18 Cheap, Easy Appetizers That Celebrate Saving Time & Money

Try our simple and affordable appetizers that are so good, your guests will never know you were on a budget.

Updated January 4, 2024

Just because you're budgeting time and money doesn't mean you can't serve your party guests good food. Our cheap and easy appetizers are so darn good that you'll be able to stay on budget, and your guests will never know you had one. 

Margherita Pita Pizzas


Is there ever a time when pizza is not a good idea? We didn't think so. And these pita pizzas are super fast and easy. Bonus: your house will smell like a pizzeria while they cook. 


  • 4 (7-inch) pocketless pita breads
  • 1 cup marinara sauce or another red pasta sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh mozzarella balls, drained
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Olive oil and sea salt for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Arrange the pitas on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Spread the pitas with the sauce.
  4. Top with mozzarella balls.
  5. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  6. Top with fresh basil leaves.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. 

Veggies and Dip


Veggies and dip are a party mainstay for a reason. They're filling, crunchy, creamy, and yummy. All the important things for a cheap and easy party appetizer. Grab a pre-made tray at the grocery store or make one up yourself with your fave veggies and dips. 



Speaking of dip... hummus is so fast to make, and almost everyone loves its garlicky, lemony flavor. Serve our hummus recipe with pita, chips, veggies, or anything else you like to dip into your hummus. Wanna be fancy? Pipe it into hollowed-out cherry tomatoes and top them with a tiny little sprig of dill.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs


We love a meatball for a party. And this slow cooker recipe means you do a little work early in the day and then let them simmer in the slow cooker as you do your other party prep. 


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup


  1. Mix the ground beef, salt and pepper, onion, egg, and oatmeal. Shape into small meatballs.
  2. Spray a skillet with nonstick spray. Heat it on medium-high.
  3. Cook meatballs in the skillet until just browned, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a slow cooker.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, lemon juice, and tomato soup. Pour over the meatballs.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Easy Cheese Ball


Cheese balls have a retro fabulousness to them that we adore, and we think your party guests will, too.


  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch dressing mix
  • Cooked bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese for garnish


  1. Combine everything except the bacon and cheddar in a large bowl. Beat until well blended.
  2. Shape into a ball.
  3. Roll in the cheddar and bacon bits to coat.
  4. Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.

Cowboy Caviar


This Tex-Mex delight is packed with all the good stuff, which happens to be super flavorful and affordable ingredients. Try Spend With Pennies' yummy cowboy caviar recipe. Serve it with chips for dipping. 

Ham and Cheese Roll


Cut cheese sticks lengthwise into four pieces. Wrap 'em with thinly sliced ham or your favorite charcuterie meat. Bam! Instant app. 

Tex-Mex Tortillas


If Tex-Mex is wrong for parties, we don't want to be right. We love how affordable and universally loved Tex-Mex food is, like these yummy tortillas topped with all the goodies. 


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 12 ounces salsa
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • Optional: sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, sliced olives, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions


  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, crumbling as you do.
  2. Add salsa and water.
  3. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until heated through.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil on medium-high in skillet that's large enough for one tortilla.
  5. Crisp the tortilla in the oil on both sides and set aside on a paper towel as you continue crisping each tortilla.
  6. Top the tortillas with the meat mixture and any toppings you want. 

Deviled Eggs


If there aren't deviled eggs, is it even a party? We love how versatile deviled eggs are — you can jazz up flavors, colors, and garnishes. Our deviled eggs recipe lets you choose your own adventure and create the eggs of your dreams. 

Black Bean Salad


Aaaaaand... we're back to Tex-Mex. We just can't help ourselves. But we think your guests will want to help themselves to this spicy salad.


  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup Italian salad dressing
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt or to taste


Combine all ingredients, chill, and serve with chips.

Buffalo Wings


Every party needs a saucy, spicy wing. And these classic party wings will definitely fit the bill. Just make sure you have lots of napkins because these saucy bad boys are messy in the best way.


  • 2½ pounds chicken wings
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) Frank's Red Hot sauce (or to taste)
  • ½ cup (½ stick) butter, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine butter and hot sauce. Coat chicken in the mixture.
  3. Put the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes, basting frequently with the sauce mix.
  4. Serve with celery sticks, baby carrots, and ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Caprese Skewers


Warning! There's no recipe ahead. Why not? You don't need it... just look at the picture. All you need are some skewers, cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella balls. Thread the ingredients on the skewers and drizzle them with olive oil. Done and done. 

Ham and Peach Bruschetta


These little open-faced sandwiches are a delightful balance of sweet and salty with a crispy bite from the bread. 


  • 4 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 baguette, cut into thin slices and toasted
  • Leaves from 1 bunch of basil
  • Thinly sliced ham


  1. Grill or broil the peaches on high for three to four minutes per side.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and honey. Spread on the baguette slices.
  3. Top with a basil leaf and a grilled peach.
  4. Top with the ham and drizzle with additional honey.

Zucchini Cream Cheese Rolls


We enjoy rolling long, thin strips of zucchini around stuff... it's finger food at its finest.


  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into long, thin strips
  • Olive oil
  •  1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Pepper bacon, cooked


  1. Preheat your broiler on high or heat up your grill.
  2. Place the zucchini strips on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush each strip with olive oil and grill or broil for 2-3 minutes per side. Cool.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, dijon, dill, garlic, and shallot.
  4. Put a piece of pepper bacon on each zucchini strip and spoon about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on top. Roll the zucchini around the cream cheese. 



The trick to getting your guacamole to stay vibrant green throughout a party? Make sure you use enough lime juice. Our guac recipe is classic, and it has enough citrus that it'll stay green all night long.

Chips and Salsa


Of course you're going to have chips and salsa. And honestly, you can absolutely open a jar of your favorite and call it good. We do it all the time. Or, you can spend a Saturday and make your own using our hot salsa recipes

Butter Board


Butter boards are all-the-rage right now. And we think they're kind of pretty and super creative. We have 11 (count 'em, 11!) butter board recipes and ideas to get your creative juices flowing. 

Baba Ganoush


You can never have too much stuff to dip things into at parties, we promise. So we bring you one final dip before we dip out... baba ganoush. Our smoky baba ganoush recipe takes humble eggplant and makes it something spectacular (and cheap and easy). 

Put Out a Spread of Cheap & Easy Appetizers


We're all about putting out a spread for our guests. And we've gotten very good at making sure our food fits within the constraints of our time and budget — so you can trust that these affordable, easy appetizers will not only be tasty, but they won't empty your wallet or take all day to make. And that, friends, is how you throw a party. 

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18 Cheap, Easy Appetizers That Celebrate Saving Time & Money