Hors d'Oeuvres Recipes Perfect for Summer Entertaining

Be inspired by these bite-size treats from luxury hotels, resorts, and venues.

Summertime for most of the country means great weather, longer days, and more time spent with friends. If you're having any parties this season, we've found that easy-to-eat snacks, such as finger food or bite-sized appetizers, are perfect for summer entertaining.

Photo: Full Spectrum Photography

Summertime for most of the country means great weather, longer days, and more time spent with friends. If you're having any parties this season, we've found that easy-to-eat snacks, such as finger food or bite-sized appetizers, are perfect for summer entertaining – whether you're hosting a wedding, rehearsal dinner, laid-back backyard barbecue, or just a casual get-together with friends. Something as simple as buffalo wing bites served with celery and bleu cheese on a skewer could work beautifully, or you could go with a more lavish presentation of easy-to-eat favorites, including lobster rolls, mini tostadas, or even ceviche.

To offer some ideas, take a look at these bite-sized treats perfect for summer entertaining from popular hotels, resorts, and venues! You'll find everything from lobster- and tuna-based hors d'oeuvres, to refreshing watermelon bites and vegan ceviche, as well as something for your party guests with a sweet tooth. The ingredients and recipes below are meant to help you to add one of these snacks to the menu for your backyard summer get-together – or take them as inspiration and create your own delectable dish!

Tomato, Basil & Mint on Crispy Polenta with Burrata from Executive Chef, Kelli Crosson of The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Serves Four

Polenta Ingredients:
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup dry polenta
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- salt & black pepper to taste

To Finish Ingredients:
- 3 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced (you will need 12 slices for 4 servings)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large basil leaves, chopped
- 1 sprig of mint, chopped
- 2 4oz. packages of burrata cheese

Polenta Preparation:
- Combine milk and salt in a mixing bowl and heat over a double boiler until hot
- Stir in the polenta and whisk until dissolved. Cover with plastic film and cook over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 hours
- Stir in the butter and Parmesan. Season to taste.
- Pour into a plastic-lined pan and allow to cool. Ensure that the polenta is approximately 1/4" thick
- Remove from pan and slice polenta into desired shape. We typically cut 3"x3" squares.

To Prep:
- When ready to serve, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sear polenta on both sides until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and keep warm.
- Place sliced tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, 1 Tbsp olive oil, basil, and mint in a bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Slice each burrata in half. You will use half a ball of burrata per plate.

To Plate:
- Place 3 slices of marinated tomato on each 10" plate
- Place one square of warm polenta on top
- Place burrata half on top of polenta
- Spoon olive oil, cherry tomato, and herb mixture over the top of the burrata, allowing the cherry tomato halves to spill all over the plate
- Enjoy!

Goat Cheese-Filled Grape Tarts from The Breakers

Goat cheese and grape tarts from The Breakers entertaining appetizer ideas small bites bite size snacks

Photo & recipe courtesy of The Breakers

Ingredients (makes 240 tarts):
- 3 11oz. pkg. goat cheese
- 2 cups cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 Tbsp rosemary, chopped small
- 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp shallot, minced
- 1/4 cup water
- pie dough
- 240 red grapes, split in half

In a stand mixer, mix the first nine ingredients together until smooth and pipable. Lightly toss the red grapes in olive oil and lightly roast. Punch the pie dough, fill cooked pie dough with creamy filling and top with two red grape halves.

Chocolate Mousse from Executive Pastry Chef, Daniel Andreotti of Oheka Castle

Chocolate Mousse recipe small bite summer party ideas entertaining tips wedding dessert options

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography; Recipe courtesy of Executive Pastry Chef, Daniel Andreotti of Oheka Castle

- 8 oz. Valrhona dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 eggs, separated
- 6 Tbsp whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- chocolate tulip shell
- raspberry

Place chocolate pieces on top of double boiler, melt, and stir in liqueur. Whip egg yolks only until thick and creamy. Beat into melted chocolate. Whip the cream until stiff. Add whipped cream to chocolate-and-egg mixture. Whip egg whites with sugar and cream of tartar. Mix egg whites and chocolate batter together. Spoon mousse into chocolate tulip shells. Top each shell with a fresh raspberry. Chill and serve.

Lobster Rolls from Redbird & Vibiana Chef Neal Fraser

Lobster rolls from redbird and vibiana chef neal fraser summer entertaining ideas bite size snacks

Photo by Ryan Phillips Photography; Recipe courtesy of Redbird & Vibiana Chef Neal Fraser

- 12 oz. lobster, cooked
- 4 oz. Sir Kensington mayonnaise
- 2 oz. celery, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp chervil, chopped
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 12 mini brioche buns, split
- kosher salt, to taste
- micro celery, garnish

Mix lobster with mayonnaise, celery, chervil, and Old Bay seasoning, and add kosher salt to taste. Fill each split brioche bun with approximately 1 oz. of the lobster mix and garnish with micro celery.

Buffalo Wing Bites

Buffalo wing bites wedding appetizer party entertaining food ideas hors d'oeuvres bleu cheese celery

Photo by KingenSmith; From Real Wedding: Interfaith Candlelit Ceremony & Glamorous Purple Reception

Similar Recipe from Love to Be in the Kitchen:

- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg or 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks or strips
- 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp water
- celery
- bleu cheese or ranch dip

- Preheat oven to 475 degrees, and combine flour, breadcrumbs, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in small mixing bowl. Whisk eggs and milk in separate bowl. Dip each chick piece into egg mixture and then into breading blend, repeat process to each is double coated. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Turn up heat to broil and continue to cook 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Combine buffalo wing sauce, butter, and water in a small sauce pan on medium-low heat. Remove cooked chicken pieces, let cool. Toss chicken and hot sauce mixture.
- Fill celery with bleu cheese (or ranch) dip, add to skewer, and top with buffalo wing bite.

Pineapple Mojito Ceviche (left) & Vegan Hearts of Palm & Mango Ceviche (right) from Acqualina Resort & Spa

Pineapple mojito ceviche and vegan hearts of palm and mango ceviche gluten free acqualina resort and spa entertaining ideas

Photo courtesy of Acqualina Resort & Spa

Pineapple Mojito Ceviche Ingredients:
- corvina fish
- fresh lime juice
- pineapple
- red bell pepper
- mint
- cilantro
- red onion
- sugar cane stick
- lemon
- taro chip

Pineapple Mojito Ceviche Preparation:
Combine ingredients in small glass bowl or martini glass, and garnish with two sugar cane sticks, a slice of lime, and two taro chips.

Hearts of Palm & Mango Ceviche Ingredients:
- heart of palm
- fresh lime juice
- fresh lemon juice
- mango
- red onion
- red bell pepper
- cilantro
- sugar cane stick
- pineapple

Hearts of Palm & Mango Ceviche Preparation:
Combine ingredients in small glass bowl or martini glass, and garnish with two sugar cane sticks and a slice of pineapple or fruit of your choice.

Tostadas de Atun from La Quinta Resort & Club

Yellowfin tuna guacamole asian fusion tostada from la quinta resort and club entertaining ideas bite size snacks

Photo courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Club

- yellowfin tuna
- tortilla chip
- guacamole
- chipotle aioli
- soy sauce
- ginger
- sesame oil

To create this crudo dish, top one tortilla chip with guacamole and yellowfin tuna. Add chipotle aioli and garnish with edible flowers.

Island Refresher from Montage Kapalua Bay

Watermelon goat cheese and passion fruit island refresher from montage kapalua bay entertaining ideas bite size snacks

Photo courtesy of Montage Kapalua Bay

- watermelon
- local goat cheese
- lilikoi (passion fruit)

Prepare on a large plate or in small-bite form. Top cube of watermelon with local goat cheese, drizzle passion fruit, and top with greens (optional).

For more ideas, discover cocktail recipe ideas here, be inspired by these elevated late-night snacks, learn how to create the ultimate cheese board for your wedding, and see these hors d'oeuvres ideas from What's Gaby Cooking.