Before the big meal begins, you'll need show-stopping Thanksgiving appetizers to serve your hungry crowd. These receive top marks from our home cooks.

By Carl Hanson

Thanksgiving appetizers get the meal off to a delicious start. We've dug deep into our treasure trove of appetizer recipes. And these top-rated snack and apps are the best of the best, including seasonal sensations like stuffed mushrooms and cranberry meatballs, plus Thanksgiving-friendly dips, cheesy puffs, and assorted bite-size delights.

Our Best Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes

1. Feta Cheese Foldovers

These golden puffed pastries are filled with a simple feta cheese mixture. "I made these for Thanksgiving and my family requested more for Christmas dinner," says SHARARW. Very, very easy. Plus, I assembled them the day before and baked them when everyone arrived. Tasty, elegant and EASY!"

LYNNMK made and froze them a week before Thanksgiving. "I brushed them with the beaten egg mixture, froze on cookie sheets, then carefully wrapped once frozen," she says. "On Thanksgiving, I put them on a nonstick baking sheet that had been lightly sprayed with Pam and baked at 15 minutes at 375. They puffed up beautifully and were really enjoyed by my company. This was a very easy appetizer that can be custom made and frozen for an easy last moment appetizer."

Photo by Christina

2. Stuffed Mushrooms IV

A savory ground beef and bread-crumb mixture is seasoned with garlic and chili powder and baked inside buttered button mushroom caps. "An 18th Century recipe that I have altered slightly," says Jennifer. "Better make a double batch because these go fast. Sausage can be substituted for ground beef if you'd like."

"Excellent recipe!" raves CEALR. "This dish was the star of Thanksgiving. My husband is a picky eater and he was raving about them the day after. Used small mushrooms which made around 2 dozen. They were ALL demolished by the two of us, so I'd definitely consider making larger portions for guests. I added Emeril's seasoning to give the stuffing a little extra punch.

Photo by Melissa Goff

3. Savory Pumpkin Hummus

Pumpkin puree puts a colorful and delicious twist on traditional hummus. Serve with cut veggies and pita bread! "I think I like my results. I stirred in a small handful of tamari-flavored pumpkin seeds just before serving and sprinkled a bit of paprika on top to make it look nice," says Georgia J. Llewellyn.

Wonderful!" says TABLESPOON. "I made it for Thanksgiving dinner and served with crudites. One idea is if you make your own tahini in the food processor, then you can make the hummus right after without washing out the food processor -- two birds with one stone."

Photo by NancyLou

4. Cape Cod Cocktail Meatballs

Sweet and tangy cocktail meatballs are baked in a fruity and colorful cranberry-sauce glaze in this recipe that originated on Cape Cod. "These cocktail meatballs are perfect for any party where you want to impress," says Robin Myshrall Ulery. "They are the first appetizer to go, and everyone wants the recipe. The recipe originated in Cape Cod (cranberry country). Bon appetit!"

"LOVED these!" says Christina. "So simple to make and so yummy...they were gone in a flash! To save some time, I baked the meatballs the day before, then made the sauce the next day and poured it on right before I was ready to bake them the second time...worked perfectly.

5. Baked Crab and Artichoke Dip

Here's a creamy crab and artichoke dip that's baked in a bread bowl. Cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise mix it up with Cheddar, herbs, and seasonings. The best part of baking this dip in a bread bowl? You can eat the bowl! The second best part? No serving dish to clean! Serve it hot with crackers.

"This was amazing!" raves joshpo21. "Very simple recipe and easy to follow directions. I used the mini bowls which allow for more than one setting. I also used fresh artichoke and crab, and added spinach."

Photo by Stacy

6. Mouth-Watering Stuffed Mushrooms

Here's a restaurant-worthy appetizer stuffed with cream cheese, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and just a touch of heat. "These delicious mushrooms taste just like restaurant-style stuffed mushrooms," says Angie Gorkoff.

"Delicious!" says Brooke. "I made these for Thanksgiving dinner and they were the first thing to go. Next time I'll have to make a double batch. The only way I can describe the flavor is mild with a kick."

Photo by CCLoves2Bake

7. Cranberry Salsa

This sweet-tangy cranberry salsa gets a little fire from jalapeno pepper. "Tangy and sweet with a bit of a bite," says SHASH.

"Really great!" says LAURA*P. "I was skeptical about this recipe, but trusted all of the five-star reviews and made it for my family's Thanksgiving dinner. It was fabulous! Great with chips or as a condiment on leftover turkey sandwiches."

"I spread cream cheese on a platter and spread the salsa over the top of the cream cheese with whole cranberries for garnish," says CarolynWG, "a great balance of flavors and pretty, too. This will be a regular for future holidays."

8. Cranberry Brie Bites

"Tangy cranberry, creamy brie, and crunchy walnuts come together in a buttery shell for an appetizer that will wow your guests," says Julie Hubert. "Bonus: These can be made up to 3 days ahead; wrap them in plastic wrap before the baking step and store in the refrigerator. Serve warm or at room temperature."

I like these small bites so much better than a traditional gooey mess of a large baked brie in puff pastry," says jmaxson. They are perfect for Thanksgiving or a fall party. I added a few dried cranberries to each one."

Photo by Allrecipes

9. Cheese Ball III

Cheddar cheese, olives, onion, and a twist of lemon make this cheese ball an all time favorite. "This cheese ball is one our family has had and used for 20 years," says Cindy Carnes. "We love it. It's simple, and most of the ingredients are kept on hand. Roll it in nuts or parsley, if desired. Serve with an assortment of crackers."

"I had this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving," says Kabrina Orchard. "My sister said she'd rather eat it instead of dinner! I substituted sour cream instead of mayo and rolled the cheeseball in crumbled bacon. The whole cheese ball was gobbled up."

Photo by KGora

10. Baked Stuffed Brie with Cranberries & Walnuts

Chef John's version of baked brie is wrapped in puff pastry dough, chilled, and then baked until the pastry is perfectly browned and the brie is warm and melty. Let it come to room temperature first so all the flavors can be fully realized.

"Was a big hit at our family's thanksgiving gathering," says tharrisa. "Used dried cranberries and honey as filling, and excluded nuts. Everyone loved the combo and the pastry shell. We served with water crackers. Definitely recommend for parties and family gatherings.

Photo by Chef John

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