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Thanksgiving Appetizers and Side Dishes - Mix the Exotic and Classics

Thanksgiving Appetizers and Side Dishes - Mix the Exotic and Classics

Thanksgiving is when the dinner is focused on the whole turkey. While it is all about the turkey meat for most people, several appetizers and side dishes bring vibrance to your table. Selecting what to add and what to skip can be a little tricky.

So, here we will guide you through the best appetizers and side dishes for your Thanksgiving dinner. Spice things up with exotic choices or go with some classics we all know and love!

Top 12 Thanksgiving appetizers and side dishes

The following are our top 12 picks to add to your dinner table for Thanksgiving apart from the turkey.

Charcuterie board

A Charcuterie board is the best way to add vibrance to your dinner table with many cured meats, cheese types, veggies, fruits, crackers, sauces, and more. The best part about it is that you can make a unique one every time and it will be attractive for everyone. There are no special size or item number requirements, and here is the list of items you can add to your Charcuterie boar:

  • Only 2 to 4 types of cured meats of your choice. You don't want it to be too confusing.
  • Fresh fruits, including berries, grapes, and other colorful ones of your choice
  • Spreads, sauces, jams, and dips of your choice. You can even add honey for a savory feeling.
  • Dry fruits and nuts
  • Breadsticks, slices of bread, crackers, pita chips, etc.

While these were some of the best options, you can always add anything


Croquets are usually made with different types of meat, especially poultry. However, the ones you can make for Thanksgiving will be from the Spanish ham Jamon. These small bite-sized pieces will be perfect appetizers, and their outer crunchiness because of breadcrumbs with creamy interiors will offer a savory experience. These will have a mild taste yet a strong smell of spicy ham.

Prosciutto e melone

It might be a unique combination for your guests, but it is a famous summer appetizer in Italy. The combination of Prosciutto and melon is simple, vibrant, and attractive. Make sure to serve the appetizer with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to enhance the richness of its taste.

This side dish allows you to serve it the way you want, and you can go for bigger pieces of melon or use a skewer with bite-size pieces to make it more attractive.

Tarte à l'oignon

This Tart from France is made with fluffy eggs, bacon, and onions. Don't confuse it with quiche, as the texture and taste are much different. It is baked at the same temperature as bread, so the texture is similar. Before serving this attractive appetizer, sprinkle some ground black pepper and leave onion rings on top.


A famous Danish spread can be made with different ingredients depending on your desired texture and flavor. However, veal or pork liver is constant to give its deep color combination. Use the spread of your choice on a cracker and place a piece of meat in the middle. For crunchiness and spice, you can add different veggies and spices to the spread.


This Japanese dish will be one of your table's simplest yet most attractive appetizers. It is made with 2 ingredients which are bacon and asparagus. Take asparagus and wrap it with bacon. You can season these with tare sauce, salt, and pepper. Put on the grill until it gets golden, and serve immediately. You can serve it with pickles or salads.


Take dried strips of marinated pork belly and fry them in olive oil. Thus, you will maintain the texture of cured meat, while frying will give it a crunchy exterior. It is a simple appetizer you can make within minutes, and it takes nothing other than frying. You may serve it with different dips or sauces. Try eating spicy Torrenznos with honey.

Paçanga böreği

These rolls will not be like any other random rolls because of their unique ingredients. Starting with meat, you can take cured beef (pastirma). Combine it with some tomatoes and peppers to fill the rolls. Place the mix on phyllo pastry and add some kasar cheese. Roll and fry until golden brown and serve while hot.


Considering the efforts, it will be more of a side dish than an appetizer. You will find a lot of green veggies in this dish combined with different types of meat. The veggies include Lettuce, peas, artichokes, etc. On the meat side, you may take pancetta and guanciale. Cook it with white wine, and you can also serve it as your main dish.

Prunes in bacon

Prunes in bacon are colorful and flavorful with sweet flavors. Simply wrap prunes in bacon and bake till golden brown. The bacon will get crispy at this point, while the prunes will nearly melt. Garnish with salt, pepper, and shredded cheese, and serve hot at the end of your meal to bring a variation in taste.

Oysters in bacon

Oysters in bacon will be good if you want to take your Thanksgiving appetizers to the seafood side. It can be an appetizer or an after-dinner dish. Take oysters and wrap them in bacon. Now take a few of them out on a skewer to grill. Once the bacon has turned crispy, you can take it off the grill and drizzle it with lemon juice. It can be paired with different mild and spicy dips and sauces.

Meat cones

You also have the choice to make mini cones with pastry sheets and cured meat of your choice. Cut a pastry sheet circle in 4 quarters and baste with olive oil. Then toss these to bake at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. Once the cones are ready, take bits of cured meat and combine them with cream cheese. You can also mix different types of meat. Fill the cones with the mix, and you will be ready to serve.


Everyone knows that roasted turkey will be the main course of Thanksgiving dinner. However, you cannot leave the turkey alone, as there must be some side dishes and appetizers to go along with it. Adding some cured meats and dishes related to them will be an amazing way to satisfy your meat cravings while bringing vibrance to your table.

So, if you are also looking for the best side dishes and appetizers, you can select some from the ones discussed here.