20 Best Southern Thanksgiving Appetizers

Super Easy and Spicy Fried Pickles on a white plate

For flavorful appetizers to tantalize your guests' tastebuds, turn to the Southern kitchen. From pimento cheese dip to crunchy corn fritters, these finger foods will be the stars of the meal. Try these top-rated Thanksgiving appetizers that boast big flavors and an extra helping of soul.

01 of 21

Zucchini Corn Fritters

Zucchini Corn Fritters on a wooden board beside bowl of dipping sauce
Allrecipes Magazine

Light and fluffy fritters with lots of grated zucchini and corn kernels. Fry 'em up in a hot cast iron skillet. "Cheese is optional, but not in my house," says Danni Hughes. "Serve hot with ranch dressing."

02 of 21

Creamy Pimento Cheese

Creamy Pimento Cheese
Photo by teeoh717.

Simply beat cream cheese and Cheddar until light and fluffy. Then mix in mayo and garlic powder and stir in diced pimentos. "This is the best pimento cheese you will ever have!" says KANDRSMOM. "Its creamy texture makes it excellent for sandwiches or for eating on crackers. Serve at room temperature."

03 of 21

Pickled Shrimp

pickled shrimp oil shallots vinegar

Briny, a bit spicy, and full of flavor! "If you didn't grow up in a coastal town in the South, you may have never eaten pickled shrimp with your Thanksgiving dinner," says Shauna James Ahern. "But since you can use frozen shrimp in this recipe, it might be time to try. You can make this dish the day before the feast for a faint pickle taste or leave them in the refrigerator for a week before, which means you'll bring something with huge personality to the table."

04 of 21

Spicy Southern-Fried Okra

Spicy Southern-Fried Okra on a white plate
Buckwheat Queen

Mix okra, diced green tomatoes, cornmeal, and milk together and pan-fry into crispy, Southern-style fritters. "These are great! A must try," raves Tori Guy.

05 of 21

Muffuletta Pinwheels

Muffuletta Pinwheels

Inspired by the famous New Orleans sandwich, these bite-size pinwheels have plenty of flavor from the layers of salami, ham, and cheese.

06 of 21

Super Easy and Spicy Fried Pickles

Super Easy and Spicy Fried Pickles on a white plate

Spicy and super-easy fried pickles for the pickle-lovers among us! "OMG, I love pickles just as is, but when I came across this recipe...I LOVE THEM SOOOO MUCH," says wifeyluvs2cook. "I served with a homeade thousand island type dressing instead of ranch. The sweetness of the dipping sauce balanced the spicy pickle since I added a lot of cayenne!"

07 of 21

Mississippi Sin

creamy cheese and ham topping on a french bread half on a blue plate

Fill French bread with a spicy cream cheese-based dip and baked it till bubbly. "This is a wonderful dip that can be served in bread or in a small crock pot if you can't find round bread," says BamaMom.

08 of 21

Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws on a baking sheet
danny k

"This is the perfect cheese straw recipe!" says reviewer Laura C. The right balance of crunchy and savory, it's just what you need for a Southern gathering.

09 of 21

Georgia Caviar

Georgia Caviar in a white bowl
Renee Paj

"Black-eyed peas in a zesty marinade make a wonderful dip for tortilla chips or bread," says Gabrielle. "Serve at room temperature."

10 of 21

Deep-Fried Peanuts

Deep-Fried Peanuts in a white bowl
Soup Loving Nicole

Straight from the peanut capital of the world, Sylvester, Georgia, comes "a true Southern delicacy," says Kristi Whittington. "Passed down through generations, this is sure crowd pleaser."

11 of 21

Pickled Sausage

Pickled Sausage in a jar

Cooked smoked sausages are pickled in a tangy red brine. "Was looking for a copycat recipe for Penrose Hot Sausages and stumbled upon this one," says Chef Brys Riverman. "The results were excellent after only two days, but I'm hoping the second jar will be even better after having more time to sit in the brine solution. One thing I would recommend is to store them in the refrigerator as soon as the jars are cool enough to handle."

12 of 21

Southern Made Cheese Ball

Southern Made Cheese Ball on a glass plate

The secret ingredient that makes this cheese ball distinctly southern is a dash of Creole-style seasoning. "I made this for a party and had everyone raving," says Jami C. "I was lucky to even get it to the party because my family wanted it for themselves!"

13 of 21

Vicki's Hush Puppies

Vicki's Hush Puppies on a white plate

Here's a simple, no-fuss recipe for savory hush puppies. "THESE WERE GREAT!" raves Jenn Bane. "Our friend from Georgia said they were almost as good as his mom's. We dipped these in tarter sauce. YUMMM!"

14 of 21

Captain's Seafood Crab Dip

Captain's Seafood Crab Dip
Photo by Bibi.

This creamy, cheesy crab dip was served at Captain's Seafood in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina. "Serve with stone-ground wheat crackers or other mild (not flavored) cracker," says Cherry Baumgartner.

15 of 21

Old-Fashioned Roasted Pecans

Old-Fashioned Roasted Pecans on parchment paper

This show-stopping snacks works great as an appetizer, or bagged up as an edible gift for guests to take home. Sugar and cinnamon combine for a sweet and spicy balance.

16 of 21

Crawfish-Stuffed Jalapeños

Crawfish-Stuffed Jalapenos on a white plate
Soup Loving Nicole

Jalapenos are stuffed with four kinds of cheese, crawfish, bacon, and sausage, dipped in beer batter, and fried to golden brown. "These were a great hit with everyone," says Stacy Bennett. "We used really big peppers, and for future I would go smaller, but these were delish!"

17 of 21

Kentucky Beer Cheese Spread

Kentucky Beer Cheese Spread
Photo by Chef John.

So easy to make. Just blend a handful of ingredients until smooth. The key to this flavorful Cheddar cheese dip is cheap, domestic beer that's gone flat! "If you're a fan of beer and cheese like I am, you're going to enjoy this unique and super-easy cheese spread!" says Chef John.

18 of 21

Di's Delicious Deluxe Deviled Eggs

Di's Delicious Deluxe Deviled Eggs
Photo by Protigie. Protigie

Creamy and delicious deviled eggs with just the right hint of spicy. "This recipe was quick and easy!" says LILANNE99. "I made it for a Thanksgiving appetizer and everyone LOVED them!"

19 of 21

Deep-Fried Oysters II

Deep-Fried Oysters on a white plate
Soup Loving Nicole

These Southern-style deep-fried oysters get a spicy cornmeal coating, starring Cajun seasoning. Fry them up to golden and crispy. "This came out wonderful," says WONK. "Will be eating these again and again."

20 of 21

Tomato and Bacon Jam

Tomato and Bacon Jam on crackers with cream cheese

Salty bacon and naturally sweet tomatoes are the terrific twosome behind this savory jam. Spoon some over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers for guests to dip.

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