Lamb Appetizer Cups are made with flavorful lamb, roasted red peppers, pesto, and parmesan cheese. The filling is nestled into golden puff pastry cups. This is the perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving day – it’s incredibly delicious, and easy to make!
Thanks to our friends at the American Lamb Board for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.
Why you’ll love this Thanksgiving Appetizer:
- Flavorful Lamb – Lamb may seem like an unexpected choice in this recipe, but it is incredibly delicious and pairs so well with the flavors of the pesto and roasted peppers. This is the best way to dip your toes into the world of lamb if it’s new to you!
- Easy Appetizer – This quick appetizer requires just a few simple ingredients, and comes together quickly, making it the perfect app for hungry guests to enjoy before Thanksgiving dinner, or any holiday celebration!
- Mini Appetizers – The small size of each appetizer makes these a great option for Thanksgiving – it’s a great way to hold you over until dinner, but won’t fill you up too much. Besides – who doesn’t love finger food?
As always, the full recipe for this delicious appetizer can be found at the bottom of this post.
- Ground Lamb – Be sure to buy locally produced lamb for the best flavor and quality. It also helps support your local producers! Try your local food co-op or similar type of grocery store for locally produced lamb.
- Roasted Red Peppers – We’re using jarred roasted peppers for ease! It is the holiday season, after all.
- Pesto – Same goes with the pesto, to keep things simple.
- Puff Pastry – We’re using store-bought puff pastry for ease. This is found in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
- Homemade Pesto & Peppers – Feel free to roast your own peppers and use a homemade pesto with fresh herbs, if desired.
- Pie Crust – Feel free to use homemade or store bought pie crust in place of the puff pastry. The bake time may be a bit shorter.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite dairy-free parmesan!
How to Make this Lamb Appetizer Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Cook the Lamb. Cook the ground lamb in a dutch oven over medium high heat, until cooked thoroughly. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Step 2: Add your Mix-Ins. Stir in chopped roasted red peppers, pesto sauce, and parmesan. This mixture is delicious!
Step 3: Assemble & Bake. Place a square of puff pastry into each well-greased muffin tin cavity, then spoon in 2 tablespoons of mixture. Brush the puff pastry with egg wash and bake until golden brown and crispy.
This is one of the best Thanksgiving appetizers you’ll ever taste! The combination of lamb, pesto, and roasted peppers is out-of-this world delicious. And the best part? They feel like an elegant appetizer, but are SO easy to make – check out my make-ahead tip below. Lamb Appetizer cups are truly the perfect addition to any holiday meal.
Expert Success Tips:
- Bake Time – Don’t be afraid to let these get a little color! A deep golden brown color on the pastry indicates that they’ve baked through properly.
The lamb mixture can be made 1-2 days ahead of the big meal and stored in the fridge until ready to bake the appetizers, but I do not recommend baking the full appetizers ahead of time, as the puff pastry will not be crisp on the second day like it is when they’re fresh from the oven.
For help sourcing locally-produced lamb, visit American Lamb’s website and use their “where to buy” page – linked here.
- Pie Dough – Feel free to use pie dough squares in place of the puff pastry!
- Cheese – Feta is another delicious option!
- Side Dish – This easy appetizer could also double as a side dish for turkey day!
- Oven Space – To save on oven space, you could also bake these in an air fryer or air fry oven if you have one. You could also spoon the filling into store-bought filo pastry cups, which require no baking.
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
These are best fresh from the oven! Pair this with your favorite Thanksgiving cocktail to hold you over until the main event. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days, and reheated.
- Muffin Pan – This is my favorite muffin and cupcake pan! It’s lasted for ages.
- Rolling Pin – I love a basic wooden rolling pin with handles.
- Dutch Oven – This is my favorite dutch oven and it’s great for so many recipes from no knead bread, to braised meat, to cozy soups. Any oven proof serving dish with a lid will work as well (or you can cover it with foil).
More Easy Recipes with Lamb:
- Lamb Sliders
- Grilled Lamb Pizzas
- Guinness Irish Lamb Stew
- Weeknight Broccolini Pasta with Lamb
- Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs
- Lamb Barbacoa Tacos
Easiest Thanksgiving Appetizers & Sides:
- Cranberry Brie Bites
- Roasted Maple Brussels Sprouts
- Bacon Green Beans
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping
- Pumpkin Hummus
- Sweet Cranberry Sauce with Maple Syrup
- Turkey Cheese Ball
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Lamb Appetizer Cups with Roasted Peppers & Pesto
- 1 scant tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground American lamb
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- One 16 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 package puff pastry 2 sheets
- 1 large egg, for egg wash
- Prep: Thaw puff pastry according to package directions, making sure it's still cold. Preheat your oven to 375° F. Grease two muffin tins well with nonstick spray.
- Make the Lamb Filling: Add olive oil to a dutch oven over medium heat, then add your ground American lamb, stirring frequently, until browned through. Drain the grease and then season the meat with salt, pepper, and basil. USDA recommends ground lamb reach an internal temperature of 160° F. Stir in the chopped, drained red peppers, the pesto, and parmesan.
- Assemble the Appetizer Cups: Roll each sheet of thawed puff pastry to 14×12 inches. Cut each sheet into 12 squares. Press each square into a muffin tin cavity, and fill with 2 tbsp of the lamb mixture. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with the beaten egg.
- Bake: Bake for 27-32 minutes. The puff pastry should be deep golden brown and crisp all the way around. Pop one out of the pan with a butter knife to check the bottom for doneness.
- Serve & Store: Serve warm from the oven! These are best fresh from the oven, but any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheated.