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

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. Here are 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.

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.

Cheese Sticks

Even pickier kids will gobble these up, and using frozen puff pastry makes them about as easy as it gets. You can freeze the 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. Cool thoroughly before storing in an airtight container.

Our 30 Best Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes

Savory Pumpkin Hummus

The pumpkin taste you crave, with a savory flavor that won’t spoil anyone’s appetite for pumpkin pie. One Allrecipes home cook serves 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.

Cranberry Brie Bites

“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.

15 Easy, Impressive Thanksgiving Appetizers with 5 Ingredients or Less

One Two Three Sausage Balls

“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 3, then freeze on a baking sheet. After they freeze, place them into a resealable freezer bag and store them 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.

Candied Almonds

“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.

Best Spinach Dip Ever

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.

Best Cheese Ball

“Served it as an appetizer for Thanksgiving. Everyone there loved it…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. Then roll it in the nuts and parsley after you remove it from the freezer. Be sure to let it sit out at room temperature for a bit before serving so the flavors don’t get lost in the chill.

10 Cheese Balls Worth Serving to Guests

Exotic Mushroom and Walnut Pate

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.

Feta Cheese Foldovers

“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.

More Inspiration

Try one of Our Best Appetizers for Your Thanksgiving Potluck. Plus, explore our entire collection of Thanksgiving Recipes.

Baked Stuffed Brie with Cranberries & Walnuts

Prosciutto and Parmesan Pinwheels

Cape Cod Cocktail Meatballs

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