10 Small, Easy Thanksgiving Recipes That Will Delight You and the Whole Family
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.
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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
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.)
Get the recipe: Instant Pot Succulent Herbed Turkey Breast (with Gravy!)
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.
Get the recipe: Cheesy Mashed Potato Puffs
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.
Get the recipe: Thanksgiving Dinner on a Stick
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
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.”
Get the recipe: Air Fryer Stuffing 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.
Get the recipe: Crispy Brussels Sprouts Chips
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.
Get the recipe: Thanksgiving Stuffed Shells
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!
Get the recipe: Easy 5-Ingredient Mini Pumpkin Pies
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.
Get the recipe: 5-Ingredient Whipped Pumpkin Cheesecake
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