Pass Me A Plate

16 Appetizer Ideas That Won’t Ruin Thanksgiving Dinner

That is, if everyone can actually stop eating them.

We’re all guilty of skimping a little on breakfast or lunch before Thanksgiving, thinking you’re saving room for all those amazing sides and the turkey, of course. But now it’s 3 p.m. and you’re getting more than a little hangry waiting for the food to hit the table. This is where Thanksgiving appetizers come in. Planning a shareable snack to come out a little ahead of the main meal will keep everyone feeling chipper without spoiling their supper altogether. (Besides, everyone should probably eat a little something to soak up those delicious Thanksgiving cocktails you have planned.)

Listen, being hangry isn’t fun for anyone. Thanksgiving is a time when relatives from all over the map and the political spectrum come together, and conversations can get heated without any help. The last thing you need is a room full of on-edge guests and a hungry, grumpy, conspiracy-theorist uncle who hasn’t eaten since this morning. So, it’s good to have a Thanksgiving appetizer recipe or two in mind to tide them over until the main event.

You may want to keep things incredibly simple — especially if you’re already cooking a ton, and therefore short on time and space in the oven — or maybe you want to get a little more elaborate if you’re taking a dish to a friend’s house. In any case, there’s a perfect shareable dish here for you.


Maple pecan baked brie

This appetizer looks absolutely perfect, 10/10, no notes. Baked brie is a crowd-pleaser and is easy to make — just pop it into the oven and then onto a serving platter. The maple pecan topping on this recipe from Damn Delicious is what makes it feel extra Thanksgiving-y.


A seasonal charcuterie board

Charcuterie boards are popular for a reason — they let guests pick and choose the flavors they want, and it gives you something to do with your hand while you chat around the kitchen counter. A Cozy Kitchen’s winter board includes figs, pears, caramelized pecans, and other festive foods to nibble on.


Creamy spinach artichoke dip

Spinach artichoke dip will never disappoint, and it’s science that anything you serve in a cast iron skillet is going to taste better, so All The Healthy Things’ take on the classic is perfect. Serve with tortilla chips or crostini.


Fig & bacon baked brie bites

These baked brie bites from Brown Sugar Food Blog are topped with seasonal fruit (figs) and a year-round favorite (bacon). All together, the flavors make for a perfect sweet, savory, bite-sized app.


Garlic & herb goat cheese spread

There could always be more goat cheese. This dip recipe from A Beautiful Plate calls for garlic, dill, parsley, and a few other pantry staples, and comes together in minutes in a food processor.


Sage & citrus butternut squash dip

This dip is the color of Thanksgiving. It’s a creamy blend of butternut squash and hummus with a little hint of satsuma tangerine and sage in there too. You could adjust the flavor to be sweeter with a pinch of cinnamon, or hotter with a little cayenne.


Roasted squash wedges with garlic sauce

While you have squash on the brain, you should know that slicing them longways and roasting turns them into the more autumnal version of potato wedges. This recipe includes a yogurt-based garlic dipping sauce makes for the perfect tart complement to the sweet, salty squash.


Fall harvest salad

Some families serve salads along with their Thanksgiving meal, but if you’re saving the dining table space for mac and cheese and hot rolls, you could always serve a salad appetizer. This fall harvest salad from All The Healthy Things has a delicious crunch (courtesy of the candied pecans and green apples), and some seasonal flavors from the butternut squash.


Easy cranberry cream cheese dip

Insert cranberries, jalapeno, sugar and water into pot. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until saucy. Spoon over room temp cream cheese and serve. That’s how simple this appetizer recipe from Budget Bytes is, and from the look of it, it’s as tasty as it is quick.


Savory pumpkin hummus

If you want to serve something super light that requires no cooking or space in the oven, pumpkin hummus is the move. Wholefully’s recipe is a little bit sweet but mostly savory, and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to make and plate.


Vegan beer cheese

Beer cheese and pretzels might be a little on the heavy side, but if you serve them well in advance of dinner, I’m sure no one would complain. This vegan beer cheese sure looks every bit as delicious as the dairy kind, and Make It Dairy-Free also has a recipe for one-hour vegan soft pretzels to go with it.


Bloody Mary deviled eggs

Deviled eggs are one of those holiday appetizers everyone looks forward to. If you want to spice them up a bit this year, try Averie Cooks’ Bloody Mary deviled eggs. You will definitely be asked for this recipe later so keep it handy.


Whipped goat cheese crostini

If you want something simple to make and satisfying to eat, whip up some goat cheese in a food processor, spread it on crostini, and top with pears and honey, a la A Classic Twist’s recipe.


Pull-apart garlic bread wreath

Just yank and dip — these pull-apart garlic rolls are a yummy starter any time of year. It might be cumbersome to make homemade dough just for an appetizer, but if you’re already kneading some together for another recipe, then making this bread wreath wouldn’t be such a big deal.


Palmiers with sun-dried tomatoes & cheese

Flaky puff pastry with parmesan and romano cheeses and lots of sun-dried tomato? You won’t hear anyone complaining about these homemade palmiers. One or two make for a yummy appetizer that isn’t super heavy, and won’t steal the show from whatever bread you’re serving with dinner.


Cinnamon honey popcorn

If you weren’t planning on serving an appetizer but you hear people mentioning they’re peckish, you can throw together some cinnamon-y popcorn to snack on in a matter of minutes. All you need are popcorn kernels (or the microwaveable kind), honey, cinnamon, sugar and salt. It’s just enough to hold everyone over until they turkey’s done.

So there you have it — loads of inspiration for the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer. Hopefully you find the perfect shareable your family will love, that’s light enough not to ruin their appetite but yummy enough to hold them over ‘til dinner.