This Calabrian Chili and Burrata Appetizer is going to be the star of all your summer gatherings. This is basically a classic bruschetta but so so much better. We take juicy heirloom cherry tomatoes and toss them with fiery calabrian chilis, zippy red wine vinegar, parsley, garlic, and a few briny capers. We spoon it over the most adorable mini creamy burrata balls and serve with crusty bread to soak up every juicy bite.
Calabrian Chili and Burrata Appetizer
It’s happening. Parties. Summer barbecues. Potlucks. And your friends ask you to bring an app, something modest, something small.
Here’s what’s going to happen. You are going to show up with the most delicious, most beautiful, most show-stopping burrata appetizer. And you and your friends will be forever grateful. If they can stop themselves from inhaling bite after bite in between thanks. And they’ll never know it was impossibly easy to throw together.
If you can’t tell by the photos, I’d describe this easy burrata appetizer as a play on bruschetta, but so much more than that. We take it up a notch by pairing juicy heirloom cherry tomatoes (plentiful at the grocery store already!) with fiery calabrian chilis, zippy red wine vinegar, plenty of chopped parsley for some freshness, a hint of garlic, and a sprinkling of briny capers.
We take the zippy, spicy mixture, pour it over the most adorable baby burrata balls and serve with crusty bread. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, this is a delicious combination.
With each bread-soaked bite you get a mouthful of freshness from the tomatoes and parsley, a potent but not overpowering heat from the Calabrian chilis, and the perfect amount of acidity and salt from the vinegar and capers. And don’t forget the creaminess of the bruschetta! All tied together with plenty of crunchy texture thanks to the olive oil-toasted bread.
This my friends, is now your go-to appetizer from now until eternity. Thank me later.
Tomatoes. Traditional bruschetta uses vine-ripened tomatoes, but for this burrata appetizer I like to use a medley of heirloom cherry tomatoes. The more colorful the better!
Calabrian chilis. We have been kind of obsessed with calabrian chilis lately (notably in this Calabrian Chili Pasta and this Whole Roasted Cauliflower) because it’s such a great way to add heat and tang to just about anything. I also love that you can use the chilis themselves and the spicy oil the peppers are packed in.
Garlic. Just a hint of garlic is all we need. And even though we don’t cook the garlic, as the mixture sits, the acid in the vinegar will tenderize the garlic and make is less pungent.
Vinegar. You could use a variety of vinegars and have the end result turns out just fine, but I love to use red wine vinegar to mimiic the flavors in a classic chimichurri.
Parsley. This is a super fresh dish, so I wanted to make sure to throw in some freshly topped herbs. I went with flat-leaf parsley, but cilantro or basil will work great as well.
Capers. I’ve tried this burrata appetizer twice. Once with capers and once without and while they’re delicious either way, I do love the pop of brininess the tiny little capers add, so if you’ve got them, use them!
Burrata. We are no stranger to burrata around here, and when I get even the smallest glimpse of warmer weather, dishes like our Shishito Crostini, our Burrata Panzanella, and our Burrata Caprese are mainstays in our kitchen.
I typically only use the large balls of burrata you find at the store, but last time I accidentally picked up a container of baby burrata balls and I’ve never looked back. If you can’t find these adorable little guys, four larger balls of burrata will work.
Bread. This is a messy appetizer. The tomatoes release quite a bit of liquid as they marinate and you’ll want to soak every bit of that up. To make sure we do that, you need to make sure to use a really crusty, sturdy bread. We use a rustic Italian loaf or ciabatta loaf, but sourdough would also work.
Olive oil. You could simply toast the bread in the oven, but I like every component to have a layer of flavor so we drizzle each pieces of crusty bread with olive oil, salt, pepper, and just a touch of garlic powder.
Let’s get to it!
Make the topping for the burrata. This is as easy as throwing all the tomatoes, chilis, oil, red wine vinegar, capers, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper into a bowl. Mix and set aside.
Toast the bread. Drizzle each piece of bread with a little bit of olive oil. If want to be a little more sparing with your olive oil, pour some into a bowl and use a pastry brush to brush the bread with the oil instead. Sprinkle with PLENTY of salt, a little bit of pepper, and garlic powder.
Line everything up on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until crisp, about 12-15 minutes.
Assemble. Arrange all of the baby burrata balls in a shallow bowl or serving dish. Spoon the tomato mixture on top. Season with salt and pepper. I like to put the bowl on a big beautiful serving platter and arrange the bread around it. Serve with the crusty bread.
What is burrata?
We all know we love burrata, but what exactly is it? Similar to fresh mozzarella, burrata is a cow’s milk cheese made from mozzarella (why it’s so similar) and heavy cream.The outside is made up of a solid curd, but the inside is filled with a soft cream curd, hence the irresistible creaminess.
Where can I find mini Burrata?
I found mine at Whole Foods, but it was the Belgioioso brand which you can find at pretty much any grocery store.
Can I make this Burrata Appetizer in advance?
Please do! The tomato topping can marinate for up to a day. If you do make the toasted bread in advance, pop them in the oven to crisp again right before serving.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Make sure you let the tomato mixture sit for at least 15 minutes before spooning it over the burrata
- For more, heat chop more chilis. For less, scale it back.
- To add texture, finish this burrata appetizer off with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.
- Don’t over toast the bread. You want it to have a slight crunch to it, but if you bake it too long it will be hard to eat.
Some of our other favorite appetizers perfect for a summer potluck
- For a simpler version, try out our Basil Tomato Bruschetta.This is as straight forward and simple and you get when it comes to tomato bruschetta.
- We love this play on a Greek Cheese Board. Filled with homemade Tzatziki dip, from scratch pita chips, salty feta, and plenty of veggies.
- If you’re looking for something indulgent, look towards our Ultra Cheese Artichoke Dip – this stuff is addictive!
- 10 oz heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chopped calabrian chilis
- 2 tbsp oil from the calabrian chilii jar
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 16 oz mini burrata balls You can find them in two eight-ounce containers with four balls of burrata per conainter.
- 1 loaf rustic ciabatta
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1-2 large garlic clove (whole)
- Mixing bowl
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add tomatoes, calabrian chilis, calabrian chili oil, red wine vinegar, capers, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside. Let everything marinate for at least 15 minutes, but preferably an hour or more. You can make this up to one day in advance. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Make and toast the bread while it sits.
- Using a sharp bread knife, cut the loaf of bread into 1/2-inch to 1-inch slices. Cut each piece in half vertically. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. You can also use a pastry brush to brush each slice with olive oil. Sprinkle GENEROUSLY with kosher salt and a little bit of freshly cracked black pepper. Bake in the oven until crisp and ever-so-slighly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. When the bread comes out take the whole garlic clove and rub it on the hot bread to infuse with garlic.
- Arrange the burrata in a large shallow serving dish or bowl. Pour the tomato and chili mixture on top. Serve with prepared bread.