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When it comes to healthy summer recipes, there’s one flavor combination that wins over so many others: Tomatoes and basil! This easy Caprese appetizer goes by several names — Caprese salad skewers, simply Caprese skewers, or tomato mozzarella basil skewers — but whatever you call them, they are the perfect way to enjoy the classic summery flavors of Caprese salad. And with the beautiful red and green colors, they are also festive looking for Christmas.
Caprese Skewers: Why You’ll Love Them
- Classic Caprese flavors and fresh taste
- Creamy and crunchy textures
- Just 6 simple ingredients (plus a couple optional ones)
- Ready in 15 minutes
- Perfect summer party appetizer or snack
- Naturally healthy, low in carbohydrates, keto, and gluten-free
What Are Caprese Skewers?
Caprese salad skewers are essentially a Caprese salad on a stick — so fun! Caprese salad is usually made of tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, and fresh basil. Sometimes the dressing is olive oil, balsamic glaze, or a pesto sauce drizzle. This Caprese appetizer version is perfect for parties or picnics, because it’s bite-sized and portable.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for this Caprese appetizer with balsamic reduction, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Grape tomatoes – You can use any type of small tomato for these Caprese appetizer sticks. Grape or cherry tomatoes work well. If you want to add some extra color, try a multi-colored tomato combo.
- Bacon – This is my spin on these mini Caprese skewers — because everything is better with bacon — but you can omit for a vegetarian version. If you do include the bacon (highly recommend!), you can cook it in any way you like. I love how easy oven baked bacon and air fryer bacon are.
VARIATION: Use folded prosciutto or salami instead of bacon.
It’s a great shortcut that doesn’t require cooking! Fold the slices over before threading on the skewers.
- Basil – Fresh basil leaves are a must for any Caprese recipe.
- Mozzarella cheese – Look for mini fresh mozzarella balls, sometimes called bocconcini. I recommend the kind that comes in a container in liquid, rather than the vacuum sealed ones, which tend to be smaller.
- Pesto Sauce – My homemade basil pesto sauce drizzle adds great fresh flavor, but if you’d rather use store bought, that works, too. The pesto is salty enough that the recipe doesn’t need any salt added separately. If you’re not a fan of pesto, you can simply omit this; you may want to add a sprinkle of garlic powder, sea salt, and/or Italian seasoning on top for extra flavor.
- Olive Oil – Used to thin out the pesto to make it easier to drizzle. I added 2 tablespoons of oil to 1/4 cup of pesto to get the right consistency, but this can vary. If your pesto is already very runny, you can omit the extra oil.
- Balsamic Glaze – Sometimes this is called balsamic reduction, this is the classic topping for Caprese skewers. You can get this at the grocery store, but I love making homemade balsamic glaze from balsamic vinegar, so there’s no sugar added. If you want store-bought glaze for convenience, I like this brand, which also has no added sugar or preservatives.
- Black pepper – Use freshly cracked black pepper for best flavor, but pre-ground will work if that’s what you have.
- Toothpicks – For skewering! Longer skewers (like these bamboo skewers) are also a great option.
VARIATION: Add avocado!
If you like avocado Caprese salad, add some diced avocado to this Caprese appetizer skewers recipe! (I recommend using the longer bamboo skewers mentioned above if you do this, so that the avocado can fit.)
How To Make Caprese Skewers
This section shows how to make tomato mozzarella basil skewers, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Assemble. Thread tomatoes, bacon pieces (if using), basil, and mozzarella balls onto toothpicks, following the order listed.
TIP: Fold the basil leaves as needed.
For large basil leaves, fold them over before threading them onto the toothpick.
- Mix pesto oil. In a small bowl, whisk together pesto and olive oil. You will want a consistency that is easy to drizzle, so add more olive oil if necessary, or omit the oil if your pesto is already very runny.
- Drizzle. Top the Caprese appetizers with pesto and balsamic glaze, about 1/2 teaspoon of pesto and 1/4 teaspoon of glaze per skewer. Finish with cracked black pepper.
Store the Caprese appetizer skewers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, without the pesto and balsamic on top.
Can You Make Caprese Skewers Ahead Of Time?
Yes, you can make mozzarella Caprese skewers ahead of time. For best results, put together the Caprese appetizers in advance (without sauce or balsamic), cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge. When it’s time to serve them, drizzle with the pesto sauce and balsamic glaze.
More Easy Finger Food Appetizers
If you love this easy Caprese skewers recipe, you might like some of these other simple healthy appetizer recipes:
Caprese Skewers (So Easy!)
Caprese skewers are quick and easy! These tomato mozzarella basil skewers make a fun, fresh, and healthy Caprese appetizer everyone will love.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Skewer the tomatoes, bacon pieces (if using), fresh basil leaves, and mozzarella balls onto the toothpicks, in that order. (You can fold any larger basil pieces as needed.)
In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto and olive oil. If it's still thick, thin out with more oil.
Drizzle the pesto sauce over the skewers, then the balsamic glaze.
Top with fresh cracked black pepper, if desired.
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Serving size: 3 Caprese skewers
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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