First, we would like to state that we are a pro-appetizer company. Hors d'oeuvres, we feel, enhance every occasion. We love these easy make-ahead Thanksgiving bites, for example, and also these fabulous no-cook ones.
But some people argue that serving appetizers before Thanksgiving dinner ruins appetites and distracts from the main event. Many of these people are chefs. They want you to devote your full attention to stuffing, turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and all of the other butter-laden dishes that require every square inch of stomach space you can spare.
So, if you're on the fence, consider what these professionals have to say about Thanksgiving appetizers. But remember, the choice is ultimately yours, and also remember that you can buy some delicious starters if you're trying to save time.
Your attention is better directed towards cocktails.
"He!ll no to appetizers! All room must be left for the main event. However, we do suggest taking your canned cranberry sauce, orange peels and bitters muddled over ice with your favorite brown stuff to take the edge off before the bell—or just eat a big breakfast.” — Michael Shoen, Chef/Owner TINMAN at Ohio City Galley
Serve your meal in courses instead.
"No apps, I prefer to just roll into the feast. Personally, I eat in courses—starting with light flavors, working toward heavier ones, and pairing each with wine. I don’t treat the meal like a buffet line, so in turn, I’m usually the last person eating at the table, but always the least overstuffed!” — Michael Sichel, Executive Chef at Hotel Bennett
Pacing is everything.
"I don’t serve appetizers. Thanksgiving is a day of ‘grazing’ and all the food is left out on the dining table and you eat as you go, so you can pace yourself and eat how you’d like." - Nicholas Tang, Executive Chef at DBGB DC
If you want to do pre-Thanksgiving bites, keep it simple and light.
“We tend to keep it simple. I think you should offer just enough for the appetizers to be considered just a bit more than nothing. Super simple cheese and crackers or some savory nut mix is plenty. Save room, people!” - Kevin Johnson, Executive Chef & at The Grocery
"Thanksgiving is a long day, so I usually serve olives and focaccia with prosciutto in the afternoon." - Roberto Santibañez, Culinary Director at Mi Vida
"I like to serve a vegetable crudite with horseradish dipping sauce, and oysters on the half shell; something light, bright and not filling." - Katie Button, Execute Chef Curaté
"Those cute little decorative pumpkins with names like Jack B. Little, We B. Little, are actually the tastiest pumpkin/winter squash I have ever eaten. And they make beautiful containers for pumpkin soup before the main event... I start cutting them in half through the middle (be very careful, they are hard and the knife can slip easily) and roasting them in the oven. Get creative with it." - Sara Moulton, Chef, Cookbook author, and host of “Sara’s Weeknight Meals”