If you don't have a large family, or your guest list is not that big this year, there is no need to cook a whole turkey and spend a fortune on lots of dishes more suitable for a big party. These fabulous small Thanksgiving dinner recipes can help you decide on you best menu for the most awaited holiday of the Fall. Mouth-watering recipes of appetizers, main courses, sides and desserts to make your Thanksgiving the best one ever!
Thanksgiving, like other important holidays, gives you the best opportunity to show off your cooking skills by creating spectacular dishes that will impress your family and guests.
But, if you don't have a large number of people at the table, better save yourself some effort, time and money by cooking smaller dishes that still look and taste great.
My family is small, so I never cook tons of dishes anyway, and I can show you my favourite recipes that are absolutely delicious, and are very easy to make with simple ingredients. Let's have a look!
The best way to start your Thanksgiving dinner right is by choosing the perfect appetizers to spoil your taste buds and prepare you for the main dishes. Whether you go for a nice, heart-warming soup, or some fantastic bites, you know you have made the right choice here.
- Mini Cheese Balls - quick, easy and delicious, and loaded with all the good ingredients, these bites are going to go down amazingly well with everyone in the family.
- Stuffed Turkey Breast Roll - a fabulous appetizer that is beautifully moist, and easy to put together, and as an added bonus, it’s low carb, high protein, gluten free and low in calories (only 473 calories the whole roll).
- Green Bean Bundles - wrapped in delicious bacon, and drizzled with a fantastic soy sauce, brown sugar and butter sauce, the perfect appetizer for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It’s quick to make, but big on flavours, and a huge hit with everyone.
- Easy Brie and Cranberry Bites -made with puff pastry and a touch of rosemary, these delicious bites make a spectacular appetizer for your Thanksgiving dinner. Super easy to make, ready in no time.
- Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip - cheesy, hot, served in a bread bowl, ready to be the star of any party. We are not talking about any appetizer here, but about THE appetizer everybody loves.
- Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes- a healthy Fall appetizer that can be enjoyed all year round. Super simple to make, these stuffed sweet potatoes can also be served as a meal on their own. Top them with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, and you get one delicious dish.
- Chicken Kiev Balls - a great variation of the classic Kiev recipe, these delicious bites are a massive crowd pleaser.
- Hot Artichoke Dip - a fantastic party food idea that can be put together so easily. The dip is baked until it's bubbling hot, and it can be served with any crackers, tortillas, nachos, breadsticks, bread, and so many more.
- Butternut Squash Arancini - a fantastic Italian appetizer for every party or celebration. Filled with creamy butternut squash risotto and mozzarella, and deep fried to perfection, these golden bites make the perfect finger food.
Thanksgiving Main Dishes
So, the yummy appetizers have been demolished, now it's time for the fun part. Hearty, delicious mains that are the star of your Thanksgiving dinner, no matter what you choose.
- Roast Turkey Crown- juicy, melting in your mouth, and a nice crispy skin, this turkey crown is a great option if you are not cooking for a large number of people, and don't need a whole turkey. Plus, it's so easy to make, and ready in about 2 hours.
- Roasted Turkey Drumsticks - if you don't have a large party or gathering, there is no need to roast a whole turkey. Instead, these drumsticks are moist, delicious, and so easy to make.
- Whole Roast Chicken - if you can't find a turkey breast, or would rather go for the good old roast chicken, this is the ideal size if you are cooking for less people and would rather not have so many leftovers after the big day.
- Roast Beef - a small joint of perfectly roasted beef will no doubt be everybody's favourite. Achieving perfection is a lot easier than you'd think, just follow the step-by-step instructions and you'll get the ultimate roast
- Roast Pork with Crackling - and what a crackling that is! The crispiest, best crackling you've ever had. Plus some succulent piece of pork to get everyone asking for seconds.
- Roasted Pork Belly - It's a very easy recipe that requires minimal prep, and while it might not be quick, it surely is a great roast for the whole family - also a great alternative to the good old roast turkey for Thanksgiving.
- Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe with Bread Crumbs -the ultimate comfort food for your Thanksgiving dinner. Imagine this: macaroni smothered in a rich and creamy white sauce that has 3 types of cheese: cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan, then topped with buttery breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven for the final touch. The very best homemade meal!
- Creamy Pumpkin Risotto - a delicious vegetarian recipe that is ready in about 30 minutes. Made with canned pumpkin and cooked to perfection, this risotto reminds me why Fall is my favourite season. A great option for a vegetarian Thanksgiving.
- Butternut Squash Pasta Carbonara - a little twist on the classic Italian dish. It’s comforting and delicious, just perfect this Fall. It's a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu, and it's always a big hit with us.
- Turkey Cottage Pie - a dish that sums up what comfort food is all about. Hearty, easy to make, and a great choice for a healthy family dinner, this recipe is the perfect example that homemade food is the very best.
- Spatchcock Chicken - It cooks a lot quicker than a whole roasted chicken, but it’s as tasty. No need to slave away in the kitchen to cook a fabulous meal, this chicken is on the table in well under an hour.
- Healthy Stuffed Butternut Squash with Veggie Couscous- a delicious and healthy vegetarian dish inspired by the colours of Fall. A great dish for your Thanksgiving dinner, but also fantastic all year around. It might be simple, but it’s packed full of flavours, and can be enjoyed either as a side or a meal on its own.
- Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese - if you like the classic mac and cheese, you will absolutely love this version. The butternut squash adds so much more goodness, and it's a great way of hiding away veggies, so little ones will wolf this down for sure.
- Bolognese-Stuffed Marrow - with a delicious bolognese sauce made with beef mince and veggies, and topped with cheesy bechamel sauce, a delightfully low-carb dinner.
- Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce - a quick and easy recipe that makes a fantastic side dish or a vegetarian alternative to a traditional roast join.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto - with a good helping of parmesan cheese, a filling and comforting dish that tastes of Autumn and cosy days.
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Side dishes are so underrated! But, believe me, they are the ones that make the main dishes stand out, so I whole-heartedly think they should be given the same appreciation. They are quick and easy to make, and so delicious.
- Pan-Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic and Parmesan- a quick and easy way of cooking brussels sprouts in under 10 minutes. No more boring brussels sprouts, this is a delicious side dish, perfect for your Thanksgiving menu.
- Sausage Stuffing Balls - a delicious recipe made from scratch with very little prep and effort. They can be served as appetizers or a nice side dish for you Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. So easy to make, a big hit with everyone.
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice - the best sauce to serve with your Thanksgiving turkey. Ready in just 10 minutes from scratch if you use fresh cranberries, or 20 minutes if you use frozen ones. So easy, and so flavourful, with only 3 ingredients.
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan - the best side dish you could possibly ask for. Velvety, smooth, seasoned to perfection, the ideal side for your Thanksgiving roast. Comfort food at its best!
- Broccoli Cheese Bake - with bechamel sauce, a comforting vegetarian side dish that goes well with any roast or meat substitute. It’s creamy, cheesy, and rich, and makes a great alternative to the good old cauliflower cheese.
- Roasted Rainbow Carrots - with a simple blend of seasoning, these carrots make a great side dish for any big celebration throughout the year.
- Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon - the cauliflower is baked in a delicious white sauce with bacon until golden and bubbling hot. A winner with the whole family, this is a recipe for every occasion.
- Cheesy Ham Broccoli Casserole - a healthy, low carb recipe for a delicious brunch. It’s light, but filling, jam-packed with fantastic flavours.
- Sage and Onion Stuffing Balls - a delicious vegetarian side dish for your Thanksgiving or festive dinner. Or even a good old Sunday roast. The classic combination of sage and onions might be simple, but heavenly tasty. The stuffing balls can be made from scratch in about 30 minutes.
- Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes- the best side dish for any roast. Slices of potatoes smothered in a garlicky creamy white sauce, then baked in the oven until tender, hot and bubbly; pure heaven! This is a classic homemade recipe that sums up what comfort food is all about.
- Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing - a classic side dish for Thanksgiving, this bread stuffing can either be used on the side or to stuff the turkey. It's super easy to make, and so delicious.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Halves - Naturally sweet and rich in nutrients, this butternut squash can be enjoyed not only at Thanksgiving, but also all year round.
- Crispy Roast Potatoes- a side dish after my own heart. Are you looking for the best side dish for the Thanksgiving dinner? Well, here you have one of them. And if you want to take that roast to a whole new level, you need to follow a few, very easy steps which will guarantee a smashing success every single time.
- Fluffy Dinner Rolls - these bread rolls are the best you can get, they are so light and pillowy, you won’t believe you’ve made them with so little effort and preparation. It might be a small batch, but it is so delicious!
- Last-Minute Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic - this simple recipe can be made with either fresh or frozen green beans. It is vegetarian friendly, but it can be made vegan by swapping butter for vegetable oil. Healthy, nutritious and delicious, a fanatastic side for every occasion.
- Crispy Roasted Garlic Parmesan Potatoes- a delicious side dish that is super easy to make, and with minimal prep. Golden brown fluffy baby potatoes with an epic parmesan and garlic crust, this is the best side for any roast, be it a Sunday Roast, the Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, or any other celebration.
- Roast Pumpkin Quinoa Salad with Feta- a healthy and nutritious salad that makes a fantastic side dish for your Thanksgiving roast.A light alternative to the carb-loaded sides.
- Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Sweet Potatoes - super easy to make, and super flavourful, this dish has a festive touch. Only one tray needed, to save you time and effort. A family-favourite side.
- Garlic Smashed Potatoes - an incredibly delicious side dish that makes a great alternative to the good old roast potatoes. Crispy, heavenly flavourful, and sinfully golden, these smashed potatoes are my new favourite side dish.
- Knotted Pumpkin Dinner Rolls- made with canned pumpkin; soft and fluffy, and so easy to make. From little to big ones, your whole family will be in love with these little pumpkin beauties.
- Chicken and Brussel Sprout Casserole - a delicious and low-carb dish for the whole family. A great choice for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner menu. It’s very easy to make, and a great alternative to the plain boiled brussels.
- Waldorf Salad Recipe - it has a homemade salad dressing made of light Greek yogurt and a bit of mayo, and a good drizzle of lemon juice. The perfect recipe when you want something quick and easy, but also healthy.
- Celeriac Gratin with Bacon and Leeks - with Bacon and Leeks, a delicious low-carb side dish that screams comfort food. It’s the perfect side for any roast, and makes a great choice for your Thanksgiving menu, or any other celebration.
- Celeriac Slaw - or celeriac coleslaw, a delicious alternative to the classic cabbage coleslaw. It's light, packed with incredible flavours, and ready in less than 5 minutes.
- Baked Parsnip Fries - or parsnip chips, a great side dish alternative to the good old roast potatoes for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or any other occasion. With a nice blend of paprika, parmesan, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper, plus a dash of olive oil, these parsnip fries are simply delicious.
- Brussel Sprout Slaw- with carrots and spring onions, a good helping of mayo, and a touch of lemon juice, a delicious side dish for every occasion.
- Chestnut and Cranberry Stuffing Balls - golden and baked to perfection, these stuffing balls are bursting with festive flavours.
So, all those yummy dishes are gone, but there is always room for dessert, right? Nothing like a sweet treat to finish the Thanksgiving dinner in style. From classic recipes, to my favourite Fall desserts, there is a bit for everyone to enjoy.
- Easy Pumpkin Pie with Condensed Milk - one of the best Fall desserts that can be made from scratch at home. It uses canned pumpkin, which cuts down on the baking time considerably. It's super simple to make, absolutely delicious, and always the star of the Thanksgiving dinner.
- Mini Pumpkin Pies - made in a muffin tin with a buttery shortcrust pastry, and a filling made of pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, sugar and spices, then topped with whipped cream- delicious mini beauties for your Thanksgiving celebration.
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies - made in a muffin tin with a buttery shortcrust pastry, and a filling made of pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, sugar and spices, then topped with whipped cream- delicious mini beauties for your Thanksgiving celebration.
- Apple Crumble with Oats - an old-fashioned Autumn dessert that is the very definition of perfection. Perfectly juicy apples with a lovely hint of cinnamon and crispy oat topping; it really can’t get better than that.
- Apple Upside Down Cake - with a hint of cinnamon, a delicious Autumn dessert made with a few simple ingredients. The apple are tender just melting in the mouth, and the sponge is light and has a delicate vanilla flavour.
- Lattice Apple Pie- with fresh apples and a touch of cinnamon, this is the best apple pie recipe in the world. Nothing beats a homemade pie, and this dessert is ideal not only during Fall, but all year round too.
- Apple and Plum Crumble- a delicious Fall dessert made with fresh seasonal fruit. This indulgent sweet treat has a hint of cinnamon and lemon, and goes very well with a scoop of ice cream or some custard.
- Honey Yogurt Cornbread - moist, made with a few simple ingredients, and so easy to whip up. One of the best Fall recipes to celebrate harvest, and one of the most awaited holidays of the year: Thanksgiving.
- Stuffed Baked Apple Halves - with walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon, in a rich buttery sauce that has a hint of maple syrup, a true Fall delicacy to lick your fingers clean. Super simple, but so flavourful, these oven-baked apples are the best dessert one can get. It's a fantastic Thanksgiving dessert that kids and grown-ups will adore.
- Pumpkin Linzer Cookies - with spiced pumpkin filling and a rich and buttery shortbread base, some delicious Fall treats for your Thanksgiving celebrations. Quick and easy to make, and so soft they melt in your mouth.
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding - with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscoth Sauce, an exquisite Fall dessert for your Thanksgiving dinner. Easy to make, beautifully moist and a big hit with the whole family.
- Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie - made with a homemade buttery shortcrust pastry and decorated with cream, a delicious dessert be to enjoyed throughout the Fall season. Particularly nice for your Thanksgiving menu, this pie is so easy to make, and a big winner with everyone.
- Easy Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls- a sweet treat for all the pumpkin lovers out there. Fall wouldn’t be the same without pumpkins, and we must make the most of them before the season is over. A great choice for the Thanksgiving menu, or throughout the pumpkin season.
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins - incredibly fluffy and baked to perfection. The muffins are super easy to make, and are ready in well under 30 minutes from scratch. Fall’s favourite veggie and chocolate are definitely a match made in heaven.
- Plum Dumplings- a popular dessert across Eastern Europe. It is made with fresh ripe plums coated in a mashed potato dough and tossed into sweetened cinnamony breadcrumbs. A fantastic Fall recipe that goes well with the whole family.
- Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling - the best Fall dessert that will be the star of your Thanksgiving dinner party. A light sponge made with pumpkin puree and a nice blend of pumpkin pie spice, plus a silky maple cream cheese filling, what a treat!
- Apple Turnovers with Puff Pastry - an absolutely delicious dessert recipe made with a few simple ingredients that taste and have the flavour of Fall. Ready in well under an hour, and that includes cooling time too. A family-favourite dessert for the Thanksgiving dinner too.
- Plum Sponge Cake - a moist and light sponge with delicious ripe plums, what a treat that is!
- Plum Upside Down Cake - as delicious as the classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, this recipe is quick and easy, and utterly yummy.
- Easy Apple Cake - a delicious apple dessert that is super easy to make and it goes down with the whole family
- Apple Pecan Crumble - It's such an easy dessert to put together with just a handful of simple ingredients, and a great choice for your Thanksgiving dessert menu.
- Cinnamon Muffins - with a brown sugar swirl running through the middle, and a touch of maple syrup, a delicious Autumn treat that is ready from scratch in well under 30 minutes.
- Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins - The muffins are sweet and moist, and they can be enjoyed as a breakfast on the go or a snack for the whole family.
These are my best Thanksgiving dinner recipes that are suitable for small families or gatherings. They are incredibly delicious, easy to make, and a hit every single year.
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