12 Crowd-Pleasing Thanksgiving Appetizers
With this stunning collection of appetizer recipes, no one will mind if Thanksgiving dinner is a little late this year.
The aroma of Thanksgiving turkey and savory side dishes bubbling in the oven fills your home and sharpens the appetite — but it’s not quite time for dinner. To keep your hungry guests happy, you’ll want to put out a few appetizers to delight their palates before the main event.
This selection of 12 carefully culled appetizer recipes — some quick and easy, others a bit more challenging — provides a wide range of interesting options to complement your Thanksgiving dinner.
Whether you make just one appetizer or a whole array of finger foods, it’s a great start for a very joyous Thanksgiving!
Showstopper Turkey Bread Bowl
Raw veggies and dip are always a hit with the health conscious — but whether the platter is ho-hum or awesome is all about presentation. This turkey-shaped Thanksgiving appetizer is made with a French boule that cradles a sumptuous cream-cheese-based spinach dip, and features a dramatic fan of “feathers” created by raw carrots, peppers, celery, and pretzel rods. This showpiece will definitely wow your guests! Feel free to swap out the dip for your favorite — artichoke dip, cheese dip, or caramelized onion dip would all work well with this presentation. Or try the pumpkin hummus below for a healthier alternative.
Brie En Croute With Caramel And Walnuts
Emeril Lagasse created this sumptuous version of baked brie with an ideal blend of textures — creamy baked brie with a heavenly center of caramelized sugar and walnuts blanketed by a flaky puff pastry crust. This party snack looks impressive but is a snap to whip up. Serve it with crackers and pears, and your taste buds will go "Bam!"
Vegan Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
It’s not easy to find a dish that will please both vegans and omnivores — but these stuffed mushrooms will do the trick. Portobellos and pecans are satisfyingly meaty, and with a rich array of flavors and an attractive presentation, they make an enticing hors d'oeuvre that will please everyone at your Thanksgiving feast.
This retro appetizer recipe echoes the mid-century glamour of Mad Men and brings a touch of elegant nostalgia to the party. After all, plump, boiled shrimp and a tangy horseradish tomato sauce never go out of style. Serve it with another fifties ritual: the pre-dinner martini or a prosecco cocktail with pomegranate seeds.
Pumpkin Hummus With Sage And Cranberries
Hummus is quick and easy to prepare in a blender or food processor and is also a great make-ahead option. This recipe brings together three trademark tastes of Thanksgiving — pumpkin, cranberries, and sage. A hit of cayenne pepper gives it a kick that garners rave reviews among our users. Take the whole experience to another level by whipping up a batch of Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips by My Sequined Life.
Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
With a panko and parmesan crust outside and tender zucchini inside, these delectable, fried rounds are best served piping hot. Guests will snap them up whether they're served plain or with a sauce like this Homemade Ranch Dressing recipe by Let’s Dish or a Homemade Marinara Sauce by Recipe Girl.
Chef Gordon Ramsey’s version of arancini is pure perfection, with a crisp-fried shell surrounding a center of wild mushrooms, risotto rice, and melted mozzarella cheese. This classic Italian specialty originated in Sicily more than a thousand years ago. Today, it’s a happy hour favorite at many chic Italian restaurants. Bonus perk: you can make the risotto the night before and eat a bit for dinner!
Rapturous Morel Marmalade
A true original, this appetizer lives up to its name — a rapturous experience for your guests. Earthy morel mushrooms, bacon, caramelized onions, and carrots combine to create a memorable topping, served on slices of goat cheese polenta. With 19 ingredients in all and an hour of preparation time, it is a bit more labor-intensive — but the compliments you get will make it well worth your while. To save prep time, forego the polenta and serve the marmalade on top of warm cheese crostini.
Cranberry Brie Poppers
These tasty brie poppers are a popular crowd-pleaser — and are deceptively easy to prepare. You can find ready-made puff pastry dough in the frozen food section of most supermarkets. The filling of canned pears and brie also features dried cranberries for a tantalizing hint of the main course to come.
If you’re used to eating pre-packaged spiced nuts, you’re in for an exceptional treat. Made from scratch with brown sugar, hot spices, and butter, these addictive pecans are so good, your guests will keep reaching for more. They’re simple to make — and irresistible — so you might want to place two or three bowls around the living room.
Great Cocktail Meatballs
There’s something so satisfying about cocktail meatballs — toothpick-skewered hors d’oeuvres that are savory and substantial, yet not too filling. These meatballs are slow-simmered in a mix of cranberry and chili sauces with brown sugar and lemon juice — a unique blend that really perks up this traditional party appetizer. Use your slow cooker to make more space in your oven for all your other Thanksgiving recipes.
The Caprese salad was created shortly after World War I on the Isle of Capri as a tribute to the red, white, and green of the Italian flag. Refreshing, light, and colorful, these individual skewers of buffalo mozzarella, ripe grape tomatoes, and basil (with a sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil) are a wonderful prelude to your Thanksgiving dinner.