Start your Thanksgiving feast off on a delicious note with small bites that feature the season’s best ingredients and flavors. Here’s what’s on our best-of Thanksgiving appetizer list—they’ll keep friends and family happy while they wait for the feast to begin. Pour a cocktail or a glass of wine, and get ready for the best meal of the year!
|Candied Mixed Nuts with Rosemary
Slightly sweet and slightly spicy, these nuts are easy to prepare, and they’re satisfying as a pre-dinner snack. You can toast them a few days in advance to get a head start.
|Parsnip “Pigs” in a Blanket with Chimichurri
In this creative take on classic pigs in a blanket, roasted parsnips stand in for hot dogs and sausage. If you prefer a creamier sauce, add the optional sour cream.
|Crostini with Black-Eyed Pea Puree
This recipe has been a longtime staple at the luxury Tennessee resort Blackberry Farm, and for good reason: Creamy beans and roasted garlic top golden brown toasts for a wonderful mix of tastes and textures.
|Walnut Bagna Cauda with Crudités
Bagna cauda, Italian for “hot bath,” is traditionally made with olive oil, garlic and anchovies and served with crudités for dipping, but we add some walnut oil as well, which lends a nutty taste to the warm sauce. Feel free to vary the vegetables based on what’s seasonally available.
This savory take on the heart-shaped palmier pastry is similar to cheese twists—flaky, buttery and full of umami. Serve them on a platter as a light snack.
|Marinated Olives with Orange and Chile
Nothing could be easier than mixing up a dish of these flavorful olives, either for an antipasti platter or simple a small complement to a glass of chilled white wine. Along with the orange and chile accents, a mix of olives—black and green, brined and dry-cured—adds interest.
|Persimmons Wrapped in Smoked Ham
Crisp, sweet Fuyu persimmon wedges are wrapped in thinly sliced smoked ham and drizzled with intensely flavored reduced balsamic vinegar. It’s a fun fall play on the classic prosciutto-wrapped melon you see at summer gatherings.
Cheese crisps are at once both one of the most basic and one of the most sophisticated snacks around. Make these with any hard or semi-firm cheese, from Pecorino or Parmesan to cheddar or an aged gouda.
|Warm Dates with Parmesan and Walnuts
Dense, sweet Medjool dates are delicious paired with salty Parmigiano-Reggiano and earthy, crunchy walnuts. For a twist, try pecorino or soft goat cheese instead.
|Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Blue Cheese and Honey
There’s so much more you can do with sweet potatoes besides serving them as a side dish. Here, baked sweet potato slices stand in for toasted bread in this creative twist on crostini. Topped with blue cheese, walnuts and honey, they’re the perfect appetizer for an autumnal gathering like Thanksgiving.
|Crostini with Ricotta, Pears and Spiced Walnuts
Bite-sized crostini are the perfect finger food to serve when guests arrive or at the beginning of dinner. Ricotta, pears and spiced walnuts are a highly seasonal, sweet-savory topping.
In this no-recipe recipe from Nigella Lawson, rustic Italian breadsticks are wrapped in savory prosciutto, and those are the only two ingredients you need. Think of this as a blueprint for the perfect, no-cook pre-dinner or party nibble.
|Caramelized Onion and Apple Tarts with Gruyère and Thyme
These petite tarts combine caramelized onions, apples and grated Gruyère cheese on top of store-bought puff pastry. Watch our test kitchen’s tutorial on how to make them.
For more Thanksgiving tips, recipe ideas and planning advice, check out our Thanksgiving Guide.