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Bites, Dips and Spreads: 24 Cheese Appetizers for Thanksgiving

One year on Thanksgiving, the turkey took much longer that we thought. Everything else happened to be ready, so we kind of ate Thanksgiving dinner in courses with time in between. First was appetizers, then soup and salad with rolls, followed by the main dinner, and ending with dessert. Ever since that year, I have been such a huge fan of starting off with appetizers and eating the feast slowly over several hours as to avoid the inevitable too-full tummy when there are still so many things left to try!

Thanksgiving appetizers are the perfect first course with a fruity drink. Just the thing to get you in the mood for turkey and all the fixings. I’ve collected a great list of super easy cheese appetizers that are savory and sweet, sometimes both, and the perfect little bites to nosh on while the turkey finishes up in the oven. I hope you enjoy this list of 24 cheese appetizers for Thanksgiving!

  • Bites, Dips & Spreads: 24 Cheese Appetizers for Thanksgiving 1 of 25
    bites dips and spreads 24 cheese appetizers for thanksgiving

    Cheese and appetizers just always seem to go together. In the picture above are three of my favorites - baked Brie and jam, raspberry pepper jelly and chevre on crackers, and apple chutney with sharp cheddar. This collection of 24 Cheese Appetizers for Thanksgiving is sure to put you in the mood for holiday entertaining.

  • Mini Blue Cheese Balls 2 of 25
    blue cheese mini cheeseballs

    Mini cheese balls? Brilliant! These tasty little cheese balls are pop-able, making them extra delicious, and possibly even dangerous (to your diet). They can be made ahead, making them a fantastic party appetizer.
    Recipe for Mini Blue Cheese Balls on Go Bold With Butter, photo and recipe by FoodieCrush

  • Savory Pumpkin Gruyere Gougeres 3 of 25
    pumpkin gruyere gougeres

    Besides the addition of pumpkin puree and Gruyere, these tasty cheese puffs are harboring two secret ingredients - prosciutto and maple syrup. YUM.
    Get the recipe for Savory Pumpkin Gruyere Gougeres on Go Bold With Butter, recipe and photo by FoodieCrush

  • Apple Chutney and Cheddar 4 of 25
    apple chutney

    This was a favorite new appetizer last year during the holidays. Apples and cheddar always go well together, but this apple chutney takes it to the next level.
    Get the recipe for Apple Chutney on Cafe Johnsonia.

  • Stuffed Jalapeno with Gorgonzola and Bacon 5 of 25
    Stuffed Jalapenos with Gorgonzola and Bacon

    These stuffed jalapenos are a sophisticated version of jalapeno poppers with the addition of gorgonzola, bacon and a little BBQ sauce to finish them off.
    Get the recipe for Stuffed Jalapeno with Gorgonzola and Bacon on FoodieCrush.

  • Baked Mozzarella Bites 6 of 25
    baked mozzarella bites

    Mozzarella in any form is hard to resist. These Baked Mozzarella Bites are so easy to make (marinated mozzarella balls, anyone?) and you can even freeze them to pull out and heat up just as your guests are arriving.
    Get the recipe for Baked Mozzarella Balls from Sweet Basil.

  • Hot Shrimp Scampi Dip 7 of 25
    Hot Shrimp Scampe Dip FoodieCrush

    Shrimp is a quintessential appetizer in my book. So are hot cheesy dips. This one is the best of both worlds.
    Get the recipe for Hot Shrimp Scampi Dip on Go Bold With Butter, recipe and photo by FoodieCrush

  • Smoked Salmon Spread 8 of 25
    Smoked-Salmon-Spread

    At our house, it isn't the holidays unless there's a little (or a lot) of smoked salmon. Here it's mixed with cream cheese and dill and served cold on top of bread or cucumber slices.
    Get the recipe for Smoked Salmon Spread on FoodieCrush.

  • Caramelized Onion & Chive Cream Cheese Dip 9 of 25
    caramelized onion and chive cream cheese dip

    We always had onion dip on the appetizer table during our holiday parties. It wasn't until I became an adult that I appreciated onion dip. However, I prefer the homemade kind, like this flavorful version made with caramelized onions and chives, and low-fat cream cheese replaces the sour cream and mayo. Now where is that bag of chips?
    Get the recipe for Caramelized Onion and Chive Cream Cheese Dip on Cookin' Canuck.

  • Phyllo Cups with Brie, Preserves, and Pecans 10 of 25
    baked brie bites

    When I was catering, I made these for almost every event. It's the goodness of baked brie made easier to eat because you can just pop them into your mouth. They are also about as easy as can be with the use of pre-made phyllo cups. Get the recipe for Phyllo Cups with Brie, Preserves and Pecans on Cafe Johnsonia

  • Gorgonzola Cheese Cups with Pear Hazelnut Green Salad 11 of 25
    gorgonzola salad cups

    I absolutely love these darling little salad cups. The cups are made from shredded Parmesan cheese. The salad is made up of mixed greens, pears, hazelnuts and Gorgonzola. Trust me, this appetizer will be a huge hit wherever you take it.
    Get the recipe for Gorgonzola Cheese Cups with Pear Hazelnut Green Salad on Cookin' Canuck.

  • Southwestern Cheeseball 12 of 25
    Southwestern-Cheeseball

    Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and keep making the same thing over and over again. That's okay, but then there are times when you want to change things up. Maybe even spice them up. That's why I love this Southwestern take on a traditional cheese ball. Green chiles? Yes please!
    Get the recipe for Southwestern Cheeseball on Taste and Tell.

  • Baked Brie with Fig Jam 13 of 25
    baked brie and fig jam

    This is my go-to appetizer and everyone always loves it. Basically you just place a wedge of Brie into an oven proof baking dish, top with your favorite jam and bake until it's melted and oozing. Oh, man it's the best thing ever!
    Recipe and photo from Cafe Johnsonia.

  • Herbed Gruyere Thumbprints 14 of 25
    herbed gruyere thumbprints

    This is my take on a recipe I found in an old issue of Martha Stewart. The effect of piping the cheese puffs like cookies onto baking sheets with a cheesy Gruyere center makes them even more irresistible.
    Get the recipe for Herbed Gruyere Thumbprints on Cafe Johnsonia.

  • Cranberry Salsa and Cream Cheese with Whole Wheat Pita Chips 15 of 25
    cranberry salsa and cream cheese appetizer

    Remember the first time you tried salsa and cream cheese together and you thought it was the greatest thing ever? Yeah, me too. Here it gets a nice holiday twist with the addition of homemade cranberry salsa.
    Get the recipe for Cranberry Salsa and Cream Cheese with Whole Wheat Pita Chips on Kalyn's Kitchen.

  • Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Goat Cheese, Red Pepper and Capers 16 of 25
    grilled zucchini rolls

    If you're looking for a healthy, vegetarian appetizer with BIG flavor, this fits the bill nicely. Grilled zucchini rolls filled with tangy goat cheese, roasted red peppers, and capers. It's sure to wake up your appetite.
    Get the recipe for Grilled Zucchini Rolls on Cookin' Canuck.

  • Goat Cheese Pesto Dip 17 of 25
    radishes-goat-cheese-pesto-dip-3

    If you're looking for a great dip, look no further. Creamy goat cheese and pesto mixed together is a step in the right direction to help you eat more veggies. Why? Because you'll want to dip them and just about anything else.
    Get the recipe for Goat Cheese Pesto Dip on Cafe Johnsonia.

  • White Bean Dip with Parmesan Cheese and Sage 18 of 25
    white bean dip with parmesan cheese and sage

    This dip is proof that when you make a healthy appetizer, you don't have to compromise on flavor. It's creamy and perfect for dipping veggies or spreading on crackers.
    Get the recipe for White Bean Dip with Parmesan Cheese and Sage on Cookin' Canuck.

  • Polenta Bites with Taleggio, Kale Pesto, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes 19 of 25
    taleggio polenta bites

    If you really want to blow people away with an appetizer, consider this one. It seems kind of humble - polenta bites? What's that, people will ask. But then they will taste it and all of the flavors and textures will come together all at once - melted flavorful cheese, rustic polenta, herb-y pesto, bright sun-dried tomatoes, and a crunch of toasted pine nuts. Everyone who eats one of these comes back for another. And another. And another.
    Get the recipe for Polenta Bites with Taleggio, Kale Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes on the Caputo's Market Blog.

  • Honey Roasted Figs with Fromage Blanc and Bacon 20 of 25
    honey roasted figs with fromage blanc and bacon
    Sweet honey roasted figs pair perfectly with tangy fromage blanc, a fresh cow's milk cheese. The bacon is just a bonus.
    Get the recipe for Honey Roasted Figs with Fromage Blanc and Bacon on Bakeaholic Mama.

  • Avocado Feta Dip 21 of 25
    Avocado-Feta-Dip

    I love this dip! Avocados and salty feta cheese are combined with lime, jalapeno, garlic and onion. It's definitely welcome on my appetizer table along with a big pile of veggie sticks to dip.
    Get the recipe for Avocado Feta Dip on Two Peas and Their Pod

  • Bacon and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms 22 of 25
    bacon and cheese stuffed mushrooms

    I avoided mushrooms for a long time until one Thanksgiving when my neighbors across the street invited us over to share dinner with them. I'd just had a new baby and we were far away from family. At the urging of my friend, I tasted the stuffed mushrooms he had made. Incredible! Ever since then, I've been a fan. These yummy stuffed mushrooms have a bacon and cream cheese filling. Extra points for being able to make these ahead of time, just bake and assemble them at the last minute.
    Get the recipe for Bacon and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms on Mountain Mama Cooks.

  • Kale and Ricotta Baked Ravioli 23 of 25
    kale ricotta baked ravioli

    This is a great shortcut recipe using wonton wrappers. The filling is made from ricotta and kale. Marinara sauce is the perfect dip!
    Get the recipe for Kale and Ricotta Baked Ravioli on Donuts, Dresses and Dirt.

  • Figs Stuffed with Gorgonzola 24 of 25
    Figs-with-Gorgonzola-

    This recipe is one that's on my list for sure. It starts with dried figs that are plumped in Port wine and balsamic vinegar, then stuffed with a creamy, herbed Gorgonzola mixture and topped with prosciutto. AMAZING.
    Babble's Brooke McClay has the recipe for Figs Stuffed with Gorgonzola.

  • Bacon Wrapped Dates 25 of 25
    bacon wrapped dates

    Anything wrapped in bacon, right? These dates are stuffed with a chunk of Parmesan cheese before they get swaddled with the bacon. The perfect sweet and savory appetizer.
    Get the recipe for Bacon Wrapped Dates on Babble.

For more great recipes, visit Cafe Johnsonia. Keep up with Lindsey on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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