Need some ideas for appetizers or snacks that you can make quickly? Here's my list!

5-Minute Appetizers

Maybe you went snorkeling with friends from another boat.  Or possibly a hike.  Or they just stopped by.  Cruising is a very sociable lifestyle, and you want to offer your friends something to eat.  But you hadn’t really planned the occasion and now you need something RIGHT NOW!

No need to panic.  Aboard Que Tal, I taped a note card inside one of the galley cupboards with a list of “5-Minute Appetizers” that I tried to keep on hand.  Then, when the need arose, I just glanced at the list, figured out what would work best, and quickly set it out.

Admittedly, most of these aren’t really recipes but rather things that you might have on hand.  And if your tastes are somewhat different, you can create your own list.

Carolyn’s Favorite 5-Minute Appetizers

1.   Sliced pieces of fruit (fresh or canned) and a dish of yogurt (slightly sweetened) to dip them in.  Cut fruit into bite-sized bits and use toothpicks as skewers.

2.   Plate with cheese, crackers, dried apricots and almonds (or whatever you have that’s similar).

3.   Olives – get black olives in cans and green olives in the little vacuum seal pouches.  Will last almost indefinitely!

4.  A  block of cream cheese covered in jam (peach, apricot or jalapeno are best).  Serve with crackers.  NOTE:  Cream cheese lasts almost indefinitely if you vacuum seal it before you put it in the refrigerator – leave the foil on and put the plastic over it.

Do you have any go-to “recipes” for times when you need a quick appetizer or snack?  Share your ideas with others in the comments!

And, if you like this type of a “Quick Reference List,” there’s an entire chapter of them in The Boat Galley Cookbook.  These are pretty much “idea lists” for those times when you just need inspiration and cover such topics as lunch ideas, one pot meals, cool food for hot days, warm-up food for cold days, pot luck ideas, meals in a hurry, Mexican, Asian, fresh ideas for using cabbage, recipes that require no fresh foods, great things to take on a hike and more.  It even has a longer list of quick appetizer and snack ideas!

Need some ideas for appetizers or snacks that you can make quickly?  Here's my list!

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41 Comments
  • Mary Dixon
    Posted at 08 June 2011 Reply

    Another use for cream cheese. Soften cream cheese, add can of tuna and liquid smoke to taste. Dip for crackers or veggies.

    • Devon Thurtle Anderson
      Posted at 24 November 2016 Reply

      Ooh, that’s good! We always mix it with a can of warm chili for a great tortilla chip dip. YUM!

  • Carol Ann Getter
    Posted at 28 November 2011 Reply

    Stir in 1/4 C brown sugar into 1C of Sour Cream (I believe this site has a recipe for making your own Sour Cream). Let it sit for five minutes (longer is better, but five minutes works). Serve it with fruit slices and grapes to dip in it. Very good!
    Fair winds,
    Carol Ann

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 28 November 2011 Reply

      Thanks for that one! Sounds good . . . and you’re right — there is a recipe for making your own sour cream.

      -Carolyn

  • Amy
    Posted at 06 October 2012 Reply

    Pour some Worcester Sauce over cream cheese and serve with crackers.

  • marty
    Posted at 20 March 2013 Reply

    Avocado with with garlic salt and mustard with crackers for dipping is great .It also a great replacement for mayo

  • Susanna
    Posted at 25 May 2013 Reply

    If you have the option to pickle yummy interesting things, you’ll have jars on hand to crack open for guests. Some suggestions:
    asparrots: a combination of asparagus and carrots, cut to length for a wide-mouth pint jar;
    broccoflower: broccoli and cauliflower;
    fiddleheads.
    The last two look nice with onion and colored bell pepper for color.

  • Deborah Ison
    Posted at 20 June 2013 Reply

    This one includes some of the same ingredients you’ve listed in your 5 Minute Appetizers:
    – 1 roll herbed goat cheese (cream cheese will likely work too; haven’t tried it)
    – 6 tbsp olive oil
    – 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    – 1 tsp dried thyme
    – 1 clove minced garlic
    – sliced black olives
    – Salt & pepper to taste
    Slice and lay cheese in a single layer in the bottom of a shallow dish. Mix marinade and pour over cheese. The longer it marinates (eg: overnight) the better it is. Top with sliced black olives before serving. Serve with crackers.

  • Dana Talkington
    Posted at 11 September 2013 Reply

    Instead of using jams over cream cheese, try a chutney…our favorite is mango chutney! Serve with pita chips or triscuits.

  • Rusty
    Posted at 10 April 2014 Reply

    Also, Pickapeppa (sp?) sauce over cream cheese…usually found near the Worcester sauce in our grocery.

  • Sue Bell
    Posted at 10 April 2014 Reply

    Chop some coriander, mix in some sweet chilli sauce. Poor over cream cheese and serve with crackers.

  • Cathy
    Posted at 10 April 2014 Reply

    Just to keep the cream cheese thread going… cream cheese with sweet chili sauce poured over the top. Great with pretzels as well as crackers.

  • Mary Dixon
    Posted at 10 April 2014 Reply

    Sliced summer sausage (doesn’t need refrigerated until open) & crackers. I keep cooked frozen shrimp in freezer & serve with cocktail sauce. Doesn’t take long to thaw the shrimp. I also try to keep boiled eggs in frig for quick breakfast & snack. Doesn’t take long to make deviled eggs.

  • sue
    Posted at 27 May 2014 Reply

    We love our carrot fip. Everyone has carrots. Cook them till soft then whizz with a clove of garlic, 1 tsp cumin powder and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Other spices could be used as well. 10 minutes from getting on board to having a dip to take to sundowners

  • Barbara
    Posted at 28 April 2016 Reply

    We love the little tins of smoked oysters and also the sardines. We try to keep different types of crackers onboard, including at least one gluten-free variety. Fruit that is bite-sized, such as strawberries, grapes and berries are nice to have on hand as well.

  • Dori
    Posted at 28 June 2016 Reply

    Along the same lines of “cheese logs”…. I do a nice Goat Cheese Log and drizzle with Honey and top with Raspberries and Pistachios or walnuts… and top with garnish of Mint. Yum !!!

    • Judith C
      Posted at 01 March 2017 Reply

      If you have a little time, roll that goat cheese log in coarse ground black pepper, heat until soft then pour the honey on it!

  • Brian Ross
    Posted at 16 August 2016 Reply

    A great recipe my wife uses is her homemade version of lox (sp) One box of crackers with a spreadable cheese like Alouette brand or just plain cream cheese topped with a thin slice of smoked salmon. We buy packages of salmon from the grocery store – its very thin so it stores easily in the fridge without taking up space, and one package of smoked salmon, a box of crackers and one cream cheese container takes care of 4 people quite adequately. As a variation, you can also top with a thin slice of cucumber instead of the salmon. Makes for a great snack along with your favorite wine or similar beverage.

    • Kathy
      Posted at 16 August 2016 Reply

      This is yummy, and we know first hand! Thank you Brian and Melanie!! ????⛵️

  • Lori Rackliffe
    Posted at 16 August 2016 Reply

    This is so simple it’s almost embarrassing. We were invited aboard a lovely boat and one of the items served was celery with fresh lemon juice squeezed over and just a sprinkle of salt. Stalks cut in half. I often have extra celery because you have to buy it in such qty and I don’t use that much. An easy way to use it up… because even stored wrapped in foil, it doesn’t keep forever!

  • Jason Ellmers
    Posted at 24 November 2016 Reply

    Philly with Sweet Chilli Sauce is also great on the ‘block of cheese’ theme…. If you have access to it, then a sprinkle of coriander (ccilantro if your american) over the top, lifts it to the next level, even if you are not too keen on it.

  • Peggy Bjarno
    Posted at 26 November 2016 Reply

    Buy salmon in the flat package (there are several brands, Chicken of the Sea is one of them) instead of in cans. Use about 1/3 of the salmon mixed with 1/2 brick of cream cheese and some liquid smoke. What to do with the rest of the salmon? Mix with diced green and red pepper, green onion, raw egg, mayo and bread crumbs. Make into two salmon patties for dinner.

  • Cory Nickerson
    Posted at 01 March 2017 Reply

    Oh Paz, that pic is priceless

  • Jan Bogart
    Posted at 01 March 2017 Reply

    your ideas are good, and reasonable…some listed below your article are funny! if you are really cruising, have to make do
    with what’s on hand.

  • Pam Baughn
    Posted at 01 March 2017 Reply

    yum, cream cheese with pepper jelly…

  • Judith C
    Posted at 01 March 2017 Reply

    Goat cheese with bell peppers, red, yellow, green.

  • Boni Rothmann
    Posted at 02 March 2017 Reply

    I can my own salsa once a year…versatile

  • Marie Holmes
    Posted at 02 March 2017 Reply

    I love the Hints from Heloise Olive Spread.

    8 ounces cream cheese (regular, low-fat or no-fat), softened
    1/2 cup mayonnaise or no-fat mayo/no-fat sour cream
    1 cup chopped or sliced green olives or salad olives
    2 tablespoons of juice from the olive jar
    Dash of ground pepper (more, if you like)
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Not a five minute app; because the flavors need 30-45 minutes to meld; But it is soooo good. And easy.

    And here’s another one for a Sundowners party from Food Network

    Shrimp Puffs

    Cooking spray, for coating the muffin tin
    1 7 1/2-ounce can refrigerator biscuits
    1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
    1 scallion, white part and some green, chopped
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 pound baby shrimp, cooked and peeled
    1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a miniature-muffin tin with cooking spray.

    Split each biscuit in half and place each half in a muffin cup, pressing it into the bottom and up the sides.

    In a medium-size bowl, mix the cheese, scallion, mayonnaise, shrimp and dill. Place 1 tablespoon of the shrimp mixture on top of each biscuit. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the puffs are golden and bubbling.

    I’ve made this with crab, ham or salami. I”ve substitued basil for the dill. You can even change up the cheese. They are all ingredients that you might have on hand. And just delicious. (And if you have a small oven on board like I do, you can buy the little cans of biscuits and make half a batch.

  • Cathleen Speaker Holzknecht
    Posted at 02 March 2017 Reply

    Cream cheese, bacon crumbles and diced tomato. Combine and serve with crackers.

  • Deb Dlugosz
    Posted at 03 April 2017 Reply

    Some salsa from a jar dumped over a block of softened cream cheese, especially with a bag of “Scoop” type chips, is delicious.

  • Terry Bogart
    Posted at 05 July 2017 Reply

    A realistic list of snacks. I’m laughing at comments….preheat oven ??….herbed goat’s cheese?….rasberries??? Not ingredients that are readily available everywhere.

  • Veronique Schelcher
    Posted at 05 July 2017 Reply

    Love the face of the dog!

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