Published on November 10, 2019

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, the stress is inevitably about to set in. While you may have some idea of what the main menu will be or how you’ll decorate your table, we’re here to ease your mind when it comes to the starters. Let’s be real: The thought of spending extra time in the kitchen on predinner snacks is less than enticing (you have wine to pour and playlists to curate!). So these low-lift recipes (you can even make a few ahead of time) are definitely going to come in handy. From vegetarian-friendly options to updated classics—looking at you, giant cheese ball—here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving appetizers.

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Photography by Rose & Ivy

Ramp Arancini

You saw them on Instagram and via your favorite food blogs. 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. 

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Photography by Vegetarian Ventures

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.

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Photography by Half Baked Harvest

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. 

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Photography by Playful Cooking

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.

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Photography by Rachel Schultz

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. 

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Photography by JESS VIA @PLAYSWELLWITHBUTTER

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.  

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Photography by REX MILLER VIA DEEP RUN ROOTS: STORIES AND RECIPES FROM MY CORNER OF THE SOUTH © 2016 BY VIVIAN HOWARD

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?

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