No matter how often you host Thanksgiving, one big question remains the same: Exactly how much turkey do I need to make? Since the turkey size will change how big of a helping each guest gets — not to mention how much will be left for leftovers.
To make things simple, we’ve created a guide to help you pick the perfect-sized turkey for your holiday feast. Make sure you know how to buy the absolute perfect turkey in the first place.
How to figure out how much turkey per person
First, finalize your guest list. Once you know the exact number of attendees, use this formula: Number of guests x 1.25. Because of the pandemic, chances are you won’t need as much turkey this year. Here’s how Thanksgiving is going to look different this year.
You’ll want to plan on about 1.25 pounds of turkey per person attending. That means that if you are expecting 12 guests, plan for a 15-pound bird.
If you have a large number of kids coming, simply round down when calculating your turkey. The kids usually go for the rolls and side dishes anyway.
Pro tip: If you have a large group this year, try dividing your turkey number by two and buying smaller birds. This will allow them to cook faster and more evenly.
Next, choose a great turkey recipe
Next, it’s time to think about turkey prep: For large groups: We love this simple marinated Thanksgiving turkey recipe. For small groups: This slow cooker turkey recipe is an easy way to cook a turkey breast.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect turkey recipe, don’t forget to add plenty of sides and desserts. Get inspired by our sample Thanksgiving menu to host an amazing holiday.