27 Thanksgiving Recipes That Are Perfect for a Family of Four
This Thanksgiving has lots of people shifting their plans last minute. For families with kids, who will be celebrating at home, a simpler, kid-friendly menu is what everyone needs to take the pressure off, but still enjoy the holidays. Think roast chicken or a turkey breast instead of the whole turkey. Maybe just one dessert is all you really need. Let each kid and adult choose their favorite side to keep things fun. And make sure the whole fam helps with the clean up too! We've included some recipes that serve 6 people, so you have some leftovers—one of the best parts about Thanksgiving!
Pan-Roasted Chicken & Gravy
A cast-iron skillet is the perfect vessel for a simple roast chicken. Almost every side dish, be it vegetables, legumes, pasta or rice, goes well with it.
Maple Roasted Carrots
Roasting brings out the inherent sweetness in carrots--but add a little maple syrup and butter and you have a caramelized vegetable your kids (and you!) will actually want to eat seconds of.
Steamed Fresh Green Beans
Steaming (but not for too long!) is a foolproof way to get perfect, crisp-tender green beans, every time. This easy recipe is a great starting point for other flavors or preparations, like adding cooked green beans to a salad.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Cider Drizzle
Roasting squash in the oven caramelizes its natural sugars. Here we serve acorn squash with a cider reduction that's spiced with cinnamon and cloves. A touch of butter gives it a luxurious finish.
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast with Garlic
Bone-in, skin-on turkey breasts, also called split breasts, are inexpensive, flavorful, and nice for (just enough) leftovers. Try this any time of year!
Roasted Honeynut Squash
Honeynut squash looks just like mini butternut squash, but on the inside you'll find an even sweeter, deeper orange flesh. This winter squash has only been available at farmers' markets and in select grocery stores for a few years. If you see it, grab a few to try! This simple roasting method enhances the natural flavor of the squash with butter and spices.
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
These hasselback sweet potatoes are like mini marshmallow-topped sweet potato casseroles drizzled with sage-infused butter. The hasselback technique, slicing the potato but leaving it whole, makes for a tender potato with a crispy top--the best of both worlds.
The name for these spuds hints at their creamy interior. Roasting these melting potatoes at high heat ensures they get crunchy on the outside. Then, adding a little broth at the end allows the potatoes to absorb the liquid, making the insides extra moist.
Here's a one-skillet version of chicken and stuffing made with wholesome ingredients. We use chicken thighs because we love the rich flavor of dark meat, but boneless, skinless breast works too. Serve with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.
Pecan Pie Bars
These delectable bar cookies are great for holiday cookie trays, to bring out at casual gatherings, or just to enjoy with a cup of coffee.
Quick Roast Chicken & Root Vegetables
Roasted chicken in 45 minutes? No problem. This technique of starting bone-in chicken breasts on the stovetop and finishing them in a hot oven with vegetables gets a hearty dinner on the table in a hurry. While everything roasts, you still have time to make a quick pan sauce with shallot and Dijon mustard. Serve with a spinach salad.
Melting Sweet Potatoes with Mini Marshmallows
If you like sweet potato casserole, you'll love these tender, creamy melted sweet potatoes. Slices of sweet potatoes "melt" into a savory broth with spices and are topped with mini marshmallows for a hint of sweetness at the end. They're perfect for Thanksgiving or anytime in fall or winter when cooler weather settles in.
Cranberry Crumble Bars
These cranberry-orange bars freeze well. Make a batch on a free afternoon and pop them in the freezer so you'll always have a healthy dessert on hand when company calls.
There's nothing like this old-fashioned apple dessert recipe to top off a good dinner.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
What could be more satisfying than mashed potatoes? In this garlic mashed potato recipe, the potatoes are flavored with poached garlic, thinned with chicken stock and enriched with a small amount of sour cream. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you're cooking for a crowd--say for Thanksgiving dinner.
Honey-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Balsamic vinegar and honey combine to give a sweet-tart coating to these roasted Brussels sprouts. These honey-balsamic Brussels sprouts are quick enough for a weeknight meal, but they are special enough to make a no-fuss side dish for Thanksgiving or any other holiday meal.
Chocolate-Sweet Potato Parfait
This healthy chocolate mousse recipe gets its body from sweet potato rather than eggs. Both the mousse and the meringue cookies can be made ahead of time, so all you have to do is assemble the parfaits when you're ready for dessert.
The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce
This is our go-to recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. It's simple (just five ingredients!), is lightly sweet without being too sugary and has just the right amount of zesty flavor from orange peel. Plus, it's so easy--it goes from stove to table in just 20 minutes!
Quick Stovetop Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
Precut butternut squash in your grocery store's produce section makes this healthy mac and cheese recipe come together in a flash. For extra flavor, try smoked Gouda cheese.
Kale Salad with Cranberries
This easy holiday salad gets its flavor from a sweet citrus dressing that's infused into the kale by massaging the greens and the dressing together with your hands. We like a mix of kale for this recipe, but any type of kale will work.
This fresh-tasting, 10-minute salad is a simple mixture of fresh baby spinach and dried cranberries. To save time, we use bottled Italian dressing, but with a few extra minutes you can easily switch up the flavor by making your own dressing—just try our All-Purpose Vinaigrette.
Fried Apple Pie Rolls
In this healthy take on apple pie, wonton wrappers stand in for pie crust, saving you calories and the headache of rolling out dough. We like to use Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape and provide tart balance to the sweet filling. Try dipping these handheld crispy treats in whipped cream.
Green Bean Casserole Fritters
Enjoy green bean casserole fritter-style in this new twist on a classic Thanksgiving favorite. The traditional ingredients are all there, but instead of baking in a casserole dish, these green beans are turned into fritters that bake in the oven and get topped with creamy yogurt and french-fried onions. Feel free to add a bit of crumbled bacon on top too if you'd like!
Cheesy Butternut Squash Fritters
These sweet and savory butternut squash fritters are perfect for Thanksgiving—or anytime you want a toasty, cheesy side dish. Look for a butternut squash with a long neck to make shredding easier.
Pumpkin-Chocolate Cream Cake
This healthy cake recipe is like a pumpkin-flavored version of Boston cream pie. Rather than the traditional round shape, we use a 9-by-13 pan to make a four-layer rectangular cake that looks fun and provides more layers of creamy goodness.
Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower
Roasted broccoli and cauliflower are perfectly cooked with just the right amount of seasonings and char from the oven. Enjoy this simple recipe for any meal or occasion.
Chocolate Caramel-Peanut Crunch Pie
The classic combo of chocolate and peanut butter gets an extra flavor boost from caramel ice cream topping.