15 Appetizers That Are Perfect for a Labor Day Cookout

Whether you’re hosting a get-together with family and friends or just firing up the grill for summer’s last hurrah, these small bites are a great way to kick off any backyard barbecue.

June 23, 2022

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Get the Party Started

What sets a holiday bash apart from a regular, any-summer-weekend cookout? The appetizers. Sure, we always start our backyard barbecue with a summery dip or guac and some chips for dipping, but when it comes to Labor Day we really try to up the ante. Deviled eggs, a variety of bruschetta, oysters — heck, even our dips get a serious upgrade when it comes to the last big cookout of the season. Just take Kardea’s recipe, for example. Her easy-to-make dip is loaded with sweet-and-smoky flavor thanks to her secret ingredient: red peppers that she chars on the grill. And, the dippers are elevated as well; colorful grilled veggies stand in for more common options like crackers or tortilla chips. This starter is so delicious, you might just forget about the mains and desserts!

Get the Recipe: Smoked Red Pepper Dip with Grilled Crudite

Corn Salsa

To kick off your end-of-summer party, serve chips alongside Trisha's mix of yellow and white corn, jalapenos, chiles and tomatoes.

Get the Recipe: Corn Salsa

Bacon-Stuffed Deviled Eggs

Upgrade a beloved cookout starter — deviled eggs — by adding an ingredient that everyone loves: salty, smoky bacon.

Get the Recipe: Bacon-Stuffed Deviled Eggs

Anna's Tomato Tart

Late-season tomatoes, which tend to be extra-sweet and juicy, are perfect for Ina’s impressive tarts. She tops a homemade crust with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese, thick tomato slices and fresh pesto.

Get the Recipe: Anna's Tomato Tart

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Pinwheels

Katie’s pretty pinwheels are deceptively easy. To make them, slice zucchini into very thin sections (use a mandoline if you have one), top with a goat cheese filling and roll ‘em up.

Get the Recipe: Zucchini and Goat Cheese Pinwheels

Muffuletta Bruschetta

Valerie takes bruschetta to a whole new level by layering in the flavors of a classic muffuletta sandwich: mortadella, capicola, salami and a savory homemade olive spread.

Get the Recipe: Muffuletta Bruschetta

Stuffed-Mushroom Skewers

Stuffed mushrooms are an all-time favorite appetizer. Slide them onto a skewer and pop them on the grill for your next outdoor gathering. For a zesty spinoff, try substituting fresh chorizo and cilantro for the sausage and parsley.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed-Mushroom Skewers

Grilled Garlic Flatbread

Turn a ball of pizza dough into a crowd-pleasing appetizer by topping it with olive oil and spices from your pantry — and grilling it to warm, toasty perfection. This garlic flatbread could be served with dip but it’s also great as-is.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Garlic Flatbread

Yogurt Ranch

Crudités and zesty ranch dip are a classic cookout appetizer. Here, Molly makes her dip from scratch using Greek yogurt and a blend of dried spices from her pantry. It couldn't be easier!

Get the Recipe: Yogurt Ranch

Citrus Shrimp Nachos

Ree scoops citrus-marinated shrimp and veggies onto crispy chips for an easy-yet-elevated appetizer that screams ‘summer’.

Get the Recipe: Citrus Shrimp Nachos

Grilled Oysters with Lemon Dill Butter

There’s no better way to end the summer than with Ina’s simple grilled oysters. A quick homemade herb butter (touched with just a hint of citrus) added to each shell guarantees a juicy, flavorful bite when the seafood comes off the grill.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Oysters with Lemon Dill Butter

Greek Guacamole

Salty feta, fresh dill and tangy olives put a Greek-inspired twist on the classic guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips and cucumber slices for dipping.

Get the Recipe: Greek Guacamole

Stuffed Mini Peppers

This party-ready appetizer is sure to be a hit. Alex stuffs the peppers with creamy goat cheese and toasty pine nuts to give them a touch of decadence.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Mini Peppers

Grilled Pizzas

Use an outdoor grill instead of an oven to make margherita pizzas. Cut them into thin slices and you've got a crowd-pleasing appetizer that your guests can nosh on while the burgers and steaks are on the grill.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Pizzas

Mini Chicken and Mango Tostadas

Save time on this appetizer by using cooked, shredded chicken. Scoop onto a tortilla chip with mashed avocado.

Get the Recipe: Mini Chicken and Mango Tostadas

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