Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas for Four
Thanksgiving dinner can be a big, big meal with loads of dishes and large serving sizes designed to feed a multitude. That's one way to go. But if you're thinking smaller-scale this year, we have you covered with top-rated Thanksgiving recipes that are specifically scaled for four guests. There are a number of tasty ways to go here — choose from reliable classics, like green bean casserole and basic mashed potatoes, or go with exciting new interpretations of old favorites, like a hasselbacked roast turkey breast, chipotle sweet potatoes, or a tofu faux turkey. Enjoy a delicious, complete Thanksgiving dinner for four.
Here's a simple but festive main dish for a smaller Thanksgiving gathering. "If you're not up to the task of roasting a turkey this dish is for you," says Christine L. "Serve with Cranberry Chutney."
Green Bean Casserole
Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions make a classic green bean casserole that's just right for four. "An absolute must at American holiday meals," says pearl.
Pommes Anna with Gruyere
This rich au gratin side dish shows off layers of thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes, Gruyere cheese, and sauteed onions. To get thin, even potato and onion slices, use the slicing blade of a food processor.
"These mini pumpkins are filled with applesauce and a cinnamon mixture and then oven roasted — great for the holidays," says LADYEM1. "If you are not a pumpkin fan, you can also roast squash the same way. Serve with your holiday meal."
Stuffed Hasselback Turkey Breast
Another great main dish option for a more intimate Thanksgiving meal, Chef John's sliced and stuffed turkey breast takes much less time than a whole bird. "Much easier than a traditional roast turkey, this sliced and stuffed turkey breast takes far less time than a whole bird, and it's perfect for an everyday or holiday dinner for a smaller group," says Chef John.
Red Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Boiled potatoes and garlic are mashed with butter and half-and-half cream, garlic powder, and steak seasoning. "These red-skinned mashed potatoes are just the creamiest," says Shawnah. "They are always a hit with company. Just a warning: they are addictive!"
Simple Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole
These caramelized sweet potatoes are "a staple at Thanksgiving," says Barbara. "This version takes just half an hour and uses 4 ingredients."
Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad
Sliced persimmons, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pecans are layered over an herb salad mix and drizzled with a tarragon orange dressing. "A sweet and tangy fall salad with a bit of crunch and nuttiness tossed in from the pecans," says BORY. "I love pecans so I often double the amount of pecans."
Turkey Paupiettes with Apple-Maple Stuffing
"If you don't have the time or the guests to prepare a big, whole turkey for Thanksgiving, stuffed turkey paupiettes are easier, faster, and just as delicious!" says foodwinefashion. You'll roll turkey breast cutlets around a chicken sausage stuffing, sear quickly, and bake. "Serve with gravy and a sprinkle of fresh parsley."
Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
"Spicy, sweet and smoky, this side dish is a great change to your Thanksgiving dinner," says CreativeCook. "Again, it's SPICY! This can be made ahead and stored in 200 degree oven until the rest of the meal is ready. For those of you who like less spicy, remove the seeds of the chipotle or cut down to one pepper and one tablespoon of adobo sauce. You can always add more later."
Basic Breaded Brussels Sprouts
"Most people think they don't like Brussels sprouts," says olivia13. "I have a cure for this problem. This is a must-have at my Thanksgiving and my husband's new favorite vegetable dish."
Creamy Skillet Corn
"This is one of the most popular corn dishes during Thanksgiving," says AGALL. "It is not your traditional boring old corn. This recipe includes butter, cream and shallots. I always get rave reviews when I make this."
Autumn Stuffed Acorn Squash
The best of autumn flavors feature in this simple recipe. Acorn squash are stuffed with sausage, wild rice, and cranberries. "The hint of maple syrup and warm cranberries really sets it off," says CleopatrasCat. "This is nice enough for company and pairs wonderfully with crusty bread and a full bodied white wine."
Chef John's Waldorf Salad
The venerable Waldorf salad is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. "Embellish this as you see fit, but I really like it best with just the four main ingredients seen here (apples, celery root, grapes, and walnut pieces)," says Chef John. "Things like dried cranberries can add a nice seasonal touch but, for me, the chewy fruit gets in the way of that addictive crunchy/crisp texture."
Bourbon and Molasses-Glazed Turkey Breast
The star of this roasted turkey breast is a sweet-and-savory marinade featuring whiskey, dark molasses, hot pepper sauce, and brown sugar. Just right for a small holiday meal. "My favorite turkey recipe ever!" says Elizabeth White. "Tastes better the second day as the ingredients soak in more. Love love love!"
Air Fryer Hasselback Potatoes
Here's one for the air fryer! "Hasselback potatoes were created at the Hotel Hasselbacken in Stockholm, Sweden in the 1940's, and they're still a popular side dish today," says lutzflcat. "Not only are they delicious, and easy to make with lovely presentation, they take half the time to cook in an air fryer."
Squasage (Sausage-stuffed Squash)
Acorn squash are stuffed with a creamy sausage and mushroom filling. "This was a favorite recipe in my family when I was growing up and now that I'm married, it's one of my husband's favorite dishes," says all_He_created_was_good. "A great way to use squash, that abundant, reasonably-priced, and tasty fall veggie!"
Brussels Sprouts Gratin
Baked Brussels sprouts are smothered in bacon and cream. "A great way to have Brussels sprouts with a little more flair," says Creative Caterer. "The cream takes away the bitterness you usually find in Brussels. This is a family favorite during the holidays!"
Tofu Turkey II
A terrific alternative to traditional turkey. You'll form tofu into a mold, stuff with a bread stuffing mix, and bake. "This is an incredibly delicious and guilt-free alternative to the traditional bird, and I make it every holiday," says Holly. "I've even tried this out on meat eaters, and they were asking for seconds!"
Sweet and Yummy Mashed Acorn Squash
Buttery mashed acorn squash with a hint of sweetness from brown sugar and cinnamon are a great addition to the Thanksgiving table. "If you're having trouble trying to find something to do with the acorn squash in your refrigerator, this sweet side is perfect for kids and for adults too!" says Chloe. "If you would like some more cinnamon or brown sugar, feel free to add some more."
Instant Pot® Thanksgiving Dinner
Use the Instant Pot® to make a complete Thanksgiving meal — 3 dishes at once: turkey breast, sweet potatoes, and cornbread dressing. "Take the stress out of holiday cooking by turning to this awesome multi-tasking device," says Leslie Kelly. "The key to getting the roasted flavor is to use a barbeque dry rub, such as the seasoning from Rendezvous in Memphis, Tennessee."