Heck, you might just discover a brand new turkey day tradition.

Thanksgiving presents its own sets of challenges every year: How do I brine a turkey? Can I make mashed potatoes ahead of time? How will everything get done by 4pm?? But this year, the holiday is presenting an entirely new, even unprecedented dilemma: How do I make a Thanksgiving feast for just me and a loved one?

If you aren't entertaining a lot of guests this year and don't want to be eating leftovers for weeks, here's the solution: A Thanksgiving charcuterie board. Not only will it be easy to serve, eat, and share, it'll give you a taste of all the holiday flavors you love, minus the piles of dirty dishes and mounds of leftover casserole.

Does that mean you'll only be eating crackers and cheese in place of a 10-course, comforting meal? Absolutely not. This charcuterie board can still include all of your favorite dishes, just in a simpler, more practical format. Mini muffin tin, we're looking at you.

Including some small baked or prepared items on your board (perhaps baked Brie, duchess potatoes, or pecan pie cookies) will still give you the nostalgic feeling associated with working for hours in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day. However, this method will take your stress level down to almost zero. Bonus: The house still smells like the holidays. 

Chances are, you've gotten a little practice plating a meat and cheese board over quarantine, but if you haven't, here are some of our best tips

How to Make a Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board

Thanksgiving Charcuterie Board
Credit: Allrecipes

Keep the Classics (That You Actually Want)

The best part of a charcuterie board is that there are no rules. None. So load up your platter with only the foods you know will be eaten. Love ham but don't dig turkey? Skip it this year. Make ham and cranberry sliders instead. Never eat the sweet potato casserole? Try sweet potato tots or bacon-wrapped sweet potato skewers instead. There are plenty of ways to shrink down the dishes you can't survive Thanksgiving without, from green bean casserole tartlets to these cheesy scallop potato roses. I mean—have you met our Stuffin' Muffins?

Stuffin' Muffins
Credit: Sheila LaLonde

Decorate With Dishes 

Color, texture, and height are the key aesthetic features on any cheese board, so mini bowls, dishes, and jars can seriously work to your advantage. Not only do they separate the food nicely, they can add a pop of color and unique shapes. Gather up anything around your house that could be useful (I even used the lid of a candle) before building your board. Pumpkins, rosemary sprigs, and whole cranberries also add a ton of curb appeal. Just make sure you wash them well!

Amp Up Your Cheeses

Sure, cheese is the most obvious feature of a cheese plate. But even a plain ol' block of Cheddar can get a little festive with the help of a few ingredients. Try topping your Brie with cranberry sauce, or rolling a log of goat cheese in chopped candied pecans. Ever seen a cheese ball look this adorable? Any deviation from your usual cheese selection will make this board feel extra-special.

cheese ball shaped like a pine cone with almonds
Credit: Chef John

Keep Things Cool 

Depending on how long you take to prepare your platter (and how long you plan to be grazing on it), your items might be out on the table for a few hours. Try to load up your board with foods that don't require heat or refrigeration. Even if it's safe to eat, nobody will be reaching for the hot onion dip once it's gone cold. Plus, less for you to stress about. 

Don't Forget Dessert

Can roasted turkey slices go next to mini apple pies? Yes, they can! Again, no rules. If you're the type that loves to go back and forth from salty to sweet (or dig into dessert first) this board gives you that freedom. Make sure you don't leave off the most important item on the menu, AKA, the desserts. Here are a few of our favorites.

Mini Southern Pecan Pies
Mini Southern Pecan Pies | Photo by Sugarplum

Need more ideas? Here are some charcuterie-sized snacks that didn't make our board:

Find more holiday inspiration in our entire collection of Thanksgiving Recipes.