These Italian appetizers are crowd-pleasing starters to any Italian-style meal! Pick from bruschetta, crostini, caponata and more.
Making an Italian-style dinner and need some starters? Try these easy Italian appetizers, bursting with Mediterranean-style flavors! This list contains both traditional Italian appetizer recipes like eggplant caponata and Caprese salad, as well as Italian-inspired or Italian Americanrecipes like antipasto skewers or tomato bruschetta. Every single one of them we’ve developed, tested and approved in our home kitchen. Mix and match these fresh, seasonal appetizer recipes to fit your menu!
And now…easy Italian appetizers to pair with your meal!
Need a crowd-pleasing appetizer or snack? This Italian appetizer has become ubiquitous all over the world because of its easy-to-love flavors. Who can say no to crunchy, toasted bread piled with tasty toppings? The most popular way to serve bruschetta in America is with chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil: more traditional Italian bruschetta toppings are mushrooms, artichokes, figs, and more. Get creative with seasonal ingredients for this one!
Here’s an Italian appetizer that we’re head over heels with: caponata! This Sicilian specialty is an appetizer and a side dish, essentially a sweet and sour ratatouille with cooked eggplant, tomatoes and onion. It’s often spread on crusty bread as an appetizer or antipasti (as the Italians would say). It’s so full of tangy, garlicky flavor that once you’ve taken one bite, you’ll likely want to devour the entire dish.
There’s something about the sweet, garlicky fire roasted tomato sauce and the creamy, tangy chevre that makes you park yourself right in front of the dish. Scoop it up with crusty bread slices and it tastes like a pie from your favorite pizzeria…only better. Every time we serve this, it gets rave reviews.
Caprese salad in Italian is insalata caprese, which means “the salad from Capri.” It’s a simple salad of fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil leaves, seasoned with salt and pepper. Like pizza margherita, each of the ingredients corresponds to the colors of the Italian flag: red, white and green.
This board of Italian appetizers is an explosion of colors and flavors, and it’s almost guaranteed to be the centerpiece of any party. Add traditional antipasti like cheese, meats, marinated vegetables, olives, crackers, breads, and more to a platter and serve with small plates to let your guests get to snacking.
This Italian-style dish will make an olive lover out of anyone. Using the right olives here results in smooth, rich flavor: not briny or overly salty. The garlic, lemon and herbs make a symphony of flavor! Every time we make these and set them out on the table, people go crazy for them.
Meet the flatbread pizza, an elegant Italian appetizer. Here the crust is thin and crispy, and it’s topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula and Parmesan cheese shavings, with balsamic reduction drizzle and toasted pine nuts to finish it off.
Here’s a fun and easy Italian appetizer recipe that takes just minutes of hands on time: Marinated Mozzarella Balls! You’ll be surprised by how quickly this comes together and how satisfying the flavors are for such little effort. Marinade fresh mozzarella balls in a mix of olive oil, chopped herbs and red pepper flakes, and the flavor is a burst of bold and herbaceous.
Make this simple Italian bread once, and we guarantee you’ll find it’s the best focaccia bread you’ve made at home! It’s thick and airy, crispy on the outside with beautiful pillowy air pockets on the interior. The flavor is developed and perfectly seasoned, with the classic notes of salt, rosemary and olive oil notes. Serve on its own or as part of a cheese board.
This Italian appetizer idea could not be easier: honestly, it’s more an idea than a recipe. Bake up some homemade crostini, top with goat cheese and honey, and you’ve got the most delicious sweet and savory taste treat. If you'd like, add seasonal fruit, sauteed vegetables, or herbs to amp the flavors.
Whipped ricotta pairs fluffy, savory cheese and gooey golden honey in a tasty Italian-inspired appetizer. It’s creamy, salty sweet perfection scooped up with some warm bread. It’s the ideal starter to get any meal rolling: and it couldn’t be easier to whip up.
Here’s an easy Italian appetizer that capitalizes on the idea of food on a stick: Antipasto Skewers! They’re everything that’s great about an antipasto platter, in skewer form. Thread olives, mozzarella, marinated artichokes and tortellini pasta onto a skewer, and it’s easily devoured by eaters of all ages.
Here’s an easy Italian appetizer that will wow everyone with minimal effort: Marinated Mushrooms! You know those seasoned mushrooms you find at an Italian deli counter or antipasti bar at the grocery? They’re easy to make at home and full of bold, zesty flavor. Add them to a cheese board or antipasti platter, and everyone will be singing their praises.
Here’s a simple Italian appetizer: the Ultimate Cheese Board! Cheese boards are a go-to for entertaining: they’re simple to put together, easy to customize for various diets, and look simply brilliant. Fill your board with Italian cheeses and cured meats, like proscuitto and salami.
Burrata is a revelation: gooey, fresh mozzarella that’s hiding a secret: an even gooier, creamier interior. Once you taste this, you’ll be forever a burrata aficionado. Turn it into an Italian appetizer with fresh summer tomatoes, herbs, olive oil, and sea salt. The Italians are all about the perfection of simplicity: so it’s only fitting that they’re the ones behind this idea.
Looking for a great Italian-style appetizer recipe for entertaining? Try these stuffed mushrooms! These little bites have everything going on: they’re savory, meaty, and herby, with a tender exterior and a crunch in each bite. Even better, this recipe is incredibly easy: no need to sauté filling ingredients. Chop them up, fill, and bake!
This easy recipe might not be a classic Italian appetizer recipe. But it's visually stunning and irresistibly tasty, spearing all the components of a Caprese salad onto a skewer. There’s nothing better than basil and tomatoes in summer, and combined with seasoned mozzarella and a balsamic glaze: you won’t be able to eat just one!
Olive pastes and spreads are often used in Italian cuisine, on crostini, on sandwiches, or even in salads. Oddly enough, there’s no single term in Italian for spread. The term tapenade actually refers to a specific type of olive paste that originated from Provence, France, made with black olives, olive oil, capers, and anchovies. This olive spread works perfectly on crostini or bruschetta for a quick appetizer.
Stuffed dates are incredibly easy to make, and the flavor of this simple Mediterranean pairing is outrageous. There’s the sweet caramel chewiness of Medjool dates. Pair that with tangy, fluffy goat cheese, and the sweet-savory combo is out of this world. For an even more Italian spin, wrap them in prosciutto.
Here’s a fun easy appetizer that riffs on the classic Italian salad: Caprese Flatbread! It’s a flatbread pizza that uses purchased flatbread as a base. Layer it up with mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil, and the key ingredient: a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Also try: Margherita Flatbread
More Italian recipes
Want more inspiration from this flavorful cuisine outside of Italian appetizer recipes? Here are some favorite ideas to pick from:
In a Dutch oven or large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the eggplant, celery, red pepper and red onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 3 to 5 minutes until the eggplant and onions are browned and softened.
Add the crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, capers, and salt. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring once, until very tender. Taste and add another pinch or two of salt. Serve warm, garnished with chopped basil and toasted pine nuts. Or, chill for up to 1 day and serve cold or at room temperature (the flavors taste even better after refrigerating).
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