30 Quick and Easy Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizers
Cut back on the kitchen chaos this holiday with our best ever make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizers. Preparing your apps the night before will allow you to sleep in, enjoy the day, and, most importantly, spend more time eating than cooking on Turkey Day.
Beet Chips with Turmeric-Yogurt Dip
Here's a lighter, more colorful take on the usual chips and dip. Beet chips crisp up in a flash in the microwave. Keep close watch on them to make sure they don't scorch.
Frudité Platter with Mint-Lime Dip
For a show-stopping party appetizer or dessert that will appeal to both kids and adults, you can't go wrong with a fruit platter. Accompanied by an easy, ultra-creamy, homemade dipping sauce that's bursting with fresh lime and mint, this starter offers plenty of fruit combinations that are refreshing and sweet.
Parmesan Baked Squash Rounds
Use fresh summer squash for the ultimate snack: it’s salty, lightly sweet, crusty, and cheesy—kind of like squash casserole you can eat with your hands. These are a great low-carb snack option that can satisfy a craving for potato chips or other salty snacks. Not a fan of yellow squash? This recipe works with zucchini too.
Pesto Yogurt Dip
Use this herby dip to anchor a tray of what we call Snack Dinner. Surround it with lots of fresh vegetable dippers, seasonal fruit, sliced cheese, olives, nuts, and a little meat.
Brown Sugar-Spiced Nut Mix
From the Kitchen of…Cheryl Slocum, Senior Food Editor
A bowl of nuts in their shells was a coffee table staple for Thanksgiving snacks when Cheryl was young. "Operating the nutcracker was a real draw for us little kids," she says, "but our tastes have evolved to this sweet-hot crispy mix."
Achieve a bronzelike patina on these candied nuts by keeping a close watch near the end of their roasting time. Too long and they'll overdarken and take on a bitter flavor.
Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus
Warm Cheese-and-Spicy Pecan Dip
Crunchy spiced nuts take a classic cheese dip to new heights. Avoid overcooking the dip or it could separate; remove from the oven when it starts to bubble around the edges. We love this gooey dip with toasted baguette slices, but you can also serve it with your favorite crackers.
Artichoke and Spinach Dip
You'll love this healthier, colorful update on a crowd favorite. Leftovers are delicious tossed with hot pasta.
French Onion Cheese Ball
Rather than serving French Onion soup topped with bread to a crowd, serve a more easily-shared, portable version with all of the same flavor. A French Onion Cheese Ball with toasted baguette slices makes the perfect game-watching appetizer and it much less likely to spill during the celebration of a big play.
Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Dip
Up the veggie presence in your next party spread with this cheesy, savory, so-snackable Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Dip. Inspired by a favorite Trader Joe’s frozen appetizer, this vegetarian dip is easy to make, but delivers big on flavor.
Creamy Artichoke Dip
This is a creamy, rich, yet healthier riff on the classic—and is great for entertaining. We process half of the artichokes to sneak more veggies into the dip, plus a little tofu to help cut back on cheese and boost protein. Using frozen artichokes instead of canned helps keep sodium in check. Serve each ramekin with different sides—we like a medley of vegetables, crackers, or bread. Or keep it super simple and bake in one larger baking dish.
These not-too-hot, not-too-sweet nuts are the perfect crunchy topper for our Warm Cheese-and-Spicy Pecan Dip, but they can also be enjoyed on their own as a straight-from-the-bowl snack. If you are serving the nuts by themselves, do not chop them; keep the pecan halves whole so they are easier to grab and toss them with the spice and oil mixture. However you make them, you can prepare the Spicy Pecans up to four days in advance; store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Chicken Sausage Puffs with Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce
Buffalo Chicken Cheese Ball
The buffalo flavor that we all know and love is typically made by combining vinegar, butter, and a cayenne pepper-based hot sauce. Skip the intense prep that buffalo wings require-- get all of the flavor you crave with a buffalo cheese ball. Prepared Buffalo wing sauce makes it easy to make and the blue cheese gives each bite an addictive richness. Serve while watching the next big game with your friends.
Some of us consider hummus to be its own food group. You can dip vegetables in it, spread it on bread, put it on top of a salad—the list goes on. Hummus’ versatility makes it easy to indulge in its creamy deliciousness multiple times a day. That’s why it’s important to change things up so you don’t get major chickpea burnout. This edamame hummus is exactly what you need to spice up your routine. Not only does it satisfy your taste buds, but edamame is also a great source of vegan protein. This dish has 6 grams of protein per serving, and we have a feeling you’ll end up eating more than one. The best part: This hummus can be made in just five minutes. Yup, you read that right. And those five minutes couldn’t be easier. The food processor will do most of the work, and you can decide when the hummus has reached the perfect consistency. The recipe suggests serving with crudités of your choice, such as carrots, radishes, and cucumber, but you can also eat it your way. And yes, it’s completely fine if your way is as simple as eating it with a spoon.
Smoky Red Lentil Hummus
Use this fun riff on classic chickpea hummus to anchor a tray of fresh, seasonal vegetable dippers—we recommend multicolored carrots, radishes, and cauliflower florets. You can prepare the hummus up to three days ahead; wash and trim the crudités a day in advance, and store them in ziplock plastic bags lined with paper towels.
Carrots add a pretty orange hue and subtle sweetness to this smooth and creamy hummus. Choose milder red chiles, such as New Mexico-style or guajillo dried chiles, for heat that's not overpowering.
Everything Bagel Cheese Ball
The mega-flavor of an everything bagel can be rolled into a savory, satisfying cheese ball that your guests are sure to love. Prep the cheese ball in advance and roll it in everything spice blend just before your friends arrive for an easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Everything Bagel Hummus
In the breakfast world, the everything bagel has it all. Literally. Poppy seeds, minced onion, sea salt—and that's only the beginning. It also has the power to wake up every single taste bud. And when you have those mornings where you just can’t, an everything bagel is super satisfying. (Who cares if it’s messy?) Luckily, it’s possible to make everything bagel seasoning at home. We’ve used it to make cream cheese, butter, and eggs. But since our imagination (and hunger) knows no boundaries, everything bagel hummus was next on the list. You're welcome.
Why should bagels have all the fun, anyway? Chips, crackers, and vegetable sticks can all get in on the party. This hummus recipe can also be spread on toast or pita bread. Extra points for eating it on sweet potato toast. Basically, you can turn everything into an everything bagel. It doesn’t get any more meta than that.
If you’re up to the challenge, make the hummus from scratch. Otherwise, a standard container of store-bought hummus totally works. You’ll have a ton of everything bagel seasoning leftover either way. Hold onto it, because this hummus is going to make your day/week/life.
Everything Bagel Hummus
Roasted Beet Hummus
Skip the preservative-packed, store-bought tubs and make fresh, natural hummus at home. This beet hummus, inspired by the kind found at Trader Joe’s, is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse packed with vitamins A, B, and C, protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron. Beets add a beautiful, deep-crimson color to the traditional chickpea hummus you’re used to eating. Roasted beet hummus is a gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan delight for parties and snacking. Serve with crudites or slather your homemade hummus on a warm pita bread topped with labne, pomegranate arils, za’atar spice and parsley leaves. There’s nothing better—especially when you remember that you made it yourself.
This beet hummus recipe takes almost no time to whip together. The longest (and hardest) part is waiting about one hour for the beets to roast. But once they’re cooked, the hummus comes together quickly. Throw the beets into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blend until silky-smooth and creamy. That’s that. Less than 10 minutes later, you have beet hummus.
You can roast the beets the night before, or purchase pre-cooked and peeled beets vacuum-sealed in plastic from your local grocery store.
Italian-Style Antipasti Platter
Lunch: Keep hunger pangs away with these healthy and delicious dishes! 150 calories and under. Lose weight the 5:2 way. This healthy, quick and easy recipe is featured in the lunch section of the new 5:2 Starter's Guide to The 2-Day Diet. The book provides a selection of over 100 tasty recipes that meet the daily 500 calorie allotment for the 2 days of intermittent fasting, as required by the 5:2 Diet.
The maple syrup in this pumpkin butter recipe really darkens up the spread and adds some good depth of flavor. This easy recipe makes a lot, but you can easily cut the recipe in half for a small yield.
Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
Everyone will gobble up these spicy grilled sweet potato fries topped with honey and salty queso fresco. Serve them as a fun appetizer or alongside burgers or your favorite grilled protein. Microwaving the sweet potatoes before they hit the grill ensures the fries will be tender throughout and helps them cook up quickly.
Whipped Sweet Potato Butter
You need to make a pan of buttermilk biscuits or a skillet of hot cornbread just so you can try this very creamy and very buttery Whipped Sweet Potato Butter. The recipe not only makes a lot, but the butter freezes well. Simply roll the butter into a log in parchment paper, wrap in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and freeze. Cut off pieces as you need them like it was a regular stick of butter. It pairs perfectly with our Cheddar-Caramelized Onion Bread.
Curried Sweet Potato-Yogurt Dip
Sweet potatoes make a wonderful base for a creamy dip, creating a smooth texture and faintly sweet flavor. Toasting the curry paste in the first step helps to deepen the flavor and is worth the extra couple of minutes.
French Onion Dip with Sweet Potato Chips
Ditch the sodium-bomb seasoning packets and sour cream-and-mayonnaise–laden dip (which can pack a small meal’s worth of calories and sat fat into a single serving) for our homemade dip. And be patient with the caramelizing process—slowly sizzled onions have noteworthy sweetness and concentrated umami. You’ll know the onions are done when they become deep chestnut in color and nearly melt-in-your-mouth tender. And because no dip is complete without a dipper, baked sweet potatoes will satisfy your chip craving for half the calories of most bagged varieties. Dehydrating the potatoes in the oven before roasting helps them develop crispy edges and tender centers. With big flavor and less heft, our healthier ode to the classic is a delicious way to sneak in extra vegetables.
Microwave Sweet Potato Chips
When the chip craving strikes, look no further than these healthy, homemade chips. Pro tip: You'll need a mandoline to slice the potato thin enough to crisp.
We took the classic spinach-artichoke dip and made it easier to enjoy while holding a cocktail. Try arugula instead of spinach for a peppery flavor.