Thanksgiving might look a little different this year so I wanted to share how you can still make a delicious meal for a small family. Many of the recipes in this Thanksgiving meal planner (small family) can be made ahead of time and all taste amazing! There’s also a checklist-timeline pdf for you at the bottom!
Creating a whole Thanksgiving meal for a small family, especially with young kids in the house, can be daunting. So, I am thrilled to say that I made most of this food in advance. That meant I wasn’t slaving over a stove for 6 hours before we could eat. The smoke detector went off, some of my dishes shattered in the microwave…so if I can get this done for a quick photoshoot to show to to have a small family Thanksgiving, I have full confidence you can too!
So how do you do it? Below is a timeline on how I recommend making your Thanksgiving meal in advance.
3 days prior
- Make cranberry sauce
- Move turkey to fridge to thaw
- Set out tablecloth/dishes/serving dishes
2 – 3 days prior
- Make sourdough bread for sourdough stuffing
1 – 2 days prior
- Make mashed potatoes (I make mashed potatoes with a secret ingredient, a must try)
- Make broccoli divine
1 day prior
- Make pie (5 ingredient pumpkin pie, brown sugar pie, or pumpkin pecan pie)
- Make stuffing
- Prep stuffed mushrooms
- Make herb butter (we added sage to make it more ‘Thanksgivingy’)
- Set table
- Make turkey and gravy (air fryer turkey breast, Instant Pot turkey, traditional Thanksgiving turkey)
- Warm food
So what is the menu for a small at home Thanksgiving?
- This is the best way to make turkey for a small family. It’s a recipe I’ve used year over year. This year, I also tried making an air fryer turkey breast and omg, it was amazing! Nick said he usually just eats turkey because he feels like he ‘has to’ because it’s thanksgiving, but with the air fryer turkey breast, he went back for seconds. With each of these recipes, you’re using turkey breasts, so you won’t have a giant bird taking up space on the table.
- Let’s talk about stuffing. I have a confession that I have never been the biggest fan of it. Honestly, I grew up eating Stove Top stuffing and it was always fine. This year, I’ve been on a sourdough journey so I thought I’d try to make a stuffing with sourdough. Well, it was simply amazing. I am now a convert and will forever be making this recipe on Thanksgiving!
- When recipes are tied to memories, they always taste that much better! These stuffed mushrooms are just that. We’ve been making this recipe for years in my family and we all love it so much. And, it’s only five ingredients, which is always a plus. This year, I’ll be using my sourdough stuffing to make them even better!
- Another family recipe that has been on the top of my favorite recipes list since my childhood. I’ve had it on the blog for years and it’s also featured in my cookbook.
- This is another recipe that’s been on the blog for many years, but I also have it in my cookbook. The key to these potatoes are the top secret ingredient that makes all the difference. And don’t forget, if your gathering is extra small, you can easily make a smaller batch (or enjoy leftovers).
- Instead of simple pumpkin pie, why not kick it up a bit and add a delicious layers of pecans? This pie combines classic Thanksgiving flavors into one delicious pie.
- I never knew this, but I recently called my mom for our family cranberry recipe and she said “oh it’s from the back of the bag!” For years, we’ve simply used the classic recipe from the bag of cranberries and it’s delicious every time!
- Sure, regular butter is great, but herb butter is even better! This butter will have sage, rosemary and parsley, but you can use almost any herbs you’d like. Herb butter is such a nice treat to have on Thanksgiving.
- I cannot recommend this delicious fall cocktail enough. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving because it has ginger beer in it – which is typically very soothing for tummies, so it’s great with a big meal, it’s light and refreshingly delicious.
You can see that you’ll still have a menu full of classic recipes to enjoy! But because you can prep so much ahead of time, and you don’t need to make a full turkey, this Thanksgiving meal planner for a small planner will be helpful to ensure you enjoy your holiday even more! I’ve put together a Thanksgiving To Do List for you to download.