ThanksgivingHow to CookMake-Ahead MealsMeal PlanningAppetizers

Get Your Thanksgiving Appetizers Done Now (Over 1 Week Ahead!)

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Thanksgiving is just about 1 week away. We repeat: Thanksgiving is in practically 1 week! To help out with the most labor intensive, holiest of cooking holidays, we're giving you a Thanksgiving prep list. This week, we have the appetizers you can make right now, put in the fridge (or freezer!), and forget about until Turkey Day. If you haven't started your Thanksgiving prep, though, it's not too late to catch-up here, here, and here.

While there are a lot of Thanksgiving-appropriate appetizers that can't be made ahead, there are plenty of little bites, spreads, and cracker-like things that can be. And on a day with no shortage of things to do, putting out something simple, like marinated olives or a nice spread atop crackers, feels like a Hail Mary pass.

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The Spreads

Red Pepper Jam
Red Pepper Jam

Spreads that require time in the fridge to develop flavor and reach their full potential are obvious make-ahead appetizers, and most need little more than some good cheese for accompaniment. Here's a shortlist of ideas that can be made and stashed in the fridge until the big day:

  • Tuscan Onion Confit: As happy on a crostini with ricotta as it is beside turkey.
  • Marinated feta: Cut feta into cubes and pack into a sealable jar along with fresh herbs, sliced chiles, maybe some orange zest, and a couple of garlic cloves. Cover with olive oil and store in the fridge. Smear it on crackers or crusty bread.
  • Red Pepper Jam (or really any other seasonal jam): This one's spicy and sweet and at home on top a bed of goat cheese and a cracker.
  • Apples in Cardamom-Lime Syrup: On the sweet side, but just as happy with sharp cheese and crackers.
  • Tapenade: Place your already-made tapenade in an airtight container, then pour a thin layer of olive oil over top of it before covering and stashing it in the fridge. This bit of oil will act as a sort of seal, keeping the tapenade from drying out while it awaits Thanksgiving.

Crackers, cookies & other similar things

How to Make Cheese Straws
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How to Make Cheese Straws

You could just buy crackers and call it a Turkey Day, but if you have a bit more time, try one of these:

  • Cheese straws: Follow this tutorial until the actual "bake" step. Then, place the straws on a baking sheet and into the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer the straws to a plastic bag and store in the freezer until you're ready to bake. When ready to serve, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake as instructed in the tutorial. The straws will likely take a few more minutes to bake from frozen.

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  • Fig and Blue Cheese Savouries: Follow the recipe through part of step 4, making indentations in the dough, but not filling with fig jam. Pop the dough rounds, on a baking sheet, into the freezer until frozen, then place into a plastic bag. When ready to bake, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, fill with fig jam, and bake as instructed. Again, know that savouries baked from frozen will likely take a few minutes longer than the recipe notes.

  • Orange-Kissed Seed Crackers: Store the baked, cooled crackers in an airtight container. That's it!

  • Little Mushroom Pinwheels: Follow the recipe through step 4, wrapping and freezing the entire un-sliced roll. When ready to bake, allow the roll to thaw at room temperature inside the freezer bag until you can cut it into pinwheels without using too much force. Then, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook as instructed.

The Other Bites

Garlic-Orange-Rosemary Marinated Olives
Garlic-Orange-Rosemary Marinated Olives
  • Garlic-Orange Marinated Olives: These will keep for a little over a week in the fridge, making them perfect to cross off your to-do list right now.
  • Sweet and Spicy Pretzel and Nut Mix: Keep the snack mix for about a week stored in an airtight container.
  • Roast a ton of garlic: Those sweet little cloves will disappear faster than the crostini. Kept in an airtight container (you can keep the cloves in the heads and gently squeeze them out before serving or squeeze them out now) for up to 2 weeks.
  • Cheese! Nothing to prep here—just buy some cheese. As you can glean from above, you want lots of different kinds of cheeses to round out your spreads. Unopened cheeses will be fine in the fridge for a week.

Did someone say "Thanksgiving"? Our menu genie is here to help.