Top 3 finger-licking Hawaiian appetizers to start your Thanksgiving meal

By | September 8, 2023

The best time of the year is around!! But before you celebrate the birthday of the Son of God, it is time to thank the Lord for the preceding year’s harvest. What are your plans for this Thanksgiving? Potluck Thanksgiving Lunches are in fashion! Why don’t you try them as well? If your pack of people agrees, you can always add a tropical vibe to the lunch by whipping up some Hawaiian appetizers.

Thanksgiving is a widely celebrated event, and the Hawaiian hors d’oeuvres made of marinated meat and fruits will satisfy your guests just short of a meal. Here are some of the top appetizer recipes you may try this year.

The Hawaiian appetizers to try

From fruit salads to rolls and meatballs – the plethora of tropical offerings are myriad. Here is the listicle from which you can pick some of the choicest recipes.

#Food for the mind – The unique history of Hawaiian cuisine comes from its rich past – a melting pot culture of Japanese, Polynesian, Korean, Filippino, Portuguese and Chinese, to name a few. Hence, you will find some Hawaiian appetizers to be bending towards Japanese styles, while some take you back to the blends of Portugal. Topping it all, the USA canned meat (spiced ham – ‘spam’) is an integral part of their dishes. 

#1. Sweet and Spicy Meatballs with Mango Salsa

Meatballs are a great starter to any meal. Why not start your Thanksgiving with this alternative from your list of Hawaiian appetizers?

Ingredients – 

  • Whole milk (1/2 cup)
  • Dry bread crumbs – finely grounded (1/2 cup)
  • Minced garlic (2 tablespoons)
  • Chopped bacon (8 slices)
  • Chopped onion (1)
  • Worcestershire sauce (1 tablespoon)
  • Grounded cumin powder (1 teaspoon)
  • Crushed red pepper or Calabrian pepper (1 teaspoon)
  • Crushed thyme and salt (both 1/2 teaspoon each)
  • 1 1/2 pounds of lean beef
  • 1 pound of pork
  • Eggs (2)
  • Fresh Italian parsley (1/4 cup)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)

If you get the mango salsa from outside, then you may use that as a dip. If not, then for this, you will require – Mango or Papaya (3/4 cups), Red sweet pepper (1/4 cup chopped), sliced green onions (3), olive oil (2 tablespoons), minced shallot (1 tablespoon), black pepper (to taste)

Hawaiian appetizers

Image Credit: eHow

Directions to cook – 

  • You must preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the baking tray with parchment paper. Now blend the milk and crumbs together and keep them aside.
  • Take the skillet and cook the bacon over medium heat. The same goes for the pork. Ensure that it turns light brown and crisp before you keep it aside for cooling.
  • Next, you will have to cook the garlic and onion together with the Worcestershire sauce. Once you are done cooking the mix, keep it aside and deglaze the pan.
  • It is time to cook the cumin, dried thyme and red pepper for a minute. Once that is done – it is time for a complete blending of ingredients. Take the onion mixture and blend it with the soaked bread crumbs. To this concoction, add the cooked thyme, cumin and pepper combination. While you are mixing the ingredients – add black pepper and salt to taste.
  • Bring out the pork, beef, parsley and eggs and add this to the mixture which has been already prepared. Once you have mixed all these ingredients, create 2-inch meatballs. You will be able to create around 24/25 of them.
  • The baking pan has already been arranged. Place these meatballs on the baking pan and brush them with olive oil. Bake them for 25 minutes (it must be through 160 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • They are to be served with the mango salsa dip.

#For the mango salsa – you will have to blend all the ingredients named beforehand together. Add black pepper as per your taste. 

#2. Spam Musubi

Mainly served as Hawaiian appetizers, this doubles up as a lunch at times.


  • Soy Sauce (2 tablespoons)
  • Light brown sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • Mirin (1/2 teaspoon) – optional
  • Vegetable/Canola oil (2 teaspoons)
  • Spam (12 ounces/1 can – cut into 8 slices)
  • Roasted sushi nori (3 sheets – cut up into thirds)
  • Furikake (2 teaspoons)
  • Cooked white rice short grain (5-6 cups – 250 ml – US standard size)

Directions to cook – 

  • To make this food, take a bowl and whisk the brown sugar and soy sauce. If you are using mirin, you can add it now.
  • Take a skillet and brush it with the oil (you may add it as required). Take the spam and fry each side well until they turn light brown. Dim the heat and coat the spam with soy mixture.
  • Place the nori strip on a cutting board and then place the musubi maker mould with a spam slice in it. Sprinkle the furikake over the spam (as per requirement) and fill up the mould with rice. Place this rice firmly with the musubi maker. If required, you may add some more rice.
  • The mould is ready, so use the press to pull the mould upward while you continue to unmold the nori. You will have to wrap this nori around the stack of spam rice and bring both ends of the strip to the middle. As you fold one over the other, make sure that the spam is faced upwards. You will have to repeat this with the rest of the ingredients.

Hawaiian appetizers

As you may have already understood, this is one of those Hawaiian appetizers with a robust Japanese connection. So, if you wish to bring some Asian twist to your gratitude meal, this is a great alternative.

#3. Grilled Fruit Kabobs

This is another of the Hawaiian appetizers you may try for your sumptuous Thanksgiving meal.

Ingredients – 

There will be around 18 wooden skewers for you to choose 18 fruits. Just make sure to keep citrus fruits away since most of them do not go with the apple or kiwi combos.

If you are looking for some suggestions, include – apples, pears, bananas, berries, pineapple and kiwis.

  • Honey (1/2 cup)
  • Coconut oil or Butter (2 tablespoons)
  • The flesh of 2 brown coconuts (optional)
Hawaiian appetizers

Image Credit: Food Network

Directions to cook – 

  • You will have to pre-heat the grill to medium heat and dip the skewers in water for 10 minutes.
  • Blend the coconut oil or butter and honey and set it aside.
  • Cut the fruits in the 2’’x 2’’ formats. Keep the skin as it is for the fruits so that the grilling may be done well.
  • If you are using the coconuts, then halve it and leave it with the skin attached.
  • Now it is time to attach the fruit pieces to the kabobs and brush the honey-oil mixture on them. First, brush one side, grill that, and then you can flip over and brush the other side. Continue this for 2-3 minutes until it is consistently grilled.
  • You must grill the coconut (if you are using it) separately. After that, you have to follow the same procedure.

Which is your pick?

That was an exhaustive list of Hawaiian appetizers for you to choose from. Follow the recipes as stated, and rest assured, the guests will stop short of eating up their fingers. If you wish to know more about such recipes, keep visiting this page for more.


Category: General Tipes

About Monalisa Mukherjee

Monalisa Mukherjee is a content writer and copywriter with close to 3 years of experience. She has written for websites like Biography Talk, Contour Cafe, He And She Fitness and Fiction Pad. She is currently associated with a noted Digital Marketing Agency and specialises in writing articles for travel, entertainment, cooking, celeb, lifestyle, tech, health, fashion and film news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *