I find myself constantly needing to make appetizers. Between parties, big games, various meetings, and daily life, I am always on the hunt for simple, quick, and frugal appetizer recipes that also happen to be delicious too.
As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve found that it’s important to always have a stockpile of recipes that I can quickly whip up with things I already have in my kitchen.
Here are some of my favorite frugal appetizer recipes.
Best Frugal Appetizer Recipes
1. Best All-Around Appetizer: Meatball Bubble Biscuits
I make this appetizer for pretty much every event that I am invited to. It’s quick, easy, and most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry, especially if you stock pile your groceries by using discount grocery coupons.
- 12 oz. can of Pillsbury Golden Layers refrigerated flaky biscuits
- 10 frozen cooked meatballs
- 2 sticks of string cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Marinara sauce
- Heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Separate each of the 10 biscuits in half, and cut each meatball in half. Cut each stick of string cheese into 10 pieces. You should have 20 parts of each.
- Place one meatball half along with a string cheese piece into the center of a biscuit half. Roll the dough into a ball so that it completely covers the meatball and the cheese. Do this with all 20 meatballs, and arrange them in an ungreased 8 or 9 inch round cake pan.
- Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder over the meatball biscuits to your liking.
- Bake the biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve with marinara sauce on the side.
2. Best Seafood Appetizer: Clam Dip
This appetizer is famous at my in-laws’ house, and they serve it for every event. Even people who don’t usually like seafood love this clam dip! It’s best served with pretzels for dipping, and again, it requires ingredients that you may already have in your home.
- 2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (softened)
- 2 6.5 oz. cans of minced clams
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
- Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth.
- Add in the Worcestershire sauce and the two cans of minced clams. Add in 3/4 of the juice from the cans of claims, more or less depending on your preference of consistency.
- Mix and serve.
3. Best Classic Appetizer (with a twist): Decorated Deviled Eggs
I love deviled eggs, but its one of those appetizers that people don’t think to bring to parties anymore. Perhaps they’ve lost their novelty after being a party staple for decades. I propose we bring back deviled eggs, but with a new, decorative twist!
Ingredients (for every 6 eggs):
- 6 Eggs
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Dash of pepper
- Topping ideas: Sliced black olives, diced tomatoes, green onions, salad shrimp, chives
- Hard boil the eggs. To hard cook the eggs: Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with 1-inch of cold water. Rapidly bring to a boil, and once the water boils, turn off the heat. Cover and cook eggs for 13-15 minutes. Cool immediately in cold water. To shell hard-cooked eggs: Crack shell all over, and then roll it gently between the palms of your hands to loosen. Start to peel it from the large end.
- Cut each egg lengthwise, and remove the yolk. Mash the yolk from all of the eggs along with the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Refill the egg whites with the mashed mixture.
- Top eggs with paprika and an extra special topping such as sliced black olives, diced tomatoes, green onions, salad shrimp, or chives.
4. Best Game Day Appetizer: Buffalo Chicken Dip
There is nothing better than sitting down to watch the big game with a big bowl of tasty dip in front of you. Here is my favorite one to snack on during Super Bowl parties. It goes great with a wide variety of chips and even celery sticks.
- 3 10 oz. cans of chicken (drained)
- 2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (softened)
- 8 oz. buffalo wing sauce
- 6 oz. ranch or blue cheese dressing
- 2 cups cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl making sure that the chicken is shredded and not in lumps.
- Put mixture into a casserole dish, and bake for 30 minutes.
5. Best Gourmet Appetizer: Stacked Tomatoes & Mozzarella
Impress your friends with an appetizer straight from gourmet restaurants. I actually had this appetizer at my wedding reception, and it was a huge hit.
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 3 large tomatoes, cut crosswise into slices
- 6 oz mozzarella, cut crosswise into slices
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Put the vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it is at a boil, lower the heat and reduce the vinegar to 1 cup. Let vinegar cool and thicken. Place it in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight.
- Sprinkle each tomato slice with salt and pepper.
- Layer slices of mozzarella on slices of tomato on a large serving plate.
- Drizzle on the reduced balsamic vinegar and oil just before serving.
6. Best Crock-Pot Appetizer: Artichoke & Spinach Dip
This is a great appetizer for those who enjoy making Crock-Pot slower cooker meals and recipes. There are many artichoke and spinach dips out there, but using a Crock-Pot makes it very simple and keeps the dip hot. I like French bread with this dip.
- 1 9 oz. box of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain
- 1 14 oz. can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- Mix all ingredients in a large Crock-Pot.
- Cover and cook on low for 2 to 4 hours before serving.
7. Best Quick & Easy Appetizer: Cheesy Quesadillas
Not only do quesadillas make great appetizers, you can actually eat them for a meal too. I made these almost every day in college because they are so quick and easy. Add chicken, bacon, beans, or beef to make the appetizer even more hearty.
- 1 package of flour tortillas
- Olive oil
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or other shredded cheese of your choice)
- Toppings: salsa, sour cream, and guacamole
- Pour a little oil in a large skillet. Heat it up and spread it around.
- Place a flour tortilla in the skillet and cover with cheese on one half only.
- Fold the tortilla in half with a spatula so that the cheese is covered.
- Once the cheese starts to melt, flip to cook the other side.
- Once the cheese is melted, slice into appetizer friendly pieces and serve with toppings.
8. Best Mexican Food Appetizer: 8-Layer Dip
This appetizer is irresistible and is always a crowd pleaser. It’s super easy to make, and the recipe is pretty flexible for you to customize it to your liking. If you don’t want to make all 8 layers, the dip will still taste just as good with 7. On the other hand, if you really like one of the layers, you can make it a 9 layer dip, and double up on your favorite!
- 1 can of re-fried beans
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 8 oz. guacamole
- 8 oz. salsa
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 bag of shredded lettuce
- 2 medium diced tomatoes
- 1/2 chopped black olives
- In a glass pie dish, layer each ingredient.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
9. Best Sandwich Appetizer: Roast Beef & Cheddar Tortilla Pin-Wheels
If you are having a party with a bunch of appetizers, mini-sandwiches will make it seem more like a meal. Pin-wheels are a lot of fun, and give a decorative spin to boring finger sandwiches. Most people really like roast beef and cheddar pin-wheels, but turkey and Swiss is also a good choice. For added convenience, these can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
- 2 Tbsp Caesar ranch dressing
- 2 7 or 8 inch flour tortillas
- 2 large lettuce leaves, torn to fit tortilla
- 4 oz. thinly sliced deli roast beef
- 4 slices of cheddar cheese
- 2 tsp diced red onion
- 16 cocktail toothpicks
- Spread 1 tsp of dressing on each of the tortillas, covering the entire surface. Top each with lettuce, roast beef, cheese, and onion. Roll up each tortilla as tight as possible.
- Cut each roll up into 1-inch slices, and insert a cocktail toothpick into each slice so that they do not fall apart.
10. Best French Appetizer: Brown Sugar Brie
I had this appetizer at a Christmas party last year, and I had to get the recipe. If you have a sweet tooth, you will not be able to stop eating this. It can be served with bagel chips or French bread and apple slices.
- 2 Tbsp of firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp of coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 tsp Brandy
- 1 8 oz. firm whole Brie cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Mix together brown sugar, pecans, and Brandy.
- Place Brie in a baking dish, and bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese starts to soften in the middle.
- Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the cheese, and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the sugar melts and the Brie is melted in the center.
As you can see, there are a number of fantastic options out there for quick, cheap appetizers. Take a look through your pantry and discover a whole new world of party possibilities.
Do you have any recipes for budget-friendly appetizers? Share your favorites in the comments below!
(photo credit: Shutterstock)