11 Small Yet Special Roasts for This Year's Holiday Meal

roast chicken on a bed of mushroom stuffing

From beef tenderloin with a potato crust to roast chicken with extra stuffing or a whole roasted cauliflower, these entrées will delight at your more intimate family feast.

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stuffed pork loin in roasting pan
Johnny Miller

With COVID-19 making holiday gatherings different this year, you might want to trade in your usual menu that feeds a crowd for something more manageable that's better-suited to just your household. That doesn't mean you should serve an any day dinner or skip the holiday tablescape, though. We're sharing a selection of stellar but smaller holiday roast recipes that will make your meal look and taste celebratory.

These roasts that may be on the petite side, but what they lack in size they make up for in special occasion-worth presentations. Take our Herb-Stuffed Pork Roast with Mustard Gravy, pictured here, for example. It's the perfect option if you want to serve a smaller cut cut of meat but still deliver the wow-factor. Stuffed with fennel seed, garlic, and parsley and served with an Italian-inspired agrodolce sauce (think sweet and sour), this roast is simple to pull off but still delights. Another tasty option is our Mini Beef Wellingtons. Not only is it fun for everyone to have their own special parcel of beef tenderloin wrapped in flaky puff pastry, the recipe is freezer-friendly so you can bake off just what you need and save the rest for another night.

If you're keeping it small this year but love having leftovers around, this gallery has you covered; when a recipe catches your eye, just look out for the serving size. They range from feeding a family of four and go all the way up to serving eight, so there will be plenty left for sandwiches and the like.

Wrestling the big turkey into the oven every year was getting a little tired anyway, so think of this as your year to try doing something new with the old bird. The Apple-Braised Turkey Thighs are brimming with fall flavor thanks to the apple cider and fresh apples that they simmer in. However, if you're determined to re-create the Norman Rockwell painting and carve a burnished bird tableside, the Stuffed Turkey Breast with Apricot Jam will definitely satisfy.

While some of these recipes keep it traditional on a smaller scale, others will help you re-imagine our favorite dishes in the interest of ease. The Slow-Cooker Lamb with Olives and Potatoes, for instance, puts a restaurant-style entrée on the table while allowing you to spend the day doing activities with your family. The Inside-Out "Stuffed" Chicken with Mushroom Dressing streamlines the poultry and stuffing combo by baking the bird on top of the rustic bread stuffing—delivering a moist, schmaltzy stuffing with just the right amount of crispness.

Whatever your holidays look like this year, treating yourself and your family to a special meal can still be in the game plan, and give everyone at the table a reason to celebrate.

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Apple-Braised Turkey Thighs

Apple-Braised Turkey Thighs

If the months of November and December could be summed up in a recipe, this may just be the one. A winner for dark-meat fans, turkey thighs are braised in a mixture of apple cider, cider vinegar, fresh apples, and shallots for savory depth.

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Mini Beef Wellingtons

Marcus Nilsson

It's fun for everyone to have their own special parcel of beef tenderloin wrapped in flaky puff pastry. Another bonus? This recipe is freezer-friendly, which means you can bake just what you need and save the rest for another night.

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Inside-Out "Stuffed" Chicken with Mushroom Dressing


Having trouble finding a tiny turkey? We suggest opting for a fancy chicken instead. It's easy to make this beloved bird feel a bit more special when you follow a recipe like this one—you'll bake the whole chicken on top of a savory mushroom dressing.

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Pork Chops with Herb Stuffing

Richard Jung

This main dish tastes great and won't break the budget, either. Stuffing the chops with a mixture of breadcrumbs, herbs, and spices, will make it feel like a special occasion treat, too.

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Whole-Roasted Cauliflower with Green Herb Sauce

Martyn Thompson

As well as being an impressive centerpiece, a whole-roasted cauliflower makes a great anchor to a vegetarian meal. Pair it with a bright herb sauce and perhaps this vegan mushroom-leek stuffing.

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Sage-and-Garlic-Crusted Pork Tenderloin


If your holiday gathering is smaller this year, swap the bigger roast for something more petite. This easy pork tenderloin coated with aromatic garlic and sage fits the bill. As an added bonus, it's ready in just 40 minutes.

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Potato-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin


A mouth-watering roast and potato side dish all in one? Yes, this recipe is an all-around winner. To make it, simply wrap a small cut of beef tenderloin in par-cooked russet potatoes. The spuds crisp up nicely in the oven and make for a pretty presentation on the table; any leftover beef makes for excellent sandwiches the next day.

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Stuffed Turkey Breast with Apricot Jam

Romulo Yanes

For an extra-easy stuffed bird this no-truss turkey recipe can't be beat. The recipe has you tuck a deeply savory stuffing made with sausage, sage, lemon zest, and apricot jam underneath the skin.

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Individual Portobello Mushroom Gratins


Portobello mushroom caps become the perfect vegetarian vessel for a creamy and cheesy mushroom gratin filling.

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Roasted Chicken Breasts with Grape Stuffing

Roasted Chicken Breast With Grape Stuffing
Marcus Nilsson

A cozy entrée for an at-home feast, split chicken breasts are browned and then set atop a rustic stuffing made with torn ciabatta bread and grapes. They roast together in the oven, melding the flavors and turning the surface of the stuffing delightfully crisp.

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