35 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes to Make Your Day Easier
Categories: Appetizers

35 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes to Make Your Day Easier

Let’s face it: Between the really-super-late cleaning, trying to please all of your guests and, oh, the food, hosting Thanksgiving can get stressful. We’re sure you’ve already got the actual meal covered, but there’s a lot of waiting before you actually get to dig in (we recommend some fun holiday games and activities in the interim). Make your day *much* easier by whipping up these 35 make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizers so you don’t have to worry on Turkey Day.

1. Cheesy Meatball Cups: Talk about NOM. Use crescent dough to make these cheesy meatball cups, and top them off with a spicy jalapeño queso. Trust us; your guests are going to thank you. (via Cacique)

2. Rosemary Pecan Goat Cheese Truffles: These babies are actually pretty darn classy, and they showcase all the flavors of the spectrum. There’s rosemary for herb lovers, pecan to add some nuttiness, and even Sriracha for a bit of heat. Pro tip: Serve with a basic crispy wafer so as not to detract from the spread. (via The Cafe Sucre Farine)

3. Crostini With Bleu Cheese and Roasted Grapes: This recipe takes almost no time to make. Slice up some bleu cheese and add grapes to your favorite baguette. (via Nerds With Knives)

4. Gruyere, Mushroom, and Caramelized Onion Bites: Add Gruyere, mushrooms, and caramelized onions to puffed pastry for a simple and delicious appetizer. And the best part is, you can make this up to 48 hours ahead of time, giving you plenty of wiggle room for your Turkey Day prep. (via Little Spice Jar)

5. Cran-Sage Rolls: Not only is there nothing wrong with using frozen dough once in a while, but it’s actually kind of a perfect Thanksgiving treat. These rolls are flavored with cranberries and sage for an elegant holiday version of trust crescent rolls. (via Better Homes and Gardens)

6. Spinach Puffs: These mini spinach puffs are sure to please kids and adults alike. Use a mini cupcake pan so they keep their shape, and once they’re baked, toss ’em in the freezer. Heat them back up once Thanksgiving rolls around. (via Deliciously Declassified)

7. Kabocha and Havarti Pockets: For those who don’t already know, kabocha is a type of squash… which makes these appetizers perfect for your vegetarian guests. Prepare these pockets a few days before Thanksgiving, stick them in the fridge, and bake on the day of. (via I Will Not Eat Oysters)

8. Mushroom, Herb, and Gruyere Cheese Mini Turnovers: Mushrooms, herbs, and Gruyere cheese. What *doesn’t* sound good about these turnovers? Cremini mushrooms and white wine give these otherwise totally casual finger foods an elegant, rich layer of flavor. (via Kendall-Jackson)

9. Bacon Straws: To make these straws, twist together bacon and puff pastry, then bake. Yes, we said *bacon.* These taste AMAZING all on their own, but you can also make a glaze of rosemary, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper to pour over top. (via Army Wife to Suburban Life)

10. Onion, Cranberry, and Pecan Cheese Ball: Cheese balls are a classic appetizer. Add onion, cranberries, and pecans to make yours next-level. (via Real Housemoms)

11. Cranberry Baked Brie Puff Pastry Bites: Brie can get super messy. Make bites instead and pop some cranberry in them to Thanksgiving-ify. Serve with fresh cranberries or — our personal favorite — sweet cranberry sauce. (via Well Plated)

12. Pomegranate Jeweled White Cheddar, Toasted Almond, and Crispy Sage Cheeseball: While the term “cheeseball” might not sound particularly refined, this big bundle of flavor actually kinda is. It’s coated in pomegranate seeds, for one thing, which makes it super festive and sweet. We recommend making this bad boy with mascarpone cheese for extra oomph. (via How Sweet It Is)

13. Tomato Jam and Cheddar Palmiers: TBH the thought of tomato jam is a little scary. But, once you try this recipe, you and your fam will be totally hooked. Add a little cheddar to make these extra flavorful. (via The Suburban Soapbox)

14. Cranberry Bacon Jam Crostini: These tiny crostinis take the idea of bruschetta and turn it on its head. Instead of light, summery toppings, you’ll be treated to festive cranberries, savory bacon, and gooey cheese. (via Recipe Rebel)

15. Cha-Cha Chicken Salad: There’s an unexpected sweetness to this chicken salad, and it comes from pineapples and cranberries. Top with a fresh sprig of rosemary. (via Home Is Where the Boat Is)

16. Pumpkin Bacon Dip: Nothing says Thanksgiving more than pumpkin-flavored everything, and that doesn’t stop at chips and dip. Top this dip with bacon and green onions for extra flavor. (via Chew Out Loud)

17. 5-Ingredient Caprese Phyllo Cups: Caprese is one of those crowd-pleasing dishes that you really can’t go wrong with. Drizzle these with pesto or balsamic vinaigrette for extra flavor, but wait to do that part until you’re ready to serve — otherwise they may get soggy. (via Gimme Some Oven)

18. Pumpkin Dip: When it comes to dips, what could be more Thanksgiving-y than a concoction made with pumpkin? Serve with crackers, apples, or lightly sweetened cookies to tide your guests over until the big meal. (via Deliciously Sprinkled)

19. Prosciutto-Fontina Pinwheels: Thinly sliced prosciutto, Fontina cheese, and puff pastry are just about all you need to make these pinwheels. The best part is that they totally make you into the best ever Turkey Day hostess. (via Food + Wine)

20. Sweet Potato Tartlets: Sweet potatoes are Thanksgiving’s #1 fans. Add a candied pecan to the top of these tartlets to kick them up a notch. (via My Recipes)

21. Sweet and Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms: Go for a not-so-traditional Thanksgiving food and cook up a batch of stuffed mushrooms. The sweet and spicy flavors of this app will make it go fast. (via The Suburban Soapbox)

22. Antipasto Skewers: Assemble these skewers a day ahead of schedule. Put them on a tray and cover tightly with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until ready to serve. (via Pip and Ebby)

23. Garlic Butter Tuscan Shrimp Dip: Dip toast points, pita chips, and breadsticks into this indulgent dip, which you can make a day before Thanksgiving and pop in the oven to warm up when you’re ready to eat. We won’t judge if you decide to toss the leftovers with some warm pasta and call it a meal. (via Amy in the Kitchen)

24. Quick Chicken Liver Pâté: Go old school this Thanksgiving, serving chicken liver pâté and toast points as an appetizer. The pâté will keep for a few days in the fridge; just let it sit for 20 minutes at room temperature before you dig in. (via My Gorgeous Recipes)

25. Bavarian Cheese and Beer Spread: A robust cheese spread, made with beer, is an appropriately hearty start to your Thanksgiving feast. (via Tara’s Multicultural Table)

26. Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts: We all have that family member who claims they don’t like Brussels sprouts. Change their mind with these bacon-wrapped versions, which you can make ahead and heat in the oven just before serving (though they’re delish at room temperature too). (via Savory Tooth)

27. Spinach and Feta Dip With Homemade Lavash: If you don’t want to worry about taking up more oven space, this chilled spinach and feta dip is your friend. You can make it in advance, letting the flavors meld to perfection before your big meal. (via My Little Larder)

28. Mushroom Goat Cheese Bruschetta: Earthy mushrooms and tangy goat cheese create a balanced bite with this bruschetta recipe. Make sure your bread is extra toasty, so you can prep it without worrying about it getting soggy. (via The Home Cook’s Kitchen)

29. Roasted Sweet Potato Harissa Hummus: Ditch the candied sweet potatoes and serve up this creamy hummus instead. It’ll keep for at least a couple of days in the fridge, freeing up time for you to work on the rest of your seasonal cooking. (via No Spoon Necessary)

30. Lasagna Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms: Make these stuffed mushrooms, freeze them, then pop into the oven on Thanksgiving. Just try to resist eating so many you lose your appetite before the big meal. (via Sweet Peas and Saffron)

31. Spicy Marinated Cheese: The cheese is marinated in a mixture of oil, vinegar, and spices, and gets better if you make it a day or two in advance. (via Spicy Southern Kitchen)

32. Italian Sausage and Bean Bruschetta: Loaded with Italian sausage and white beans, this take on bruschetta is hearty enough for colder weather. Warm it up slightly before serving with toasted baguette slices. (via Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish)

33. Sweet Potato Salad With Bacon: A little sweet, a little salty, this salad is a satisfying but healthy starter. Top it with toasted pecans to add some crunch to each bite. (via From Our Hideaway)

34. Prosciutto and Date Palmiers: Flaky, cheesy, and sweet, palmiers will definitely stimulate your tastebuds. (via Garlic and Zest)

35. Caesar Twice Baked Potatoes: Mini potatoes, seasoned with Caesar dressing, are twice-baked in this recipe. You can assemble them ahead of time, then bake them for the second time right before they’re served. (via Food Meanderings)

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Additional reporting by Maggie McCracken and Justina Huddleston.