The Best Thanksgiving Appetizers

We all know that when it comes to Thanksgiving, the turkey is the “main event,” and when it comes to Thanksgiving appetizers we are supposed to “pace ourselves” and “save room for dinner” or whatever. But—and people don’t talk about this enough—turkey is pretty mid as far as proteins go. That is to say, it’s fine. And Thanksgiving appetizers are, quite often, fantastic. So I say screw saving room and just eat a whole lot of what you actually like, and then just take a liiiiiiittle piece of turkey to be polite and acknowledge the approximately 193943025 hours of work your parents’ friend Greg put into roasting that big ol’ honkin’ bird. But if you are like me and the pre-meal snacks are the star of the show, here are some easy Thanksgiving appetizers you might consider adding to your list of potential appetizers for Thanksgiving this year.

Parmesan Pastry Pups

These things are great. They are essentially pigs in a blanket but fancier (they are wrapped in parmesan-sprinkled puff pastry), and they come frozen and ready to bake. If you are looking for easy Thanksgiving appetizers, these are your gal. Sporked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart described them as “even more decadent than the pigs in a blanket you’re used to,” and noted how the “juicy mini hot dogs and buttery puff pastry combine to create a delicious, greasy slurry, and the parm on top gives them even more savory flavor.” I don’t know what else you need to hear. Add these to your list of appetizers for Thanksgiving.

Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s frozen appetizers

Trader Joe’s Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions 

Speaking of fancy little bites from our buddy TJ, these things are phenomenal. Gwynedd noted how these bad boys are a multilayered eating experience: “The consistency of the filling is so eggy and light—like a little souffle. There’s a little bit of bite from the feta, but it’s not too briny or dry. The caramelized onion is so sweet and savory and goes so well with the flavor of the cheese filling.” If you like salty cheese, sweet onions, and greasy, buttery pastry, there is absolutely no reason you won’t like these. Plus, with the slight hint of fanciness, they would make great appetizers for Thanksgiving.

Read the full ranking of the best Trader Joe’s frozen appetizers

If you want a cheese that feels special for your easy Thanksgiving appetizers spread, look no further than this block of Old Croc cheese. This stuff is aged, extra sharp cheddar, which means it is crumbly, nutty, crystally, salty, tangy, and utterly delicious. “Aging cheese intensifies its flavor, and this cheese was aged for a full year,” Gwynedd wrote. “Aging also gives it those tasty little crystals you find in cheeses like parmesan.” This cheese has been around long enough to see some things and develop a unique outlook on life (at least that’s where I assume the flavor comes from) and I, for one, am giving thanks for that this year.

Read the full ranking of the best cheddar cheese

Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese (to make a turkey-shaped cheese ball)

If you have never made a cheese ball, first of all, try it out, it is fun. Second of all, make it shaped like a Turkey, and your friends will be exceedingly impressed. And since cheese balls are typically made almost entirely of cream cheese, you may as well use a good one and take your Thanksgiving appetizers to the next level. Why is Philadelphia our fave cream cheese for the job? Well, as Sporked senior writer Jordan Myrick so eloquently put it, “It’s sensationally creamy and perfectly balances richness and tang.” And what more could you want in a cream cheese?

Read the full ranking of the best cream cheese

Holy Hummus Traditional Classic Hummus

Hummus is a solid appetizer option any day of the week at any function. It can be fancy or it can be eaten alone on the couch. It is a great option no matter what Thanksgiving looks like in your household. And if you are going to serve hummus, why not serve the best hummus on the market? This hummus has an “unbelievably good tahini-forward flavor that is unlike any other store-bought brand of hummus we’ve ever tasted. And the texture is irresistible,” according to editor-in-chief Justine Sterling, who also noted that this hummus is exceedingly smooth and not gummy at all. Ya gotta try this stuff out if you are looking for easy Thanksgiving appetizers.

Read the full ranking of the best hummus

 Appleton Dry Cured Ham Prosciutto

Prosciutto is a crowd pleaser. Serve this with cheese and crackers and a little bowl of cranberry sauce, and you’ve got yourself an easy Thanksgiving appetizer your guest will go absolutely nuts over. Plus, this particular prosciutto will make them think you splurged for the fancy stuff when really you went with an affordable option from Aldi. Justine was expecting very little when she first tried this prosciutto but was met with a great prosciutto whose “flavor is out of this world—it’s savory and sweet (almost fruity) with a wonderfully fatty finish that just keeps going.” This is your sign to go get some Aldi prosciutto this T-Givvy and trick your friends into thinking you have money.

Read the full ranking of the best prosciutto

About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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