Help! I Was Just Invited to Thanksgiving Dinner and Don’t Know What to Bring

Don’t stress. We’ve got you covered with an easy appetizer.

Published Nov. 22, 2022.

If you just got invited to Thanksgiving dinner or just finalized your plans and you need to figure out what to bring, you’re in the right place.

As someone who has hosted Thanksgiving before, I am always happy (relieved, really) when guests want to bring some sort of appetizer that everyone can gather around before the big meal. It staves off hunger and keeps guests out of the cook’s way.

Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter

Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!

You could bring a plate of cheese and crackers or some crudités and dip, but if you really want to make something, how about a cheese log? 

Pimento Cheese Log with Bacon

A cheese log for every occasion—and no broken crackers.
Get the Recipe

We have a few different flavor options, but the one that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser is our Cheddar Cheese Log with Chives

With fewer than 10 ingredients, a quick whir in the food processor, and a couple hours in the freezer, it’s ready to roll (in some minced fresh chives). And you can make it two days ahead of time. Just be sure to pick up some crackers to pair with it. Thanksgiving dilemma solved!

Cheddar Cheese Log with Chives

Serves 10 to 15

Time: 15 minutes, plus 1½ to 2 hours freezing and 1 hour tempering

We chill the cheese log in the freezer because it’s much easier to roll in the chives when firm. Once the cheese log has been garnished, it can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to two days.

  • 6 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup minced fresh chives

1. Process cheddar, cream cheese, mayonnaise, horseradish, Worcestershire, garlic, and pepper in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 1 minute.

2. Lay 18 by 11-inch sheet of plastic wrap on counter with long side parallel to counter edge. Transfer cheese mixture to center of plastic and shape into approximate 9-inch log with long side parallel to counter edge. Fold plastic over log and roll up. Pinch plastic at ends of log and roll log on counter to form tight cylinder. Tuck ends of plastic underneath. Freeze until completely firm, 1½ to 2 hours.

3. Spread chives on large plate. Unwrap cheese log and roll in chives to evenly coat. Transfer to serving dish and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Serve.

If cheese isn’t your thing or someone else is already bringing it, here are a few other suggestions.

  • A bottle of wine or an after-dinner liqueur 
  • Spiced or candied nuts (or even a bag of pistachios)
  • Fresh bread or rolls
  • A coffee cake or bagels for the host for the next day
  • An autumnal flower arrangement
  • Some coloring books or other activities if children will be present
  • A pie from your local bakery and a pint of ice cream
  • A box of chocolates
  • Sugared Cranberries

This is a members' feature.