While planning Thanksgiving dinner, it’s easy to overlook the small bites that come before the big meal. Not to worry, we have gathered our best and easiest Thanksgiving appetizers so you can focus on the main event.
Kick Off Your Holiday Meal
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate those we love while sharing a meal. While dinner is the main attraction, it never hurts to have a few appetizers beforehand to make everyone feel welcome and hold off any hunger pangs.
When planning your Thanksgiving menu, I recommend including a few easy appetizer ideas to jump start the meal. Nothing too heavy, so that guests will save room for the oven roasted turkey, all of the yummy Thanksgiving side dishes and a big slice of pumpkin pie!
What Thanksgiving Appetizers to Serve
Deciding what appetizers to serve before a big meal like Thanksgiving takes a little extra planning. Here are a few key questions that will make it a breeze to pick what hors d’oeuvres will complement your meal best.
- How filling are the appetizers? You want appetizers that are light and not overly rich, so your guests stay hungry for turkey.
- Where will everyone gather? Will people be moving around or sitting down? This can help determine if you are serving finger foods or some type of dip.
- How will you serve the appetizers? Are you going to set up a buffet-style app station or have dips on a coffee table? I like to place dishes in a few different places so guests can nibble as they move around.
- What sides will you be serving at dinner? You want to make sure you avoid having repeats of similar dishes.
- Do the appetizers need to be made in the oven or on the stovetop? Just remember you might not have any room to spare.
- Who is coming to dinner? Are there any allergies or intolerances you need to be aware of? Always plan on having a few options for those who might not be able to eat everything.
Make the Thanksgiving Day Menu
Now that you have an idea of what type of appetizers you want to serve, you need to know how many to make. A good rule of thumb is to serve about 3 to 4 bites per person, which means 2 to 3 appetizers should be plenty for a party of 8.
Just remember to think of the entire dinner, from the first bite to the last, as a whole when making your menu. For example, if you are serving a lot of cheesy sides like cheesy potatoes or baked macaroni and cheese, you might want to skip serving something heavy and opt for something lighter like a skinny dill dip or a fruit and veggie platter.
Here are 25 easy Thanksgiving appetizers, organized by the best ways to serve and cook (crockpot for the win!) them. Enjoy!
Easy Thanksgiving Finger Foods
It’s hard to beat an appetizer that is so easy to eat. I love putting out several finger foods in gathering spaces around the house, so people can snack on the go.
- Easy Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs. You can never go wrong with deviled eggs, and this fun twist on the traditional is a hit at any party.
- Bacon Wrapped Dates. These sweet and salty bites are made with just 3 ingredients and are ever so addictive.
- Easy Homemade Pretzel Bites. These may seem like a little extra effort on an already busy day, but they are worth it. Try them with my pretzel cheese dip and thank me later.
- Homemade Chex Mix. This fast and easy snack can be made ahead of time and makes a great dish to have out when guests arrive.
- Thanksgiving Blessing Mix. I love this snack mix (made with Bugles, cranberries, M&Ms, candy corn, and nuts) as a reminder of what the holiday means, and because it is really tasty and a hit with kids.
Easy Thanksgiving Dips
What’s not to love about a dip at a party? They are so easy to whip up and can be served with so many different dipping options, such as crackers, veggies, fruits, or chips.
- Cranberry Salsa. This sweet and tangy dip has a slight hint of heat and is served over cream cheese for the ultimate holiday dip.
- White Bean Hummus Recipe. A light and refreshing take on a traditional hummus that tastes great with pita chips, pita bread or an array of veggies.
- Skinny Dill Dip. I love to serve this dip with vegetables when I want to keep things healthy and light.
- French Onion Dip. Make this dip ahead of time by simply mixing a few ingredients together. No one will ever know it was that easy.
- Cowboy Caviar. This bright and colorful dip is packed with beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado and bell peppers. It goes great with tortilla chips.
- 5-Layer Greek Dip. A showstopper of refreshing and zesty flavors, ideal to serve before a big meal.
Easy Thanksgiving Cheese Appetizers
Let’s just agree that cheese is the ultimate appetizer. You can serve it all by itself or transform it into something even better. I like to either serve a plate devoted to cheese or include one of the options below on a platter filled with other apps.
- Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball. Make this flavorful holiday cheese ball the night before and simply roll it in pecans before guests arrive. So simple.
- Classic Cheese Ball. It’s hard to beat a classic, especially one made with only 4 ingredients.
- Baked Brie with Honey. If I have room in the oven, I love to serve this gooey cheese on a fruit and cheese platter or on a charcuterie board.
- Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball. Bacon and ranch really make most things better, and this cheese ball is no exception. Plus, it looks really festive with its corn Chex and pecan crust.
- Cheese Ball Bites. I love serving these bite-sized cheese balls on a pretzel stick for easy eating.
- Cranberry Brie Bites. One of the easiest Thanksgiving appetizers you can make with only 3 ingredients!
Easy Thanksgiving Day Platters
There is something so fun and inviting about a big platter overflowing with lots of flavorful items to eat. The best part for you? There is little or no cooking required, so you can put everything together the day before without using any precious oven space.
- Turkey Veggie Tray. This creative platter is tailor-made for Thanksgiving and will make your guests smile before they even take a bite.
- Turkey Fruit Platter. So fun, colorful and healthy. Both kids and adults always love this easy appetizer!
- Mezze Platter. I love this appetizer because it is filled with a refreshing array of Mediterranean dips and snacks.
- Fruit and Cheese Platter. Two of my all-time favorite things come together in one beautiful dish.
- Charcuterie Board. Use whatever meat, cheese, pickled items, jams, nuts, or whatever your heart desires to create the ultimate snacking platter.
- Fruit and Veggie Platter. You can make a showstopping platter made with everyday ingredients that people will love.
Easy Thanksgiving Crockpot Appetizers
If you are short oven space but still want to serve something cooked, get out the crockpot. Trust me, these slow cooker appetizers are always a hit and come together so easily.
- Cranberry Meatballs. I kid you not, you can make this appetizer with just 3 ingredients. Plus, they are always a crowd favorite.
- Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip. This couldn’t be easier and yet still so flavorful. Simply dump everything in the crockpot 1 hour before guests arrive and enjoy.
- Slow Cooker Queso Blanco Dip. You just need 5 minutes and 5 ingredients to make a gooey, cheesy dip that is sure to disappear.
- Hawaiian Meatballs. Premade meatballs are simmered with BBQ sauce and pineapple to make an appetizer that is guaranteed to be a hit.
The Full List
Click on the links below to find the recipes for all of the delicious Thanksgiving appetizer recipes mentioned above.
Delicious Thanksgiving DessertsBrowse all
Now you know what to serve before the meal, here are a few ideas on what to serve after.
all of these appetizers are amazing and I especially loved the cranberry salsa! thank you so mcuh
Happy to hear you found this helpful, Jess. The salsa is also one of my favorites!
I always struggle with apps at thanksgiving and keep making the same dishes every year. Thank you for the great collection of recipes, I can’t wait to try the cranberry meatballs, and the cheese ball bites!
Hi, Diana. The struggle is real. It is always fun to mix things up and try something new. I would love to hear how goes with the meatballs and cheese ball bites.
Such a great roundup! I’ve book-marked a few to try this year!
I am glad you found this helpful, Erin. I would love to hear what you decide to try!