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Thanksgiving for Two: 12 Recipes for Smaller Holidays

two roommates sharing an intimate Thanksgiving meal

If it’s just you and your partner, you and a roommate, or even just you and Fluffy, the cat, you can and should still celebrate the holidays.  Sure, a 12-pound turkey might be ten too many, but don’t sweat it.  These small-gathering geared recipes are here to help!

Holidays don’t have to be gigantic family affairs. In fact, we relish the idea of a smaller gathering. See, a quaint holiday table has it’s perks. With fewer palettes to please and fewer opinions to heed, the dinner table can be customized entirely to suit you and your tastes. Not a fan of turkey? Who needs it! Sick of stuffing? Swap it for chow mien for all it matters.

Of course, we’ve stuck to more traditional alternatives here. We assume you’re seeking some semblance to the holiday’s required rituals. And so, we’ve come up with a collection of  12 holiday-appropriate recipes made for groups of 2-4.  Shall we dive in?

Main Dishes

Rolled turkey Breast with pecan stuffing

The main dish for a small crowd can be tough, especially if everyone has bird on the brain. Turkey’s are traditionally huge. So, if you’re feeding a smaller group, cooking a whole one isn’t exactly economical. Instead, try one of these alternative main dishes.

Pineapple Stuffed Cornish Game Hens
Want to impress a small group? Give everyone an entire bird, all to themselves. No fighting about dark meat and light meat this year!

Get the Recipe: Taste of Home’s Pineapple Stuffed Cornish Game hens

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
A roasted turkey breast will easily serve two to four people, making it the perfect option for a small holiday gathering.

Get the Recipe: Food Network’s Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

Apple Cider Glazed Turkey Drumsticks
If you prefer dark meat, drumsticks are a great option. These apple-cider glazed ones bring in all the fall flavors, making them an easy Thanksgiving decision.

Get the Recipe: Food And Wine’s Apple Cider Glazed Drumsticks

Rolled Turkey Breast With Sausage Pecan Stuffing
For some, it’s not Thanksgiving without a stuffed bird. This recipe gives the same effect, but on a smaller scale.

Get the Recipe: Martha Stewart’s Rolled Turkey Breast

Side Dishes

stuffing muffins
Natasha Feidman

Most of the traditional side dishes can be scaled down for a smaller group. But, figuring out what size dish to use and attempting to halve or even quarter ingredients can be frustrating. So, it’s best to use recipes that have already been scaled down or keep really well as leftovers. That’s why we’ve included these!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes for Two
If garlic’s not your thing, leave it out. It’s still handy to have a scaled-down recipe for this classic holiday side.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Moosey’s Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Stuffing Muffins
Making the stuffing into muffins is a great idea when you’re cooking for a smaller group. Extra muffins will keep well and make for a wonderful breakfast or snack the next day.

Get the Recipe: Splendid Table’s Stuffing Muffins

Mini Green Bean Casseroles
Yes, you’ll need ramekins for these, but the result is darling. Mini casseroles for each guest wouldn’t be possible with a big crowd, so take advantage of the small group for this one.

Get the Recipe: Betty Crocker’s Mini Green Bean Casseroles

Loaded Sweet Potatoes
Make as many or as few as you’d like of these. Baked sweet potatoes keep well for leftovers, and you don’t have to keep topping them with marshmallow cream. Try them with salsa or enchilada sauce the next day to keep any leftovers fresh.

Get the Recipe: Damn Delicious- Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Easy Roasted Vegetables
If you have a small group that still can’t agree, a roasted vegetable medley is a great option.  It’s easy to make as little or as much as you’d like, and again, the leftovers keep well.

Get the Recipe: Chelsea’s Messy Apron- Easy Roasted Vegetables


A pumpkin pie custard.

If there’s one area you choose not to scale back on, it might be dessert. If you want to serve an entire pie per person at your smaller holiday gathering, be our guest. But, if you’re looking for a slightly less indulgent route, these recipes should suffice.

Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies
When you have to have pumpkin, but you don’t want an entire pie, these are a perfect choice.

Get the Recipe: Cupcakes and Kale- Crustless Pumpkin Pies

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Minis
One of the biggest advantages of a small holiday party is skipping the traditions you don’t care for. If pumpkin pie doesn’t make you sing, try these miniature caramel apple cheesecakes on for size.

Get the Recipe: Cakes Cottage Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes

Chocolate Cobbler for Two
Some of us will pick chocolate whenever it comes to dessert. If that’s you, then this is your recipe.

Get the Recipe: Dessert for Two’s Chocolate Cobbler

It’s more than okay to switch things up with a small group on Thanksgiving. If you want to serve baby-back-ribs and cornbread, more power to you! But, if you’re seeking the traditional fare, this list should suit your fancy.  So pick a few recipes, set the dinner table, and call your roommate downstairs. Your holiday may be smaller, but it’s still a reason to celebrate!

Lauren Sakiyama Lauren Sakiyama
Lauren Sakiyama is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. She has managed restaurants, country clubs, and large-scale event operations, but her passion has always been about the food. Read Full Bio »
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