11 Yummy Frozen Appetizers That Taste Homemade

published Feb 28, 2022
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Frozen food aisle of grocery store
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While we’d love to whip up a table of freshly fried wings, flaky crab cakes, and perfectly cooked meatballs, we don’t always have the time. (Okay, fine, we rarely have the time.) That’s why frozen shortcuts exist!

This holiday season, lean into store-bought, frozen appetizers and all the delicious, time-saving qualities they have to offer. Even though they won’t be homemade, you can still wow your guests. We went beyond the standard pigs in a blanket (although they are incredible), and opted for some exciting contenders, including stuffed peppers and bacon-wrapped scallops. As you plan your next gathering, you’ll be sure to find at least a few finger foods here you’d like to serve.

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

1. P.F. Chang’s Kung Pao Cauliflower

Go above and beyond for your plant-based friends with this tempura-battered cauliflower. Smothered in spicy Kung Pao sauce, the veggie option is anything but boring. 

Buy: P.F. Chang’s Kung Pao Cauliflower, $6.99 for 24 ounces at Target 

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

2. TGI Fridays Loaded Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skins

This popular game-day staple will surely be a crowd-pleaser at any football watch party and beyond this season. We recommend you bring two add-ons to the table: sour cream and chopped scallions. And voilà! You successfully avoid any potato scooping involved with making your own.

Buy: TGI Fridays Loaded Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skins, $5.78 for 13.5 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

3. Perdue Popcorn Chicken

Sidestep the arduous task of frying chicken with the help of frozen popcorn chicken (aka the dinosaur chicken nuggets for adults). These bite-sized pieces pair best with homemade honey mustard, Buffalo sauce, or classic ketchup.     

Buy: Perdue Popcorn Chicken, $10.99 for 26 ounces on Instacart

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

4. Armour Original Meatballs

Regardless of the occasion, mini meatballs are truly the ultimate party snack. The fun part about these fully-cooked chicken and pork meatballs is you can dress them up whichever way your palate prefers — be it Swedish- or Italian-style. Plus, they come in packs of 128, so there are plenty to go around.

Buy: Armour Original Meatballs, $13.29 for 64 ounces at Publix 

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

5. Tyson Any’tizers Buffalo Hot Wings

Sure, air frying homemade chicken wings results in some of the crispiest, juiciest wings you can have. But avoiding the hassle is so worth it when you can tear open this trusty bag of Buffalo wings. (And you can still heat these in an air fryer!)

Buy: Tyson Any’tizers Buffalo Hot Wings, $9.34 for 22 ounces on Instacart

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

6. Phillips Crab Cakes

Whether you decide to bake them in the oven or pan-fry them on the stovetop, your seafood-loving guests will be the first to grab these light crab cakes. And you’ll thank yourself for avoiding the fussy breading process! Pair them with tartar sauce for the ultimate Maryland-style experience.  

Buy: Phillips Crab Cakes, $8.99 for 6 ounces at Target

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

7. Alexia Sweet Potato Fries

Fries — aka the quintessential finger food — deserve to be a staple in every appetizer spread. With this trusty bag of sea-salted sweet potato fries, all you have to do is toss them in the oven or toaster oven. Cook them in the air fryer for extra crispiness!  

Buy: Alexia Sweet Potato Fries, $4.29 for 20 ounces at Target

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

8. Stouffer’s Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are heaven in appetizer form — and Stouffer’s gets it. Wow your party guests with this beef-and-tomato-sauce-loaded frozen app. The one way to make these even more irresistible? Sprinkle Italian-blend cheese on top for melty goodness before serving.  

Buy: Stouffer’s Stuffed Peppers, $7.73 for 32 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

9. Good and Gather Uncured Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Sign us up for bacon wrapped-anything. These tender scallops may sound like fancy cocktail-party fare, but this two-ingredient app is everything any guest, of any occasion, wants in one bite. Break these out for game day or a random Wednesday night.

Buy: Good and Gather Uncured Bacon Wrapped Scallops, $7.99 for 7 ounces at Target

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

10. Chef Bombay Mini Vegetable Samosas 

Speaking of one-bite appetizers, these mini samosas are what dreams are made of. Prepare them straight from frozen by popping them in the oven for 20 minutes.

Buy: Chef Bombay Mini Vegetable Samosas, $6.49 for 12.5 ounces at Target

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

11. Trader Joe’s Breaded Fried Ravioli

If ravioli is your love language, then fried ravioli must be your comfort food. Swap your deep-frying tools for this 1-pound bag of cheesy pasta goodness. The appetizer pairs well with a classic marinara, but if you’re looking to get even more creative, dunk them in vodka sauce.

Find in stores: Breaded Fried Ravioli, $3.99 for 16 ounces at Trader Joe’s

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 11 Store-Bought Frozen Appetizers That Are (Almost) Better than Homemade