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25 Easy Southern Appetizers That Will Impress Your Guests

Ever spent all day cooking for a party, only to remember that you haven’t made any Southern Appetizers barely 30 mins before it’s due to start?

Well, the next time that happens, just look down south! These quick and easy Southern Appetizers are so rich and tasty, that your guests will have no idea they were made in under an hour!

Featuring ingredients that you already have in your pantry, easily customizable recipes and shockingly low prep times, these southern snacks will be your saving grace no matter your guests’ preferences. Going vegan?

Try the deep-fried vegetable dishes. For meat lovers the classic, beloved flavors of cheese, sausages, ham, and bacon will keep them coming back for more. 

Easy Southern Appetizers: Quick Table

RecipeCalories Preparation time
Deviled Eggs48 (per serving)30 mins
Sausage Balls148 (per serving)25 mins
Bacon Wrapped Smokies171 (per serving)25 mins
Fried Green Tomatoes510 (per serving)20 mins
Ham salad spread230 (per serving)15 mins
Fried Pickle Chips257 (per serving)45 mins
Mini Southern Tomato Pies180 (per serving)55 mins
Southern Fire Crackers188 (per serving)35 mins
Glazed Bacon Crackers706(per serving)15 mins
Cowboy Caviar Dip412 (per serving)20 mins
Cheese Straws68 (per serving)32 mins
Pimento Cheese112 (per serving)10 mins
Toasted Pecan241 (per serving)50 mins
Hushpuppies302 (per serving)15 mins
Fried Okra205 (per serving)20 mins
Rotel Dip 219 (per serving)10 mins
Corn Fritters246 (per serving)30 mins
Cheesy fried Grit cakes210 (per serving)15 mins
Jezebel Sauce224 (per serving)10 mins
Warm Brie And Pear Tartlets48 (per serving)30 mins
Southern Cheese Ball2709 (per serving)15 mins
Pineapple Cheese Ball128.5 (per serving)30 mins
Shrimp Dip232 (per serving)10 mins
Vidalia Sweet Onion Dip289 (per serving)40 mins
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms167 (per serving)40 mins
Pigs In A Blanket119 (per serving)25 mins 

1. Deviled Eggs 

They say it’s not a party without deviled eggs! An absolute classic, this creamy, spicy snack not only lives up to its reputation as a party favorite in taste, but also takes a mere 30 minutes to make.

Perfect if you’re a little running late but need a dish to bring to that family gathering. 

The great thing about this recipe is that you can easily prepare your filling at home, transport it in a piping bag and assemble your deviled eggs at the party to keep them fresh for faraway parties. 

Though traditionally made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, tabasco sauce and paprika, these can easily be substituted with sour cream or Greek yogurt for that smooth texture, wasabi, yellow mustard or any other type of mustard available, sriracha or gochujang for heat, and cayenne pepper or curry. 

Add minced onions, chives or diced pickles to the mix for an extra kick, and top with fresh veggies, kimchi or a simple sprinkle of pepper flakes. 

Calories Per Serving: 48

Total Preparation Time: 30 min

2. Sausage Balls 

You can never go wrong with a sausage recipe, and these sausage balls made with only 3 ingredients will be the star of your next party.

A simple mixture of ground sausage, cheese and biscuit baking mix creates these oh-so-gooey little baked treats which, when paired with your dip of choice, gives a delightful burst of flavor. 

If you’re in a rush but need to feed a large number of guests, this simple recipe uses only 2 cups of baking mix but creates 24 servings, and therefore can easily be scaled up to feed as many people as you want!

Just mix your ingredients in a standing mixer and form the batter into as many balls as you need. 

Be sure to use a freshly shredded block of cheddar cheese for maximum gooey-ness and if the batter seems a little dry to you, add a splash of milk to hold it all together.  

Calories Per Serving: 148

Total Preparation Time: 25 min

3. Bacon Wrapped Smokies 

This appetizer comes packing a triple-barrel of flavor, with delicious sausages wrapped in fatty, umami-packed bacon, then dipped in cayenne and garlic brown sugar.

This dish is the ultimate crowd pleaser that will have everyone from kids to seniors going wild for more.

Keep in mind that smoked sausages or ‘smokies’ are half the soul of this recipe, and the higher the quality of sausage, the tastier the dish, so you may want to invest a few more zz’s in that direction.

Calories Per Serving: 171

Total Preparation Time: 25 min

4. Fried Green Tomatoes

Crispy, savory, tangy, what more could one want from an appetizer?

Fried green tomatoes are bold, statement-making appetizers, so slice those tomatoes, batter them up, store them in the freezer, and whip them out whenever you need to wow your guests.

Green tomatoes are delicious, but tend to be a little bitter so keep a few pinches of sugar handy. You may also replace green tomatoes with red ones but make sure they’re not overripe as you don’t want to end up with soggy fries. 

Calories Per Serving: 510

Total Preparation Time: 20 min

5. Fried Pickles 

The only thing better than crunchy pickles are deep-fried, even crunchier pickles! Elevate your pickle experience with this inspired recipe from the South.

Super easy to make, yet rewardingly crunchy and tasty, you won’t be able to resist sneaking a few bites before the guests arrive.

Keep your fried pickles crunchy by making sure that your pickles are totally dry before battering them up. Serve warm with a side of ranch dressing for the complete Southern experience.

Calories Per Serving: 257

Total Preparation Time: 45 min

6. (Mini) Tomato Pies

Decorate your next summer party table spread with these beautiful, elegant little treats. 

Another cheesy delight from down yonder, these juicy, creamy mini pies not only taste amazing, they also look super pretty and difficult to achieve, though they’re only made with puff pastry and a few globs of cheese and mayo.

As with all baked tomato recipes, it is important to salt and drain the tomatoes before baking if you don’t want flooded, soggy pies on your hands.

Calories Per Serving: 180

Total Preparation Time: 55 min

7. Fire Crackers 

Just saltines are too boring? Try this spiced up alternative to turn the beloved snack into something even more delectable. Fire Crackers are perfect for showers, tailgates or when you’re hosting your kid’s friends. 

What’s more, these are so easy to make (and eat) that you’ll find yourself making a refill batch right in the middle of your event. All you have to do is to add your spices, crackers and a dash of oil in a seal-up bag, give it a big shake, and you’re done.

Calories Per Serving: 188

Total Preparation Time: 35 min

8. Glazed Bacon Crackers

With only 4 ingredients you won’t believe the amount of flavor and crunch packed in these decadent little treats. Both salty AND sweet, these elevated crackers are so addictive you shouldn’t even dream of having leftovers. 

Plus, it is ridiculously easy to make. Just layer your crackers and bacon and add a sprinkle of brown sugar. Bake at 400 degrees to melt the sugar, cook the bacon and crisp the cracker to give a final result that will blow your mind.  

Calories Per Serving: 706

Total Preparation Time: 15 min

9. Cowboy Caviar Dip 

True to the cowboy name, this dip is an adventure in every bite.

With a splash of acidity from white wine vinegar and lime, a hint of sweetness from sugar, and a little kick of heat from cayenne pepper tying together the taste of black beans, black-eyed peas, bell peppers and sweet corn, this dip takes the flavor of salad to the next level.

It goes well with plain tortilla chips, but if you are interested in a Caribbean fusion flavor try them with these Haitian tacos.

Caviar is, of course, delicious at any time but preparing this dip ahead of time will allow the flavors to fully settle.

This recipe also reheats well so you can enjoy any leftovers the next day, that is, if your guests manage to leave any for you. 

Calories Per Serving: 412

Total Preparation Time: 20 min

10. Cheese Straws 

Another age-old Southern party staple that is surprisingly easy to make, the way these crispy, airy, baked treats melt in the mouth will have everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing.

Spiced with cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder, cheese straws are for you if you’re going for a savory, rather than a sweet snack

This recipe is also easy to scale up, so it’s perfect for when you have a ton of guests to feed.

Though cheese straws are a pretty complete and nutritious snack on their own, you can serve with any dip of your choice, or swap out regular flour for gluten-free flour to make these gluten-free. 32mins 68

Calories Per Serving: 68

Total Preparation Time: 32 min

RELATED: 15 Stunning Southern Sides To Turn With Chicken Pot Pie

11. Pimento Cheese

By now you must have noticed that Southerners love their cheese, but did you know that they also love their heat?

With the sharp taste of diced pimento peppers cutting through the creamy goodness of 3 different types of cheese, coupled with the fact that it can be eaten in so many different ways, it’s no wonder that this keto-friendly dip is such a hit down south. 

Spread pimento cheese between two slices of white bread for a wholesome sandwich or simply serve with a side of crackers, bagel chips or celery sticks and watch them disappear even faster than they were made.

Calories Per Serving: 112

Total Preparation Time: 10 min

12. Toasted Pecans 

The warm inviting fragrance from these toasted nuts filling your house as your guests stream in will earn you more than a few brownie points at your next house party.

Although these are usually added to pastry recipes as a garnish, the deep flavor that comes from toasting them yourself is second to none, so no one can be mad.

Toasted pecans are the perfect side for a cold bottle of beer, so be sure to put out a few bowls on your next game night.

Calories Per Serving: 241

Total Preparation Time: 50 min

13. Pushpuppies 

Crunchy on the outside, divinely soft and sweet on the inside, snacks don’t get much better than hushpuppies.

Pair these up with a Southern original dip like the Old Bay Remoulade, the Southern Comeback sauce, or the Hot Pepper Jelly dip or have them plain, either way you’ll find yourself consuming several at a time.

The trick to perfect hushpuppies is… there is no perfect hushpuppy. This recipe serves as a great base for you to throw in any vegetables and spices that suit your taste.

Calories Per Serving: 302

Total Preparation Time: 15 min

14. Fried Okra 

Okra is a uniquely Southern vegetable which, in this recipe, takes on a crunchy, savory, yet juicy flavor. Diced okra is doused in delicately seasoned breadcrumbs and deep-fried to give this mouth-watering snack.

Although okra has a reputation for being slimy, this recipe has none of that, as the okra is first soaked in white vinegar for a few minutes then completely dried on paper towels before frying. No need for a dip with this wholesome treat!

Calories Per Serving: 205

Total Preparation Time: 20 min

15. Rotel Dip 

Yet another easy, cheesy original from the south, made with flavorful cooked ground beef and rotel tomatoes folded into velvety Velveeta cheese, no wonder it’s often regarded as “the best dip of all” among southern dips. 

This decadent dip is best consumed warm, but you can always refrigerate and reheat it anytime without losing any flavor. Serve with plain old tortilla chips or fresh veggies for a healthier option.

Calories Per Serving: 219

Total Preparation Time: 10 min

16. Corn Fritters 

Corn is a beloved ingredient in the South and this corn fritters recipe celebrates that.

The crispy fried batter encasing the sweet, nostalgic taste of corn feels divine when you pop it in your mouth is the definition of comfort food. But don’t just take my word for it, try the recipe!

This recipe can be recreated with fresh or frozen corn so you can have these babies on your table anytime of the year. The only catch is, they’re almost too good to share.

Calories Per Serving: 246

Total Preparation Time: 30 min

17. Cheesy Fried Grit Cakes 

Crunchy, spiced grits fried into a perfectly round, golden brown patty, is already visually appetizing, even if you most likely don’t know what grits are. Never fear, however, grits are just ground corn and they taste amazing when fried.

Cheese holds this recipe together and gives the grit cakes a unique texture that your guests will be sure to comment on, so don’t limit yourself to a circle, feel free to experiment with other fun shapes that will give them more to talk about.

Best enjoyed with a side of marinara or garlic aioli.

Calories Per Serving: 210

Total Preparation Time: 15 min

18. Jezebel Sauce 

Temptingly sweet and bitingly spicy, this jezebel sauce draws one in like no other. A ‘wicked’ sauce for a naughty mood, jezebel is the perfect sauce to go with otherwise boring sides like taco chips and crackers.

Make this fiery sauce with any available fruit preserves, simply add a large dose of another southern staple; cayenne pepper, and pour over a block of cream cheese to enjoy with your sides.

Calories Per Serving: 224

Total Preparation Time: 10 min

19. Warm Brie And Pear Tartlets

Sweet and salty with pear layered over a base of brie cheese on an airy tart shell, these tartlets present a delicate picture, and their flavor is just as exquisite. These beautiful treats need no pairing. Serve them warm and that’s it.

As always you can customize this recipe too to your taste, swap out the fruit for a stronger tasting one such as apricot, and throw in a few fresh sprigs of thyme for a deeper flavor.

Calories Per Serving: 48

Total Preparation Time: 30 min

20. Southern Cheese Ball

Southern cheese ‘balls’ are really semi-solid cheese-based dips that are rolled into a ball and covered in nuts.

They are very visually pleasing, resembling meatballs, so confuse your guests with this interesting treat at your next outdoor party. But don’t worry, no one will be mad, cause they taste twice as good as they look.

From ground beef to shrimp, fresh veggies to fruit, hot sauce or cayenne pepper, you can include any add-ins of your choice in your cheese ball.

Use a plastic wrap to shape your mixture into a ball, then carefully press crushed toasted nuts of your choice into the sides of the ball.

Calories Per Serving: 270

Total Preparation Time: 50 min

RELATED: 15 Southern Side Dishes For Fried Chicken

21. Pineapple Cheese Ball 

Tropical pineapple enriches this cheese ball recipe with a sweetness and acidity that effortlessly ties the flavors of the other ingredients together. Pineapple also gives this dip a juiciness that is absent from the regular cheese ball.

However, while the regular cheese ball can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 weeks without spoilage, the pineapple cheese ball must be frozen if it is to be stored for a long time. 

Calories Per Serving: 128.5

Total Preparation Time: 30 min

22. Shrimp Dip 

This easy delicious cold dip is a lifesaver when you’re in a pinch but need to serve something elegant.

Just mix in your shrimp with a little cream cheese, some mayo, a dash of lemon, some hot sauce, and you got yourself a thick, brilliantly flavored dip to go with crackers and bagel chips. 

Shrimp dip has a beautiful pastel pink color, so it’s great for prettying up your spread even when you’re not in a rush. 

You may customize this dip with some fresh herbs and vegetables, and improve the seasoning with a splash of crab boil, or cocktail sauce.

Calories Per Serving: 232

Total Preparation Time: 10 min

23. Vidalia Sweet Onion Dip 

When it comes to onions, nothing beats sweet onions in the world of appetizers, whether eaten raw in a slaw, fried up in a coat of breadcrumbs, or in this case, slathered in a creamy coat of mixed cheeses.

With hot sauce and black pepper in the mix, this spicy sauce has some great points to its name. 

Another fit-to-taste recipe, you may make use of any other veggies or cheeses that you have at hand, though the ‘stronger’ the cheese the better; aged cheeses lend more flavor to this savory dip.  

Calories Per Serving: 289

Total Preparation Time: 40 min

24. Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Any stuffed mushroom recipe is a hit but this one takes the ball right out the park. Seasoned crab meat folded into creamy cheese makes a perfect complement to the mushroom bowl it’s stuffed into.

They also happen to look rather cute, like little toadstools.

A quick chef’s tip is to not rinse your mushrooms under the tap as they’ll soak up 

water, rather wipe them down with a paper towel.

Total Preparation Time: 40 mins

25. Pigs In A Blanket 

Pigs-in-a-blanket may also seem like a kid’s delight, but trust that the adults too won’t let this one be.

A super easy recipe, thanks to crescent dough, but still one that everyone will thank you for, just try it out once and it’ll become your next family party staple.

These are not only great as appetizers though, make them as an after-school snack for the kids, or surprise the whole family with these for dinner!

Calories Per Serving: 119

Total Preparation Time: 25 mins

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Traditional Southern Food?

The main type of grain grown in the South is corn, so most carbs from the south are made of corn.

Cornbread, corn grits, hushpuppies, corn pone and hominy stew are some of the corn-based Southern meals.

Southerners also consume lots of cheese in their sweet dishes, as well as their savory ones. Batter fried dishes are a big part of southern culture, and so is seafood.

The type of meat consumed most often in the south is pork, though the most popular meat dish is fried chicken.

Are There Any Healthy Southern Appetizers?

It may seem like Southern appetizers are only for those with rich tastes, with ingredients like cheese, caramelized bacon and dollops of mayonnaise in almost every dish.

Never fear, however, you can easily find a healthy southern snack by looking up dishes that have a high composition of vegetables.

Try baked or cold ones that are not deep fried. Toasted nuts like pecans are a great example of a quick healthy traditionally southern snack. Cowboy caviar can be eaten as a salad, or loaded onto a lettuce leaf for a veggie taco. 

What Are Some Good Finger Foods?

As the name implies, finger foods are pretty much any food you can pick up with your finger in pop in your mouth.

Sliders, potato chips and pigs in a blanket are among the most popular finger foods. Others that are not so popular, but also equally delicious are mini sandwiches, stuffed mushrooms, onion rings, stuffed peppers, biscuit cups, grilled asparagus, meatballs, and potato wedges. Be sure to whip out anyone of these at your next event.

25 Easy Southern Appetizers That Will Impress Your Guests

0 from 0 votes

Quick and easy Southern Appetizers are so rich and tasty. Try the deep-fried vegetable dishes. 

Directions

  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review

Recipe Video

Jess Smith

Mois Pasta

Monday 28th of November 2022

A very good article. Congratulations