The last thing you want to do on Thanksgiving is cause more work for yourself by preparing time-consuming appetizers in addition to a holiday feast. Luckily, you don’t need to spend hours slaving over a stove in order to make stunning snacks. There are plenty of quick and easy appetizers that either require minimal prep time or can be made in advance, ensuring you have stress-free starters to serve your family and friends. From Cranberry Chili Salsa to Pear Chutney Bruschetta, these amazing appetizers will help hosts pull off Thanksgiving without a hitch.
1. Cranberry Chili Salsa Recipe
Cranberry is a quintessential Thanksgiving ingredient that adds a terrifically tart and subtly sweet element to Taste of Home’s salsa, which only takes 10 minutes to make. If you have an additional 25 minutes to spare, we recommend preparing Food.com’s Homemade Tortilla Chips to serve alongside your salsa — it only takes 15 minutes to whip up these crisp and crunchy chips.
- 1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
- ¼ teaspoon each ground allspice, cinnamon, and cumin
- Tortilla chips
Directions: Place the cranberries, sugar, chilies, cilantro, onions, lime juice, peel, and spices in a food processor; cover and pulse just until blended. Transfer to a serving bowl; chill until serving. Serve with chips.
2. Crispy Smoked Mozzarella With Honey and Figs
Filled with smoky, warm, and zesty flavors, this starter only requires 10 minutes of prep time and takes 15 minutes to cook. Food Network’s recipe yields 6 servings.
- 6 sheets phyllo dough
- 6 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into 6 equal pieces
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 8 ounces dried figs, stemmed and quartered
- ¾ cup honey, plus more for drizzling
- 3 teaspoons black sesame seeds
Directions: In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a dry work surface. Place one slice of cheese about 5 inches from the top of the narrow end of the sheet. Fold the top of the narrow end over the cheese, leaving 1 inch between the fold and the cheese. Next, fold over one of the long sides, then the other, again leaving 1-inch between the folds and the cheese. Then fold the cheese over, again leaving 1 inch between the fold and the cheese. Continue folding to make a package about 3½ by 4 inches.
Continue with the remaining pieces of cheese and phyllo. Fry the phyllo and cheese packages, two or three at a time, in the oil until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Meanwhile, heat the figs and honey in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is warm. Set aside until the cheese packages have finished frying. To serve, place one cheese package on a plate. Spoon some figs and drizzle some honey over the top of each cheese package. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and serve immediately.
3. Savory Pumpkin Hummus
AllRecipes.com’s Pumpkin Hummus is ravishingly rich, superbly savory, and only requires 15 minutes of prep time. We recommend making this recipe the day before Thanksgiving; it must be refrigerated for at least 2 hours. If you’re looking for something that will pair perfectly with your dip, consider making Cooks.com’s Cheese Breadsticks.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seed kernels, or more to taste
- 1 pinch paprkia
Directions: Pulse lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt together in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add garbanzo beans and olive oil and pulse until smooth. Add pumpkin, cumin, and cayenne pepper; process until well blended. Transfer hummus to a container with a lid and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Fold pumpkin seeds into hummus; garnish with paprika.
4. Beet, Cheddar, and Apple Tarts
Martha Stewart’s Beet, Cheddar, and Apple Tarts will taste as lovely as they look. Beets add vibrant color, while a store-bought puff pastry ensures you have a starter that can easily be made in 25 minutes. It yields 6 servings.
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into six 4½-inch rounds
- ¾ cup shredded white cheddar (3 ounces)
- 1 small apple, cored and very thinly sliced
- 1 small beet, scrubbed, peeled, and very thinly sliced
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pastry rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Divide half the cheese among pastry rounds. Top each with two to three apple slices. Tuck two to three beet slices among apple slices and top with remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme. Bake until pastry is golden brown and slightly puffed, 13 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
5. Mississippi Spiced Pecans
Your guests will love munching on these sweet and salty nuts. Eating Well’s easy-to-make appetizer is filled with invigorating flavors, including thyme, rosemary, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper. It takes 20 minutes to make and yields 4 cups.
- 1 pound pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread pecans on a large baking sheet. Roast until fragrant, about 12 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Combine brown sugar, salt, thyme, rosemary, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer the roasted pecans to a large bowl, drizzle with oil, and toss well to coat completely. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and toss again. Serve warm or let cool completely and store in an airtight container.
6. Pear Chutney Bruschetta With Pecans and Blue Cheese
Sweet and tangy chutney works wonderfully with blue cheese and pecans, creating a stunningly elegant starter that your guests will gobble up. By preparing the chutney up to three days before Thanksgiving, you can quickly assemble the bruschetta just before serving. Cooking Light’s recipe yields 8 servings.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
- 1½ cups finely chopped peeled Anjou, Bartlett, or Bosc pear
- ½ cup pear nectar
- ¼ cup finely chopped dried apricots
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ tablespoons cider vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 4 ounces French bread baguette, cut diagonally into 16 thin slices and toasted
- 8 teaspoons chopped pecans, toasted
- 8 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Directions: Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots and sauté for 2 minutes or until soft. Add pear and next six ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 20 minutes or until pear is tender and mixture is thick. Cool to room temperature. Discard cinnamon stick. Spoon about 1½ tablespoons chutney over each baguette slice; top each with ½ teaspoon pecans and ½ teaspoon cheese. Sprinkle evenly with chopped chives and thyme.
7. Pepper-Glazed Goat Cheese Gratin
Food & Wine’s Pepper-Glazed Goat Cheese Gratin is a great alternative to a cheese platter. Filled with creamy cheese, peppers, apricot preserves, and jalapeños, your guests will love this sweet and spicy dip, which only takes 20 minutes to make.
- 1 pound creamy fresh goat cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 4 Peppadew peppers, finely chopped
- 1 pickled jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced cocktail onions
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoons dry sherry
- Pita chips and toasted baguette slices, for serving
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the goat cheese in a 5-by-8-inch gratin dish in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the preserves with the Peppadews, jalapeño, onions, mustard, and sherry. Spread the mixture over the goat cheese and bake on the top rack of the oven for about 5 minutes, until warm. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the topping is bubbling and lightly browned at the edges. Serve hot, with pita chips and toasted baguette slices.