Best Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes

Set the stage for your feast with herbed dips, passed crostini and rich, buttery soups.

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Mushroom Pesto Crostini

Cooking with dried mushrooms is a secret of chefs and smart home cooks alike, because they create maximum flavor with minimal effort. Rehydrate them by soaking in hot water for 15 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Mushroom Pesto Crostini

Thai Deviled Eggs

Sriracha, fish sauce and lime juice add just the right amount of funky, tangy heat to make these easy apps devilish and conversation-starting. Prep the halved eggs the night before and store in an airtight container in the fridge until your guests arrive.

Get the Recipe: Thai Deviled Eggs

Cheddar-Pecan Dip

This dip takes everything that's wonderful about cheese balls –– cheese-spiked cream cheese base, herbs, nuts –– and leaves out the fussy ball formation. Because dipping into a bowl with fruit and vegetable slices is easier than wielding a cheese knife when your eyes are glued to the big game.

Get the Recipe: Cheddar-Pecan Dip

Spiced Pepitas

After carving your autumnal gourds and prepping them for T-Day roasting, stash pepitas for the perfect pre-feast snack. A double dose of paprika and cayenne pepper adds smoky heat to the nutty seeds.

Get the Recipe: Spiced Pepitas

Stuffed White Mushroom Caps

These hearty little bites are stuffed with bold flavor, with dry vermouth running through the stuffing and the mushroom caps themselves.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed White Mushroom Caps

Creamy Curried-Pumpkin Dip

This flavor-packed dip is sweet, zesty and earthy all at once. The pureed pumpkin and coconut milk make it smooth and creamy without any help from dairy. The curry powder adds extra depth of flavor, making it perfect for pairing with naan bread or flavorful sweet potato chips. Make it the day before any game-day gathering, to allow the flavors to develop.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Curried-Pumpkin Dip

Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad

When cooked together, pancetta and fennel mellow each other’s flavors, allowing both of them to take on a smoky, caramelized flavor. Serve them warm over greens for a bright salad that’s addictive and comforting all at once.

Get the Recipe: Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad

Fresh Ricotta Crostini

Once you've tried fresh ricotta, you'll never go back to the store-bought container. Make it yourself on the stovetop with just whole milk, lemon juice and salt, and enjoy the warm and creamy results on toasted bread with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Ricotta Crostini

Cranberry-Jalapeno Dipping Sauce with Crispy Chicken Wings

Though wings feature most prominently in this recipe, the accompanying sweet, sour and spicy dipping sauce is the dish's star. Tart cranberries are simultaneously subdued and spiced up when cooked with sugar and jalapenos, becoming a sauce with just enough texture to coat crispy fried chicken wings. The dip is also great as a condiment for your holiday turkey or as a spread for a leftovers sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry-Jalapeno Dipping Sauce with Crispy Chicken Wings

Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprout Salad

When cooked quickly over high heat, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts take on a popcornlike flavor. The addition of walnuts and cranberries brings enough sweetness and crunch to take this dish over the top.

Get the Recipe: Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprout Salad

Maple-Pecan Baked Brie

Start off with savory-sweet Brie baked to perfection and smothered with a spicy pecan praline sauce. Coarsely ground black pepper gives this dish an additional spicy edge.

Get the Recipe: Maple Pecan Baked Brie

Sweet Pea Dip

A sweet and creamy dip made with peas and sheep's milk ricotta cheese is an unusual, flavorful beginning that takes only 10 minutes to prepare.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Pea Dip

Pomegranate + Arugula Salad

Tyler includes thick pomegranate molasses in the vinaigrette for this aril-studded salad, giving the seasonal starter doubly tangy flavor. Savory shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano and toasted walnuts round out the easy dish.

Get the Recipe: Pomegranate, Arugula Salad

Spiced Squash Soup

This soup is packed with five different spices, but it has a vegetable broth base, so it's not heavy.

Get the Recipe: Spiced Squash Soup

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Pressed for time? Pull Alton Brown's flavorful spinach and artichoke dip together in just 15 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Grana, Rucola & Pear Salad

This fresh salad is a wonderful palate-cleansing appetizer: Arugula, pear, toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan are all lightly dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Get the Recipe: Grana, Rucola, Pear Salad

Roasted Garlic Bread

The perfect starter for or accessory to any meal, this buttery, garlicky bread is perfect for scooping up odd bits of gravy and cranberry sauce. The thyme sprigs add an extra hint of flavor, gently complementing any of the other dishes on the table.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Garlic Bread

Winter Panzanella

Panzanella is a favorite on holiday tables, because it can be made hours in advance and gets better over time. Soak the onion in sherry vinegar before cooking it, to remove some of its harsh bite.

Get the Recipe: Winter Panzanella

White Beans and Rosemary Crostini

Debi and Gabriele's Italian-inspired mash of rosemary-and-garlic pancetta and white beans tops baguette slices for a savory starter.

Get the Recipe: White Beans and Rosemary Crostini

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

The meat lovers in your family will appreciate Kelsey's recipe, which calls for sausage and Parmesan, giving stuffed mushrooms Italian flair.

Get the Recipe: Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Squash Soup

Honey, nutmeg and heavy cream give this soup a decadent dessertlike sweetness, but it still offers the salty satisfaction of a savory side.

Get the Recipe: Squash Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip

Pomegranate juice adds surprising sweetness (and bright red color) to this already-flavorful roasted pepper and nut dip.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip

Watercress Salad with Dried Fruit and Almonds

A simple and light watercress salad with toasted almonds and dried cranberries ensures guests won't get filled up on apps before the big meal.

Get the Recipe: Watercress Salad with Dried Fruit and Almonds

Devils on Horseback

Two Fat Ladies' devils are made with prunes, bacon and cayenne pepper for a dash of heat.

Get the Recipe: Devils on Horseback

Deviled Eggs with Candied Bacon

Why spoon the same old mustard-and-paprika yolks into your deviled eggs when you can take Kelsey's cue and top each half-moon with sweet candied bacon?

Get the Recipe: Deviled Eggs with Candied Bacon

Stuffed Mushrooms

Pecorino Romano, parsley, breadcrumbs and mint fill Giada's stuffed mushrooms — easy one-bite starters that will quickly disappear.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms

Bruschetta with Sauteed Mushrooms

Why save mushrooms for the main course when you can quickly saute them with oil and some herbs for a bruschetta topping?

Get the Recipe: Bruschetta with Sauteed Mushrooms

Stuffed Artichokes

Stuff artichokes — and not your guests — with flavorful but not overly filling tomatoes, olives and capers.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Artichokes

Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops

Top an arugula-balsamic salad with sweet scallops baked with a tomato-basil tapenade and wrapped in prosciutto.

Get the Recipe: Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops

Polenta Crostini

These polenta and Parmesan "crostini" are most-notable for their great texture, while a sprinkling of thyme leaves hints at the many savory courses ahead.

Get the Recipe: Polenta Crostini

Camembert and Roasted Garlic

This herb-infused and garlic-heavy app is a decadent and delightful spread to enjoy alongside close friends and family on the most important food holiday of all.

Get the Recipe: Camembert and Roasted Garlic

Roasted Beet Salad

Kelsey's roasted beet salad hits all the right notes with the sweet ruby vegetable and pears, salty goat cheese and nutty toasted almonds.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Beet Salad

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

Flavored with garlic, lemon juice and parsley leaves, pureed cannellini beans make an excellent dip for pita chips, crackers or crudite.

Get the Recipe: White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

Mozzarella-Stuffed Portobellos

Stuff portobello caps with gooey mozzarella and nutty Parmesan for Ellie's simple and lighter take on the crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Mozzarella Stuffed Portobellos

Caribbean Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Levi Roots' Caribbean-style soup has sweet and spicy notes thanks to creamed coconut chunks and a super-hot chile.

Get the Recipe: Ital Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Spicy Mayo

When tender scallops are wrapped in crisp bacon, their juxtaposed flavors and textures make for a great party- and conversation-starter. A dollop of spicy cilantro mayo ensures this app is anything but boring.

Get the Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Spicy Mayo

Fried Olives

Olive lovers will flip out over their favorite salty treat being given a thick fried coating.

Get the Recipe: Fried Olives

Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes add their salty, acidic flavor to a hummus topped with spicy Spanish paprika.

Get the Recipe: Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Bruschetta Pizzaiola

Mini pizzas in bruschetta form bring a taste of Italy — and familiar comfort flavors — to the start of your Thanksgiving meal.

Get the Recipe: Bruschetta Pizzaiola

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This classic butternut squash soup from Michael Chiarello will become a staple in your home. Toasted spice rub and molasses give the rich broth incredible depth of flavor.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Laura Calder's mushrooms are stuffed with goat cheese and breadcrumbs, then plated with airy sprouts and a balsamic vinegar reduction — an elegant starter to any holiday meal.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Pumpkin (Squash) Soup

David Rocco's squash soup is thickened by potatoes and heavy cream, then topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and, for the wow factor, truffle oil.

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin (Squash) Soup

Arancini

These traditional Italian mozzarella and rice balls might not seem like typical Thanksgiving fare, but they're just the sort of surprising starter to set the stage for a dramatic meal.

Get the Recipe: Arancini

Fry-Topped Sweet Potato Soup

Chuck's simple sweet potato soup becomes dazzling with a matchstick fry and frizzled leek topping.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup with Matchstick Fries and Frizzled Leeks

Carrot Confiture

A sweet and citrusy carrot jam readies the palate for Thanksgiving's many flavors without being overfilling.

Get the Recipe: Carrot Confiture

Nadia G.'s Cauliflower Soup

Think a cauliflower-based soup will bore? With salty pancetta, sharp cheddar and fragrant leeks, this mild-looking bowl packs a punch.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Aged Cheddar Pancetta, and Sauteed Leeks

Herbed Goat Cheese Sauce for Crudites

A simple lemon- and rosemary-infused goat cheese dip makes ordinary vegetables a lively starter.

Get the Recipe: Herbed Goat Cheese Sauce for Crudites

BLT Bruschetta

Top lightly toasted peasant bread with goat cheese, beefsteak tomatoes, basil and pancetta for a miniature take on everyone's favorite sandwich.

Get the Recipe: BLT Bruschetta

Pumpkin Soup

Two Fat Ladies' pumpkin soup gains flavor from chicken meat and stock, a crushed garlic clove, onions, and, for a green finish, scallions and thyme.

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Soup

Hummus Dip

No cocktail hour is complete without a classic hummus recipe, but this version, with Asian sesame oil and cumin, has extra nutty flavor and spice.

Get the Recipe: Hummus Dip

Antipasti Platter

An assortment of deli meats, cheeses, olives and breads are easy conversation- and appetite-starters.

Get the Recipe: Antipasti Platter

Roasted Baby Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese

Ho-hum salads, begone: Here, sweet roasted pears sit snug in a bacon blanket with herbed goat cheese atop peppery arugula.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Baby Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese

Tuscan Toasted Breads

An assortment of fettunta and bruschette — Italian spreads on toasted country bread — make for a lively and colorful appetizer spread.

Get the Recipe: Tuscan Fettunta and Le Bruschette: Tuscan Toasted Bread and Bruschetta

Sausage, Pumpkin and Arborio Soup

If you're looking to really bowl your guests over (pun intended), give them a taste of Tuscany with this recipe from Rachael Ray.

Get the Recipe: Sausage, Pumpkin and Arborio Soup

Manchego Quince Skewers

Quince paste — a tart, jelly-like paste made from the yellow fruit — pairs perfectly with full-bodied Manchego cheese, while chopped almonds add sweet, nutty flavor and crunch.

Get the Recipe: Manchego Quince Skewers

Cucumber Yogurt Dip

A fresh herb- and pepper-flecked yogurt dip is a classic starter for both veggies and crackers. (And this one can be prepared in just five minutes.)

Get the Recipe: Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Dip

Buttery Baby Pea Soup

This five-ingredient soup is a simple, rich starter.

Get the Recipe: Buttery Baby Pea Soup with Pan Grilled Bread

Beef and Prosciutto Rolls

This elegant meat roll gains sweetness from the chestnuts tucked inside.

Get the Recipe: Involtini with Castagne e Prosciutto: Beef and Prosciutto Rolls with Chestnuts

Winter Fruit Compote with a Selection of Cheese

Sweet, cinnamon-topped dried fruit compote pairs well with crumbly cheeses and full-bodied red wines.

Get the Recipe: Winter Fruit Compote with Selection of Cheese

Pinzimonio: Vinaigrette

Save room for the main event by starting off with some fresh veggies and a high-quality olive oil for dipping.

Get the Recipe: Pinzimonio: Vinaigrette