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Thanksgiving might look a bit different this year, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less special. While you may have some idea of what the main course will be (like Julia Sherman’s go-to turkey alternative) or how you’ll decorate your table, we’re here to streamline the starters. Let’s be real: The thought of spending extra time in the kitchen is less than enticing (you have wine to pour and playlists to curate!), so we’ve found low-lift recipes to add to your menu. From vegetarian-friendly options to updated classics—looking at you, giant cheese ball—here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving appetizers.

Ramp Arancini

2019 may have been the year of the ramp. We’re here for Rose & Ivy’s take on the wild allium, a ramp pesto risotto turned into mini arancini. Warm and filling, they take the concept of finger food to a new (decadent!) level. 

Pumpkin Cheddar Cheese Ball Appetizer Recipe

It’s only fitting to embrace the quintessential flavors of the season, and pumpkin most certainly reigns supreme. But who says it has to be in pie form? Cream cheese, Cheddar, and the squash combine with a medley of spices—including paprika for a kick—to form this indulgent app by Vegetarian Ventures. Serve with a heap of crudites and baked baguette slices.

Baked Brie and Prosciutto Rolls

It’s just a guess, but nothing on the menu will come close to Half Baked Harvest’s Brie and prosciutto rolls. You’ll wrap a generous chunk of cheese and a thin slice of cured Italian ham with a flaky phyllo dough sheet, then bake them to crispy, gooey perfection. Drizzle the finished product with honey, garnish with pomegranate seeds, and prepare for the compliments to roll in. 

Everything Bagel Crackers

For those of us whose love for the Trader Joe’s seasoning knows no bounds: Consider these crackers. Playful Cooking’s creation is the ideal vehicle for scooping all manners of dips and sauces. If you’re going the cheese platter route for your predinner fete, you’ll want to include these.

Fig and Gorgonzola Baked Bruschetta

Figs and cheese are the ideal fall pairing, and what better way to indulge than by way of these bite-size treats, courtesy of Rachel Schultz? Easy to assemble and a breeze to bake, they’re low-effort but look anything but. 

Prosciutto-Wrapped Cantaloupe With Balsamic Glaze

When you’re short on time, a three-ingredient appetizer is a given. Serve up blogger Plays Well With Butter’s (healthy-ish) take on the classic Italian combo of melon and prosciutto. Pro tip: Slice and wrap the cantaloupe ahead of time so all you have to do is drizzle the sweet garnish when guests arrive.  


Salt-and-Butter–Roasted Pecan Cheese Ball

Clearly we’re all for bringing back this retro concept. This mod spin on the recipe, from Vivian Howard’s Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes From My Corner of the South, comes crusted with salt and butter-roasted pecans, scallions, and plenty of hot sauce. Serve alongside a plate of freshly baked crostini, which you can easily prep the night before. Psst: If you live in the U.S., you can also order a version of this come December via Howard’s Handy & Hot online bakery. 

See more ideas for Thanksgiving: Big-Batch Recipes Worthy of a Post-Thanksgiving Brunch Try These Twists on Classic Thanksgiving Recipes and Never Look Back Is Cabbage the Turkey of the Vegetable World?