Thanksgiving appetizers are one of the few parts of the feast where few rules apply. With a roast turkey and sides like cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes pretty much mandatory, you should feel free to think of the precursory finger foods, casual bites, and other provisions as your opportunity to go off-book from Thanksgiving tradition. Whip up a melty crock of spinach-and-artichoke dip because you want to, or assemble an old-school cheese ball because it’ll make your aunt happy.
A tip: Thanksgiving appetizers shouldn’t overwhelm your attention or your time. You get a free pass to lean on store-bought puff pastry, frozen stuffed mushrooms, and the like. The best appetizers for Thanksgiving are simple yet flavorful: Try earthy sweet potato hummus, warm marinated feta and olives, and crispy beet fritters. We’re also big fans of easy-to-grab one-biters that you can eat between checking the turkey’s temp and whisking the gravy, like pigs in a blanket and homemade chipotle cheddar crackers. So pour yourself a festive Thanksgiving cocktail and start priming your palate for feasting.