24 Thanksgiving Appetizers to Add to Your Menu

Cheese Croustades Recipe
Photo: Justin Walker

Sausage-Stuffed Fried Olives. Cheese Croustades. Carrots en Croûte. Turkey and sides can be the heart of a Thanksgiving menu, but the appetizers are important, too — and we've gathered more than 20 different options here so you can create the snack spread of your dreams. Think dips (like Caramelized Five-Onion Dip), toasts, and little one-bite treats like Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Dip. In the mood for something cheesy? There's plenty of that here, too. Read on for even more of our best Thanksgiving appetizers.

Related: Amazon’s Secret Outlet Dropped 4,000+ Kitchen Sales Before Black Friday, but These Are the 15 Best

01 of 24

Green Peppercorn-Marinated Feta

Green Peppercorn Marinated Feta
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Marinating cubed feta is a low-effort move with big-flavor results. Pair it with crackers and fruit to anchor your cheese board. Feta's slightly airy texture makes it perfect for soaking up bold flavors such as these briny, piquant peppercorns. For the best results, look for feta in brine, and drain off the brine before marinating.

02 of 24

Sausage-Stuffed Fried Olives

Sausage-Stuffed Fried Olives Recipe
Victor Protasio

Buttery, mild Castelvetrano olives add just enough salt and tang to these fried sausage snacks that pair beautifully with a crisp martini or chilled glass of wine. Use a high-quality Italian sausage for the best texture and flavor.

03 of 24

Deviled-Egg Crisps

Deviled-Egg Crisps
Greg DuPree

Missy Robbins, chef at Lilia in Brooklyn, makes a deviled-egg toast that's topped with bottarga. This riff from F&W Culinary Director at Large Justin Chapple, served on crisp artisan crackers, is topped with smoky-sweet Urfa biber and shaved jalapeño.

04 of 24

Carrots en Croûte

Carrots en Croute
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

This filling appetizer stars curry and honey-roasted carrots wrapped in flaky puff pastry. For best results, look for carrots that are five to six inches in length. Pre-roasting carrots with curry and thyme balances their natural sweetness with rich, savory flavor, making them a satisfying stand-in for sausages.

05 of 24

Pimento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers

Pimento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers

Chef and television personality Carla Hall makes her own crunchy crackers to serve with her cheese spread, a riff on a Southern classic. The pimento cheese can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for one week.

06 of 24

Caviar Waffle Bites

Caviar Waffle Bites
Greg DuPree

Instead of serving blini alongside a tin of caviar, Justin Chapple makes these handheld snacks. Waffles are cut into strips, and the pockets are filled with caviar, crème fraîche, and snipped chives to form the perfect pop-in-your-mouth morsel.

07 of 24

Duck Liver Pâté with Blackberry Conserva

Duck Liver Pâté with Blackberry Conserva
William Hereford

The tartness and texture of the blackberry conserva is a nice contrast to the rich, silky pâté. Spoon leftover blackberry conserva on pancakes, waffles, or ice cream.

08 of 24

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Abby Hocking

Bacon-wrapped dates are chewy, crispy, sweet, savory, and smoky all at once. Here, plump and tender Medjool dates are stuffed with a mixture of blue cheese and cream cheese, and a toasted walnut stands in for the pit. Fresh goat cheese could easily be swapped for the blue cheese, and roasted salted almonds can replace the walnuts. For sweeter stuffed dates, drizzle them with honey before serving.

09 of 24

Smoked Salmon Dip

Smoked salmon dip with crostini and white wine
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

This creamy, smoky dip features flaky smoked salmon two ways: Half is finely chopped to add a pleasant texture to the dip alongside briny pops of capers, and the rest is pureed with the mayonnaise, sour cream, and cream cheese, lending its beautiful color and deepening the flavor.

10 of 24

Chile-Sumac-Pomegranate Nuts

Chile-Sumac-Pomegranate Nuts
Greg DuPree

Cookbook author Nik Sharma's book Season weaves inspiration from his upbringing in Bombay with stories and experience from his adult life in the U.S. The result is a culinary memoir filled with delicious recipes like this one. Sharma notes that any mix of nuts will work for this recipe — just be sure to let them cool completely before serving or storing to ensure a crisp, not sticky, texture.

11 of 24

'Nduja Toasts with Quick-Pickled Celery

Nduja Toasts with Quick-Pickled Celery
Greg DuPree

Store-bought 'nduja is transformed into a special canapé when served on toasted baguette and topped with a quick-pickled celery.

12 of 24

Mini Deviled Crab Cornbread Muffins

Deviled Crab Stuffed Mini Cornbread Muffins
Kelly Marshall

At his dinner parties in Harlem, chef and cookbook author Alexander Smalls pairs creamy, slightly spicy, fresh deviled crab with tender corn muffins, barely sweetened with brown sugar and studded with corn kernels, for a quick one-bite appetizer. Choose fresh crab over pasteurized for the best flavor.

13 of 24

Baked Brie en Croûte with Spiced Pears and Cherries

Baked Brie en Croute with crackers and sliced apples
Photo by Sarah Crowder / Food Styling by Bridget Hallinan

For this rich appetizer, creamy Brie is topped with a spiced fruit and nut mixture and encased in a buttery, crisp robe of golden brown puff pastry. You can use a double-cream Brie for extra-gooey results, and swap in other fruit and nuts as desired — apples, persimmons, plums, or pawpaws would also be delicious here. Drizzle honey and sprinkle flaky sea salt on top of the pastry for the finishing touch.

14 of 24

Mini Wedge Salads with Anchovy Dressing

Mini Wedge Salads with Anchovy Dressing
Greg DuPree

These mini wedges are coated in a creamy, anchovy-packed dressing and dredged in crunchy panko, making them easy to eat with your hands. Alternatively, you can serve the dressing and breadcrumbs alongside the lettuce wedges for easy dipping.

15 of 24

Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Dip

Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Dip
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Inspired by merguez, a North African lamb sausage, these meatballs are loaded with cumin, garlic, and paprika for the ideal one-bite nosh. Harissa gives them a fiery heat that's tempered by the herby dip. You can also prepare these make-ahead meatballs with ground beef or a plant-based meat alternative, such as Impossible.

16 of 24

Beef Tenderloin Tartare with Anchovy-Cornichon Vinaigrette

Beef Tenderloin Tartare with Anchovy-Cornichon Vinaigrette Recipe
Aubrie Pick

Freezing the beef before cutting it chills the fat, making it easier to make very thin, even cuts. Tenderloin is a lean piece of meat, without a lot of marbling and sinew, so it has a nicer texture when raw. Be sure to choose at least a prime-grade filet.

17 of 24

Kabocha Squash Fritters with Yuzu-Garlic Dipping Sauce

Kabocha Squash Fritters With Yuzu-Garlic Dipping Sauce
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Japanese korokke are the basis for these cheesy squash fritters, which can be made with freshly steamed kabocha squash or canned pumpkin puree. A drier squash, kabocha has a sweet flavor and cooks down into a custardy texture that's still dry enough to fry into these crispy two-bite appetizers. Serve them with a shortcut dipping sauce — a blend of fresh garlic, bright yuzu juice, and silky Kewpie mayo.

18 of 24

Baked Clams with Bacon and Garlic

Marcus Nilsson

In this ultimate version of baked clams, chef Daniel Humm includes chopped clams in the filling, doubling down on briny clam flavor. Bacon, parsley, lemon, and a touch of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese add a savory, herby kick.

19 of 24

Mushroom Toasts with Délice de Bourgogne

Mushroom Toasts with Delice de Bourgogne
Eva Kolenko

Triple créme cheese, an ultra-rich version of Brie, is topped with pan-roasted mushrooms and herbs in this elegant appetizer.

20 of 24

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Smooth, thick, and layered with flavor, this mildly spicy dip of roasted red bell peppers and toasted walnuts is thickened with finely ground crispy breadsticks. Pomegranate molasses adds a piquancy that plays off the sweetness of the juicy roasted bell peppers, and spicy pepper paste brings just a touch of heat.

21 of 24

Cheese Croustades

Cheese Croustades Recipe
Justin Walker

A dollop of sweet-tart cranberry relish hides at the center of the goat cheese and ricotta mousse for a burst of flavor. Garnish with fresh chives or tart lemon zest for some color and brightness.

22 of 24

Caramelized Five-Onion Dip

Caramelized Five Onion Dip
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

A mix of five different alliums — shallots, scallions, and sweet, yellow, and red onions — upgrades this classic caramelized onion dip with layers of flavor. Yellow and red onions give it bite, while Vidalia onion and shallots lend a pleasant sweetness. Taking the time to cook the onions low and slow concentrates their flavor, while adding scallions halfway through cooking keeps them just fresh enough to serve with chips, toasted bread, or vegetables like endive, steamed fingerling potatoes, and roasted Broccolini.

23 of 24

Spiced Pumpkin Lassi

Spiced Pumpkin Lassi
Marcus Nilsson

For this thick and creamy pumpkin lassi from chef Rupam Bhagat of Ritu in San Francisco, be sure to use a nice, healthy squash for a smooth texture and rich flavor. If you want a thinner consistency, add water gradually a quarter cup at a time.

24 of 24

Flaky Andouille and Callaloo Hand Pies with Red Pepper Sambal

Flaky Andouille and Callaloo Hand Pies
Angie Mosier

Chef Marcus Samuelsson's delicious hand pies are filled with callaloo and andouille, but you can fill them with anything you have on hand — sausage, fish, ham, vegetables, or even fresh crab or chopped pumpkin. Often described as "Indonesian relish," sambal is served alongside the hand pies for dipping.

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