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With everything from a veggie tray appetizer that’s shaped like a turkey, to elegant cranberry brie bites, make-ahead crescent roll veggie pizza, and a show-stopping Thanksgiving charcuterie board, this list of Thanksgiving appetizer ideas has something for everyone!

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Thanksgiving dinner is undoubtedly one of the single biggest meals of the year. Which makes sense because so much preparation goes into it! With an epic turkey main course and a variety of side dishes, it’s always a meal to look forward to.

Some families plan for a dinner as early as noon on Thanksgiving. Other people like it mid-afternoon. We always have Thanksgiving dinner around 6pm. Dinner, and then dessert a couple hours later, followed by a movie we watch once a year or every other year like The Wizard of Oz or Home Alone.

But the real question is, do you serve appetizers on Thanksgiving?

Because we eat this holiday meal at a regular dinner time, we usually have mid-morning Thanksgiving brunch, and then a few appetizers or snacks to nibble on around 2 or 3pm. Not too much, because of course you don’t want to spoil your appetite for the big dinner!

The main meal is usually set in stone (with a couple side dish variations), but the appetizers are another story. In my house, they’re fair game to change up yearly, and I love finding delicious new festive appetizers for Thanksgiving!

Because it’s a holiday, you can go all out, right?! There are a ton of seasonal flavors to work with that all pair well with all the classics served at Thanksgiving dinner: pumpkin, sweet potato, cranberry, apple, and the list goes on!

These Thanksgiving appetizer ideas include a good variety of options. There are easy recipes, and some that take a little bit more work. Some are lighter vegetable-based snacks, and some are more decadent. A few are served hot, and others are served cold.

There’s also a few gluten free, vegan, low carb, and keto appetizer recipes, so you’re sure to find something for everyone no matter what your snacking preference is.

And most of these appetizer recipes would also be perfect for Christmas Eve, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve!

the best thanksgiving appetizer ideas

Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas

I searched around for the best Thanksgiving appetizers so you don’t have to! Bookmark this post so you can easily find it again later.

Cranberry Brie Bites with Puff Pastry Recipe
Cranberry brie bites with puff pastry combine crisp, flaky pastry with rich, creamy brie cheese, sweet/tart spiced cranberry sauce, and a sprinkle of fresh rosemary for the ultimate holiday appetizer that's as easy as it is elegant.
Check out this recipe
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Garlic and Chive Cottage Cheese Dip Recipe
Easy to whip up with minimal ingredients, this creamy, flavorful, and healthy garlic and chive cottage cheese dip recipe is great to keep on hand for snacking.
Check out this recipe
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Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
This Thanksgiving charcuterie board is a platter of different meats, cheeses, nuts, crackers, and seasonal fall treats. It's a super easy, yet impressive appetizer offering that's perfect to put out so people can graze on it!
Check out this recipe
Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
Turkey Sliders Recipe
Turkey sliders combine gooey cheese, cranberry sauce, and honey mustard butter sauce on soft Hawaiian rolls for an easy appetizer that’s perfect for game day, holiday parties, or any gathering! These are great for reinventing leftover turkey, or you can use rotisserie chicken.
Check out this recipe
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Three Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe
A blend of ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese is paired with aromatic garlic, onion, and herbs in this delicious Three Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms appetizer recipe. It’s easy to make, always a crowd-pleaser, and keto friendly with 1 ingredient swap!
Check out this recipe
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Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip
Don't just use cranberries to make sauce; cranberry appetizers are another great option for Thanksgiving! This Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip is a festive appetizer with the perfect balance: creamy, tart, a tad spicy, and sweet. It's made with fresh cranberry salsa on top of smooth cream cheese for a beautiful holiday party appetizer!
Check out this recipe
Cranberry Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip
Caramelized Onion Tartlets Recipe
With caramelized onion, fresh thyme, and Gruyere cheese these Caramelized Onion Tartlets have the same flavor profile as French Onion Soup, but with a buttery extra flaky crust.
Check out this recipe
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Sweet Potato Hummus
This Creamy Sweet Potato Hummus is the perfect balance of savory, sweet, and nutty flavors with a hint of citrus. It's an easy appetizer that's served cold as a dip or spread! And bonus, it's naturally gluten free and vegan.
Check out this recipe
Sweet Potato Hummus
Apple Chutney Recipe
This easy apple chutney recipe is lightly spiced with a perfect sweet and tart balance, and the flavor of apple really shines!
Check out this recipe
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Cheddar Cheese Ball Recipe (aka Cheddar Pub Spread)
If you’re looking for the best crowd-pleasing easy appetizer, look no further than this Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe!
Check out this recipe
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Crescent Roll Veggie Pizza Recipe
This crescent roll veggie pizza recipe has a flaky base topped with an easy homemade ranch dip made with fresh herbs and garlic. A variety of vegetables add color, flavor, and bump up the nutrition. And this crowd-pleasing appetizer takes just 30 minutes to make from start-to-finish!
Check out this recipe
crescent roll veggie pizza featured image
Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemony Garlic and Herb Dipping Sauce
Smashed Brussels sprouts are a healthy, flavorful, and crispy appetizer. It's a good holiday appetizer if you want to include some lighter options in your spread. If you like Brussels sprouts and want to try something new, this is perfect! Don't skip the dipping sauce, it adds a ton of flavor.
Check out this recipe
Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemony Garlic and Herb Dipping Sauce
Turkey Veggie Tray Appetizer for Thanksgiving
If you're looking for lighter Thanksgiving appetizer ideas, this is a great option! This fun turkey veggie tray is a delicious way to encourage your holiday guests to eat their veggies. Serve it with homemade or store-bought ranch or your favorite dip!
Check out this recipe
Turkey Veggie Tray Appetizer for Thanksgiving
Savory Pumpkin Dip
This savory pumpkin dip melds together rich autumn flavors with creamy cheese, bacon, and pecans. It's perfect for cool-weather gatherings or a flavorful fall or winter snack!
Check out this recipe
Savory Pumpkin Dip
Mini Mushroom Pies with Thyme
These miniature two-bite pies are stuffed with a savory mushroom and thyme filling. They’re the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer!
Check out this recipe
Mini Mushroom Pies with Thyme
Crispy Fried Goat Cheese
If you want a new Thanksgiving appetizer idea that has familiar Thanksgiving flavors, this is it! Here, deliciously savory little goat cheese bites are air-fried to perfection. The crispy exterior is a familiar Thanksgiving flavor – fried onions – and it pairs really nicely with the goat cheese!
Check out this recipe
Baked Brie Recipe with Honeyed Grapes
This easy Baked Brie recipe features rich, creamy brie cheese baked until melted and gooey, and then topped with honeyed grapes for an easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Check out this recipe
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Super Easy Thanksgiving Appetizers

If you just want to keep things as simple as possible (because Thanksgiving dinner can be daunting enough!), here are a few Thanksgiving appetizer ideas that are so easy you don’t even need a recipe:

  • Cream cheese-stuffed celery – You only need 2 ingredients for this iconic snack.
  • Veggies and dip – Baby carrots, broccoli florets, sliced bell pepper, you name it, any crunchy vegetables that you enjoy eating raw will work well here! Serve up a variety of raw veggies with a few dips, such as ranch, French onion, etc.
  • Cheese and crackers – Slice your favorite cheese (or buy it pre-sliced) and arrange it on a tray with crackers.

Which Thanksgiving Appetizers Pair Best with Thanksgiving Dinner?

I compiled this appetizer list with Thanksgiving dinner and its traditional side dishes and flavors in mind. So any appetizer you pick to make is a good choice and will pair well with the flavors of a classic Thanksgiving dinner!

However, if you want a few appetizer ideas that utilize some of the same ingredients as a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, here are a few options:

  • Cranberry brie bites with puff pastry – Make a double batch of cranberry sauce and let it serve double duty for this classy little appetizer.
  • Turkey sliders – These have gooey Swiss cheese, sweet and tangy cranberry sauce, and turkey. And you can even add a thin layer of stuffing if you want!
  • Crispy fried goat cheese – Creamy, tangy goat cheese balls are coated with fried onions before air-frying to crispy golden perfection.

Which Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes Can I Make Ahead?

You can make a lot of these appetizers ahead of time. They’re perfect for Thanksgiving (or Christmas) because you can spend more time on the holiday doing other things with your family instead of cooking. Or you can spend more time cooking the main meal instead of appetizers!

Here are a few of the best make-ahead appetizers:

  • Turkey-shaped veggie tray appetizer – This just involves cutting a few vegetables (or buying prepped veggies) and arranging them on a try to look like a turkey! It’s festive and easy, and perfect for making a couple days ahead and keeping stashed in your fridge for the big day.
  • Crescent roll veggie pizza – A classic make-ahead appetizer, this cold pizza is even better the next day.
  • Sweet potato hummus – This classic vegan favorite gets a festive fall spin with sweet potato. And it’s perfect for making ahead!
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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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