How much turkey should I plan per person?

  • For the holidays, I plan to do a turkey, but I need to order in advance since the place I'm buying from is popular and usually sells out in pre-orders. Estimates of how much turkey to plan per person vary widely across the internet; does anyone have authoritative data on how much turkey to buy? There's clearly a difference between a small child and a hefty eater, for example, and I'd imagine the meat-to-bone ratio changes as the turkey gets larger or smaller. I also want to plan to have leftovers, since my family enjoys leftover turkey sandwiches. Does it matter how many sides I plan to make?

    Note that this is for Americans at Thanksgiving, so portion sizes are intended to be larger than normal.

    Larger than normal portions including everything, yes, but given the number of dishes in a typical Thanksgiving meal, may well be smaller than normal portions of turkey.

    I would also recommend buying multiple small birds instead of one large bird. It's much easier to properly cook a 12 lbs. turkey than a 24 lbs. turkey.

  • Unless you're feeding 20, chances are you want the smallest bird they have. It doesn't really matter if you should have 1 lb per person or 1.5 if you have 8 people and their smallest bird is 12 pounds - and I'm willing to bet that's the case.

    That said, I generally allow 1 lb per person and don't count the smallest children (say, haven't started school yet.) I also tend to send a lot of leftovers home with other people. Our feasts are very veggie heavy, but as I mentioned above you may have less control over this than you think.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM