21 Easy Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizers
Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday, and to make your day of cooking a little easier, we've pulled together these easy, make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizers. Whether it's a dip, spiced nuts or a cheese ball, these appetizers can be made a few days (or even weeks!) in advance. Recipes like Curried Butternut Squash Dip and Cinnamon-Sugar Pumpkin Seeds are healthy, flavorful and will keep you full until the main meal.
Slow-Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip
This creamy, crowd-pleasing dip comes together with ease in your crock pot. Leave it in the slow cooker all party long to keep it warm for serving with perfect, melty cheese in every bite. Whole-wheat bread and raw veggie dippers allow you to dig in without the guilt.
Nutty Pimiento Cheese Balls
These bite-size pimiento cheese balls from Jamie and Bobby Deen are a huge hit with kids (of all ages). They're the perfect appetizer to bring to a summer picnic. Jamie and Bobby share a passion for great home-cooked food with a Southern flair with their celebrity-chef mom, Paula Deen. These brothers are following in their mom's footsteps with their own TV shows, books and website. Our favorite part of what they're up to: healthy makeovers of some of Paula's recipes! Recipe adapted from The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up, by Jamie & Bobby Deen and Melissa Clark (Ballantine Books, 2011).
Curried Butternut Squash Dip
This healthy squash dip recipe, spiced with curry and made creamy with the addition of coconut milk, is a delicious alternative to hummus. You can also use other types of winter squash, pumpkin or sweet potatoes in place of the butternut squash in this dip. Serve with crisp raw vegetables or toasted pitas for dipping.
These curried cashews are impossibly addictive--every time we made them in the Test Kitchen they disappeared in a flash. If you use salted cashews, omit the added salt.
Cinnamon-Sugar Pumpkin Seeds
This healthful snack takes advantage of the pumpkin seeds you scoop out of your jack-o'-lantern or cooking pumpkin. We had the best results when we first roasted the seeds until lightly toasted and then tossed them with egg white, which makes the seasonings stick, and cinnamon sugar.
Mini Sausage Stuffing Tarts
These bite-size tarts turn traditional holiday stuffing into a clever appetizer, with an easy homemade crust and a quick sausage-mushroom filling. Prep the crust and filling in advance, then bake just before serving.
Garlic-Chile Marinated Olives
Simply pour warm aromatic oil over a selection of olives to infuse them with loads of flavor fast. These olives are a wonderful easy party appetizer--add any leftovers to salads or simply snack on them.
Muhammara is a smoky, hot and sweet red pepper dip that originated in Syria. A staple in Middle Eastern cooking, pomegranate molasses (a dark red syrup made from tart pomegranate juice) adds just the right amount of sweetness and acidity to this healthy recipe. Turn this easy dip into a full-blown appetizer spread (or dinner, we won't judge!) with the addition of some crudités, grilled eggplant and crackers for scooping. Pair it with a bubbly cava or other sparkling wine for an instant party.
Everything Bagel Cheese Ball
This is not your grandma's cheese ball. It has all the flavor of an everything bagel without all the carbs and with just 3 ingredients! Want to emphasize the bagel taste? Serve it with bagel chips and some raw veggies for dipping to keep things healthy.
Rosemary Deviled Eggs
Why do the yolks of deviled eggs get all the love? This healthy deviled eggs recipe reserves some of the seasoning to sprinkle on the usually bland whites as well.
Sweet and Salty Roasted Nuts
Spicy seasonings add a bit of zing to roasted nuts for an appetizer that's perfect for any occasion.
Toss olives with orange zest, herbs and spices and just like that you have something that screams it's not just another boring Tuesday evening.
You'll look like an expert with this easy hummus recipe that produces the lightest, silkiest hummus you've ever had. Chilling the cooked chickpeas ensures that when they're blended with the oil and cold tahini the hummus will come out creamy rather than oily. In a pinch, you can use the quick-soak technique (see Step 1), reduce the chilling time and still get great hummus.
Pear-Pecan Cheese Ball
Sweet pear, salty Cheddar cheese and crunchy nuts make this healthy cheese ball recipe an alluring holiday treat. Serve with an array of crudités and crisp party crackers.
Nutty Chocolate Crunch
This crunchy snack made with rice and bran cereals, peanuts, and chocolate pieces is perfect for on-the-go occasions.
Greek Salad Skewers
Turn classic Greek salad into finger food appetizers on a stick. The cute presentation is also super easy to prepare and makes for easy eating at a cocktail party or on game day. Just skewer tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta and olives and serve with a side of Greek salad dressing for dipping!
Chinese five-spice powder is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns; it adds subtle flavor to these pistachios. Look for it in the spice section at the market or with other Asian ingredients. Omit the added salt if you use salted pistachios.
French Onion Dip
In our homemade version of French onion dip, we simmer chopped onions in broth and use reduced-fat sour cream and yogurt for the familiar rich and creamy flavor. All told, our version has 12 grams less fat and nearly 50 percent less sodium per serving than the original.
Toasted Almonds with Rosemary and Cayenne
Make a double or triple batch of these savory nuts to give them as gifts for the holidays.
Marinated Olives & Feta
Olives and feta marinated with rosemary, lemon and garlic are great served on crisp flatbread-style crackers or warm slices of crusty baguette.
These spicy nuts were inspired by ones sold by street vendors across Mexico. If you can only find salted peanuts, omit the added salt. Add the maximum amount of cayenne pepper if you want an extra hit of spice.