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The most anticipated meal of the year is here and your guests are hungry. Thanksgiving is a high-stakes dinner all around, from the appetizers to that last bite of dessert, and you want to start off strong. These easy Thanksgiving appetizers are super-simple to make, and many of them can be prepped long before the main meal preparation kicks off. All these recipes are also great to bring as a guest to a holiday meal, and pair well with the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Here's how to start Thanksgiving on an extra tasty note this year.
Easy Thanksgiving Dips
When it comes to the Thanksgiving feast, dips are often overlooked in favor of soups and bread (we see you, crescent rolls!) but we promise they're worthy of a spot on your Turkey Day menu.
Creamy Smoked Fish Dip
Tinned fish is the protein of the year, and why not celebrate how thankful we are for preserved seafood on Thanksgiving. This dip is as easy as mixing a tin of smoked trout, cream cheese, and a few other ingredients for a truly elegant starter.
Carrot Ginger Dip
Mix up a dip with an autumnal hue and beautiful flavor. This dip is super-easy to cook, and can be served with any type of cracker, pretzel, or crudités.
Chimichurri Yogurt Dip
Sneak some greens into your first course with this dip that comes together in just a few minutes and is great with pretty much everything. Don't mind the guests sneaking it to the table to slather on turkey breast. It's cool.
Easy Thanksgiving Soups
Is there anything more comforting and cozy than a warm soup to start your Thanksgiving dinner? Squash is a usual fall soup star (and with good reason) but there are plenty of other scrumptious autumnal soups to choose from.
Red Lentil Squash Soup with Lemon
The beauty of this soup is that it can cook without intervention, and blends up to create a beautiful autumnal hue. Serve it in shot glasses for a quick appetizer, or let Thanksgiving guests help themselves to small bowlfuls off the stove or from a slow cooker.
Cauliflower Soup With Toasted Garlic
This soup is as easy as cooking cauliflower and combining it with stock, no cream required (a nice respite before a dairy-heavy meal). It can be made vegan and garnished with homemade garlic or store-bought crunchy anything for a super-quick solution to the soup course.
Smoky Corn Chowder
Get some corn in early in the evening, with this recipe that starts with frozen corn and sees its way to a blender to become chowder.
Creamy Miso White Bean Soup
Add some beans and some umami to your Thanksgiving with this simple soup that offers big flavor. A small sip as a first course will be sufficient, but don't be surprised if guests ask for seconds.
Easy Thanksgiving Salads
Since Thanksgiving dinner is typically a heavy meal filled with bread, potatoes, turkey, stuffing, pie, and more, it can't hurt to squeeze in some lettuce when you can, courtesy of some delicious salads.
Endive with Ricotta, Almonds and Raisins
A salad you can eat with your fingers? Perfect. This no-cook appetizer looks straight out of a restaurant, and is easy and fun for kids to help assemble too. Get creative with toppings, such as dried cranberries and winter-spiced nuts.
Gorgonzola Cream and Prosciutto Endives
A no-cook dish to truly impress! This hand salad uses a base of half-and-half plus crumbly cheese, topped with apples, smoky meat, and all that good stuff. You can even prep all the elements and have guests assemble each endive itself, for a hands-on element that keeps your hands free.
Make-Ahead Holiday Salad
Assemble this salad Thanksgiving morning (or the night before) and offer it as a beautiful, healthy display for dinner guests to graze off of. It's also perfect to bring to a host's home, and travels well on any platter - just package the dressing separately.
Smoky Kale Chips
A salad you can crunch? It counts! This dressed kale hits the oven at a low temperature for just a few minutes, and then it's ready to eat. The salad course just got a very crisp upgrade.
Tapas-Style Pasta Salad
One thing Thanksgiving doesn't have enough of? Pasta! This tapas-inspired salad feels sophisticated and just takes tossing a few Spanish-style deli ingredients together for a fun twist on a starter salad.
Green Bean Salad With Crispy Bread Crumbs
For the green bean enthusiast who can't wait for the casserole during the main course, this crisp and crunchy green bean salad is sure to please. It's aesthetically impressive, quick to make, and delicious.
Easy Thanksgiving Bites
Welcome guests to your home with some irresistible bites they can snack on while making small talk with others. The edible distraction gives you some extra time to put the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving spread.
Warm, buttery nuts are always a nice way to quell initial hunger at the beginning of a long meal, plus they fill the kitchen with excellent scents. Prepare them in advance and reheat in your toaster oven, or toss in an already warmed oven, right as guests arrive.
Pan-Roasted Olives and Lemon
Turn the intro to your Thanksgiving meal into a chic cocktail hour with these warm olives that are boosted by lemon, garlic, and rosemary. An instant classic.
Bacon-Wrapped Apricots with Sage
Sage is the herb of the season, and these bacon-wrapped appetizers celebrate the savory flavors perfectly. Prep apricots days in advance if that's helpful—little hands can be of use here—and cook them right before guests are expected.
Pears with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto
You can't go wrong with a fruit-cheese-charcuterie combo, and these individual slices get so many sweet, funky, and salty flavors all in one bite. Better yet, they don't require any cook time!
Kale Flatbread Bites
Store-bought pizza dough (or just ask your local pizzeria to buy their dough, it's usually a couple of bucks) comes a long way in this recipe that only necessitates rolling out the dough and topping it with some cream and fresh greens. Expect it to become a family staple.
Cheesy Chile Pull-Apart Bread
Give a loaf of bread an incredibly decadent makeover in this communal dish that will be the hit of any Thanksgiving. That family cheese-pull photo will be epic.
Hot Honey Lamb Meatballs
They sound oh-so-sophisticated, but they're actually super-easy to make! You can also swap in turkey, pork, or beef for lamb, or blend red meats for different flavor.