21 Delicious Recipes for Thanksgiving Dinner for Two

Creative Planning Makes It Easy as Pie

Make ahead turkey gravy

The Spruce

Thanksgiving is often a time when we gather with friends and family and stuff ourselves with traditional holiday dishes, but sometimes we may end up needing to celebrate small. There can still be something magical about celebrating the holiday with one special person. If you're celebrating the food-centric holiday with a dinner for two, browse our collection of pared-down Thanksgiving recipes. You'll find plenty of the comforting, nostalgia-inducing dishes you want in a classic Thanksgiving meal that won't leave you with an overwhelming amount of leftovers.

  • 01 of 21

    Fennel Avocado Salad

    Fennel Avocado Salad

    The Spruce

    Aromatic fennel, creamy ripe avocado, and tangy red onion slivers combine to form this refreshing winter salad. Cut the avocado into a small dice and mash it slightly with a fork, so it can break down and add its richness to the simple vinaigrette dressing. You can also macerate the raw onion in a little red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt to tame its pungency before draining and adding to the salad.

  • 02 of 21

    Garlicky Green Bean Sauté

    Garlicky Green Bean Sauté

    The Spruce

    Green beans are a popular Thanksgiving side dish that go great with roast turkey or chicken and take mere minutes to prepare. Make them extra-flavorful by sautéeing crisp-tender beans with plenty of chopped fresh garlic and a few pantry seasonings. They're great made to order, but if you like you can prep them a day in advance and reheat to serve.

  • 03 of 21

    Endive Kumquat Salad

    Endive Kumquat Salad

    Molly Watson

    If you find kumquats at your local market, snatch up them up for a bright-tasting green salad. The mini-citrus fruits add fabulous color and zing to a plate of slightly bitter, sturdy Belgian endive and a generous scattering of chopped fresh herbs. For a slightly sweeter dressing, feel free to add a small scoop of honey, or a few drops of maple syrup.

  • 04 of 21

    Thanksgiving Cider

    Thanksgiving Cider Cocktail

    The Spruce Eats/Katarina Zunic

    Pumpkin vodka and apple cider come together in this refreshing Thanksgiving cocktail. It is sure to put you in the holiday spirit, with its seasonally-inspired ingredients. Since it's not too sweet, you can also enjoy the spiked cider throughout the holiday meal without overpowering your dinner in any way.

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  • 05 of 21

    Roasted Celeriac Parsnip Soup

    Roasted Celeriac Parsnip Soup

    Sam Stowell/Getty Images

    Creamy without needing cream and full of wholesome nutrients, this winter root vegetable soup is pure comfort in a bowl. Celery root and parsnips are caramelized in the oven to enhance their natural goodness, then blended with vegetable stock and simple seasonings for a silky-smooth finish. Fancy it up with a drizzle of pistou, a scattering of croutons, or a dollop of creme fraiche.

  • 06 of 21

    Turkey Breast

    Roast Turkey Breast

    The Spruce 

    A whole turkey is certainly too much for two people, but a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast is a great option. Quick and easy to cook, it's plenty for dinner with leftovers for delicious turkey sandwiches. Roasting is always a good option, but you can also deep fry or pressure cook the turkey in an Instant Pot. If you're planning ahead, try brining the breast for extra moist, flavorful meat.

  • 07 of 21

    Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken

    Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken

    Diana Rattray

     

    If you like to sit down to a whole bird for your holiday meal, consider roasting a chicken. This foolproof recipe makes it easy to roast a whole chicken to perfection, and the lemony herb and butter rub is simply delicious. You'll get plenty to eat with a four or five pound roasting chicken, plus leftovers you can use for sandwiches, and a carcass to turn into homemade chicken stock. For the juiciest meat, allow the chicken to rest tented in foil for 10 minutes before slicing.

  • 08 of 21

    Chocolate Mousse for Two

    Chocolate Mousse for Two

    The Spruce/Riou

    Perhaps no dessert conjures up images of luxury quite like the famous chocolate mousse. You may be surprised by how uncomplicated this dessert is to prepare, considering how insanely delicious it is. This classic version starts with a rich chocolate egg custard, and gets its airy texture from carefully folded-in whipped cream. For a boozy version, feel free to add chocolate liqueur as directed in the recipe.

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  • 09 of 21

    Butternut Squash Lasagna

    Butternut Squash Lasagna

    The Spruce/Jennifer Perillo

    Autumnal butternut squash lasagna is the ideal vegetarian Thanksgiving main for two. Creamy, rich, and meatless, with a fabulous sweet and earthy flavor, plus layers of tender fresh pasta, it's special enough for a holiday entree and will leave you with just enough leftovers to enjoy the next day. Make it up to two days ahead for the fridge for easy reheating on Thanksgiving Day.

  • 10 of 21

    Gravy

    Make ahead turkey gravy

    The Spruce

    Just because you aren't spending three or four hours roasting a whole turkey doesn't mean you have to give up the homemade gravy. Try a recipe that doesn't heavily rely on pan drippings since you won't end up with lots of that when roasting a single turkey breast. Halve or third this turkey gravy recipe so you don't end up with too much leftover.

  • 11 of 21

    Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

    Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

    Diana Rattray

    Giving your holiday sweet potatoes the hasselback treatment creates extra surface area, which translates into fantastic crispiness. Contrasted with the tender, butter-basted inner flesh, it's a textural combination that can't be beat. A drizzle of maple syrup and a few chopped walnuts add just the right holiday touch.

  • 12 of 21

    Cornbread Muffins

    Cornbread Muffins

    Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

    If your Thanksgiving dinner must include cornbread, break out the muffin tin for these easy cornbread muffins. Hearty, full of flavor, and not too sweet, they are a great complement to turkey and gravy. Bake them up easily, and freeze leftovers for enjoying later with chili, slathered with butter for your breakfast, or snacking on-the-go.

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  • 13 of 21

    Farro Risotto

    Farro risotto

    Elaine Lemm

     

    Farro is a high-protein, high-fiber ancient whole-grain wheat with a naturally nutty taste. Because it is starchless, it is ideal for making a nearly stir-free mushroom risotto, albeit without the rice. You'll love its pleasantly chewy bite in this flavorful, holiday-worthy side dish that uses only water (or vegetable stock, if you prefer) to fluff up the grains.

  • 14 of 21

    Roasted Chateau Potatoes

    Roasted Chateau Potatoes

    Bob Ingelhart/E+/Getty Images

    Crispy around the edges, and buttery rich, chateau potatoes are a classic side for any baked or roasted poultry dish. Despite their fancy name, you need only three ingredients (plus salt and pepper), and a single, oven-proof skillet to make them for your holiday dinner à deux. Halve the recipe to serve two, or follow it exactly for leftovers that make a great breakfast alternative to hash brown potatoes.

  • 15 of 21

    Cranberry Relish

    Cranberry Relish

    The Spruce/Jennifer Perillo

    Sure, you could open up a can of jellied cranberry sauce—but why not take 10 minutes to make your own, especially if it requires no cooking whatsoever? You can't beat the taste of fresh cranberry relish flavored simply with sugar and salt, and this ultra-simple recipe is hard to argue with. Slather it on sliced turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, and enjoy unused portions as a sandwich spread, for topping your morning yogurt, or in cookies or muffins.

  • 16 of 21

    Stove-Top Thanksgiving Stuffing

    Stove-Top Thanksgiving Stuffing

    Diana Rattray

    Recreate the comforting flavors of the famous boxed stovetop stuffing mix with this easy, delicious holiday recipe. You'll like knowing what goes into your turkey dressing, which includes pantry ingredients you probably already stock in your kitchen, and is a great use for day-old bread. Reduce all of the ingredients by half to serve two, and bake in a smaller pan for the perfect amount of dressing.

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  • 17 of 21

    Japanese Kale Kobachi

    Japanese Kale Kobachi

    Judy Ung

    Balance out a heavy holiday main with a healthful side dish of sautéed kale. You'll find it easy to elevate dinosaur kale greens into something even more tender and savory, with the simple addition of some Japanese cooking wine, soy sauce, olive oil, and salt. Cook it up on the stovetop in just five minutes for adding to your holiday meal.

  • 18 of 21

    Leek Gratin

    Leek Gratin

    The Spruce/Diana Rattray

    You'll swoon for these melt-in-your-mouth baked leeks with a divinely creamy sauce, and a rich, ultra-cheesy topping. They are an excellent special occasion side dish to serve in winter. Halve the recipe and divide the ingredients between two individual ramekins for an elegant presentation at dinner.

  • 19 of 21

    Mashed Potatoes and Rutabagas

    Mashed Potatoes with Rutabaga
    Mashed Potatoes with Rutabaga.

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    A Thanksgiving spread, no matter how big or small, wouldn't be complete without a potato dish. Mashed potatoes are especially good menu addition since the dish pairs perfectly with turkey and gravy. A mixture of potatoes and rutabagas makes an extra flavorful side dish, especially with a little butter. Reducing mashed potato recipes is also easy—use a half or a third of the ingredient amounts for a meal for two.

  • 20 of 21

    Baked Sweet Potato Custard

    Baked Sweet Potato Custard

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray 

    If you're looking forward to eating pie for days, then, by all means, bake (or buy) a whole pie for your Thanksgiving meal. But if you want just enough dessert for your holiday dinner, make baked sweet potato custards. The recipe is easy to reduce by two-thirds so that you end up with two perfect desserts. Make them up to three days ahead of time and stash in the fridge until it's time to serve.

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  • 21 of 21

    Thanksgiving Gin Martini Cocktail

    Thanksgiving Gin Martini Cocktail

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Enjoy this delightful, fruity gin martini tweaked especially for Thanksgiving day. It's a tasty tipple to sip on while you are waiting for dinner to finish cooking, or sitting by the fireplace after the feast is done. The easy recipe adds apricot brandy and lemon juice to a classic martini base.