Thanksgiving for Two

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Cooking for just a couple this year? Skip the roast 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 a small Thanksgiving meal. Maybe you work on the holiday (as so many do), or your 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 or a bone-in roast turkey breast isn’t on the menu, perhaps a couple of Cornish hens could be.

Cornish Hens with Stuffing

This recipe was designed for two and features a pair of Cornish hens, a generous amount of stuffing, and a delicious savory apple glaze. And even though the hens and stuffing have different cooking times in the oven, I did all the work to ensure they cook at the same temperature and finish at the same time.

A whole Cornish hen 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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Mashed Potatoes for Two

Creamy mashed potatoes make the perfect moat to hold all that butter and turkey gravy on the plate, plus they taste great with everything. Even cranberries! For some, it’s a canvas to add flavors like fresh herbs, garlic, or rosemary, for others, it’s the best part of the dinner. Of course, there are a million recipes out there, but in case you’re looking for an old-school, classic mashed potato recipe with a creamy texture that really lets the flavor of the potato shine, make this one.

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


Mashed Potatoes for Two

This recipe for Mashed Potatoes for Two is exactly what you need when you're doing a mini Thanksgiving. They are just 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and so simple they barely even need a recipe.
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Green Bean Casserole for Two

I didn’t grow up eating Green Bean Casserole at Thanksgiving, but based on the recipe I see in Campbell’s magazine ads, I’m not sorry about it. Canned green beans with canned mushroom soup? I’m not a food snob, but that just doesn’t sound like my kind of thing.

So when I made Green Bean Casserole the first time, I kicked the cans. I make Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole too, but this version with fresh beans is the absolute best.

Green bean casserole in a baking dish.


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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Cranberry Sauce for Two

Tart, sweet, and spiced, my Grandma’s “famous” homemade cranberry sauce brightens up the plate and cleanses your palate in between bites of mashed potatoes and gravy. And it cooks fast! No long simmering is required.

Cranberry sauce in a white bowl.


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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Mini Pumpkin Pies for Two

Did you know that one standard 9-inch pie crust can be broken down into two 6-inch smaller pies? How great is that? Eat one pumpkin pie all by yourself for dessert, and give the other to someone you’re thankful for. And keep scrolling for a whole slew of scaled-down Thanksgiving recipes designed just for two.

A slice of mini pumpkin pie on a white plate with a 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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More scaled-down mains

These recipes are smaller than a full-size turkey for cozy gatherings with friends and family.

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).

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.

Drinks and cocktails for a small Thanksgiving dinner

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.

Thanksgiving appetizers for two

Choose appetizers where you’ll enjoy the leftovers, or make a small version of a grazing board like a Charcuterie Board, Cheese Board, Veggie Platter, or Fruit Platter.

How to Set a Table

Whether it’s a quiet supper for one or a dinner party for 12, learning How to Set a Table can make any occasion more noteworthy. Break out your best china and polish the glassware; here’s a breakdown of how to do it.

View Recipe

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

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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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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.