10 Easy Make-Ahead Appetizers To Save You Time This Thanksgiving

A cheese ball coated with chopped nuts with crackers on either side
Photo: MrsFisher0729

Imagine it's Thanksgiving. You're so focused on setting the table, reheating casseroles, and *not* scorching the turkey that you have no time left to prep Thanksgiving hors d'oeuvres, much less breakfast. Before your Thanksgiving unfolds like this (again), save precious time on Turkey Day by prepping these easy make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizers. I'll share 10 crowd-pleasing, make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizer recipes, plus tips for storage so you can sail into Thanksgiving with one less thing to worry about.

01 of 11

Glazed Spicy Cinnamon Pecans

Glazed Spicy Cinnamon Pecans

Crunching on these pecans, coated in cinnamon, cayenne, and sugar, satisfies pre-meal cravings. Better yet, you can bring a jar of this appetizer as a gift to your host, as our home cooks point out. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the pantry or a month in the freezer.

02 of 11

Cheese Sticks

How to Make Cheese Sticks
Allrecipes Magazine

Even pickier kids will gobble these up, and using frozen puff pastry makes them about as easy as it gets. You can freeze unbaked cheese sticks for up to a month in advance and bake them the morning of Thanksgiving for peak crispiness. If you can't bake the sticks the morning of, go ahead and bake them the night before and let them cool thoroughly before storing in an air-tight container.

03 of 11

Savory Pumpkin Hummus

Savory Pumpkin Hummus in a glass bowl

The pumpkin taste you crave, with a savory flavor that won't spoil anyone's appetite for pumpkin pie. Home cook TABLESPOON served this recipe with crudités for a light Thanksgiving appetizer. Allow a little headroom in the container when you freeze hummus because it can expand as it freezes. Take it out the day before and let it thaw in the fridge.

04 of 11

Cranberry Brie Bites

pastries with Brie and cranberries
Caroline Spaulding

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

05 of 11

One Two Three Sausage Balls

One Two Three Sausage Balls
Elaine Harper

"Perfect for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays! Little kids and big kids (husbands) love these," reviewer Mindys Mama writes. To freeze, follow the recipe through step three, then freeze on a baking sheet. After they freeze, you can bag them and store in the freezer for up to a month. No need to thaw before baking, although you might need to add a little baking time to compensate for their frozen starting point.

06 of 11

Candied Almonds

Candied Almonds
Lady J

"This is easy and yummy. I put a bowl of these out on Thanksgiving and added a few to a fall salad. They were gone very quickly with many nice compliments," reviewer juliem says. You can prep these almonds up to four weeks before Thanksgiving and store them in a cool, dark place, or you can keep them in the freezer for just as long.

07 of 11

Best Spinach Dip Ever

Best Spinach Dip Ever
Best Spinach Dip Ever | Photo by Charlie Brown.

Be thankful our Best Spinach Dip Ever takes just 15 minutes to prep — our reviewers get requests to make this appetizer all the time. "I made this for Thanksgiving, and my mom called and asked me to bring it for Christmas!" Korenna Colquitt says. Whip up the dip the night before Thanksgiving and serve it cold.

08 of 11

Herman Reunion Cheese Ball

A cheese ball coated with chopped nuts with crackers on either side

"Served it as an appetizer for Thanksgiving. Everyone there loved it. Someone even said it was addictive. I will definitely make this again," writes KERANI, who doubled the seasonings for an extra-flavorful app that takes just 15 minutes to prep. Freeze the cheese ball without its final crunchy coating, though. You can roll it in the nuts and parsley after you remove it from the freezer. Do let it sit out at room temperature for a bit so the flavors don't get lost in the chill.

09 of 11

Exotic Mushroom and Walnut Pate

Exotic Mushroom and Walnut Pate
Photo by Yancakes.

Our home cooks recommend having this appetizer on hand for vegetarians and vegans (just use vegan butter!), but everyone will want to dig in. Whether you plan to serve it hot or cold, make it the day before Thanksgiving to give it just enough time to chill in the fridge.

10 of 11

Feta Cheese Foldovers

Feta Cheese Foldovers
Feta Cheese Foldovers | Photo by Christina. Christina

"These can be made ahead and popped into the oven after your guests arrive," recipe creator Christine L. says. You can store the unbaked pastries in the fridge for two or three days or in the freezer for up to a month.

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