Not sure about desserts for small groups? I’ve got you covered with easy desserts that are perfect to make for just a few of your favorite people.
You know the old adage, “So many desserts, so little time.”
It’s true, of course. It’s so hard to choose just one dessert to make for Thanksgiving or other special occasions, especially if you’re serving a smaller crowd. There are so many delicious desserts to choose from!
As we all know, this year is a little different than years past when folks may be gathering in smaller groups. Our own family has done this from time to time when illness kept us or our guests apart.
Easy Thanksgiving Desserts for Small Groups
But, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it up with dessert just because your group is a little smaller this year. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite smaller serving and easily-scalable desserts. Don’t worry about fussing with 9×13-baking dishes and pie plates this year. Let’s do it up on the small side!
Be sure to scroll down for a dozen of my recommendations for a smaller shindig.
How can you scale desserts for small groups?
Scaling a dessert is not usually difficult if you keep in mind the size of the dish and the appropriate baking time. Depending on the dessert, you can often just prepare a half batch and/or assemble the dessert in smaller dishes. Remember that smaller dishes will bake more quickly than larger ones.
A regular fruit pie can be converted to mini tarts; a larger cake to cupcakes. If you’re making a cake, check this chart of pan conversions to determine what size pan will work for your group.
Here on Good Cheap Eats, be sure to adjust the servings on the recipe card to give you the most accurate measurements for ingredients.
What are the best desserts for small groups?
While it’s not terribly difficult to scale a dessert, when serving a small group I’d rather prepare a dessert that can be made as big or small as I want without doing a lot of math. This would include:
- fruit trays
- fruit salad
- pudding or custard that can be divided into single serve dishes
- frosty beverages like Sherbet Punch
- cupcakes or individual ice box cakes
- deluxe coffee drinks
- mini pies or tarts
- desserts in jars, like these yummy Jello 123 Layered Jello Cups
What can you do with leftover desserts?
Most desserts are good for several days when properly stored, so if you end up making too much, remember that you can enjoy them the next day or share them with friends and neighbors.
Depending on the dessert you can also freeze them for a much later date.
What desserts can you freeze?
You can easily freeze the following desserts:
- ice cream sundaes
- ice cream sandwiches
- ice cream cakes
- unbaked fruit pies and tarts
- baked custard
Easy Thanksgiving Desserts for Small Groups
Butternut Squash Brownies Recipe
These Butternut Squash Brownies are loaded with chocolate flavor and a pinch of cinnamon to deliver that fall feel. They freeze beautifully so don't be afraid to serve them to a smaller group. You'll actually want a few leftover!
Strawberry and Chocolate Icebox Cakes
Make as few or as many of these no-bake icebox cakes. Loaded with strawberries, cream, and a chocolate cookie turned into cake, they are great for serving to a few of your favorite people.
Homemade Chocolate Pudding
Chocolate Pudding never disappoints, and it can be very impressive dished up in little pots and topped with whipped cream. Not overly sweet but delivering plenty of chocolate flavor, these pudding cups are good in the fridge for several days.
Crockpot Chocolate Fondue
The beauty of Chocolate Fondue -- besides being Chocolate Fondue -- is that it can easily be adjusted to serve however many people are at your table. The dippers lend themselves to long keeping, so you won't need to worry about leftovers going to waste.
Slow Cooker Chocolate Cheesecake
Not only is this the creamiest chocolate cheesecake I've ever made, but it's also the smallest. Baked in the slow cooker in a 6.5-inch springform pan, this recipe results in a smaller cheesecake than normal, perfect for a small crowd. It's also super freezer-friendly so you can stash any leftovers for later.
Better than Robert Redford -- Layered Chocolate Dessert in a Jar
This iconic dessert of the 70s, back when Robert Redford was a heart-throb is perfect for a smaller group. The recipe can be easily scaled for however many you're serving. Baked in single serve dishes makes the dessert special without feeling "small".
Winter Fruit Tray - a Simple Holiday Dessert
Winter fruit includes some of the best tastes of the year! Pomegranates, grapes, pears, apples, and oranges make for a beautifully colorful display and a completely gluten-free, dairy-free dessert, perfect for everyone and easily scalable.
With just three ingredients and a fresh fruit garnish, you can pour out a sweet treat that's perfect for small gatherings.
Chocolate Dessert Board - The Easiest Dessert Ever!
Dessert boards composed of chocolate, nuts, fruit and popcorn makes for a super fun evening sweet, where everyone can choose exactly what he or she likes without any worry over leftovers. Pour some sparkling bubbles alongside and it will feel extra special.
Raspberry Cream Cups with Pretzels
The working title of this recipe was Pretzel Berryin a Glass because it mimics all the flavors of my favorite Pretzel Berry Dessert. Instead, a raspberry compote is topped with whipped cream cheese and pretzel crumbs, akin to that "jello salad" but so much more elegant and easy to serve just a few.
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cupcakes are excellent for serving a small group. While you might as well bake extra while you're at it, the extra cakes are easy to freeze. This recipe only makes 12 Pumpkin Cupcakes so you won't have too many to freeze. Topped with Cream Cheese Frosting they are absolutely delicious.
Easy Apple Turnovers
Like the progeny of an apple pie and a croissant, these easy apple turnovers are super simple to scale. Leave the extra sheet of puff pastry in the freezer and use just enough applesauce to make a few. You'll be set with a deliciously fun dessert for your cohort.
Salted Caramel Affogatos: A Recipe for Coffee Floats
Sometimes all you need after a big dinner is a strong brew and some ice cream! These Salted Caramel Affogatos are so elegant, but so fun -- like coffee floats for grownups!
This post was originally published on November 8, 2017. It has been updated for content and clarity.
Loving all of these. Several I’ve made before, from your cookbooks and blog, but the makeover to singles is genius! Now to pick just two…or three…
Yay! Can’t wait to see what you choose!
What a wonderful tradition! What kind of chocolate goes in between the layers?
What a beautiful legacy your Grandmother left all of you!
Please take a picture of a finished torte and share to our group!
Or send it on to my email Thanks and have a wonderful holiday season!