The Thanksgiving feast is quite an orchestrated affair. You can start off the meal with an array of easy appetizers that require just a handful of ingredients.

By Vanessa Greaves

When you've been cooking for days on end, the last thing you need to worry about is making elaborate Thanksgiving appetizers. But just throwing down some chips won't cut it, either. So, here's how to fill the hungry hours before dinnertime with Thanksgiving appetizers that are quick and easy to make (and won't mess up your kitchen) but still feel as special as your Thanksgiving feast. You'll love that each crowd-pleasing recipe takes 5 ingredients or less, and mere minutes to prep. Even more good news: Many can be assembled ahead of time, and all the ingredients are easy to find. Take a look.

1. Baked Stuffed Brie with Cranberries & Walnuts

5 ingredients | 20-minute prep | make-ahead

Imagine cutting into this gorgeous creation, releasing a heady flood of melted cheese, sweet dried cranberries, and crunchy walnuts. Yeah, you might want to make two.

Photo by Chef John

2. Balsamic Roasted Grapes

5 ingredients | 5-minute prep

Simple and elegant all at once. For a pleasingly rustic presentation, leave the grapes in bunches to roast, turning them over about halfway through. Pile on a platter and grab your camera.

Photo by Meredith

3. Microwave Spiced Nuts

5 ingredients | 5-minute prep | make-ahead

You don't have to fight for oven-space to make this super-easy recipe. Some reviewers used mixed nuts, and added savory spices like cayenne and chili powder to spice things up.

Photo by Meredith

4. Scallops One - Two - Three

3 ingredients | 5-minute prep

Pull this one out only if you want to completely slay the Thanksgiving appetizer competition. Don't be put off by the fancy schmancy looks, though; using frozen sea scallops (thawed overnight in the fridge) makes the prep go very quickly.

Photo by Aja

5. Crispy Cheese Twists

4 ingredients | 10-minute prep | make-ahead

Easy, elegant, crispy, savory — did I miss anything? One thing: Line your baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper to keep these from sticking.

Cheese Twists | Photo by Meredith

6. Best Ever Shrimp Dip

5 ingredients | 10-minute prep | make-ahead

This classic crowd-pleaser is perfect as is, but some reviewers personalized it with dill, horseradish, chives, Old Bay Seasoning, and so on. Not all at the same time, of course. How will you tweak your batch?

Photo by LOBSTER

7. Pepper Vodka Cherry Tomatoes

4 ingredients | 5-minute prep | make-ahead

You might be tempted to pop a couple of these to take the edge off a hectic holiday. You know what I'm saying? If you can't find pepper vodka, infuse plain vodka (not the top-shelf stuff) with a few dried chilis and chopped jalapeños until it's as spicy as you like it.

Photo by lutzflcat

8. Kale Krisps

2 ingredients | 5-minute prep

Here's a savory bite the Paleo crowd will love. Change up the flavors with different kinds of cheeses, and add spices to the mix if you wish. Just be sure the kale is absolutely dry so the cheese sticks to the leaves.

Photo by shalaine_1

9. Rosemary Garlic Parmesan Crisps

3 ingredients | 5-minute prep | make-ahead

This savory gluten-free cracker is a cheese-lover's dream that you can customize with any herbs and spices you like. If you make them ahead of time, be sure to store them between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

Photo by Yoly

10. Prosciutto and Parmesan Pinwheels

5 ingredients | 10-minute prep | make-ahead

Everyone's going to think you labored long and hard over these savory tidbits, but you don't have to tell them they took just minutes to pull them together.

Photo by Mieke VanGeel Busmanas

Check out our collection of Thanksgiving appetizers.

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