Appetizer recipes that call for 5 ingredients or less

Caprese skewers.

When it comes to Thanksgiving food, you need to know when to go all out and when to back off.

The stars of the meal – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie – are worth tucking into. They’re better made from scratch, which means they’ll take up the most time and space in your brain before the holiday meal.

Appetizers are a different story. Their main purpose (at least in our homes) is to keep people going until dinner and – more importantly – to keep them out of the kitchen until the food is finished. They should be beautiful, tasty and easy.

With that in mind, we offer a buffet of simple appetizer recipes that require five ingredients or less:

Pin wheels



Pinwheels are fun, easy applications baked from prepackaged crescent rolls and any filling you like.

Yield: 1 pack of crescent rolls yields 20 rolls


  • 1 package of crescent rolls

  • 3 tablespoons of pesto

  • 3 tablespoons of tapenade

  • Parmesan to taste


Open the crescent rolls and lay out the two rectangles on a greased baking sheet or clean counter. Grease the surface with a little cooking spray to prevent the dough from sticking while you work.

Then use your fingers to work the holes in the dough. Do this on both sides to prevent the wheels from coming apart as they bake.



Next, spread the spread over the entire surface of the dough and then sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese. We went with pesto and olive tapenade, but some other topping ideas are spicy harissa, queso or marinara, and shredded mozzarella.

Roll the rectangles the short way to create short rolls. Punch down the sides so the rolls don’t come to a point at either end. Cut them into 10 equal slices and spread them on a pan covered with parchment paper (or grease the pan). Sprinkle a little more Parmesan on top and place in a 400 F oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Want to make it sweet? Try adding a filling such as fruit jams or a mixture of butter, sugar and cinnamon. Instead of topping with parmesan, add a little sugar before you pop them in the oven.

Stuffed mushrooms



Yield: 8-10 mushrooms



Stuffed mushrooms may look fancy, but they are so easy to make.

Remove the mushroom stems. Next, mix ½ cup of your favorite cream cheese with ½ cup breadcrumbs and ¼ cup pesto. We recommend using flavored cream cheese, such as Miyoko’s Chive Double Cream Cheese, to add depth.

Mix everything well and then fill the mushrooms with the mixture. Bake at 400 F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Stuffed crudités

Stuffed peppers.

Stuffed peppers.

Yield: Varies, (1 greenhouse cucumber makes 8-10 cups cucumber, 1 sweet pepper makes 1 cup sweet pepper)


  • Cucumber

  • Sweet peppers

  • Spread garlic dip

  • Hummus

  • Olive tapenade

  • Parsley




Serving a platter of veggies and dip is tried and true, but it can get messy. Plus, you have to worry about the party goers. Blah. These stuffed crudités are a quick and easy way to take the pain out of sharing communal dips.

Peel and cut a cucumber into 1 ½ inch rounds. Use a spoon or melon baller to make a small hole, being careful not to go all the way through. Use a small spoon to fill the cucumbers with hummus.

For the peppers, remove the tops and seeds. Because they’re a little bigger, we stuffed these heirloom sweet peppers with half hummus and half garlic spread. Pour over a dollop of olive tapenade and a little parsley leaf for garnish.

Cocktail skewers



Performance: Varies

  • Caprese: Tomato, mozzarella and basil, drizzled with balsamic glaze

  • Greek: Olive, feta cheese, roasted artichoke hearts and tomato

  • Sweet and savory: Basil, mint, strawberry and feta, drizzled with balsamic glaze

Of all the apps on this list, these have to be the easiest.

Finger food on fancy sticks is a must for a cocktail party. For whatever reason, everything looks nicer than a stylish bamboo option. Make sure you get the fancy skewers in advance. they are not a common kitchen staple, so you may need to shop at a specialty food store or order them online ahead of time.

To assemble, simply skewer the materials into a handle. This is. What you put in the selection is entirely up to you, but we’ve given you a few options above.

And there you have it: At least eight ways to impress at your next holiday party with very little effort in the kitchen. Get creative! Prefer your favorite sauces or vegetables, sweet instead of salty… There are no limits.

Check out these recipes to up your kitchen game:

This article originally appeared on Grateful: Easy Thanksgiving Recipes: These Appetizers Need 5 Ingredients or Less

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