This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.
After preparing cheap vegetarian meals for my large family, I used to go straight to my main courses.
Who has time for appetizers when there’s a big plate of food to dig into?
But I recently learned how much I undermined the first course of any meal.
20 Cheap Easy Appetizers For Parties or a Crowd
Appetizers aren’t just light dishes for whetting our appetite (hence its name). It’s a fantastic way to switch up your usual lunch or dinner routine as it works your palate for what’s next.
Plus, they are a form of art, where we can get creative with various ingredients and flavors to set a positive tone for your dinner party.
Is budget a concern?
Due to high inflation rates, nearly all Americans have cut back on spending, according to a CNBC article.
In light of seeking affordable party treats, it’s noteworthy that a survey revealed 62% of individuals are cutting back on their expenditures at bars and restaurants, making it the second most reduced nonessential spending category.
The good news is despite high prices today, you can still make fancy appetizers using cheap healthy recipes that won’t break your wallet! That means there’s no excuse to not make appetizers for loved ones.
Check my list of cheap, easy appetizers to serve with your budget-friendly Crockpot meals and other sumptuous dishes!
Make sure to pin this image to your favorite Pinterest board so you can come back for updates on the best cheap and easy appetizers! I guarantee you’ll find the best cheap appetizer ideas here!
1. Homemade Fresh Salsa
When you think of a cheap easy appetizer for a crowd, chips and salsa are a no-brainer.
Just buy salsa in a jar then plop it in a bowl, right?
Homemade salsa may have you think twice the next time you’re about to get a store-bought one in your grocery.
Just watch out for double dippers!
2. Caprese Skewers
Make your best first impression at your next dinner party with Caprese skewers, a twist to the classic Caprese salad.
Your guests will appreciate the elegant-looking finger food while waiting for an Italian-themed feast!
3. Crack Pigs in a Blanket
I can’t make a list of cheap party appetizers without mentioning Pigs in a Blanket!
It’s a staple whenever I’m inviting family over because your kids can’t get enough of ‘em.
They’re called Crack Pigs in a Blanket for a reason. That’s cause we’re doing DOUBLE the pork, making it even more addicting!
4. Pizza Dip
Creamy spinach dips sound absolutely divine, but what if there’s a cheap appetizer recipe that gives the classic chip-and-dip a whole new meaning?
Enter a cheesy pizza dip, which will put any store-bought dip to shame!
5. Deviled Eggs
$10 appetizers that look fancy?
Deviled eggs are a cold appetizer that looks restaurant-quality and can serve a whole party without ruining your budget!
They may be called deviled eggs, but their creamy yolk sure tastes like heaven to me!
6. Chewy Pretzel Bites
Sorry, Auntie Anne’s. A new recipe of pretzel bites just arrived in town, which is now one of my top frugal appetizers everyone begs me to make!
With a soft, almost pillow-like, texture, prepare to make a lot more of these at future parties. Inexpensive appetizers, here I come!
7. Chicken Wings
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, but chicken wings are going to have ‘em running to the dining table!
These chicken wings are so addicting, you won’t even realize you’ve had quite a few until you see a plate filled with bones.
It’s also one of my favorite inexpensive appetizers to whip up when football season begins.
8. Shrimp Cocktail
Here’s a cocktail that even your kids can have.
Actually, I shouldn’t say kids. It caters to all ages, offering not only kid-friendly options but also crafting cheap fancy appetizers, suitable for gatherings of any size.
Shrimp cocktails are a popular hors d’œuvre served on a glass or plate, tasting like a bloody mary with meat!
If you want to make give your sauce a ‘lil kick, add vodka!
9. The Best Stovetop Popcorn
Movie night, Super Bowl, dinner party… Popcorn will always be a staple snack or appetizer that everyone will enjoy.
Plus points for the appetizer being so versatile and cheap to make!
Whether you want to serve simply buttered popcorn or add a lot more flavors or toppings, you have complete freedom.
10. Carrot Fries
Hold up, CARROT fries?
Just like using yams, carrot fries taste a bit sweeter with a lower carb count.
It’s perfect if you want to serve a healthy appetizer while getting your kids to actually eat carrots!
11. Baked Zucchini Hummus Bites
Here’s another low-carb appetizer that looks like a Middle Eastern version of bruschetta, a classic Italian appetizer!
It also has fewer calories, so your guests will still have room left in their stomachs for a fantastic main course.
12. Mozzarella Sticks
Repeat after me… Anything cheese will always be a delicious starter!
Mozzarella sticks are a crowd-pleaser.
Bite into one and expect a long cheese pull that will leave anyone wanting more!
Crunchy on the outside with ooey cheese inside, what more can you ask for in an appetizer?
13. Easy Cheesy Nachos
What’s the first thing you order when ordering apps at a restaurant? NACHOS.
I know nachos may be pricey when ordering out. So, save yourself extra money and make a huge tray of overloaded nachos at home instead!
14. Classic Cheeseball
Cheeseballs are a blast from the past, being one of the most famous party foods from the 1970s!
Take it back to the good times, with all the adults reminiscing fun memories from decades ago as they take a swipe of the coated cheesy goodness.
15. Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Bacon and dates? That’s something you wouldn’t have ever heard in one sentence.
It might sound so weird at first, but wait ‘til you take a bite of these dates.
They’re burst with sweet, savory flavors that will truly rouse your appetite!
16. Cheap Charcuterie Board
Ever dreamt of laying out an aesthetic charcuterie board to wow your guests?
Make that dream come true with this simple recipe costing $25.
That’s right, it’s possible to create an affordable, dinner-worthy charcuterie board!
17. Caramel Apple Dip
Surprise guests with a sweet appetizer to begin their night with a caramel apple dip.
Set your dinner parties apart by serving a sweet version of chips and dip, which is inspired by the delicious carnival snack!
18. Fruit Skewers
If you’re on a health kick, fruit skewers are refreshing finger food to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Customize your skewers and use whatever fruits you fancy, drizzling them with a bit of melted chocolate and sea salt for added flavor!
19. Cheese Truffles
Before handing a plate to guests, please warn them that these truffles are NOT sweet or chocolatey in the slight!
This appetizer is ideal for all cheese lovers, pairing well with pretzel sticks and fruits.
20. Cheesy Dinner Rolls
Whenever I’m at a restaurant, I keep my eyes peeled on my waiter because he might serve free dinner rolls with rich, creamy butter.
My obsession with free bread rolls inspired me to serve them at the dinner table to stir up appetites, too!
This time, it’s got a lot of cheese inside for a pleasant surprise in each bite.