Single-Serve Appetizers

Yesterday I posted about how to throw a safe, but fun Fourth of July barbecue. As I was writing that post I realized one of the more challenging aspects would be food, both appetizers and the main meal. To me, the main meal is a bit easier because the food doesn’t really need to change, just the delivery. But the appetizers are a bit of a different story. At least at the parties that I throw, appetizers are communal. I am not a huge fan of the these days and have been looking how things could be changed up! Here are some ideas for any upcoming Fourth of July barbecues you may be having.


Individual Veggies & Dip. I always love having a healthy option at parties and this is an easy peasy option. Grab some baby carrots, celery stalk, bell pepper and your favorite dip (hummus, ranch, spinach dip, etc.). Put the dip in the bottom of a small cocktail glass and stick some veggies into each cup.

Grilled Veggie Skewers. Skewers are great because you can make sure they are spread apart on the platter and guests will only touch the one they end up with. This is as easy as doing a rough chop on your favorite veggies (or buying precut veggies) throwing them on small skewers and then on the barbecue.

Prosciutto Wrapped Fruit. This was a family favorite growing up! It is as easy as wrapping prosciutto around the fruit of your choice. We always did cantaloupe, but you could do apple and brie, pear and arugula, dates and goat cheese and the list goes on. Simply wrap them up and put a tooth pick in each one.

Ants on a Log. I almost did not put this on the list, but it is the easiest, one of the most throw back option out there. Easily one of the simplest options on the list and a fairly healthy option at that. Cut the celery stalks into 4ish inch sections, add some peanut butter in the hollow part and put raisins along. It is a healthy salty sweet snack.

Smoked Salmon Bites. Admittedly one of the bougier options on the list. Simply skin and cut cucumbers into slices (about a 1/3-1/2 inch thick), add some cream cheese and a small piece of smoked salmon on top. Add a little tooth pick to help with easy pick up.

Pinwheels. A quick and easy appetizer where you can make a bunch at once. To keep it a bit healthier, focus on hummus as a base and veggies as a filler. Cut them up and stick a skewer through the outside for easy pick up.

Blackberry & Cucumber Skewers. Apparently I love a skewer as a way to avoid a lot of people touching things communally. On a skewer add a cucumber slice, a piece of basil, a large blackberry and then drizzle glaze over the whole thing.



Caprese Skewers. An oldie but a goodie. Glide a mini mozzarella ball, a couple pieces of basil and a cherry tomato on a skewer and drizzle with a little balsamic glaze on it.

Mini Sandwiches. Whether you many these with slices of bread and cut into pieces or on Hawaiian rolls, there are so many options. Peanut butter and jelly, cucumber, BLT, pimento cheese, egg salad… really whatever you want! Stick a toothpick through for easier pick up.

Bruschetta. This is as simple as slicing up a French roll, drizzling with olive oil and sticking it in the oven. Then whipping up your favorite bruschetta recipe. I prefer and old school, tomato, onion and basil recipe.

Meatballs. A classic appetizer in my family. Instead of leaving in the crockpot and having people scoop them out. Stick toothpicks in and line them up on a tray.

Pinwheels. These are also on the healthy list, but if you make them with a delicious aioli, luscious cheese and deli meat you move away from the healthy theme. You could also go for a buffalo chicken theme or Caesar salad.

Crab Cakes. Simply whip up your favorite crab cake recipe make them a bit small than usual and serve with by toothpick and with an individual dipping sauce. You can get little  dipping sauce containers on Amazon.

Salami & Cream Cheese. This was another favorite at family holidays growing up. Simply smear cream cheese on a piece of salami, roll it up and stick a toothpick in it.

Pigs in a Blanket. Another classic that is so easy to make. Just little Vienna sausages rolled  in pastry dough. We normally serve these in one big basket, but you could easily put a toothpick in each and spread out on a platter.

Tartes. Instead of making a larger taste, cut the pastry dough into smaller square or circle section. Add the same toppings you always would and throw them in the oven. I love the idea of a fig and goat cheese, caramelized onion and blue cheese, mushroom or peach and prosciutto taste!

Bacon Wrapped Dates. Slice your dates open, fill them with goat cheese, wrap in bacon and pop them in the oven. When you take them out, stick a toothpick in and you are good to go. Such an easy appetizer.

Sliders. This is such a versatile option; you could do burgers, pulled work, breakfast stile, chicken sandwiches, the list goes on. Figure out what best compliments your menu and get going!



Part of what can make all of these options a bit more exciting is investing in some fun tooth picks. Whether it is Fourth of July, another holiday, birthday or random party, there are a lot of fun options out there!

Valentine’s Day: pink hearts | red hearts | gold hearts | candy hearts | caricatures

Saint Patrick’s Day: green glitter shamrocks | gold glitter shamrocks | cartoon shamrocks | shamrocks and hats

Easter: tulips | colorful bunnies | flowers | bunny ears | white bunnies |

Mother’s Day: square simple | round flowers

Father’s Day: gold sayings | ties, foam fingers & pins | golf

Fourth of July: flags | firework

Halloween: assorted halloween | colorful skulls | assorted ghosts | skulls | grave stones|  crows | witches legs

Thanksgiving: fall leaves | pumpkins | assorted

Christmas: assorted |snowman | assorted glitter | Christmas trees | glitter snowflakes

Hanukkah: blue Star of David| gold Star of David | assorted

Birthday: colorful | gold glitter | stars | 30 | 30 | 40 | 40 | 50 | 50 | 60 | 60 | 70 | 80

Bridal Shower: white hearts| gold hearts | ring | bride to be | assorted

Baby Shower: star and moon | oh baby | blue hearts | pink hearts | blue onesie | pink onesie

Themed Party: cactus | tropical | monstera leaves | green leaves | watermelons

Pearl tops: white | pink | gold | silver | colorful

Standard: standard tooth pick | knotted top

Simple: colorful hearts | gold stars | colorful beads

I hope everyone is having fun preparing for the upcoming holiday! Hopefully these appetizer ideas are helpful and will put your mind at ease when it comes to the safety of your gifts. Until next time, friends… CML

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