10 Small, Easy Thanksgiving Recipes That Will Delight You and the Whole Family

published Nov 18, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Thanksgiving is almost here and, if you’re like me, you’ve probably barely started on your holiday meal planning. Those of us who are parents—especially if your kids are small, like mine—are busy enough already, and it’s been a tough season. I have found it hard to get jazzed up about cooking for a holiday that will just be my immediate family. But then today I kind of shook myself and said, Why so glum? Who should I care more about impressing and delighting this holiday? My distant cousin? My sister-in-law? Or my kids: the (crab)apples of my eye? The little ones who run me wild, but who I hope pick up a love of the Thanksgiving holiday and its good food?

So with that renewed purpose in mind I went diving through the library of our sister site Kitchn, and collected some recipes that I think serve a few purposes at once. All of these recipes are sized for this year in that they make small batches, keep well, or are freezer-friendly. Most have a sense of surprise or a twist. But most importantly, all are easy, and all will delight a very specific audience: you and yours.

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids.

Cubby. Real solutions for unreal times.

Join us for a weekly dose of fresh, modern ideas for life at home with your kids.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

For the kid who would rather snack: A Thanksgiving-flavored snack mix

This salty, savory mix has Thanksgiving flavors with a teenager’s snacking habit in mind. Cranberries give it a little extra-festive sweetness.

Get the recipe: Thanksgiving Chex Mix

Credit: Photographer: Ghazalle Badiozamani Food Stylist: Brett Regot Props Stylist: Jenna Tedesco

For anyone who needs turkey this year: Turkey breast made in the Instant Pot (yes, there’s gravy!)

Really want your turkey fix, without the giant bird and the giblets and the roasting pan and all that? Here’s your answer: a 45-minute (!!) turkey breast recipe that even has gravy worked in. (No Instant Pot? Try this slow cooker turkey breast instead.)

Credit: Faith Durand

For the kid who just loves finger food: Super-cheesy mashed potato puffs

These magical little puffs are just mashed potatoes (you can use store-bought or even the boxed stuff), mixed with cheese and baked in little muffin cups.

Credit: Lauren Volo

For the family who will eat anything if it’s on a skewer: A whole Thanksgiving dinner on a stick!

This tongue-in-cheek (but nevertheless delicious) take on Thanksgiving dinner can be assembled with store-bought turkey (I suggest smoked!), roasted sweet potato, and store-bought stuffing.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

For the toddler who will only eat bread: The softest pull-apart rolls

We all know the type: the bread snarfer who leaves everything else untouched. Make this a special holiday for her too, with these pillowy rolls.

Get the recipe: Pull-Apart Challah Rolls

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

For little ones who love anything crispy from the air fryer: Stuffing hush puppies

My kids are such fans of anything crispy and frittered; the air fryer has been such a great asset in this. Keep it hot and ready this Thanksgiving for little stuffing fritters. Kids who might turn their nose up at the damp texture of traditional stuffing will love these “hush puppies.”

For the kid who will eat veggies but only when they’re super crispy: Brussels sprouts baked chips

Don’t pitch all those little leaves that fall off your Brussels sprouts! Hang on to them and then roast them up like kale chips. Their teeny size and crispy shards are the perfect gateway veg.

Credit: Lauren Volo

For your partner who would rather be eating pasta: Stuffed shells with Thanksgiving turkey, cranberry, and mozzarella

Another fun way to turn store-bought (read: easy) ingredients into comfort food with the flair of Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, cranberry, veggies, and lots of cheese all together here.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

For the kids who love their own mini dessert: Itsy-bitsy pumpkin pies

For dessert, break out a muffin tin for these adorable and surprisingly easy mini pies. Make a big deal of presenting your kid with her own pie, topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Fancy!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

For anyone who doesn’t want to deal with pie dough at all this year: Luscious 5-ingredient pumpkin cheesecake

Or skip the dough entirely, and whip up cream cheese and canned pie filling for these luxurious no-bake pumpkin cheesecakes in a glass.

Credit: Brittany Conerly

For the grown-ups after the kids are in bed: A classic Old-Fashioned

Dinner’s over; you’ve earned yourself a cocktail. This absolutely dead-easy classic gets upgraded with a Southern twist: sorghum, a rich, molasses-like sweetener. (Look for it with honey and molasses at the grocery store). Cheers!

Get the recipe: Sorghum Old-Fashioned