This page describes the stock image recipes that come with the Yocto Project. Also see the Yocto documentation.
The minimal recipe provides an image with the least number of packages to be a bootable image for a given platform (MACHINE) from a stock Yocto Project distribution. It is not necessarily the smallest image that can be created, as many size reductions can be made with kernel changes, etc. When first starting a project, this is the fastest complete build, and it is also a good place to start to create a custom image.
The minimal image includes these features: