A colorful mix of seasonal flavors and textures all on one appetizer board. Because Thanksgiving dinner is never ready on time! Originally posted November 2017. Last Updated September 2021.
Raise your hand if Thanksgiving dinner is ready on time in your house. You can't see me but my hand is not up. 🙂 We always set an arbitrary dinner time that's more like a lunchtime just so people know when to come by but it doesn't usually pan out. I'm a planner (get all my Thanksgiving planning advice in this easy guide!) but Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work and, even though I start cooking and prep work a couple of days before, it never fails that I forget an ingredient or something else happens to push back dinner time. This results in hangry guests but today, I'm sharing a festive Thanksgiving appetizer board to remedy that. Here's what to serve before Thanksgiving dinner is ready.
If you are in Thanksgiving planning mode, check out these holiday posts, too!
- 8 Festive Pound Cakes for the Holiday Table
- Soul Food Recipes to Serve this Year
- Thanksgiving Moscow Mules
What You'll Need for this Recipe
- Cheddar Cheese Cubes
- Dried cranberries
- Fig Jam
- Honeycrisp Apples
- Mandarin Oranges
- Oven-Ready Turkey Breast
- Pecan Halves
- Pickle Spears
- Savory Chutney or Hummus
- Swiss Cheese Slices
- Walnut Halves
Feel free to get creative with your Thanksgiving cheese board. Include elements that you know your friends and family will enjoy to make sure everything gets eaten before dinner starts. But don't hesitate to throw something new or unexpected to keep folks interested. This board serves about 15 people, which is how many we normally have over for Thanksgiving. Remember the idea is not to fill bellies but to keep hunger pangs away and pique interest for the main event!
It is extremely quick to whip up an easy grazing station of sorts that keeps your Thanksgiving guests satiated until the main event starts. You can even have kids or holiday helpers get involved to make it fun and provide some distraction while you prepare an amazing meal. This is my first time hosting Thanksgiving in my own home but some things will be the same as always: my dad and brothers in front of the TV watching football, our family dog desperately trying to sneak into the kitchen for scraps, and someone asking every 10 minutes when the food will be ready.
Thankfully, this boneless turkey breast is ready to go straight from the freezer to the oven without thawing. It cooks in its own little bag and even comes with gravy. That's perfect for this festive Thanksgiving appetizer board since the holidays are hectic enough without fully cooking a turkey ahead of time just for appetizers. I just thinly slice up the breast to add to the board.
Create balance on your board by incorporating sweet, savory, salty, and tangy flavors. I also recommend you use flavors already associated with the Thanksgiving holiday for three reasons:
- This will whet your guests appetite for the main event.
- They are easy to find this time of year.
- The flavors will play well with what's coming for dinner.
Example: I incorporated pecans, dried cranberries, and, of course roasted turkey in this board for seasonal flavors as well as pretzels for saltiness, fresh fruit for sweetness, and tangy pickled veggies.
For good variety, use a mix of soft, chewy, crisp, and crunchy foods.
Example: Here, I incorporated nuts and pretzels for crunch, crisp pickled veggies, chewy cheeses, and soft dipping sauces.
This is what truly makes your Thanksgiving charcuterie board festive! Go for a rainbow of colors in line with the Fall season (or the Fall you see on TV if you live a climate like mine). Think: orange, red, brown, and deep green foods.
Example:The orange segments and halves, apple slices, and dried cranberries help set the perfect festive color scheme.
What to Serve with Thanksgiving Appetizers
There's no need to add any extra food items to this spread but if you are hosting an extra-large Thanksgiving dinner or looking for ideas to put on the board in place of something already listed, here's are a few yummy dips and sauces that always go over well with my crowd.
- Easy Blender Salsa
- Deviled Egg Dip
- Southern Praline Sauce
- Pumpkin & Hatch Chile Salsa
- Praline Baked Brie Dip
And as far as what kind of wine to serve before Thanksgiving dinner, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Bordeaux all pair really well with turkey and would be great with this board.
Do you plan on serving any Thanksgiving appetizers this year? Check out my Flawless Thanksgiving Guide to get your whole menu right. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this appetizer board on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
How to Build Your Festive Thanksgiving Appetizer Board
An edible spread of seasonal colors, textures, and flavors to appease your Thanksgiving guests until dinner is ready
- 2 pounds cooked boneless turkey breast sliced
- 16 ounces cheddar cheese cubes
- 1 Honeycrisp apple sliced
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 4 mandarin oranges halved and segmented
- 1 cup pretzels
- 4 Swiss cheese slices cut into quarters
- 8 dill pickle spears
- ¾ cup pecans
- ¾ cup walnuts
- 4 ounces caramelized onion chutney
- 4 ounces fig jam
Place jam jars and any other containers you plan to use on the tray, first. It's easier to fill in your ingredients around them than to try to find a place for them later.
Fill in appetizer tray ingredients, one color at a time so that you have a visually-appealing variety of colors spread out across the tray.
- These ingredients are suggestions. Feel free to incorporate whatever you like and omit anything you don't!
- You can use a tray, platter or cheese board depending on what you have on hand.