Having cooked Thanksgiving dinner for just my husband and myself on several occasions, I have finally perfected how to nail our two-person feast, making all the best dishes of the season without subsisting on leftovers for weeks to come. From braised turkey legs to dessert, here is our best Thanksgiving menu when you're cooking for two.
The Menu + A Few Tips
This menu for a Thanksgiving dinner for two hits all the Turkey Day high points, with a mix of traditional dishes and seasonal flavors. It's designed to be a classic meal, with easy, straightforward recipes.
And most importantly the goal of this menu is to give you a way to get your fill of all the best Thanksgiving dishes without getting stuck with more leftovers than you can actually eat.
- 3-Ingredient Honey-Bourbon Gold Rush
- Dutch Oven Braised Turkey
- How To Make Mashed Potatoes for Just Two People
- How To Roast Brussels Sprouts
- Very Basic Cranberry Sauce
- Skillet Apple Crisp
What to Drink
Even when it's just the two of you, Thanksgiving is still worthy of celebration. And there is no better way to kick that off what with a simple, seasonal cocktail.
3-Ingredient Honey-Bourbon Gold Rush: The Gold Rush cocktail is basically Hot Toddy's chill cousin. It comes together with bourbon, honey, and lemon juice, shaken and served over ice. It's simple and cozy — just the way your Thanksgiving is meant to be.
The One-Pot Turkey and Gravy Solution
Unless you seriously love leftovers, I don't think it makes sense to roast a whole turkey for two people. Instead, the best way to get this classic Thanksgiving main on the table is by opting for the less expensive and quicker-cooking turkey parts.
Dutch Oven Braised Turkey: This one-pot main is hands down the best turkey dinner I've ever had. And as far as cooking a main course goes, this one gives you some serious bang for your buck. Cooked in a Dutch oven, this braise delivers crispy-skinned, ultra-tender turkey, plus collard greens and sweet potatoes for a side, and a rich sauce that serves as your stand-in the for traditional gravy.
The Side Dishes
The side are always my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, so even though the braised turkey gets cooked with collards and sweet potatoes, there are a few more dishes that deserve a place on the table.
How To Make Mashed Potatoes for Just Two People: Keep this recipe handy for Thanksgiving and beyond. It makes just enough mashed potatoes for two people, and couldn't be easier to whip together.
How To Roast Brussels Sprouts: Classic roasted Brussels sprouts are always a good idea, and definitely a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving plate. Since you're cooking for two and the meal has other sides, I recommend buying about a half-pound of Brussels sprouts and then following this cooking method. It's a foolproof method no matter the quantity you're roasting.
Very Basic Cranberry Sauce: This is a classic cranberry sauce recipe to round out your holiday plate. It makes just about two cups, so you have a small, manageable amount of leftovers. If you'd prefer to skip the leftovers, however, this is an easy recipe to cut in half.
Big or small, every Thanksgiving celebration must end with dessert. When it's just the two of us, my favorite approach is to keep things simple and cozy.
Skillet Apple Crisp: A fuss-free, seasonal fruit crisp is the sweetest way to cap off your holiday meal. Just don't forget the whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. This crisp makes enough to generously feed two people with some leftovers, but should you prefer, it's easy to scale down. Just be sure to use a small skillet.