Most American holidays have foods closely associated with them. Burgers and hot dogs are on most grills come the Fourth of July, candy corn is almost exclusively consumed around Halloween and it would be an odd thing to see someone swigging eggnog or eating a candy cane outside of the Christmas season.

But no holiday is more closely associated with food — the preparation of it, the tradition of it and the eating of it — than Thanksgiving. And while stuffing yourself is common around most holidays, Thanksgiving is the holiday that celebrates the process.

To stuff yourself, however, you must wait for the sit-down meal itself, filled with plentiful amounts of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce (even if it’s the jellied kind. Don’t worry, Thanksgiving is a judgement-free time). So with all the big dishes you’ll have to sample at the main meal — and all the work that goes into making it — appetizers for the meal should be small enough to not impede you from eating all the big dishes you want, and should be easy enough so as to not add to the stress of the holiday.

Here are five easy appetizers that can both feed your dinner guests and keep them from not turning away that second helping of stuffing.



Sweet Onion Dip: Leave it to the reigning queen of homemaking Martha Stewart to come up with delicious appetizer recipes so you don’t have to. It only actually requires you cook one thing over heat, the onions, and the rest of the process involves mixing and chilling in a refrigerator. You can refrigerate it for up to two days, so it not only tastes good, but it’s something you can make long before you have to start worrying about basting the turkey.

Cape Cod Chopped Salad: With all the unhealthy stuff you’re about to eat, why not start off with a salad? This one from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten, is pretty and even has cranberries in it, one of the eternal symbols of Thanksgiving. While you roast some bacon slices for about 20 minutes, mix together arugula, apples, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and blue cheese together in a bowl. Make a dressing of apple cider vinegar, orange juice, Dijon mustard and good maple syrup, and combine all the ingredients together. It should be served right after its made, but it’s so easy it should cramp your schedule too much.



Basic Deviled Eggs: Alright, deviled eggs aren’t for everyone, but for the people that do eat them, they really love them. They’re a perfect for before Thanksgiving, because even if you eat the full meal at 1 p.m., you can still eat this appetizer in the morning without it being strange. They are eggs after all. You can make these days in advance, and can probably eat them days after Thanksgiving, depending on when they’re made. You boil the eggs, peel them, remove the yolks and add a bunch of good stuff to them, like mayonnaise and mustard. Put that filling back into the egg whites and if you’re really old school, serve them on a vintage deviled egg platter.

Citrus Marinated Olives: This Alton Brown recipe from the Food Network takes a total of about 15 minutes of active work to make. You soak some olives in cool water for a while, then combine the olives with some garlic, olive, lemon juice and zest and tried tarragon, among other ingredients, before letting it sit in a cool, dry area for about a day. The best part? It’s almost impossible to stuff yourself on olives, so there is a low possibility that even one person, if he ate them all, could stuff himself before the meal, no matter how good the olives are.


Baked Brie: It’s cheese you essentially just put in the oven. According to Delish, just find a wheel of good, French brie, spread some apricot preserves on the top along with some scattered almonds, and cook it for above 10 minutes, or until it starts to get all soft.

If those ideas don't work for your guests, go get a bag of potato chips and some French onion dip. Oh, and don't forget to crack open a beer, you just made Thanksgiving happen.