Appetizers That Are Better Than Take Out

There's nothing better than enjoying a spread of tasty appetizers with good company. That doesn't mean you have to order in, though. You can make your own version of your favorite apps right in your own kitchen. On top of saving you money, you can choose to either make these treats before your friends come over, or wait and make it a group activity — aka, a chance to make some pretty awesome (and tasty) new memories.

Don't make the mistake of thinking you won't get the kind of great restaurant flavor when you make appetizers yourself. We've gathered up recipes that we think taste even better than anything you can order out. Don't buy pre-made until you give these delicious recipes a chance — you won't regret it.

Some of your favorite apps might be Asian-inspired, and we have you covered with that. After all, what's Chinese take out without a couple of egg rolls or a Japanese food order without tasty tempura? While some of these recipes may seem intimidating at first glance, you'll be surprised at how quickly you'll pick them up.

These crab rangoons are easy to prepare and look impressive on a platter

This recipe for crab rangoons is one of the easiest appetizers to whip up, and it looks super impressive when plated. There are only five ingredients you'll need to gather up, plus the oil for frying. It only takes 15 minutes of prep time and ten minutes of cook time. Note that you should keep a close watch on the rangoons while they're cooking, as they cook quickly and can burn just as quickly.

This crab rangoon recipe takes advantage of imitation crab meat, which is made of fish, not crab. While you can use real crab, it's more expensive and isn't needed to obtain the incredible flavor of this dish. You can also adjust how much crab meat (imitation or real) you use in the dish to get a stronger seafood flavor, if you prefer that.

These spicy chicken potstickers are packed with flavorful goodness

This recipe for spicy chicken potstickers packs a ton of flavor inside the wrapper as well as in the sauce. With Thai chili peppers, these little pouches pack a big punch, but of course, if you don't like your food too spicy, you can use fewer peppers or omit them entirely. Even though this recipe calls for a lot of fine chopping, all that hard work pays off with many layers of flavor.

There's no trick to the name. These potstickers "stick" to the bottom of the pot, giving you a crispy edge while the rest gets steamed. The variations of texture add to the all-around incredible taste of this traditional appetizer.

This recipe for egg rolls is so good, you'll keep coming back to it

Egg rolls are such a delicious appetizer, and this egg roll recipe just may be as good as you'll find in any Chinese restaurant (and it's way better than the frozen rolls you can purchase at the store). Other than egg roll wrappers and the sesame oil, there are no specialty ingredients here. You'll need ground pork, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and onions, along with soy sauce and other spices you already have in your pantry, like sugar, salt, and pepper.

That being said, this is a recipe you can potentially mess up your first few tries — but that's okay and you will get the hang of it. You need to fill the egg roll up to just the right amount and seal the wrapper very well. Too little filling, and all you'll taste is the crunchy shell, but too much filling will cause your rice paper to not seal correctly. Besides that, be very mindful of not sealing your rice paper correctly. (That could result in the juices from your filling to leak out and make the hot oil spit out at you or the countertop.)

These copycat P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps are low-carb deliciousness

Whether you're eating low-carb or not, this recipe for lettuce wraps is a tasty treat based on the popular version at P.F. Chang's. With chopped chicken, onions, garlic, water chestnuts, and mushrooms all wrapped in lettuce, it's a pretty healthy appetizer option as well. Plus, with the prep and cook times adding up to only 25 minutes, you won't have to exhaust yourself making them.

You can also decide how close you want this recipe to be to the P.F. Chang's version. Ground chicken requires less work and will give you the same flavor with a slightly different texture. If you want the same texture as the restaurant version, you can put in a little extra work with chicken thighs chopped raw, and then cooked.

This tempura recipe is fried deliciousness

It's no secret that veggies that are battered and deep-fried are so incredibly delectable. Our recipe for tempura will give you a variety of breaded treats, including shrimp, squash, mushrooms, and sweet potato. Be aware that the shrimp needs a higher frying temperature than the vegetables, so an oil thermometer is crucial in making sure everything cooks at just the right heat.

The surprise ingredient in this dish is seltzer water, which will be the wet ingredient in your breading. According to Cooks Illustrated, the carbonation adds air to the breading, keeping the batter thin and crispy. Light and airy is the name of the game here.

These spring rolls are a beautiful, refreshing app

Spring rolls have a bright, fresh flavor. They are a healthier option than egg rolls, because there's no frying involved. But, just because you're leaving out the oil, that doesn't mean you're losing any flavor. Fresh herbs and veggies in this spring roll recipe – including cabbage, cilantro, and bell peppers — give these rolls so much flavor and crunch.

On top of that, the peanut dipping sauce is good enough to drink. A mix of peanut butter, soy sauce, horseradish, sesame oil, and honey, this sauce is sweet, savory, and spicy. Added to the spring rolls, you get a fresh flavor that will leave you wondering why you didn't start making your own spring rolls sooner!