Twelve Thanksgiving Starters

Warm up for the main event with these crowd-pleasing bites

Photo: Peter Frank Edwards

With an arsenal of apps as addictive as these, it’s bound to be a great Thanksgiving. Browse a dozen satisfying starters perfect for the holiday.

Southern Benne Cookies

Crisp, nutty, buttery sweets tie back to centuries of Southern and African history. Get the recipe.


Curried Sweet Potato Soup 

As the temperatures drop, cozy up with this recipe starring the bright orange root veggie. Get the recipe.


photo: T. Edward Nickens

Barbecue Doves 

A simple, highly adaptable recipe for adding some wild game flavor to your holiday table. Get the recipe.

photo: Sarah Cramer-Shields

Spicy Butternut Curry Soup 

Chef Matt Adams of Lexington, Virginia’s Red Hen balances toasted spices with sweet squash in this comforting dish. Get the recipe.

photo: Rex Miller

Vivian Howard’s Party Magnet

How to prepare the most infamous of party apps — the cheese ball. Get the recipe.

photo: Margaret Houston Dominick

Freight House Beer Cheese

Just two ingredients, plus a few flavorings, are all you need for classic Kentucky beer cheese dip. Get the recipe.

photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Simple Slice-And-Bake Cheese Wafers

The cheese straw’s good-time cousin. Get the recipe.


Julia Reed’s Hot Cheese Olives

A savory party bite from the Mississippi Delta. Get the recipe.

photo: Johnny Autry

Pimento Cheese Straws 

For a Georgia chef, the only thing better than a cheese straw is one stuffed with pimento cheese. Get the recipe

photo: Johnny Autry

Arkansas Trail Mix  

Local ingredients plus savory cheese straws equal one addictive nosh. Get the recipe.

photo: Chris Granger

Martha Hall Foose’s Bacon Crackers

A snack from the Mississippi Delta. Get the recipe.

photo: Peter Frank Edwards

Oysters Bienville

Chef Justin Devillier shares his favorite recipe for baked oysters. Get the recipe.

Find more Thanksgiving recipes:

Eleven Recipes for Your Main Thanksgiving Dish

Twelve Vegetable-Packed Sides for Thanksgiving

Fourteen Comforting Side Dishes You Need at Thanksgiving

Fourteen Thanksgiving Drinks

Seven Sauces for Thanksgiving

Twenty-Two Thanksgiving Desserts