Egypt, recipe, carrot, tahini Root Vegetable Recipes
Photography by Helen Cathcart

Whoever created the appetizer decided they were going to pregame their meal with more food, and we can’t argue with that. If you’re looking for creative Thanksgiving dinner ideas, look no further than the first course? Whether you’re looking for whimsical one-bite hors d’oeuvres or want to switch things up by opting for a Mexican-inspired Thanksgiving feast, our best Thanksgiving appetizers are the perfect way to keep your guests happy (and at bay) while you’re preparing the rest of the Thanksgiving feast.


Grilled Oysters

Oysters are the perfect aphrodisiacs to have on Valentine’s day. Believed to increase fertility, these half shells evoke images of romance. Grill them for your lover and sprinkle some pecorino and bottarga before serving. Get the recipe for Grilled Oysters »

Lemon Parmesan Dip

Creamy and bright-tasting, lemon parmesan dip makes for an excellent accompaniment to a chip or crudité platter.

French Piped Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse)

Elegant potatoes are brushed with an egg wash before baking for color and crunch. Get the recipe for French Piped Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse) »

Cranberry Crostini

Cranberry crostini

Scotch Eggs

A hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and bread crumbs and then deep-fried may seem like a product of modern pub culture, but the Scotch egg was invented by London department store Fortnum & Mason in 1738. Get the recipe for Scotch Eggs »

Nut and Cheese Gougères

Pecan gougères

Candied Pecans

A combination of balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and brown sugar turns pecans into a toasty, addictive snack that’s perfect for nibbling alongside apéritifs. Get the recipe for Candied Pecans »

Tahini-Beet Dip

Tahini’s nutty, luxurious properties don’t stop at hummus. Keep the sesame paste flowing with this bright red purée of boiled beets, lemon, and garlic. Get the recipe for Tahini-Beet Dip »

Bluefish Paté

This bluefish paté has all the makings of a traditional fish dip—cream cheese, lemon, herbs—with a few updates to give it some zing. Get the recipe for Bluefish Paté »

Abruzzo-Style Grape Focaccia

Abruzzo-Style Grape Focaccia

Three Cheese Gougères

Three distinct cheeses are incorporated into this classic savory pâte à choux snack. More cheese is sprinkled over the tops of the gougères to produce a golden crust. Get the recipe for Three Cheese Gougères »

Stuffed Cherry Peppers (Peperoni con Acciughe)

Capers, tuna, and anchovies balance the heat in these small, stuffed cherry peppers.

Cured Salmon with Thin Pancakes (Gravlax with Blinis)

We persuaded the wife of a Norwegian fisherman to share her secret recipe for marinating a fresh side of salmon to silky-textured, subtly flavored perfection. Get the recipe for Cured Salmon with Thin Pancakes (Gravlax with Blinis) »

Herbed Crème Fraîche Dip

Herbes de Provence, the quintessential Provençal seasoning combo of thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano, enhances this lemony crème fraîche dip. Serve it with crudités as part of a picnic spread. Get the recipe for Herbed Crème Fraîche Dip »

Fried Stuffed Castelvetrano Olives

Making for a substantial snack, Rosa Pepe stuffs olives with a simple beef and pork filling; then dredges them in breadcrumbs before crisping them up in the deep-fryer. Get the recipe for Fried Stuffed Castelvetrano Olives »

Salmon Tartare

A simple mix of soy sauce, mirin, and cilantro flavors meltingly tender salmon for an elegant appetizer that requires very little prep time. Get the recipe »

Spicy Fried Peanuts

This spicy snack is flavored with garlic, lemon juice, and two kinds of chiles. Get the recipe for Spicy Fried Peanuts »

Zucchini Stuffed with Ricotta (Zucchine Ripiene con Ricotta)

In this dish, zucchini are stuffed with the twin stars of Calabrian cheese making: pecorino and ricotta. Flecked with tomato and mint, they are equally good eaten hot or at room temperature.

Homemade Ricotta

This recipe comes courtesy of Jenn Louis, chef-owner of Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Oregon. We featured Louis’ ricotta gnocchi in our April 2015 issue, and we can’t stop making this super-creamy ricotta—to add to gnocchi and everything else—because it’s so easy and so darn good. Get the recipe for Homemade Ricotta »

Spiced Pecans

Bite-size and buttery, cumin and cayenne-spiced pecans glazed in dark brown sugar are the perfect smoky, spicy-sweet snack. Get the recipe for Spiced Pecans »

Cheese Straws

Dainty and addictive, crunchy cheddar cheese sticks get added flavor from sweet paprika and cayenne pepper. Get the recipe for Cheese Straws »

Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles

This layered no-cook appetizer from former test kitchen assistant Eliza Martin features a sweet core of dried apricot coated in tangy goat cheese and then rolled in a savory mixture of crushed pistachios and fresh herbs. The finger-friendly “truffles” can be made up to 2 days before serving and stored in the refrigerator, making them the perfect hors d’oeuvres for the busy host or hostess. Get the recipe for Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles »

Onion Tart with Goat Cheese

This gorgeous tart has it all—sweetness from the caramelized onions, earthiness from the goat cheese, and a subtle saltiness from the anchovies. Get the recipe for Onion Tart with Goat Cheese »

Cheese Gougères


Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleons

These elegant appetizers come from Wolfgang Puck’s Los Angeles restaurant Spago. Laurie Ochoa wrote about the groundbreaking chef in “The King of LA,” part of our special Los Angeles issue (March 2010).

Peppers Stuffed with Feta (Piperies Gemistes me Feta)

This meze is made in Macedonia with sweet Florina peppers, though Fresno or Anaheim chiles (the former being hotter than the latter) can be substituted. Get the recipe for Peppers Stuffed with Feta (Piperies Gemistes me Feta) »

Heart of Palm Fries with Chipotle Mayo

These addictive fries, served at Yerba Buena restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side, can be made with fresh hearts of palm for a crispier texture. This recipe appeared in our March 2011 issue with Tyla Fowler’s story about hearts of palm, A Good Heart. Get the recipe for Heart of Palm Fries with Chipotle Mayo »

Cipollini Onion Hummus

Gently browned cipollini onions add an unexpected hint of caramel sweetness to this hummus, deepening its earthy flavors.

Hummus with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms

A tangle of fried mushrooms provides textural contrast and a savory boost to this silky hummus.

Fromage Fort

Fromage Fort