It’s happening again: You invited your friends for dinner because you had a new recipe you wanted to try. But, oh? What’s this? You’re expected to serve appetizers, too, and not just the main “life-changing salad” or “best sushi bake ever” you saw on TikTok last week that inspired this whole shindig? It’s okay, we’ve gotcha covered with our list of the best frozen appetizers to serve at your little soirée.
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- Parmesan Pastry Pups
What can I say? We here at Sporked are fans of these pups. And don’t worry—no dogs were harmed in the making of these apps, which are essentially pigs in a blanket. So why do these make the best frozen apps list? Easy. They are a one-way ticket to Flavortown. Or, as managing editor Gwynedd Stuart put it, “The juicy mini hot dogs and buttery puff pastry combine to create a delicious, greasy slurry, and the parm on top gives them even more savory flavor.” I mean, how could you not want that right the heck now?
- El Monterey Extra Crunchy Southwest Chicken Taquitos
Taquitos are one of the best frozen apps out there and I will die on this hill. As someone who never buys taquitos anymore (because when I do buy them they are somehow inexplicably gone in less than a day), I can definitively say that these taquitos are THE best. They’ve done it. El Monterey deserves a medal. Or a solid gold taquito or something. These are so good they made Gwynedd shout “holy shit!” when she took her first bite. These have “crispy, bubbly” shells that somehow accommodate chicken, cheese, peppers, and beans. Try these out—your fellow soirée-goers (or “friends,” if you will) won’t be disappointed.
- Kirkland Breaded Panko Shrimp
Is there a better appetizer than fried shrimp? I’m not entirely convinced there is. Plus, breaded fried shrimp will never not make me think about The Good Place, and I need that energy in my life. But these aren’t just here to appease Eleanor Shellstrop, no, these are on our list of best frozen appetizers because they are simply divine. The shrimp themselves are not only twice as large as some of the other brands Sporked tried, they are also crispier, and the “oil they’re fried in is super fresh tasting,” according to Gwynedd. So basically, you can’t go wrong with these jumbo shrimp (unless you’re allergic to oxymorons).
Related: The Best Frozen Fried Shrimp, Ranked
- Trader Joe’s Pork Gyoza Potstickers
I mean, you guys. If you haven’t tried these yet, where’ve you been? There are good frozen appetizers, and then there are great frozen appetizers, and then there are god-tier frozen appetizers—and that’s where these gyoza land. Am I exaggerating a little? Yes. Do I now run the risk of having raised your expectations so high that you cannot possibly be impressed by these when you try them? Maybe. But gosh darn, if these aren’t one of the best frozen apps out there. Senior writer Jordan Myrick described these as “so juicy, flavorful, and meaty. They’re gingery and, while super savory, have a hint of sweetness that is really pleasant.” Get them. Make your friends love you even more.
- Foster Farms Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings
Ya gotta have wings on the list of best frozen appetizers. They are so easy to prep and are also such a classic. These wings have an “even balance of crispy texture, tender meat, and amazing flavor.” Not only that, but the sauce is tangy and hot. Between the sauce, texture, and overall experience, these are truly a home run. In fact, they are so good your friends won’t even care that you decided to serve heat-and-eat wings as an appetizer before serving them the cassoulet and baguettes you just spent half a day making.
- TGI Fridays Mozzarella Sticks
Lastly, mozzarella sticks. I recognize that these are just as much an appetizer as they are a lifestyle. That is to say, mozz sticks are a “whenever you feel like it” kind of food, but sometimes you just feel like it before a big meal with friends. They are like fries but cheesy and even more texturally interesting, which elevates them to appetizer status—these certainly belong on the best frozen appetizers list. Also, TGI Friday’s just does mozzarella sticks better than a lot of other brands. Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo described these as having “good flavor, great quality cheese, and a crispy, crunchy panko breading. The cheese itself is a mozzarella blend that melts perfectly while still maintaining a nice, creamy flavor.” I mean, come on. They are mozz sticks. What more convincing do you need?