Prosciutto Appetizers: 13 Delicious Ways to Make the Most of the King of Cured Hams
You read that right, prosciutto is the monarch of cured hams, at least of the Italian kind.
Prosciutto is thinly sliced pork’s leg meat, salted and air-dried for long periods, from nine months to over two years!
The result is soft, silky, marbled strips of intense fatty goodness.
Italians are well known for tasty, hearty food, and their colossal palette of hams and cured meats is one of their greatest assets.
The question is, what to do with prosciutto?
If you’re reading this, chances are you have a special dinner coming up or are thinking of bringing together close friends and want to kick your reunion up a notch.
You’re on the right path, prosciutto appetizers are not just classy but party pleasers.
Appetizers with prosciutto are also often fast and easy to put together, and always over-deliver.
We hear you:
We’ve searched for the best prosciutto appetizers and threw in a few of our own ideas to give you a complete prosciutto appetizer recipe greatest-hits compilation.
Are you looking for prosciutto wrapped appetizers? We’ve got’em, something a little heartier? We’ve got those too.
So, let’s get started.
Prosciutto Appetizer Recipes: The Complete Guide to Make the Best Use of the Italian Premium Cured Ham.
Bookmark this guide and come back as often as you need, because you should try all the items at least once.
Remember to take inspiration in these, and go one step further, create your own prosciutto appetizer recipes.
With a noble product like prosciutto, it’s hard not to make something delightful.
1. Just Prosciutto, Because It’s That Good
Let’s start with the simplest prosciutto appetizer: prosciutto.
It might sound silly, but with a high-quality cured ham like this one, it’s OK to cut it in one bite-sized pieces and serve them as is.
Prosciutto is one of those simple pleasures. It reminds us that simple is beautiful and that sometimes you don’t have to push yourself that hard.
Make sure you arrange your prosciutto slices nicely, small rolls, tiny flowers, symmetrical triangles, be creative!
A good product speaks for itself. So, keep it simple.
2. Dates Wrapped in Prosciutto, Flavors of the Mediterranean
Now, for a more sophisticated appetizer with all the flavors of the Mediterranean basin, we have these sweet and earthy dates wrapped in prosciutto.
As you’ll see more than once in this guide, prosciutto’s saltiness can be beautifully balanced with a hint of sweetness, in this case, from tender, flavorful dates.
For the ultimate experience, stuff your dates first with cream cheese. It’s more work, but it’s totally worth it.
Stop and watch your guests’ faces as they try these thumb-sized goodies, we bet they can’t stop giggling in amusement. Stuffed Dates wrapped in prosciutto are game-changers.
For prosciutto wrapped appetizers, this one’s hard to beat.
3. Prosciutto Skewers, A World or Options
Not that much of an appetizer but a whole category, prosciutto skewers can come in all colors, shapes and sizes. The only thing you need is a pack of nice-looking bamboo skewers and your favorite foods.
Prosciutto and mozzarella cheese, grapes and prosciutto, figs, quince paste and prosciutto, there are endless combinations, and the sky’s the limit.
Mix and match textures and colors and use prosciutto as a common denominator, it’s saltiness, and decadent fatty flavors will bring the rest of the ingredients together.
Don’t overdo it either, keep your skewers at a maximum of three ingredients.
4. Melon and Prosciutto, A Classic Right There
We can’t avoid it; we have to mention this classic, the timeless combination of melon and prosciutto. Who’s the mastermind behind this heavenly combination? Perhaps we’ll never know.
What we know is that the fleshy orange fruit, and the savory cured ham are a match made in heaven; they’re destined to be eaten together.
From all prosciutto appetizer recipes, this one is universal, so at least consider it. Everyone else is doing it, but it’s because these are good!
Add a twit by sprinkling crushed nuts or red pepper flakes to add some excitement to an already perfect combination.
5. Creamy Prosciutto Crackers, Massive Amounts of Goodness
Add a crunchy appetizer to your repertoire with this recipe — crackers with a cream cheese spread, topped with prosciutto.
As simple as three ingredients, all bringing something to the table, whether it’s texture, unctuousness or rich umami flavors.
Bring your family together and set up an assembly line. Someone can take care of the cheese spread, and someone else can top the crackers as you arrange the small disks in platters. You can make hundreds of these in no time, and you should!
6. Mini Pizzas, For the Kid Within You
Prosciutto mini pizzas are playful appetizers that are both relatable and casual but with a subtly sophisticated.
Use a cookie cutter and make small pizza disks from pizza dough or flatbread, spread tomato puree evenly in each circle, add three fingers of grated cheese, and top them with prosciutto as the critical ingredient. Bake and drizzle your mini pizzas with extra-virgin olive oil.
If you think mini pizzas are child’s play, just look at your grown-up friends grabbing one after another.
And, by all means, don’t stop at prosciutto, while you’re at it, add a few more toppings and turn your reunion into a highbrowed pizza party.
7. Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto, Highbrowed Wrapped Greens
Grilled asparagus are earthy, additively bitter, and have a spectacular nap. Now add a layer of fatty, flavorful prosciutto, and you’ve got yourself a winning appetizer.
For better results, cut your asparagus in a way your guests can enjoy them in one bite.
Grill the bright-green stemmy veggies in olive oil and garlic before wrapping them to give your appetizers another flavor dimension.
And take your colorful appetizer to new heights by offering a few complimentary dips: vinaigrettes, mayo-based dips, Ranch, or Italian, they all work nicely, so choose your favorites.
You simply can’t go wrong with any kind of asparagus appetizer, especially with prosciutto.
8. Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp, A Sea-scented Combination
Save this one for the most memorable occasions because the shrimp and prosciutto combo is on another level.
The tenderness and sweet taste of peeled, grilled shrimp are contrasted exquisitely with the salty, decadent prosciutto.
Surf and turf combinations saving the day again.
You’ve got this:
Use wooden toothpicks to secure the prosciutto wrap in place and sauté the shrimp in garlic butter for a minute. Try them, and you’ll think of keeping these for yourself.
This is one of our all-time favorite appetizers with prosciutto.
9. Grissini and Prosciutto, Simple and Effective
This is another uncomplicated, popular appetizer. Perhaps you’ve seen these in Italian restaurants.
Grissini are Italian, thin breadsticks. Wrapped in prosciutto, they’re not only cheap to make but very satisfying.
The golden-colored sticks add a crunch to every bite, while prosciutto brings flavor and substance.
Tuck your breadsticks tight (without breaking them!) to avoid awkward unwrapping scenes.
Crack black peppercorns over your bready snacks to give them extra-spicy aromatics.
10. Apple, Prosciutto and Basil Bites, Healthy and Delicious
The most popular appetizers are decadent and rich but still feel light and healthy. That’s precisely the case with these apple slices wrapped in prosciutto.
Basil leaves, even if you gently place only one over each appetizer, will add to them a new dimension of freshness.
Make these right before company arrives, apples oxidize fast, and although they’re still perfectly good to eat, they lose some of their charm and pearly color.
Granny Smiths are awesome for their crisp acidity but any apple will do.
11. Mini Sandwiches, Fail-proof Appetizers
Panini and sandwiches are great snacks and appetizers when you make them small enough.
Prosciutto is a lovely artisan product, but it’s ham nonetheless, so it’ll feel right at home between two freshly baked bread slices.
Add cheese, tomato and lettuce, toast the bread a bit, and serve; they’re better if still warm.
Your guests will thank you for a slightly heartier appetizer that’ll help them wait hunger-free for dinner.
12. Bruschetta, An Italian Staple
A classic Italian appetizer: Prosciutto over toast.
Bruschetta are quintessential finger foods; they’re grab-and-go two biters with the right balance between texture and flavor.
Toasted baguette slices are your best option here, and you can complement prosciutto with other toppings like cheese, avocado, cherry tomatoes or greens.
People first eat with their eyes, so take your time and make your bruschetta toppings look nice; think of color and aroma combinations.
13. Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella Sticks, As Good As It Gets
Some of the finest food combinations develop when you use ingredients from the same place, prosciutto appetizers with mozzarella are a great example.
Gooey mozzarella sticks, wrapped in flavorful prosciutto, painted with olive oil, that’s it right there: the perfect appetizer.
If you’re in a hurry, buy ready-made breaded mozzarella sticks, if you have time, make your own; they’re both tasty options, but there’s a difference, and your guests can tell.
Prosciutto Appetizers: Other Things to Consider
As much as we love prosciutto appetizers, we recognize you need to offer some variety to your guests, so here are a few ideas to round up your starter course.
Tangy and briny, olives are excellent hands-off appetizers. Just serve them in a bowl directly from the jar and let everyone dig in.
The intense flavor in olives contrasts nicely with the fatty cured ham. Olives are festive too and add an elegant feel to your get-together.
We know, bread is not really an appetizer, but putting together a dinner party without it is like enjoying a movie without popcorn, you sure can, but why would you?
Of course, we’re talking about inspiring, artisan, freshly made bread, not store-bought.
Pay a visit to your local bakery and ask for something special, from sourdough to ciabatta or as a topping for focaccia, we’re sure you’ll find something nice.
Cured ham and cheese are inseparable partners. As long as you chose a sans-cheese prosciutto appetizer, you can offer cheese in cubes or slices as an option. Mozzarella or other semi-hard cheese will complement the fatty richness in your ham appetizer.
And Don’t Think for a Moment we Forgot About Drinks!
Food is just half the battle, with your new prosciutto appetizers, you’ve got it covered, but you need appropriate drinks to make people relax and mingle.
Bubbles are the perfect companion for appetizers, mainly if you’re featuring your newfound love for prosciutto appetizers.
You don’t have to spend much either, a good-valued bottle or Prosecco or Spanish Cava will work like a charm.
Crisp White Wines
Fresh, mineral, dry wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Riesling, Spanish Alvarinho, or a lovely Italian Pinot Grigio are excellent appetizer wines; they open your appetite.
These wines are reasonably low in alcohol too, so they’ll build the mood smoothly.
Avoid oaky, buttery wines like Chardonnay; they’re better served with your main course, especially if your reserving poultry or buttery seafood.
Light-bodied Red Wines
If you prefer red wine, find a light-bodied wine like a Pinot Noir or a fruity, French Beaujolais, they’ll work beautifully well with prosciutto appetizers and their salty, meaty flavors.
Full-bodied, bulky red wines will overshadow your appetizers and ruin all the hard work you put into them.
If you’re looking to serve cocktails with your appetizers, look for the dry kind, think Martini, Manhattan and Old Fashioned.
These cocktails are excellent aperitifs that open your appetite and add a classy mood to your reunion.
Fruity tropical drinks might be a better option for a pool party, and sweet, creamy concoctions are ideal after-dinner drinks.
One last tip:
There are many types of prosciutto out there, and although most of them are very good, some are better than others. Look for these:
Prosciutto di Modena, Italy, PDO
They’re of the highest quality and are protected by European law, these are the best of the best, and you know your guests deserve it.