Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizers

Overwhelmed with Thanksgiving dinner preparations? Get a head start by making delicious and easy appetizer recipes now. By doing a little cooking ahead of time, you can avoid the hassle on Thanksgiving Day. Our make-ahead appetizers include some recipes that can be prepared up to six months ahead of the holiday -- or just the day before.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Sugared Bacon-Wrapped Smokies

      Take basic smokies up a notch with a slice of bacon and a light coating of brown sugar. This appetizer recipe is so easy, you can make it the day before your Thanksgiving dinner.

    • Ricotta Meatballs

      It's not a dinner party without meatballs, especially when they're simmered in a DIY wine-base marinara. Pop them in the freezer for up to a month for a guest-ready appetizer.

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    • Asiago-Artichoke Dip

      Who doesn't love a creamy, cheesy dip to snack on? With prosciutto, artichoke hearts, and roasted red sweet peppers, your guests will be dreaming about this dip for days afterward. Even better, this dip can chill in the fridge for up to 24 hours before the big feast.

    • Parmesan-Stuffed Dates

      With just three ingredients -- fresh dates, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and bacon -- this recipe is a delicious and easy appetizer. Store this finger food in the freezer for up to a month, then pop in the oven before serving.

    • Barbecue Spice Roasted Chickpeas

      Every party platter needs a little crunch, and these crispy chickpeas are up for the job. A great light appetizer before the feast, these snacks will disappear quickly. Store these spicy treats at room temperature for up to a week beforehand.

    • Roasted Roots Hummus

      Let's get to the root of things: Hummus is best when made with creamy sweet potato. The golden dip gets its sass from cumin and cayenne, and it's delicious smeared on pita bread.

    • 2 Secrets to Delicious Hummus

      New to making hummus? Not to worry. We've got you covered -- and in just two easy steps!

    • Mini Margherita Pizzas

      We know what your Thanksgiving feast is missing -- pizza! Bake the shell for these cute mini pizzas the day before, then simply assemble and pop in the oven on the big day.

    • Gluten Free Rosemary Roasted Nuts

      Almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds are the perfect trio for this easy appetizer, while rosemary, cayenne pepper, and butter make a delicious seasoning. Store these celebration-worthy nuts in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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      Creamy Stuffed Peppers

      Add a little spice to your Thanksgiving table with these cream cheese-stuffed jalapeno or mini sweet peppers. Let them chill in the fridge for 24 hours before the feast, then just spoon in the cream cheese mixture and serve.

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      Root Veggie Chips with Sea Salt

      Between cheesy potato casserole and your aunt's secret stuffing, it's best to start things light. These DIY root chips are crispy and low-cal, and they highlight the season's favorite veggies.

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      Herbed Breadsticks

      Cheese and crackers? Not this Thanksgiving. Impress the fam with homemade breadsticks. These little twirlies are baked with buttery rosemary goodness.

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      Best Holiday Party Mix (Ever)

      Catch up with friends and family over a handful of delicious (and addictive) party mix. You'll never guess it was made in the slow cooker!

    • 14 of 32

      Herb- and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms

      To save time, assemble these cheesy Thanksgiving appetizers the day before your meal. Topped with thyme, toasted pine nuts, and fresh chives, our stuffed-mushroom recipe is bursting with fall flavors.

      Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes
    • 15 of 32

      Dill and Cheese Beer Bread

      Thanksgiving isn't just about turkeys and giving thanks. Football also plays a part, and this cheesy beer bread has game day written all over it. Let it chill in the fridge for up to three days ... before things really get heated.

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      Triple Olive Tapenade

      Three times the olive, three times the goodness. This blender-spun tapenade can be stashed in the freezer up to three months and will have you saying "olive you" in no time.

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      Cran-Sage Rolls

      These savory-sweet rolls have some of our favorite flavors of the season -- tart dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, and fresh snipped sage. Make these darling, delicious appetizers up to a day ahead of your dinner.

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    • 18 of 32

      Gorgonzola-Thyme-Stuffed Olives

      These bite-size make-ahead appetizers are tart and flavorful with creamy centers. Assemble them up to a week in advance, then pop them into the fridge until Thanksgiving.

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      Compound Butters

      Downright delectable, this DIY butter was made for your holiday baguette. Whip up one (or all) of our five spreads: tarragon-shallot, gremolata, cilantro-lime, raspberry, or blackberry-honey.

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      Caramelized Onion and Swiss Dip

      Combine the ingredients for this easy dip recipe a day in advance, and toss them into the slow cooker 7 hours before showtime. The rich make-ahead appetizer recipe will cook itself while you work on the other dishes.

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      Honey-Rosemary Bowknots

      Here's a make-ahead appetizer recipe everyone will love. Honey and rosemary sweeten our twisty, fluffy rolls. Bake them the day before, and heat them up in the oven right before serving.

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      Blue Cheese-Apricot Bites

      Get your fix of fruit this holiday season. The distinctly sweet flavor of dried apricots complements the light Gorgonzola cheese and crunchy walnut topper in this delectable make-ahead appetizer recipe. Garnish with snipped rosemary to serve.

    • 23 of 32

      Sweet and Savory Twist Bread

      A literal twist of white and wheat breads makes for one of the prettiest, tastiest Thanksgiving appetizer ideas. Chopped raisins, pecans, and cinnamon bring a sweet and crunchy finish to this make-ahead recipe.

    • 24 of 32

      Endive Chicken Boats

      At only 80 calories per serving, this savory Asian-inspired appetizer recipe makes the perfect Thanksgiving starter. Brown sugar adds a sweet flavor that complements the hearty chicken and peanuts in the make-ahead dish. Don't have endive leaves? Use lettuce leaves instead.

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      Peppered Herb Cheese Ball

      This creamy make-ahead cheese spread gets rolled in parsley for a fresh and easy appetizer idea that you can make up to 24 hours ahead of time, or freeze and keep on hand for company. For the Italian version, stir in salami and roasted red pepper and substitute goat cheese for Fontina.

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      Saucy Apricot-Spiced Meatballs

      Tangy-spicy apricot sauce is the secret to these delectable make-ahead meatballs. Prep the easy appetizers up to a day ahead, then warm in a slow cooker for a low-maintenance party treat.

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      5 Secrets for Juicy Meatballs

      Make meatball appetizers ahead of time to simplify your dinner preparation. Here's how to make meatballs that are simple and delicious.

    • 28 of 32

      Beer and Cheese Fondue

      Dip in! Thick and satisfying beer-and-cheese fondue (featuring two kinds of cheese and two cups of beer) adds a hearty start to your affair. Mix the appetizer ahead of time, then warm it in a slow cooker before serving.

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      Spreadable Roasted Garlic

      For a delicious and easy appetizer recipe, try topping a baguette with roasted garlic. Here, we show you how simple it is to roast garlic at home.

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      Simple Stromboli

      Freeze this stuffed-bread stromboli for up to one month. The ham, mozzarella, spinach, turkey, red sweet pepper, and olive filling will be just as tasty after warming it up the day of your event.

      Holiday Roasting 101
    • 31 of 32

      Caramel Popcorn

      A sweet appetizer? Why not. Our low-calorie caramel popcorn recipe is a cinch to make in bulk, and the portable appetizer can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

    • Next Slideshow Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes

      Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes

      Preparing side dishes shouldn't be stressful. Make-ahead methods and shortcut ingredients make easy work of these delicious recipes, including stuffing, cranberry sauce, and salads. Whether you're prepping for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's, these side-dish recipes will help you get an early start on your holiday cooking.
      Begin Slideshow »

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