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Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas

In several weeks, Thanksgiving will be upon us. More likely than not, you will be caught up in a cooking frenzy when the day arrives – or even before the actual day. Since Thanksgiving is really all about being with family and friends and expressing gratitude for what we have, wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to relax and enjoy the day?

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Table

With that in mind, we’re starting with the Thanksgiving preparations early. Rather than getting caught up in last minute preparations, why not plan the food that you will be serving in advance?

Whether you are preparing a meal for a huge family (plus guests), or you are having a small dinner, it is integral that you pick out appetizers that will tease your guests’ tastebuds. Start things right with the following Thanksgiving appetizer ideas!

No-Bake Thanksgiving Appetizers

Pumpkin Dip

Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seed Dip

Traditionally, you are not obliged to serve appetizers during Thanksgiving dinner. And if you think about it, why would you want to add more work to an already heavy cooking schedule? Still, serving appetizers is a good idea, if only to prepare everyone for feast ahead of them. Furthermore, Thanksgiving appetizers do not have to be an additional burden. There are some appetizers that won’t require you to use the oven – we all know that that oven is reserved for the main course!

One easy idea is this Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seed Dip. The only tool you’ll need is a food processor or a blender. You can then pair this dip with crunchy vegetable sticks.

This Smoked Salmon Spread is also sure to be a winner. It is actually one of my favorite mixes to spread on crackers – Thanksgiving or not! Here’s a recipe from Woman’s Day.1


  • 1 brick (8 ounces) light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 can (7.5 ounces) red salmon, drained, skin and bones removed
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Beat cream cheese, butter, lemon peel and juice with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Pack into crock(s) or bowl(s).
  4. Cover and refrigerate.

For a pumpkin-themed appetizer sans the pumpkin, try out this Great Pumpkin Cheeseball. Alternatively, you can make little Cheese Pumpkins.

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizers

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizers

Spicy Crab Dip

Now if you really want to save time with your Thanksgiving appetizers, why not make them ahead of time? This way, you can focus on the main course on the day itself. Doesn’t that just sound delightful?

I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for crab. If you – or your guests are the same – then what better appetizer to make than this Spicy Maryland Crab Dip? The recipe tells you to transfer the mixture to a baking dish. What you should do is prepare everything the day before Thanksgiving, and store the mixture (in the baking dish) in the fridge prior to baking. Make sure that you cover it tightly and then simply top up with cheddar and seafood seasoning before popping it into the oven.

If veggies are your thing, a great alternative are these Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry Bites. Before baking you can store them in the freezer and then just get them out when you’re ready!

Other Thanksgiving Appetizers

Jalapeno Bacon Wraps

Jalapeno Bacon Wraps

If you have more than enough time to prepare the entire Thanksgiving meal, and you don’t mind making the appetizers on the same day, here are more ideas to toy around with. They’re easy enough to make anyway.

First up, we have lovely things wrapped in bacon. Why not spice things up a bit prior to Thanksgiving dinner? These Grilled Bacon Jalapeno Wraps are just perfect for that!

But if your guests have sensitive tastebuds and would rather not touch jalapeno peppers, then these Bacon Olive Wraps will do just as well. Another alternative: Bacon Wrapped Dates.

Here’s another easy appetizer: Dill Pickle Ham Pinwheels.2 And here’s how to make it.


  • 1/2 lb thinly sliced ham or 1/2 lb salami or 1/2 lb dried beef
  • 1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 4 large kosher dill pickles, whole


  1. Pat dill pickle dry with paper towel.
  2. Take 2-3 pieces of meat (depending on size of pickle), and place them on a cutting board overlapping half of each with the next. (If you’re lucky, you can find the ham cut in a rectangular shape as opposed to square. In this case, you can use just one slice and it will encase the entire pickle.).
  3. Spread cream cheese over meat. (You can use more cream cheese if you like.)
  4. Wrap pickle around in blanket fashion.
  5. Chill for an hour or two, then slice pickle in~1/2 inch pieces and lay flat on tray.

(If using dried beef, you can also put meat in blender and pulverize. Spread cream cheese on dried pickle then roll in pulverized beef. Again, allow to refrigerate 1-2 hours and slice as above.)

Stay tuned for more Thanksgiving food ideas!

Photos via ImaginaryGirl, jeffreyww,

  1. Woman’s Day []
  2. From []


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