, so they're healthy too! u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

How to Make Panelle: Italian Chick Pea Fritters

Italian Chick Pea Fritters with Veggies

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis nutritious recipe uses chickpea flour and lots of veggies! They're crispy, salty, and also vegan, and gluten-free! While this is a delicious authentic Italian appetizer, it's also a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables too.u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Oven Baked Parmesan Truffle Fries

Crispy Baked Parmesan Truffle Fries

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eu003cemu003eThis recipe is SO easy because there’s no frying! Learn my tricks to getting the crispiest oven-baked fries possible. Then, toss them with nutty parmesan cheese and earthy truffle oil herbs for a killer restaurant-quality appetizer.u003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/pu003e

Easy Shaved Asparagus Salad

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eu003ciu003eThis elevated salad is so simple to prepare and is a fantastic example of allowing simple, flavorful ingredients to speak for themselves! Raw shaved asparagus and salty pecorino Romano cheese are tossed with a simple lemon vinaigrette, then finished with a sprinkle of Italian flat-leaf parsley. So quick, so delicious, and perfect for spring! u003c/iu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/pu003e

Crispy chick peas on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Crispy Chick Peas

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eu003cemu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis recipe turns a humble can of healthy garbanzo beans into an addictive, salty snack! It's simple to make and results in the lightest, crispiest, most addictive crispy chickpeas on the planet.u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/pu003e.

Italian appetizers with a sweet side

These next few recipes are perfect for making Italian appetizers that have a bit of sweetness to them.

Blue Cheese Tartines with Apples + Arugula (Video!) | ColeyCooks.com

Blue Cheese Tartines with Apples + Arugula

u003cpu003eu003cem style=u0022font-family: Raleway, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;font-size: 18px;letter-spacing: 0.5pxu0022u003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 600u0022u003eThis recipe makes the perfect fall appetizer, but I find myself making (and craving) it all year long. Tangy blue cheese, crisp apples, walnuts, and honey all play together beautifully.u003c/spanu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Honey Roasted Plum Crostini with Burrata and Prosciutto (Video!)

Honey Roasted Plum Crostini with Burrata + Prosciutto

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis recipe is an easy appetizer that's sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy, and full of flavor. While I tend to make this most often in the summer, it's fantastic any time of year.u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Eggplant Caponata

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eA classic Sicilian appetizer made with eggplant, olives, tomatoes, celery, and lots of other fresh ingredients. It's a cooked salad or relish with a sweet and sour flavor, known as u0022agrodolceu0022 in Italian. It's a flavor combination I can't get enough of (and neither will your guests).u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003e u003c/pu003e

Roasted Mushroom + French Goat Cheese Crostini | ColeyCooks.com

Roasted Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crostini

u003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis simple but elegant appetizer is perfect for entertaining, especially around the holidays, but is casual enough to enjoy at family dinners too. u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003e

MEYER LEMON FOCACCIA | ColeyCooks.com | Salty, Sweet, Tangy, Pillowy Soft + Totally Addictive!

Meyer Lemon Focaccia

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis appetizer is the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors. It's a deliciously unique take on this classic Italian bread.u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Grilled Peach Panzanella with Burrata | ColeyCooks.com

Grilled Peach Panzanella with Burrata

u003cpu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eSweet caramelized grilled peaches are paired with a big hunk of creamy burrata for a twist on this classic Tuscan salad. This is a go-to appetizer for me when I have fresh peaches on hand!u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003c/pu003e

Fennel + Orange Salad with Toasted Pistachios

Fennel Orange Salad with Toasted Pistachios

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eu003cemu003eu003cemu003eu003cstrongu003eThis gorgeous fennel orange salad tastes just as good as it looks! The fresh, juicy citrus and crisp, sweet fennel are perfect for winter when citrus fruits are at their peak of flavor.u003c/strongu003eu003c/emu003eu003cbru003eu003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003eu003c/pu003e

6 quick and simple Italian appetizer ideas

Want some more ideas for Italian appetizers that you can enjoy? Here are a few easy ones to try that require little to no prep:

  • Crusty Bread - Dipped in Italian olive oil or topped with ricotta cheese.
  • Antipasto Skewers - Made with cured meats, cheeses, olives, artichoke hearts, etc.
  • Tomato and Mozzarella Salad - Or opt for quick and simple skewers using marinated mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes with basil leaves.
  • Antipasto Salad - Same ingredients as the skewers, tossed with your favorite lettuce and vinaigrette dressing.
  • Roasted Vegetables - My go-to's are roasted cauliflower and crispy Brussels sprouts.
  • Marinated Olives - Served in a bowl, like these with Meyer lemon.

As you can see, making Italian appetizers to enjoy doesn't have to be tricky or complicated.

FAQs about Italian appetizers

What’s the difference between appetizers and antipasto?

Appetizers can include anything served before the meal, from small snacks to full-fledged dishes. Antipasto is a specific type of appetizer and usually consists of cured meats, cheeses, olives, and pickled veggies.

What is the best appetizer to serve before pasta?

If you are serving pasta as the main course, a good appetizer to serve would be something light and simple. Perhaps a small serving of a Classic Tuna Carpaccio with some arugula and capers or lightly dressed greens and vegetables (like this Heirloom Tomato Salad- it's one of my favorites!).

What’s the easiest Italian appetizer to make for a party?

One of the easiest and most delicious Italian appetizers to make for a party is some sort of crostini with a topping of cheese and herbs. These are fairly simple to assemble.
You can also easily put together an antipasto platter in no time- just choose a few cured meats, cheeses, olives, and pickled veggies from the store and arrange them on a platter.

Which appetizer can I make ahead of time?

Most Italian appetizers can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. The Oven-Baked Beet Chips are a great option to make ahead of time and add to your appetizer table when it is time to eat.

Depending on which type of appetizer you decide to make, you can prepare a few of the components ahead of time and simply assemble them before your guests arrive.

For example, let's take a look at these stuffed tomatoes. If you are trying to save some time, you can prepare the tomatoes by washing them, cutting the tops off, and leaving them ready in a container. You can also prepare the goat cheese stuffing in advance and simply fill the tomatoes and bake them before serving so that they are nice and warm.

Did you make this recipe and LOVE it? Please leave a star ⭐️ rating and/or comment to help other readers. I absolutely love hearing from you and do my best to answer all questions and comments. I love seeing when you make my recipes, so please tag me @ColeyCooks on Instagram and I will repost!

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Authentic Italian Appetizer: Build the Perfect Antipasto Board

Indulge in the quintessential Italian appetizer with an antipasto platter. Bursting with an exquisite array of savory cured meats, artisanal cheeses, briny olives, and zesty pickled vegetables, this culinary masterpiece requires no cooking. It's a feast the whole family will enjoy, ready to transport your taste buds to the heart of Italy.
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Italian cheeses like fresh mozzarella provolone, or gorgonzola.
  • Cured meats such as salty prosciutto salami, and capicola.
  • Marinated vegetables like artichokes and peppers.
  • Salty olives such as these mixed Meyer lemon olives.
  • Crusty Italian bread ex: focaccia or French bread.
  • Dips or vinaigrettes - my choice is pesto or a high quality Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Instructions

  1. Layer items on the board and enjoy!


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