Make Ahead Appetizers

Kitchen Clock with Fruits Design


Make ahead appetizers are great because you don’t need to worry about losing time spent with your guests making them or rushing before an event. Here is our collection of our favorites on this site.


When you’re thinking of ideas for different types of things to make ahead of time, the best things to do is to think of things that can be served cold or stored easily. For example, a simple party snack mix that can be stored in an air tight container is a great example. You’ll also find some great ideas in our cold appetizers section which has everything from 7 Layer Mexican Dip to Marinated Shrimp. Dips are also great for this because you can easily make them the day before as well. (You can find all of our dips & spreads here).

Here are all of our best make ahead appetizers that you can make the night or day before and serve minutes before your guests arrive:


  • Marinated Shrimp: Marinated Shrimp is an elegant recipe. Since the dish is delicious served cold, you can easily cook and arrange it all on a platter and keep refrigerated until the time to serve it.


  • 7 Layer Mexican Dip: This seven layer Mexican dip is very easy to make and can easily be made the night before. The most important thing is to make sure you allow the ground meat to cool completely so your lettuce doesn’t become soggy.


  • Antipasto Platter: Who doesn’t love a platter of olives, Italian meats, cheeses, and more? This is an easy way to put together some tasty snacks.


  • Tortilla Cream Cheese Pinwheels: Pinwheels are a great appetizer and are actually a lot easier to make than you would think! Since they require refrigeration time anyway, you can easily put them together before hand.


  • Buffalo Chicken Dip: Whether you choose our cold or hot version, both taste great and can easily be made ahead of time.


  • Fruit Tray: A fruit tray is delicious and sweet and you can make our Yogurt Fruit Dip as a great accompaniment. For best results, choose fruits which hold up well after being sliced, such as oranges, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe. Fruits such as apples and bananas, if they are a must have, should be sliced and added immediately before serving because they have a tendency to discolor.


  • Spinach & Artichoke Dip: This is a classic dip for any party and relatively easy to prepare. It tends to hold well for about a day before serving.


  • Cold Crab Dip: This cold crab dip recipe is always a huge hit that has everybody raving for the recipe and, again, can be refrigerated before serving.


  • Bruschetta: You can easily make Bruschetta ahead of time. If you’re worried about having time to make the toasted bread, you can always take a short cut and buy the pre-made toasted bread typically available around or near the deli counter or cracker aisle of your local grocery store.


These are just some of the great examples of things you can easily make the day before and not worry about having to put a lot of time or effort into them. Make ahead appetizers are the best type because it doesn’t matter how busy or crazy your schedule might be, you can always make a delicious dish in no time! You can make them the night or day before and serve them with little prep time – which means less time worrying about cooking before having company or guests over and more time enjoying the people with you.

Do you have a favorite make ahead appetizer you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments section below!

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