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Cooking for just a couple this year? Skip the turkey and prepare a pair of Cornish hens with stuffing. I’ve also scaled down the most important side dishes, and you can complete your meal with two mini pumpkin pies. It’s a perfectly proportioned feast for you and your plus one.

A plate of roasted Cornish hen, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetable casserole, and cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving for Two was a big deal during the pandemic, but long before that, cooks were preparing small Thanksgivings. Maybe you work on the holiday (as so many do), or family isn’t close by, or you’re in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving at all.

There are so many reasons why a table for two at Thanksgiving makes sense (and it might even be a table for one with ample leftovers). My passion (and my job) is to connect you to your favorite food memories or help you build new ones. And if a 20-pound turkey isn’t on the menu, perhaps a couple of Cornish hens could be.

Table of Contents
  1. Cornish Hens with Stuffing
  2. Mashed Potatoes for Two
  3. Green Bean Casserole for Two
  4. Cranberry Sauce for Two
  5. Mini Pumpkin Pies for Two
  6. More Thanksgiving Side Dishes for Two
  7. Big batch bread-making (freezer friendly!)
  8. Single-serving cocktails for a small Thanksgiving
  9. Thanksgiving appetizers

Cornish Hens with Stuffing

Roasted Cornish Hens with Stuffing make Thanksgivings extra special. An easy apple mustard glaze takes the place of gravy, and a classic bread stuffing soaks up all the flavors.

Two whole Cornish hens on a gray plate with stuffing.
Cornish Hens with Stuffing
Roasted Cornish Hens with Stuffing make Thanksgivings extra special. An easy apple mustard glaze takes the place of gravy, and a classic bread stuffing soaks up all the flavors.
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A whole Cornish hen on a gray plate with stuffing.
How to Truss a Cornish Hen
At first glance it may seem unnecessary, but trussing a cornish game hen for roasting ensures delicious, evenly-cooked poultry that looks as good as it tastes. Here I’ll show you how to truss a cornish game hen using twine, to make your best roast hen yet.
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Two trussed Cornish hens on a wooden cutting board.

Mashed Potatoes for Two

My Best Mashed Potatoes recipe – scaled down for 2! They are just 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and so simple they barely even need a recipe.

A pot of mashed potatoes.
Mashed Potatoes for Two
My Best Mashed Potatoes recipe – scaled down for 2! They are just 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and so simple they barely even need a recipe.
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A plate of roasted cornish hen, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetable casserole, and cranberry sauce.
How to Boil Potatoes
This method for how to boil potatoes gives you perfectly cooked spuds for mashed potatoes, potato salad, and all your favorite potato recipes.
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A sliced, boiled potato being held over a silver colander.

Green Bean Casserole for Two

Green Bean Casserole is a must-have at any holiday meal, and this scaled down version makes the perfect amount for a hungry couple. Made from scratch, just like the original recipe; every forkful is so good you might wish you had more.

A platter of green bean casserole.
Green Bean Casserole for Two
Green Bean Casserole is a must-have at any holiday meal, and this scaled down version makes the perfect amount for a hungry couple. Made from scratch, just like the original recipe; every forkful is so good you might wish you had more.
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Green bean casserole in a baking dish.
How to Blanch Green Beans
Learn how to blanch green beans so they are deliciously tender-crisp every single time. Then you can sauté them for dinner, add them to salads, or just snack on them throughout the day.
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Green beans in a sliver colander.

Cranberry Sauce for Two

The best, easiest Cranberry Sauce recipe you’ll ever make flavored with fresh orange juice and just a little sugar. This classic version makes enough for two people and is ready in under 10 minutes.

Cranberries in a saucepan to make cranberry sauce.
Cranberry Sauce for Two
The best, easiest Cranberry Sauce recipe you'll ever make flavored with fresh orange juice and just a little sugar. This classic version makes enough for two people and is ready in under 10 minutes.
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Cranberry sauce in a white bowl.
Cranberry Sauce with Apples
Update your Homemade Cranberry Sauce with apples for a simple and sweet twist on the classic Thanksgiving side. Tasty without getting too crazy!
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A bowl of cranberry sauce with apples.

Mini Pumpkin Pies for Two

Tiny and irresistible, Mini Pumpkin Pies come in handy for smaller gatherings or sharing with friends and family. They’re easy, creamy, and perfectly spiced, just smaller and cuter.

A slice of mini pumpkin pie on a white plate with two mini pumpkin pie and whipped cream behind it.
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Tiny and irresistible, Mini Pumpkin Pies come in handy for smaller gatherings or sharing with friends and family. They're easy, creamy, and perfectly spiced, just smaller and cuter.
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A slice of mini pumpkin pie on a white plate with a mini pumpkin pie and whipped cream behind it.
Fresh Pumpkin Purée
Fresh pumpkin purée makes an incredible pie, and it's something you can do well ahead of time, when you have the oven space. It's so easy, you may never go back to canned pumpkin.
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Fresh pumpkin puree in a bowl.

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes for Two

These recipes can easily be scaled down for your fun-sized feast (just use the servings slider in each recipe card).

Harvest Roasted Vegetables
An easy recipe for Harvest Roasted Vegetables with butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, bacon, and walnuts. Your new favorite fall side dish!
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A serving of harvest roasted vegetables on a white plate.
Vegetable Casserole
Vegetable Casserole, just like mom used to make! Made with frozen veggies, Velveeta, and buttery cracker crumbs, it's always the first side dish to disappear.
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A pan of vegetable casserole with Velveeta and cracker crumbs.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Grandma will be so proud when you bring this classic Thanksgiving side dish recipe to the table. My easy Sweet Potato Casserole is just sweet enough and requires just 5 minutes of bake time.
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Sweet potato casserole in a baking dish.

Big batch bread-making (freezer friendly!)

From-scratch bread-making is always easier in a full batch (or a double batch). Luckily, the extras can be frozen for future meals.

Homemade Crescent Rolls
Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, these Homemade Crescent Rolls are perfect for all the holidays or a weekend baking project.
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A basket of homemade crescent rolls.
Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls
When nothing but homemade bread will do, try these easy Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls. They are perfect at your holiday table, on the side of Sunday Supper, piled with any kind of meat, or served simply with a bowl of soup.
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Soft yeast dinner rolls on a baking sheet.

Single-serving cocktails for a small Thanksgiving

If you’re craving something more labor-intensive than opening a bottle of wine, these delicious cocktails are made by the glass. You and your partner can each toast with your favorite.

Carafes of juice, bottles of sparkling wine, and fresh fruit garnishes for a mimosa bar.
Mimosa Bar.
Brandy Old Fashioned
From Friday fish fries to supper clubs, the Wisconsin drink of choice is a Brandy Old Fashioned. Here's the authentic recipe for the Wisconsin twist on this famous classic cocktail.
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A brandy old fashioned in a clear glass.
Mulled Cider
apple cider infused with brandy and spices. It's the perfect hot beverage for a cold day, especially around the holidays.
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Three glasses of mulled cider on a silver serving platter.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider
Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider is simple to make, sweet, and delicious. This welcoming, spiced hot beverage makes the whole house smell amazing, too.
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Slow cooker cranberry apple cider in a clear mug.

Thanksgiving appetizers

I love a board for all-day grazing. They are fun to explore, easy to restock, and perfect for small hands. Customize with seasonal ingredients or whatever looks good at the store. The best part? You can buy dips if you want or make them yourself, and same with all the rest of the components. Get creative and have fun.

Someone dipping a vegetable into dill dip on a veggie platter.
Veggie platter with Dill Dip.
Midwest Charcuterie Board
A Midwest Charcuterie Board ripe with regional offerings is perfect for all-day grazing and parties with people you love. Make a few things, buy the rest, enjoy it all!
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Midwest Charcuterie board on a gray countertop.
Mezze Platter
Craving a taste of the Mediterranean, Middle East, or North Africa? Discover how to make the ultimate Mezze Platter, a global cousin to a charcuterie board or antipasto platter, for a taste of the region right in the comfort of your own home.
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Dukkah, eggplant dip, hummus, artichokes, and olives in bowls
Jarcuterie
This appetizer recipe idea is more than a trend! Jarcuterie, or single-serving charcuterie assembled in a jar, is ideal for parties, potlucks, or even food gifts.
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Jarcuteries on a wooden cutting board.

How to Set a Table

Whether it’s a quiet supper for one or a dinner party for 12, setting a pretty table makes the occasion even more special. Break out your best china and polish the glassware; here’s a breakdown…

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I hope wherever you are, and whoever you are with, you have a wonderful, safe, and happy Thanksgiving!

Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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  1. Dear Meggan, I have been scooping up your recipes for several years, and they are among the most reliably tasty of all the sources I consult. But. The Thanksgiving for Two vegetable casserole. Velveeta? Seriously? Kraft isn’t even allowed to label it as ‘cheese,’ because it is so heavily processed. The rest of the dish looks so good, can you provide me an alternative using real cheese, as opposed to slabs of ‘cheese food?’ Either a cheese sauce made separately, or a particular type of cheese which would substitute well for the… other stuff? Kids are scattered across three other states, so Thanksgiving for Two will prove a real help this year. Thanks for any help you may have in mind.